I recently watched the American Masters special on David Geffen. Of course, I had heard of David Geffen, knew he was some kind of music mogul, and that there is a hospital with his name on it here in Los Angeles. What I didn’t realize was that DG turned his hobby into a life of influence and impact.
You see, David just loved rock and roll music.
As a young green-around-the-gills kid from Brooklyn trying to make it in the entertainment business, he pretty much failed.
But the 60’s was a time of remarkable innovation, experimentation, and creativity in the music world. Without the talent to produce good music himself, David scouted out and attached himself to every powerhouse talent in the LA music scene at that time – Jackson Brown, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Guns & Roses, Neil Young, and dozens of others.
What began as his passion and music hobby turned into a career dedicated to promoting great musical talent. Ultimately, Geffen blended this passion with his limitless drive and intuition for what the public wanted musically.
That’s how David converted a hobby into a gargantuan career, and generated immense influence, wealth, and power. Because of his wealth and influence with people, some say he even impacted the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.
What intrigued me about his story is what also fascinated me in a number of other stories and examples I’ve run across lately – some about famous people, some everyday folks like you and me: the “hobbies” they are passionate about, the impact it has made on their careers, their connections, and often the world.
Here are just a few examples:
1. Bob Gruen – loved both photography and music; he ultimately became the iconic photographer of musicians in the 60’s & 70’s, including John Lennon
2. Keith Ferrazzi – best selling author & world renowned speaker has two hobbies he leverages for building powerful circles of influence: running and hosting elegant dinner parties.
3. Peter, a financial advisor friend of mine loves fine art and parlays this hobby as the focal point for attracting high-level attendees to his business networking events.
4. Nirmala’s love of developing exotic flavors and spices went from hobby to main vocation; she used her love of flavors to curry favor (excuse the pun) with top food editors.
5. Heath, another wealth advisor colleague, loves fine wine and hosts “Wine Wednesdays” where top drawer professionals meet, network and taste wonderful wines.
6. I have hosted “yoga nights” for colleagues and clients; we all take a yoga class together and then reward ourselves with a healthy but delicious dinner.
7. Walter built his entire property & casualty insurance practice through his love of golf. He continually hosts construction industry colleagues (his niche market) on the golf course. He rarely goes to networking events because he creates his own in the clubhouse bar after an 18-hole day.
You have limited amounts of time for your personal hobbies. What you choose matters. Choosing hobbies that you not only love but also up your influence with your ideal circle of influence is just smart and fun business.