Category Archives: Wisdom

Never Lose Sight of Your Childhood Dream

Child DreamEvery time a beautiful home catches my eye or I’m inspired by a furniture store’s interior design, I’m reminded that there was a time in my life when I was quite certain that I would grow up to become a creator similar works of art. Yes, my childhood dream was to become an architect and interior designer. The signs were quite obvious, really. The remnants of my mounding collection of doll houses can still be found packed away in my parent’s attic. Yet instead of playing house with the tiny people inside these homes, I would spend hours rearranging furniture and building additional walls to expand the modest structures into dream mansions.  I filled binders and binders with magazine pictures of bedrooms, kitchens and patios and would stare at blueprints long enough until I could visualize the house I would use them to someday create. And at the age when most children were still building with Legos and Lincoln Logs, I taught myself to use the same computer programs used by professional architects and designers.

Even as an adult, the memory of this childhood passion is still vivid.  It’s no longer as common that I allow myself to become so consumed in a hobby or so certain of a dream – and maybe that’s why I love to reminisce back to the time in my life when I did. Childhood should be a time for complete creative freedom and to allow natural talents to shine through. It is also a time that can tell us a lot of about ourselves and who we were destined to become long before we let responsibilities, worries and failures affect our dreams.

It should be obvious to you now that I never became that architect or interior designer of my dreams. The level of intensity I had for this hobby didn’t outlast high school. Instead, I slowly migrated into a completely different career path in communications and writing. Not many people know about my dreams to become an architect that I once constructed so carefully. For the longest time I thought it to be irrelevant and to some degree an admittance of failure. I walked away from something I was so passionate about and never felt the need to look back. Or did I?

To this day, I may not have a portfolio of beautifully furnished houses to showcase, but I do have quite a different portfolio of equally impressive work. I’ve never built a home, but I’ve built a brand and business. I don’t use my creative talent toward interior design, but I do use my creativity in so many broader ways every day. That passion for building something from the ground up and talent for thinking outside the box were never lost, only reassigned. I’m a Public Relations professional, not an architect, but I’m confident this is what all my childhood daydreaming has prepared me to do.

So many years ago I may have mastered some impressive feats for a 10-year-old architect, but I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue as to what Public Relations was and certainly wouldn’t have understood how to apply my talents toward this career path. Yet, with every choice I made to move away from architecture and design, I took one step in the right direction of finding the career I now have today. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hours I spent playing with those doll houses. Almost 15 years later, I still have yet to build a single home, but I’ve built exactly what my childhood self would have wished for had she known everything that was possible.

As a child, did you ever have a passionate dream about becoming something far different than what you are today? Look closely at the career path you have chosen and you may see that these childhood talents were never lost, only reassigned.  Share your own story by commenting below!


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You Don’t Need the Best of Everything To Make the Best of Everything

HappinessSometimes I don’t know what to count first. My blessings—or the little moments in life that make me stop and want to count my blessings. It was the second or third time I’ve used this particular cashier at a local shop. It’s the type of job that garners little respect or attention, no matter how frequent the customers or how pleasant the small talk. But this guy has grabbed my attention on more than one occasion for no better reason than he is completely, contagiously, happy. So many visual cues tell me this guy has a lot he could be frustrated about or unhappy with, but instead he bubbles over with such contentment for the life he’s been given that I have yet to walk out of the store without a smile.

After I leave his small glow of happiness, the real work begins to wear on me again. I hear negative comments from all around. People will yell when their phone isn’t working, complain about their job or become sarcastic when someone suggests an idea they don’t like. There’s a time and place for every emotion, but why do we first seem to resort to the negative reaction to a situation? I’m reminded of a phrase I’ve seen displayed in various ways that reads:

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything.

