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What a Mirror Really Shows

This story was originally posted in storytelling collaboration with SayItForward.org. It is dedicated to Coach E.

My story begins with my friends who coached for Girls on the Run. For several years, they mentioned that I should coach as well. All I knew about it was the name — and the name intimidated me, because I am basically the opposite of a runner. Don’t get me wrong: I am athletic, but running for the sake of running has never interested me. How could I coach girls to do something in which I had no interest? Little did I know, this program is about SO much more than running a 5K.

My friend Elizabeth and I decided to coach together. Elizabeth is a runner. She is a type-A personality when it comes to setting goals and achieving them. She is one of the most focused and determined women I know. She is someone I hold in the highest regard because she is also warm, honest, kind, loving and thoughtful. That’s why I decided to say yes to coaching with her.

I had no idea about the magic that would spark as we teamed up to lead this group of young ladies. The first day was more intimidating than I could’ve imagined. Let’s just say that the 10 weeks of the program helped me realize how much I was conquering my fears and insecurities as I was coaching these girls to do the same.

During one team exercise, we were discussing media and how pictures in magazines aren’t always as they appear. It didn’t seem to be truly resonating with the girls. Coach E. and I looked at each other and decided to formulate a new game plan. We asked all the girls to go into the locker room with us. We asked one of the older girls to stand in front of the mirror and tell everyone what she sees when she looks at herself. She was completely silent. Everyone was silent.

As Coach E. and I looked at each other, one of the other girls yelled out, “I see a great friend!” Another girl chimed in, “I see someone who was nice to me!” Suddenly the room was inundated with positive affirmations that helped that little girl to see in herself everything that all the other girls saw in her. It was beyond amazing. We did this for each girl on the team. The positive energy as we walked out of that locker room was so powerful that I was moved to tears. One of the best lessons that I learned was that when I look in the mirror, I shouldn’t be looking for things that are wrong or need fixing, but I should be noticing all of the amazing things about myself.

Without Girls on the Run, I may have never learned that lesson. I am blessed to have been a coach and to pass those lessons on to other girls that are working their way through life and striving to be strong, independent women one day.

— Submitted by April Anne Lesicki (Coach A).

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