Finding your passion & your happy place

January 12, 2016
possum creek, cottage, passion, happy place

possum creek, cottage, passion, happy place

This post is part of a 14 ways to help rebuild self-confidence series.  We are working our way through the letters of SELF CONFIDENCE with this week’s focus being on the F in self.  Previously covered are Self Compassion & Self Care, 10 Ways to Enjoy your Life and Learning, Love & Laughter.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 51 years on this earth, it is that life is too short to be spending your days doing stuff that makes you miserable, and many of us do, either to please other people or because we have to do what we have to do in order to earn a living.  Most of us though, are searching for what it is that makes us happy and ideally would love to spend our days doing that!   If we can do what we love to do as an occupation, and if we knew where or what our happy place or activity is, and we spent a good deal of time there or doing that, well then that would be a good basis for a happy, fulfilling life don’t you think?  


It has always been preached to us that to find happiness and success we must find our passion in life, follow it, work hard, stick to it, become an expert at it, and happiness and success will come.  Based on this information, I’ve spent the last few years trying to find my passion.  Instead, I’ve discovered several things that I enjoy doing, photography probably pipping most at the post, but it’s not my one and only interest.  I also enjoy writing, art, walking, nature, music and singing, travelling and more!  This has always caused me to feel like a bit of a failure because I ‘dabble’ in more than one thing and get distracted from one thing for another quite often.  I quite often say “I’m a Jill of all trades but master of none”.

Then along comes Elizabeth Gilbert who has helped me to understand myself better.  She has always had a passion for writing since she was a child and so she has ‘followed her passion’ all her life and believed that was the key to success and happiness because that is exactly where doing that led her.  Finding and following your passion is what Elizabeth passionately preached at all her speeches and talks because this is what she truly believed was the key to success, happiness and fulfilling your life’s purpose UNTIL … she received a letter on her Facebook page from an Australian women who had just attended a talk Elizabeth had done and after listening to Elizabeth’s talk she was feeling like a loser – because she does not have a passion!  It was the moment that Elizabeth questioned her ‘certainty and central truth’.  She needed to reassess her thoughts around passion, and that is exactly what she did.

She says that some people are born with a passion (like her) and have a straight ‘head down, bum up’ passion led direction in life (she calls these people ‘jack hammers’).  Others are not born with a passion so instead try this, try that, cross pollinating the wisdoms learnt at each location and taking it to the next.  These people she calls ‘hummingbirds’.  I am a hummingbird.  Both types of people are needed in our world.   Elizabeth does not preach to find and follow your passion anymore, instead she says to FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITIES.  They are like breadcrumbs, clues, and they just may eventually lead you to your passion and/or your ultimate purpose in this life.

I am a big fan of Elizabeth’s and of course Oprah and this Super Soul Session where Elizabeth spoke on The Flight of the Hummingbird – The Curiosity Driven Life is a must watch.  It goes for just over 28 minutes.  Grab a cuppa and have a watch.  You won’t regret it.


Have you identified the place or places that you can go to OR things that you can do that make you happy?  It’s a place or activity where you feel all the weight on your shoulders lift and dissipate, where your heart and soul feel happy and free, where you feel light, where a smile is on your face without thought, where your mind is clear and focussed, where your light is switched on!  It could be at the beach, up in the mountains, in the wilderness, a favourite park, your own backyard, the rainforest OR activities such as bushwalking, photography, painting, drawing, dancing, or singing!

I have lots of happy places.  Some are more accessible than others.  Some of my happy places are:  when I’m taking photographs, when I’m floating in my pool, when I’m doing art, when I’m singing or listening to amazing music, when I’m completely absorbed in writing something and the words are flowing, when I’m swept away to another world in a good book, when I’m walking out in nature, when I’m in the country, visiting art galleries, perusing antique shops, being in a beautiful garden, when I’m having a glass of wine or champagne looking out over a magnificent view, lunch or dinner with great conversation and laughs with friends.

