|Eunice Elliott at the 2015 See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con|
I felt guilty for feeling so inspired.
When Eunice Elliott took the podium at the recent Birmingham Youth Talk, her aim was to motivate and encourage the dozens of teenagers who had gathered to share personal stories and innovative ideas at this inaugural TED-inspired event.
But minutes into Eunice's talk, I, the 35-year-old teacher who was in attendance to support two of her students who also spoke at the event, was hurriedly tapping out words of wisdom on the notes app of my phone. Eunice was dropping so much knowledge, sharing so many gems, that I had to preserve them somehow.
I should not have been shocked by this. This happens every time I hear Eunice speak. One of Eunice's inspirational talks is the reason I decided, years ago, to keep building See Jane Write. Last year, I even asked her to be the MC for the morning portion of the Bloganista Mini-Con, the annual blogging conference I host through See Jane Write.
You see, while some people in Birmingham know Eunice Elliott as an anchor for WVTM-13 and others know her as a hilarious stand-up comedian, I know her as the motivational speaker who makes me walk a little taller and convinces me I can do and be anything I want.
On this particular Saturday, Eunice was telling the teens in the audience to be themselves. By sharing her own story of landing an anchor position despite little broadcast news experience, she encouraged the students that if they hustle hard and stay true to themselves doors will open.
This advice is simple, but not easy. It's especially hard to stay on your path when it seems everyone else is on a different one.
But it was these words that stuck with me: "If you're doing it right, it shouldn't look like anything you've ever seen before," Eunice said.
And with that, Eunice took me to church.
But she wasn't finished.
When it comes to the news and all media, it's easy to complain. Representation matters and often women and people of color are misrepresented or not represented at all. It's frustrating, it's disheartening, it's infuriating.
But Eunice charged us with this: Instead of complaining about what you're seeing, or not seeing, go be seen.