It seems that some of the happiest people I have ever met are the ones who have fairly average lives. Some of these people have even dealt with major struggles and setbacks that would leave most of us feeling frustrated and pitiful. Instead, they’ve (knowingly or unknowingly) mastered the art of making the best of everything. These people aren’t naive nor are they complacent, they are simply happy, and what else is more important? If a magic genie came to grant you just one wish, I would say we’d all be smart to wish for happiness. Everything else is really secondary. Unfortunately, the people who have yet to figure this out are obvious. We can likely all pull up a real life example in our minds of a person, who on paper, is wealthy and successful, but knowing them deeper allows you to also know most of their life is spent feeling stressed, angry and unfulfilled. In contrast, are those who have learned that happiness is not having the best of everything; it’s making the best of everything.

Slowly, I too am learning to make the best of everything. Even the most unexpected and outrageous situations can be a reason to smile if you loosen up long enough to realize you’re simply not in control. Whether my career continues to excel or one day I have to take a different job to make ends meet, knowing that I have the power to be happy through anything makes any outcome okay. It’s an incredible realization that the stress we place on being happy can become the cause of our unhappiness.

Thinking back to that contagiously happy cashier, I would love to one day know that he finally got the life he dreamed of. But who am I to say that he hasn’t already?


Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Life, Wisdom


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Panic Does Not Equal Passion

For better or for worse, I seem to be pulled toward career paths that are not for the faint of heart. Just when I caught my breath from a whirlwind statewide gubernatorial election, it took merely 4 short months before I needed that adrenaline rush again. I craved the feeling of having meaningful tasks to keep me so busy that I was racing against the clock, not watching it countdown until quitting time.

After campaign life, where showers and haircuts were a luxury and 5pm wasn’t quitting time – it was merely the half point mark of your day, I swore I was done. Once was enough for me. I earned my badge and can say I did it, but I wasn’t going back. I was ready for a steady 9-5 job where I could make plans with friends and actually keep them. But then the boredom crept in. At first it was a pleasant boredom, the type you’re happy to get used to. But then even my best time-wasting tasks were leaving me with hours of the day unfilled. Slowly but surely I was developing “cubicle fever.” My maximum workload had been pushed to such limits on the campaign, that this has become the only work pace I now know. As much as I craved a normal work schedule, I had been trained to function like a one-person department and there was no going back. It’s like riding a train going 80mph and suddenly falling off and coming to a complete stop. When dropped back into the real world, I could no longer relate. So as many of you who have followed my journey thus far know, I took the leap and created my own Public Relations business as a way to again find that whirlwind work pace that has become my metric for normal.

Almost a year later and I’ve found myself ramped up to campaign speed again. The biggest difference is, this time around I call the shots. I can take unlimited time-off so long as I plan ahead and get my work done or take it with me as I travel (yes, from time to time I still have to call upon my envelope stuffing skills, but you won’t find me doing door-to-door voter polls anytime soon). I’m working now harder than ever, and depending on the week, am even busier than I was the week before Election Day on the campaign; however, I’ve realized one profound truth from these two experiences.

Panic does not equal passion.

On the campaign it was normal for people to be run around like a chicken with their head cut off and there were certainly circumstances that called for panic. But in many cases I believe people would overact with stress and drama as a way to declare their passion for their work. I’m a calm person by nature and I handle stress best internally. This led to one or more occasions on the campaign where my commitment was questioned. But I can assure you – anyone who is NOT committed on a campaign would not last more than a week. It’s a frustrating position to be put in. Do you give in and act panicked just to declare your passion? Or do you do nothing and risk your dedication and hard work being written off as less than your very best? The only answer I’ve been able to form came years later….it was starting my own business where the proof of my passion is my quality of work and my cool head and calm demeanor has become the signature characteristic of Bennis Inc.

I know that the panic vs. passion struggle is not limited to campaign life. I saw it emerging in various forms in my other jobs. Two people can get the same amount of work done in a day even if one leaves at 5pm and the other at 9pm. The late worker shouldn’t be award a medal of honor for staying late if he took a 2 hour lunch and surfed the web for an hour. So much is dependent upon your leadership style and how you react under pressure. In a salaried job and in campaign life, there is no reward for working efficiently – more work is simply piled on. I’m grateful that if I work smarter and get my task list done for the day, I am rewarded with a flexible afternoon or the ability to take on more work and earn more money. But more than anything, I’m grateful that I don’t have to give in to panicking just to prove my passion.