One word of warning, learnt from past experience.  While other people (friends, lovers, spouses, family etc) can enhance our feeling of happiness, we should not ever be reliant solely on one person or other people for our happiness.  Ever heard of the saying “happiness is an inside job”?  It is very true.  Our happiness is up to us and not other people!  If you do use another person as your happy place, you will not only drive them crazy with your neediness, but should that relationship end, you will be left with one big painful gaping hole of misery to deal with.  However, if you already have your happy places and activities identified – they will be your salvation, your tools to help yourself  heal from the ending of that relationship, should you need to heal!   So, I strongly advise that you don’t have another person or people as your happy place!


Once you allow yourself the gift of following your curiosities, and have identified your happy place/s and activity/s – then be sure to make them a regular part of your life!  Everyone should do what makes their soul happy!  Happiness is one of the most important foundations of self-confidence and vice versa.  They compliment each other!

Have you had a burning passion since childhood or do like to dabble in a bit of this and that?  Are you a jackhammer or a hummingbird?

Ciao for now,


p.s.  The photograph used for this post is of a cottage at Possum Creek in the Byron Bay Hinterland in NSW Australia.  This is one of my most favourite of happy places.  It’s a little old quirky and rustic cottage with gorgeous features inside, a wood-burning fireplace, a hammock on the verandah and more – all set amongst beautiful nature.  I love it up there in the hinterland and it is only a short drive to Byron Bay beach, the best of both worlds.  It’s the perfect place for me to get away to and indulge my love of nature, the country, peace & quiet, reading, and of course my photography.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life January 12, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I love the saying “Happiness is an inside job”. So true!

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

      It’s a good saying isn’t it … and ever so true! 😉 xo

  • Reply PatrickC January 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Min, you are right about having passions and hopefully a happy place to go to as well. The notion of the Mens Shed program as promoted by Beyond Blue has that as its basis.

    My passions are very similar to yours, Photography, Art, Literature, Music and Test Cricket give me great solace. As does food and cooking. However I cannot sing, as my dogs will attest whenever I get drawn into a song.

    Due to living alone I have my escape rooms where I have converted what was the formal dining room and lounge room into a library office area and a fully fledged music room. They allow me to escape and the view from my desk is wonderful with a panorama of roof tops and hills across the horizon, the spires of St Marys Basilica in the distance and the light towers of Kardinia Park standing upright. My front porch at night gives a wonderful night time view of the sky.

    My getaway happy place is the drive down the Great Ocean Road to my most favourite place on this earth. The tiny sea side fishing hamlet of Port Fairy, especially in the winter time when the wind squalls in straight off the Southern Ocean. When I was younger in the 1980’s there would be times when I couldn’t sleep I would jump into my trusty big Volvo station wagon with my swag and drive to an isolated amazing beach and sleep in my car. That place is called Johanna, more properly Blue Johanna. In those days my knees worked and at sunrise the place would in most cases would be deserted. I’d get out my old K1000 and take photos of the virgin sand and the sun and the green Otway hills. Then grab my board and have a surf and just sit on the beach with my little Hibachi BBQ and boil a billy and grill some toast and heat up some baked beans and have a solo feast before heading back home. I must start doing it again. (except for the surfing).

    Anyway thanks for your post Min and for prompting me to think about my passions and happy place.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      I’m loving the sound of your happy places Patrick! Well except for the cricket. You can have that one to yourself! 😉 I’ve never been along the Great Ocean Road but it is on my wish list of places to see and visit. xo

  • Reply Deb @ inner compass designs January 12, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Love this. I am a hummingbird too. Off to watch that clip thanks xx

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Hope you enjoyed the clip Deb. I just love listening to Elizabeth Gilbert speak. She is so good at it! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Tracy January 12, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Life is rarely quite so black and white, I suspect. For a long time my job was something I was good at (still am) but don’t “love”. My current job is something I adore doing. The difference? One I jump out of bed for and the other was harder to make myself be enthusiastic about. But while I was doing that first job, in which I felt confident and competent, I did things outside of work that I loved. Quilts, reading, cooking, camping… stuff that feeds my soul. You don’t necessarily always get that at work, even though there’s nothing really wrong with your job.

