Passion: Are you a Jackhammer or a Hummingbird?

Have you ever felt like there is something wrong with you because you can’t find the ONE THING that you are passionate about? I’ve always felt like there are some people who are just born with 1 single passion that they move in a straight line towards that their entire life. And then there’s people like me. Finding my passion has been anything but a straight line and I’m more like a bumble bee trying this flower and that flower. Trying. Stopping. Starting. And trying again. Do you know what I mean?

Even though I’ve been teaching passion for many years now as a multi-faceted concept of things we love and hate… I’ve also felt that this instinct I must move and try new things only to give them up in a new pursuit is somehow faulty in me.

Like, somehow I was teaching passion this way to justify my “broken” passion button.

Well. I heard something this week that made me tear up several times and confirmed, finally, what I always knew deep down- there is more than one path to passion. And some of us will flit around like hummingbirds and that is OK. It’s more than OK. It’s divinely inspired curiosity.

It was Monday morning and I was casually looking through my podcast list and I saw a name that peeked my interest. It was Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, and she was the feature on the show Super Soul Conversations hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

Ms. Gilbert shares how she the self-professed “Passion Bully,” decided to question everything she knew about the concept of passion.

She would lay it on the table, dissect it, and eventually develop a more gentle  and life-giving concept she calls, “the Curiosity-Driven Life.” Here’s some highlights from the show…

 “Night after night I would get on stage and say something like this… You have to identify your passion… the tower of flame within you that will be your guiding purposeful light. And you have to find that thing that makes you feel like your head is on fire. That makes you feel like a soul revolution deep inside your rib cage. That makes you feel like you would sacrifice and risk everything for that thing… You have to focus on that thing and no other thing. And only that way will you succeed… I really believed I was doing a public service by telling people they had to live their lives the same way I had lived mine. But, something will eventually happen that will undo your certainty”

Elizabeth Gilbert

What kind of state were you in when passion was done having it’s way with you? “Curiosity will never strip your life bare. It will never make outrageous demands… Curiosity only does one thing. That is to give. What it gives you are clues on the incredible scavenger hunt of your life.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Curiosity is a gentler, kinder, more welcoming, more humane instinct than passion… Passion is demanding it’s greedy it’s insists that it take everything out of you. Those are the terms of passion…You want to make an impact you have to make a huge change. You have to get divorced, shave your head, change your name, move to Napal, open up an orphanage. Right? But maybe not everyone needs to do that this week!

Elizabeth Gilbert

Jackhammers and Hummingbirds

Liz explains that are 2 kinds of people in this world when it comes to passion, jackhammers and hummingbirds. Oh yeah, we are besties level 5 in my head now so I call her Liz.

Jackhammers like her, are focused and efficient on one passion for their entire life. You put a passion in their hands and they just jackhammer away until the end of time. They never veer off course. But they can be fundamentalists, obsessive, loud, and sometimes difficult (her words. Not mine.)

Hummingbirds are full of curiosity when it comes to passion.

They fly around their life trying tree after tree following one passion after another. She explains 2 incredible things happen because of hummingbirds… they create rich complex lives for themselves and they cross-pollinate the world. That is what we do if we are hummingbird people. We weave ideas and perspectives across the world and keep things fresh and mix things up.

This place where you are right now. God circled on a map for you. Wherever your eyes and heart, and mind can turn against the sky the beloved bowed there knowing you were coming. Holding the place for you.


Nothing is random my friends. Your passion, like mine, is one that is unique and needed in this world. It’s brought you to this place. Where you are right now. And that is OK. You are OK.

From all of us hummingbirds, Ms. Gilbert, thank you.


P.S. If you are a hummingbird and you MUST listen to this podcast for yourself and come back and tell me your ah-ha moments. You can find it here.

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