Keep calm and carry on.


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Allowing Talent to Determine Your Calling

My calling is in writing and communicating with the world around me

A quote by Aristotle was once shared with me that says, “Where you talents meet the needs of the world, therein lies your calling.” It’s easy to gloss over these words without truly taking them to heart, but if you read it again—more slowly—you will realize the power this timeless quote holds.

Whether you’re a newly graduated student, someone looking for a career change or an entrepreneur ready to start your own business, there is a lot of uncertainty you must face. I’ve asked myself these same questions: what do I want to do, what am I good at, what’s my purpose? And I can’t say I’ve come up with definitive answers as of yet. These may be lifelong questions which we continually ask ourselves to re-evaluate our life goals every so often. But I do know one thing for sure, where you talents meet the needs of the world, therein lies your calling.

The biggest push I had to leave my former career and start Bennis Public Relations, Inc was the belief that I had more to offer the world than working a desk job and answering phones. I wanted to work with a variety of different people—all with different communications needs—and share my talents to help them better themselves and their business. This was my passion and my drive. I still know when I’m on the right path when I get excited for the tasks ahead of me each day. And this is the message I want to share with you—we all have a passion and a talent for something.  Right now, today, are you using yours to meet the needs of the world?

I recently came across a video clip of a man who should have every reason to feel sorry for himself and question his self-worth—but he doesn’t. Instead, he uses his talents to meet the needs of the world, the need to inspire us and put our blessings into perspective. While dealt an unfortunate situation, he has not only survived, but has become an immensely talented speaker. Imagine what you could do with your talents?

I strongly urge you to take just 4 minutes out of your day to watch this video.


Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Wisdom


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Combining a Degree With Experience: Four Things College Students Need To Do Before They Graduate

Bennis Inc is pleased to welcome another guest blogger this week! As college students around the world make their final push toward the end of the fall semester, final exams, holidays and a month-long break from school may be at the forefront of their minds. But as you enjoy the upcoming winter break, consider this insightful blog post by Cheval John. Cheval discusses four ways college students can make their degree worth even more in the real-world through things they can do as undergrads (To learn more about Cheval John, please see the paragraph following his post).

GraduationMany people can relate to this scenario: a recent college graduate is looking for an entry-level job only to find out that the employer is looking for someone with experience along with that college degree. But how can you get experience if you can’t get a job? Here are four remarkably accessible ways a college student can earn career experience before they step out into the real-world:

1. Join a Student Organization.

Joining a student organization allows you to expand your network, gain professional experience and serve in leadership roles all before stepping your foot in the real-world. This doesn’t mean go out and join every club your university has to offer. The main benefits of joining an organization come from being an active member. Choose the clubs that you are personally passionate about and are professionally applicable to your career aspirations. For example, if you hope to work in the human resource field, consider joining a student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. This club will connect you directly with professionals who work in your field and allow you to serve in a leadership role that highlights the skills a future employer will look for. For a real-life example, just ask Megan Murphy.

2. Write For Your College Newspaper.

Why write for a college newspaper you ask? Because it teaches you time management! Having to meet both class and newspaper deadlines will force you to prioritize your time and stay on task. Possibly the most important benefit of writing for your college newspaper is that it allows you to learn the “ins and outs” of your university and to meet influential people that run your university. So maybe you’re not a journalism major and writing isn’t your calling. These are even better reasons to take part! In addition to improving your written communication, an extremely powerful skill set to have, it will also show future employers that you take initiative and can excel at any task you are given. Don’t take my word for it, ask Stephen Green!