    On the flip side, I have quite a different job, for which I had to complete a degree and I work full time (haven’t done that for 20 years!). I don’t have much energy left for the other stuff that feeds my soul. I still read voraciously, but quilting feels like a bygone era right now. I think that means that life is just about seasons and you need to enjoy the good in each season, even though you probably won’t get all the good things all at the same time. Just smattered throughout over time.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      You’re very right Tracey – life is about seasons. Some people are lucky enough to land themselves their dream job or occupation from the start and others have to wait for some time to have the opportunity. Some never get the opportunity. Generally when we have small kids we have less time for our happy place activities and when they are grown we get more time. It is a seasonal thing and a situational thing … but nonetheless … important to be aware of and try and find ways to fit as much of our happy stuff in when & where we can 🙂 xo

  • Reply Kathy January 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I love that clip too Min and Elizabeth Gilbert expresses the notion of following your curiosities so well – she’s right the world is dominated by thinking that we should have one particular passion. I’ve followed many different winding paths as a Hummingbird – I think part of the trick is to look for the crumbs in our favourite places.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      It’s a great clip. I love listening to Elizabeth speak – so many gems in there! I am most definitely a Hummingbird too 🙂 xo

  • Reply Denyse January 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you Min for another thought-provoking and passionate post which was both gentle and encouraging for this reader. Yes we hear and read so much about the ‘passions’ and how to notice them and do what we can about following them. I think that the curiosities are very much in keeping with what I am doing at the moment. I am looking for and taking part in several ‘breadcrumb’ like journeys. My passion was/is always “little kids and teaching” and that was combined in the most delightful times from 2007-2014 when we cared for our young grandkids each week. However my energies no longer match my passion as much and when we moved from Sydney the practice of grandkid care ceased. I like exploring some new ideas as I find my way in retirement and in a new area. Warm wishes, Denyse x #teamIBOT

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks so much for such a lovely comment Denyse! You’re right in that sometimes our energies no longer match our passions. Also life situations and priorities change as time goes on. What pleased me back in the 1980’s doesn’t so much now and so on. I think you are doing a fabulous job at exploring new activities and interests for your life in retirement. 🙂 xo

  • Reply Vanessa January 12, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I am 100% a hummingbird!!

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Me too! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Jen Rose January 12, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Oooo…I like that idea of following your curiosities! I think like you I am a bit of a hummingbird. I do tend to have seasons where I’m more interested in certain things and I’ll take that stuff with me but move on to something else instead. Really lends to the idea of life being a journey. Nice post!

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Jen. I think following your curiosities is a lot less pressure than finding and following your passion. I think there are a lot of us hummingbirds around! 😉 xo

  • Reply Nikki @ Wonderfully Women January 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I honestly should have been born a mermaid, the one place I can’t get enough of is the beach. I discovered decorative planning early last year and it is one thing I had never heard of until then and fallen madly in love with. Can’t wait to see what else I uncover that can truly make it on to the passion list.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      The beach is one of my happy places too but in a different way to when I was younger. I prefer it early morning and late avo these days and just love walking along it and sitting and watching the waves. Decorative planning sounds very interesting! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Lisa January 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I agree with follow your curiosities but also believe some passions are for the seasons. I think we also forget our passions don’t need to be anything other than an escape and live in the present. We are often expected to make a living from our passions and it doesn’t always work out that way.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      I agree that passions don’t necessarily have to be a particular *thing*. A good example is in the video clip where Elizabeth tells the story of her husband and how a friend upset him by saying he didn’t have a passion or even a hobby. After thinking about it, he got back to her and said “But I do have a passion. I have a passion for life!” (words to that effect). Some people are lucky enough to make a living doing what they’re passionate about. That hasn’t been the case for me and most likely isn’t the case for many people. I’ve worked doing what I have been good at but not what I have been passionate about because I didn’t know what that was! I think though that it is a dream for many people to be able to earn a living doing something they’re passionate about. Some are lucky enough to act on it and some are not. 🙂 x

  • Reply Renee Wilson January 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Really interesting post, Min. I like that way of thinking with curiosities. I’ve never had a burning passion, but I do have those curiosities. I think I’m a jill of all trades too and definitely a hummingbird.

    • Reply Min January 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      There are lots of us hummingbirds. We must have a flock by now! 😉 xo

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