This past weekend I was humbled by being selected as an honoree for Limitless Ambition’s Ladies of Legacy Gala. This is a great organization empowering young women throughout our Northeast Ohio! Being an honoree, I was asked to give a ten minute speech on my journey, as well as a few words of wisdom. I was excited as I thought through my journey with First Glance and what I wanted to share, It was especially exciting because of the younger ladies who would be in the audience.
One of my talking points was to know who you are. I remember so clearly soon after starting First Glance that I had to stop reading books and visiting other youth centers because the temptation was to take what I was learning & seeing and apply it to FG. This never worked out well because the ideas just didn’t work with our specific community of teens. Eventually I had to own that I knew our students, I knew our program, and I knew what worked best. I didn’t need to look to outside organizations for new ideas.
In this same conversation, I encouraged the room to own who they are personally, to not follow the crowd. And with this became a bit of an internal struggle for me that night. You see, I have written in my bio, that I hope to “bike across America, wear converse until I’m 80 and take over Akron with the hope and love of Jesus.” And so now, just hours before the event, I am in an internal debate of weather I should wear converse or not to this gala. All the words swirling in my mind say “you can’t wear converse to a gala,” but also realizing that this would be the definition of owning who I was. I wasn’t wearing them out of defiance or for attention, but rather because this is who I am. I am Noelle Beck, and I wear converse.
After much deliberation and some texts asking friends, I went for it. How could I talk about owning who you are and then follow the crowd? And so I wore them. And when I told this story as part of my speech, the crowd applauded. There is power in knowing who you are, and there is even more power when you own it. And as my friend commented on this picture “in a world of stilettos, be chucks.”