3. Start a Blog.

If you’re already writing regularly for your college newspaper, consider starting a blog. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have the time because of your class schedule, but blogging can require as little as 30 minutes each week (which can easily be carved out of Facebook surfing time). Through blogging, you are demonstrating that you know how to create and maintain your own website and interact with people from all over the world. Depending on the topics of your blogging, you can even gain an edge when looking for a job. Say you are applying for a marketing position and you have a blog about market trends, this adds credibility and experience to your knowledge that will set you apart. Note: When blogging, it’s important that you blog consistently and interact with the blogging community, because this is how you grow your blog and show your dedication to completing a task.

4. Study Abroad.

Globalization is happening around us and employers realize that competition is both domestic and international. Businesses need people who not only have technical knowledge, but cultural knowledge as well. Studying abroad allows you to see the world from a different point of view and take a course that may not be offered at your home university. Two years ago, I studied abroad at the University of Vina del Mar in Vina del Mar, Chile. It allowed me to understand why Chile was different from the other Latin American countries and to improve my Spanish through staying with a host family. Also consider taking an internship while abroad to step outside of your comfort zone and increase your cultural knowledge by working with the locals. Earning part of your degree while studying abroad shows employers that you can learn, work and succeed in a culture that is different from your own!

Recommended Websites: and

Cheval JohnAbout the Guest Blogger: Cheval John is a sports reporter and staff blogger for the Houstonian, the independent student newspaper of Sam Houston State University. Cheval is currently working toward a Master of Arts Degree in Spanish. He studied abroad in Mexico during the summer of 2008 and studied and interned abroad in Chile during the summer of 2009. Please check out Cheval’s blog here!


Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Guest Blogger, Wisdom


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Entrainment – A School of Yogi Fish

This special guest blog is written by contributing author Kate Bennis, who is completing her yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga Center in Washington, D.C. Read more about Kate at the end of this post!

On a recent Sunday afternoon in my yoga teacher training class at the Flow Yoga Center in Washington, D.C., I physically experienced the beautiful concept of entrainment and I haven’t been able to stop seeing it in these fleeting, serendipitous moments every day since.

We started by practicing a simple sequence of poses linking each movement to breath (inhale, arms up, exhale, fold forward).  Our guest teacher, the lovely, inspirational Alanna Kaivalya, began the first sequence by calling out the breath, then the movement.  On the second round, she directed us by the breath only.  The third repeat, she said nothing.  I became deeply aware of the inhale and exhales of my fellow yogis, all in sync for the perfect four counts, leading me through to the next pose.  By the fourth try, I closed my eyes and moved through the sequence, void of visual or verbal cues, the only catalyst being the ocean-like sounds of our breathing, surrendering to the rhythm of the waves of movement.  My mind was not conscious of where my body was in the sequence; the natural life-force of my classmates’ own prana was driving me.

Finishing the sequence in tadasana, the 26 of us stood at the tops of our mats, two rows facing one another.  I opened my eyes to realize my hands were clasped on my pounding heart.  The yogi across from me held her shaking hands in prayer, with a blissful smile on her face.  Another lightly placed a hand over her mouth, eyes reflecting awe.  Like a school of yogi fish, our breath, our movement, our life pulses coordinated into a complex dance.  We didn’t think of how to move next, we just knew.  I’ve never felt a connection so strong than I did in that room, in that moment.

Entrainment is a term used in various scientific fields to describe the phenomenon of one being adjusting its own internal rhythms to sync with another being.  Shiva Rea opened her recent workshop in D.C. (which my sister Stephanie and I attended) by delving into this deep, complex, yet somehow at the same time, innate concept.  The terms were new, but the theory was well-worn territory for me: all beings, on a primitive level, desire to connect with one another.

I’ve been experiencing this phenomenon since the moment I was born, however now recently aware, I cannot help but to observe entrainment in the small and beautifully mundane moments of everyday city living.  I stand behind a stranger in line at Starbucks and now know my heartbeat is decelerating and hers accelerating to meet somewhere in the middle.  I speak to a partner at my law firm, and notice how I mirror his body language to convey engagement and understanding; he lowers his voice, I lower mine.  He leans in with arms crossed, I subconsciously do the same.  A flock of tens of birds soar up out of a city park, dart left, hang a quick right and land across the avenue in a tree, all as if they have been practicing this impeccably choreographed routine for weeks.

