By DeRondal Bevly, Community Outreach Executive


In my last blog post, I advocated for all of us to stretch ourselves in order to realize hidden talents and further develop core strengths.  In thinking about today’s post, I thought about what fuels a person to reach that inner potential.  I looked at one of my hidden “passions” for ideas.  Over the past four years, I have read nearly 200 commencement speeches.  I do not know why/where this quirk began, but I am grateful for it.  As most young professionals do, I tend to survey the landscape for ideas and inspiration from those who have reached the summit in their chosen professions. 


Something speaks to me about gleaning honest, real-world insight from some of the brightest to occupy the halls of business, medicine, law, etc.  Over the weekend, I went back and re-read one of my personal favorites, given by Steve Jobs to the 2005 Stanford University graduating class.  What stuck out the most to me about the 25-minute speech is not how engaging of a speaker he was, nor his describing his experience in turning Apple into one of the greatest companies of all time.  The profound moment for me occurred during his third “lesson” in which he provided the class with his experience facing his own mortality and how he gained inspiration from it.  The following text sums it up:


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


Now, I do not wish this post to serve as a melancholy reminder of what we all know anyway, only the opposite.  None of us is immune from the occasional bouts with self-doubt and complacency, but once we realize what we are truly capable of, not always under the best circumstances, we will find that inspiration needed to help propel us to great heights.  The clarity that comes with this inspiration clears away the fog; cuts through the doubt while helping us realize our strengths and weaknesses.  Of greatest importance, I believe, this newfound courage helps us all dare to be great. 


Daily, our clients count on us to perform at our highest level for them and their brands.  In a relationship-oriented business, having this “new” perspective of clarity fully maximizes our relationships and abilities allowing us to provide maximum value for our clients.  At Culloton Strategies, not only are we on the front lines for our clients and their current needs but we also actively scout the business and civic landscapes for new opportunities, services and relationships. 


So as you read this, take a moment to think about what inspires you personally and professionally.  Today, inspiration is all around us; Jeremy “Lin-sanity” in New York, a community group organizing to clean up a school, Adele at the Grammy Awards or simply the calm that comes from watching a sunrise over Lake Michigan.  Financial results are always wonderful but your search has to connect with something deeper.  When a top client has an issue at 11th hour, which happens quite often, what will you rely on to help get the desired result?  A deeply inspired, engaged communications specialist creates additional value for the client and the firm, but on a micro-level, personally and within the community as well.