Leigh Anne Tuohy: “Get out of your comfort zone”

 If you’ve seen the movie, The Blind Side, you are familiar with the character Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock.  We’ve all seen Sandra Bullock portray lots of characters and she’s done it well.  The movie was based off the best-selling book with the same title.  Many times we read a book and go see the movie and walk away thinking, “I wonder how much of it was true.”  I’ve seen The Blind Side many, once or twice in the theater and numerous others at home after purchasing it.  I can say it is one of my favorites.  I loved the message of it.  I loved that it made me laugh and cry and tugged at my heart more than once. 

Just a few short days ago, I received a campus-wide e-mail advertising a lecture that was to take place tonight.  The guest speaker would be none other than Leigh Anne Tuohy.  I had the choice of a basketball game or hearing her speak.  My choice was made the day I received the e-mail, no question about it.  There will be other games.  There is only one time to hear her speak.  I arrived at the lecture with minutes to spare.  Even though I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised at the crowd.  It was standing-room only.  After her introduction, Mrs. Tuohy took hold of the mic and starts talking in what I would imagine is typical Leigh Anne Tuohy fashion: frank and no-nonsense.  I loved it.  It was obvious to most everyone in the room who had seen the movie that Bullock mimicked her “to a T.” 

Touhy discussed the movie and how things have changed since it came out.  With her southern charm and down-to-earth personality, she even brought up the silly questions people have asked her.   

   “Has this movie changed your life?”  was one she shared.  She basically answered the person with, “Are you kidding?  Of course it has.”  After sharing about the movie, she encouraged the audience to do something to help others.  “There are Michael Ohers everywhere,” said Tuohy….referring to there being opportunities for us to help people all around us.  Place value on human beings around you….give of your time.  Get out of your comfort zone.  It’s not about the money for the Tuohy family.  It never was.    It’s about placing value on Michael’s life and those around you. 

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy have wrote a book titled, In A Heartbeat.  I don’t know about you but it never hurts me to read about how I can be a better person…how I can continually appreciate what I have been given….and how I can return the favor.

Right before her closing, she again encouraged the students and audience members in the room to get involved on campus.  She said that she wouldn’t think twice about calling back 6 months to check on our progress.  She’s one of those people that you just can’t help but like and can’t help but want emulate. 

One of my favorite lines from the movie is where Leigh Anne is having lunch with some girlfriends.  One of Leigh Anne’s friends says to her, ‘Wow, Leigh Anne, I think that is incredible.  You’re changing that boy’s life.”  Leigh Anne smiles and turns to her friend and says, “No, he’s changing mine.”