This awareness has helped me to cease to view others as merely obstacles in my daily routine, but instead as fellow passengers in the journey, moving forward right along with me.  I love how the heart rhythms yield to each other!  It is evidence that not only the ability but also the desire to compromise is an intrinsic, biological function.  What a beautiful allegory to help us understand one philosophy in how we should interact with others.

In early 2008, Van Morrison released a song entitled “That’s Entrainment” on his album Keep It Simple.  In an interview, he describes his interpretation of the concept as “it’s kind of when you are in the present moment – you’re here – with no past or future.”  In the yoga studio, on a cloudy, warm November afternoon, that moment when we stopped after the final sequence, I didn’t care where I was a year ago, or where in the world I will be next year.  All that mattered was that incredible moment of connection in my school of yogi fish, the unconsciously choreographed rise and fall of our chests and the pounding of our syncing hearts.

About the author: Kate Bennis currently lives in Washington, D.C.  When not studying at Flow Yoga Center, she works as a recruiter for an international law firm.  Kate’s current attributes to her frequent moments of bliss are sweater weather, cooking Sunday dinner, dogs that wear outdoor apparel and Yvette, her deep tissue masseuse/unsolicited astrologist.


Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Guest Blogger, Life, Wisdom


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What I wish My College Professors Would Have Taught Me: Tardiness is Unacceptable

There are some things that can and will never be taught in the classroom. Maybe it’s because those topics are seen as too radical or have been flagged as a lawsuit risk, but truly these are the missing pieces of wisdom that leave many college grads as an incomplete puzzle with still much to figure out in the real world. In the spirit of Back-to-School, this will be a 5-part series exploring the top lessons I wish would have been included in my own college degree. It’s blunt and it’s honest, but it’s sure to be interesting.

Lesson five: Tardiness is Unacceptable

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, 1931

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, 1931

I see this saying everywhere, but it has really stayed with me—

“Opportunity doesn’t go away, it goes to someone else.”

Partially due to this very saying I’ve become a huge stickler for timeliness and I first and foremost apply these standards to myself. Through experiences, both good and bad, I know that not responding to an e-mail, or message of any form, within a reasonable time frame could lose me a potential business opportunity. Applied to

another situation—showing up late to an event not only displays lack of interest, but could cost me key networking opportunities. These facts of life are ones I had to learn on my own, outside the walls of a classroom. While I was in college, it seemed as though time was irrelevant and I don’t just mean by pulling all nighters or staying out ‘til the sun came up.

Far too often I had professors who accepted late papers without even challenging the student to provide a reason. These were the same professors that would let students saunter into class fifteen, twenty, sometimes even forty minutes late carrying lattes in their hand looking anything but rushed, disheveled or apologetic.  They would walk right in front of the professor, mid-lecture, and disrupt the focus of the classroom and make us on-timers wonder why we even bothered setting our alarms if clearly there were no repercussions. So maybe this boils down to a matter of principle and respect—no matter what my underlying issue is with tardiness, I see it as worthy of deeper discussion.

I wish my college professors would have stressed the importance of timeliness, which of course goes hand-in-hand with time management. As students, we would have benefited from learning that boundaries exist and when someone who is in a position of power over us sets such a boundary, we are expected to comply. This would have taught us to be more respectful, responsible and better stewards of our time. Those college years are crucial ones. We are experimenting with both the freedoms and obligations that come with living on our own. While we may be seeking our independence, we still need reminders that we don’t make ALL of our own rules and opportunities are like college co-eds—if you don’t pay them quick enough attention, they’re on to the next person who will.

In case you missed a few “classes”, here’s some reading homework:

Lesson One: Group projects can be completed alone.

Lesson Two: It’s okay to NOT like everyone you work with.

Lesson Three: In the real world, you’re not expected to have every answer.

Lesson Four: It’s almost never about WHAT you know.


Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Wisdom


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