Hummingbirds and Digital Transformation

My reason for registering this class has to do a great deal with jackhammers and hummingbirds. Last summer, I was listening to an interview with Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert and had a breakthrough: I am a hummingbird.

In the interview, Gilbert explained how she used to preach about passions, following your passion, surrendering to your passion, passion, passion, passion. Then one day she got an email where a follower expressed deep anguish about not having a passion, and based on the way Gilbert described it, felt she would know it if she had one. Gilbert eventually changed her platform from following your passion to following your curiosity. She now hypothesizes that people are in one of two groups: jackhammers and hummingbirds.

Jackhammers have a great, singular, focused passion (like Gilbert and writing). Hummingbirds are those of us who float from activity to activity and interest to interest and may or may not identify as having a passion. The secret to being your authentic hummingbird self is to follow your curiosity, and maybe you find a passion, or maybe you just learn along the way.

I made a commitment to myself during the recent course registration period to be a hummingbird and register for whatever class I thought sounded the most interesting. Don’t look at reviews, don’t worry about the workload, just let curiosity lead me. This led me straight to this class.

Image result for hummingbird image

And tonight, after spending over an hour trying to register for Twitter and change my name from “Courtne41234309” to something more sensical, a piece of me wondered if I made the right choice. “No” I tell myself. “I can do this. I can learn Twitter. I can write a blog. I can learn how to learn about technology.”

After haphazardly clicking around and getting flagged not once but twice for Captcha security verification, I finally changed my name to CourtneyMBA. Thought 1: Oh thank God. Thought 2: How is that not taken?

My expectations are that this class will challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone, but that I’ll come out the better for it. I’ve been adding blog post ideas to my whiteboard the past week, and this is my opportunity to be forced to learn about all of these hummingbird interests of mine and do something creative with them. This is my practice round.

Back in December, I got an opportunity to contribute a Q1 blog post for the biggest trade association in my industry about my experience designing a new customer acquisition UI/UX. I’ve been sitting on my post for a few weeks. Publishing a blog has felt like such a raw and vulnerable experience. That hesitancy to come to the forefront has been at odds with my desire to share what I’ve learned and be a thought-leader in my industry.

And so tonight, I practice here with you and give myself a high five for publishing the first blog post of my life.  

And by the way, I did end up eventually finding my passion. It was so obvious it smacked me in the face. Learning is my great passion. Maybe I have a little jackhammer in me after all.


  1. abigailholler1 · ·

    The interview between Oprah and Gilbert sounds like one I’d like to listen to – but also one in which I might have a few opinions. The notion of finding passion feels a bit overplayed in our society – almost so much that I believe we have tunnel vision on how we define passion. In my experience, there are some days where I truly enjoy my work and schooling and yes, am passionate about my accomplishments for the day; but there are definitely a fair share where this isn’t the case – where working feels more like, well, work! Isn’t it possible that somedays we are jackhammers and some days we are hummingbirds?

  2. alexcarey94 · ·

    I think the point of having a passion is more the overarching goal or message to what you are doing than the day to day tasks that need to be completed to get it done- which is why some days we may feel passionate and excited about our work while others not as much. I did a quick google search and stumbled upon this article I found interesting on defining a passion in Forbes

    A good example of turning your passion into a career is Phil Knight. He created what is today the Nike empire based off his sole love for running. Which is what drove him to really believe in and push to sell his first product and eventually build the company to what it is today!

  3. ritellryan · ·

    I love the metaphor between a hummingbird and a jackhammer. I definitely think people can change, maybe not day to day, but over time, and even back and forth. However, we should all be a little bit of both. The jackhammer reminds me of another metaphor, like “Humpty Dumpty”. If you fail to succeed in your one singular focus, you might fall apart. While all the pieces can be put back together, obviously you become a little bit different, searching for that new focus, turning you into a hummingbird, until you find that new passion. I think we all need to be a little bit of both. A jackhammer is why we get up in the morning (not that it has to be work related), but we all need to have some hummingbird in us as well. Sometimes life stage or other responsibilities will cause us to be one more than another, but I think being in higher education is the perfect time to be a hummingbird and see if anything is worth turning into a jackhammer for

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