I previously spent some time focusing on two key internal challenges that Hummingbirds face – feeling like a failure and the struggle to ‘fit in’. Now I want to begin looking at three key challenges Hummingbirds face that may be perceived as external:

  1. Career
  2. Relationships
  3. Having a meaningful life

Having a successful career filled with with diversity and change. 

As we are driven to pursue our curiosity many Hummingbirds follow different pathways than conventional career ladders. Many of us frequently change jobs and even pursue different careers that others perceive as vastly different, perhaps even unrelated. And for some Hummingbirds this means that they feel undervalued, under-recognised, and under-rewarded for their experience, knowledge and range of skills.

This can be hard. Very hard. Other people – recruiters, employers, procurement, families, friends, colleagues – may struggle to understand why we keep changing and what value we bring to each of the different roles we do. We also, due to the self-doubt many of us take on as we are constantly questioned by others as to our professional choices, may undersell what it is we have to offer.

Having great relationships whilst pursuing ever-changing interests

Here I am talking about ‘relationships’ in the broadest sense – family, friends, colleagues, partners, social and business networks. The challenges that Hummingbirds specifically face shows up in two different ways. Firstly, where relationships are with other Hummingbirds and secondly, where they are with those who are other.

When different Hummingbirds connect the relationship at first can feel like an amazing fit. After all, both parties are driven by curiosity to pursue ever-changing varied interests. And that is also where the challenge lies. Because, although there will be commonality in those ever-changing varied interests there will also be significant differences. And the rate of change as well as the amount of varied interests are frequently different from one Hummingbird to the next. There are Hummingbirds who determinedly deep-dive into an interest, gain every qualification available and complete any project that falls within that interest … until they decide they are replete and it is time to move on. There are also Hummingbirds who flit in and out of interests, gaining a massively broad range of knowledge, skills and experience over a brief period of time whilst never getting depth because they constantly find something new to intrigue them. There are other Hummingbirds who fly in both these ways at different points in their lives.

Most Hummingbirds will have a range of relationships with people who are other. Some of these others may even be passion flames – my term for those people who have a deep abiding passion which they have pursued wherever it may have led them in their lives. Regardless, people who are other than Hummingbirds often struggle to understand the underlying driver of feeding our curiosity, the need we have for change and variety in our lives. For Hummingbirds themselves the challenge may lie in finding that those they have connection with only have a set range of interests and minimal drive to change or expand them. Often there is a clash in expectation in how the relationship will be and evolve. This is hard. For all concerned. Often one or both end up compromising to the point of being stagnant and miserable.

Having a fulfilling life that is also meaningful

Because Hummingbirds are often changing interests, roles, careers, places and people in our lives we may be perceived as purpose-less. We may also feel that what we do has no meaning, either for ourselves or others. And yet for us to be fulfilled personally we need variety and a level of new experience in our lives. Happiness for us comes from learning something new often. The challenge is in ensuring as we pursue our curiosity we do so in meaningful ways. That we Hummingbirds learn to place meaning into our choice of which of our diverse interests to dive into and which to weave together into something new. And once we have learnt the value of that for ourselves to share that with others in a purposeful way. This, too, is hard to do. Often other people lose sight of what ‘meaningful’ is. It is something that is ‘serious, important or worthwhile’. And whatever the current interests are that are capturing a Hummingbirds attention, focus and energy … to them it is all that. It is serious, it is important and it is worthwhile.


I coach Hummingbirds globally to address each of these challenges as they face them in their own personal journeys. Although progressing through this challenges is hard work – it is also fun, elucidating and ultimately freeing.

When you’re ready for coaching let me know and in the meantime, for you in your right here and now try out this activity:

  • Set a timer for 2 minutes, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe deeply & easily into your tummy for 6 seconds and exhale from your tummy for 6 seconds. Focus on counting your breath in and out whilst acknowledging any thoughts or pictures that come into your mind before letting them go on their way. Stop when the timer goes off.
  • From this coherent state, creatively respond to this question (perhaps a large piece of paper and coloured pens would help):
    • To be alive today I have overcome many challenges … what were they and what resources did I personally use to overcome them?
  • Now take a 15 minute break, go and do something totally unrelated.
  • When you return look at all that you have written/drawn and ask yourself:
    • What patterns do I see here?
    • What resources worked well for me?
    • What resources have become less useful?
    • What other resources do I have that I might use?

I’d love to know what answers you come up with so please share with me and others in our online community so that we may all learn together.