Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Hair

Thanks to a fabulous partnership with Goody's Hair Accessories we have "Happy Hair" stations at many of our 100 + New Balance Girls on the Run 5k's.

This is a fabulous photo from an event I attended in South Carolina, just yesterday. Over 500 girls ran through Baxter Village in the 85 degree heat...many of them with Happy Hair.

I saw this young woman and all but chased her down so I could get my photo with her. I really, REALLY want her to be President of the United States one day...and show up at one of her congressional meetings with this fabulous "do"...a "do" which clearly exhibits her high level of confidence.

The shock factor alone would pretty much SO "wow" (or distract) her colleagues she could probably get whatever she wanted passed and put into law within 48 hours.

Rock on little sister. Your hair says it all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I've only got a minute, but I don't want to let it pass.

This morning I attended one of our first end-of-season New Balance Girls on the Run 5k's. The race took place just southeast of Charlotte in Union County.

Over 800 girls and their running buddies, fathers, mothers and caregivers hit the road at 8:00 a.m. to cover the 3.1 miles.

I love the after effects...smiling red faces, sweat drenched T-shirts, high-fives and lots of love.

About an hour after the race an impromptu line formed where I got a moment to meet with many of the girls, one-on-one, sign t-shirts and generally just take the time to share our gratitude for one another.

Emily stood before me.

"How' ya doing girl?" I asked.

"Good," she responded...big smile on her face.

"Well, you did it," I continued. "How do you feel about everything right now? So what's going on inside your head? What are you thinking?"

Emily replied. "Well, I've loved Girls on the Run, but today I figured out one very important thing about myself."

"And what is that?" I asked.

"I'm not a runner. I'm a walker."

First a pause...and then a grin. A beautiful from the-center-of-oneself-kind-of-grin...the grin that made it well worth my waking up at 4:30 this morning. Emily gets it.

We hugged each other.

Of course the irony of her figuring out that running is really "not her thing" in our 12-week "running program" is obvious.

But, in the overall scheme of things, Emily has experienced what rests at the CORE of this program. Instead of trying to be something we are not, let's honor, embrace and celebrate the gifts we have and the things we love to do and in the process reveal our real and authentic selves.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Old(?) and Airbrushed!"

“Laugh a lot and when you are older, all your wrinkles will be in the right places.”


Last season I was making a visit to one of our Girls on the Run sites, right here in Charlotte, NC. The girls were already out on the playground when I arrived. After signing in at the front office, receiving my “visitor” badge and asking around a bit for where the group was meeting, I was finally provided with directions that took me out a large and very impressive door to the top of a large stone staircase.

Seriously…I felt like Cinderella entering the ball, as I descended those lovely gray stone stairs. Approximately fifteen stairs into my descent (there were over forty of them) the girls down on the field noticed my arrival. They were as excited as I was to meet each other and so they began running…in flock formation…toward me.

The littlest one, (I later learned her name was Nicole), was at the point position while the remaining fourteen were fanned out in a “V” formation behind her. The momentum was building. Add some really sappy soundtrack music, some daisies in the field and decrease the frame speed to slow motion and you’ve got what looked like a beautiful love connection.

I finally made it to the bottom of those stairs when Nicole and the “geese” in flight behind her came to a screeching halt, about ten feet ahead of me.

Nicole stopped, cocked her head to one side and began what felt like a thirty second review of my appearance. Her curious gaze started at my feet and worked its way up to my eyes and back down again.

And then, out of nowhere, she yelled at the top of her lungs, “EWWWWW…you don’t look ANYTHING like your pictures. (Interject long pause here.) Awww, but that’s alright. It’s okay. We learned in Lesson 19, that they airbrush all those pictures anyway.”

She reached out her hand and I took it. Together we walked back to the field, along with the rest of her teammates.

Oh…how much do I love this program!!! The girls just call it like they see it. “What color is your hair really?” “Why do your veins stick out like that?” Recently one younger participant in our program asked, “Do you have any grandchildren?” Hanging out with children keeps me humble, real and unabashedly comfortable in my skin.

Call me crazy, but I actually love the wrinkles on my face. I’ve worked hard for them. I laugh easily and loudly. I cry fully and boldly. I’m not the least bit afraid of my wrinkles and what they say about me, my age and the experiences of my life. Being in Girls on the Run helps me celebrate, honor and embrace my physical, emotional and social gifts just as it does for our girls!

What physical, emotional and/or social attribute do you possess (and love about yourself) that the Girl Box may view as a deficit? How have you been freed from the Girl Box to embrace, honor and celebrate this/these attributes?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Said That?

I've been traveling a LOT! So much so...that I haven't had much time to think, write or even run...which for me means I'm very, very busy!

As a way to get back into the flow of things, I'm offering up a quote from someone who currently is in the public eye quite a bit. Especially lately. She is in a new movie and has appeared on numerous magazine covers, talk and news shows.

"If you believe in yourself, anything is possible."

Who said this? There's plenty of room to write your guess in, in the comment section below.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Big P Power

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

Sonali Rajan, a fabulous graduate student at Columbia University, and I recently completed our new middle school curriculum. One strong voice emerged as the lessons developed. The universal voice that is mine, that is yours, that is ours. The voice that rests within each of us that is frequently overpowered by the clatter of the external world around us. The voice that tells us what we are feeling.

Included in every lesson is some kind of call to the girls to slow down, breathe and identify what they are feeling. Our feelings, or inner voice, are often a good indicator of whether we are immersed in an activity, relationship or circumstance that is either enhancing who we are or diminishing who we are. If we feel full and uplifted then quite likely we are on the right course or in the right company and if we feel small and demeaned then quite likely we are not on the right course or in the right company.

I've referenced this feeling in the new curriculum as “little p” power and “Big P” Power. “Little p” power is the type of power that drives us to achieve positions and acquire things...such as external beauty, expensive homes, a particular title at our workplace (all are "in the Girl Box" behaviors). “Big P” Power is the type of power that drives us to celebrate the work required to accomplish our achievements...such as perseverance, a can-do attitude or the need to slow-down and be more intentional (all "out of the Girl Box" behaviors).

The older I get, the easier it is for me to identify when I am in someone's presence that exudes Big P Power or little p power. That light that makes me "Molly" burns brighter when I am with those who celebrate life with Big P Power. I feel open, strong and safe to reveal who I am.

When I started Girls on the Run I could not articulate any of this. The words just didn't exist. All I knew then...I knew by feeling. When I spent time with my girls I felt full, whole and safe. When I talked with my colleagues, I felt heard, safe and genuine.

Girls on the Run is built on the precepts of Big P we and our girls feel at the end of each lesson is the truth about what is occurring. I've had a difficult time over the years expressing what actually occurs over the course of the 12-weeks. I still often grapple with describing it..."You just have to come to one of our sessions or attend our Girls on the Run 5k to feel what I'm talking about."

But now, I just show it. I raise my hands up to the sky, lift my chest upwards and exclaim "This is how it feels!" When I am filled with the Big P Power that I experience each and every time I am a part of something related to Girls on the Run, I feel this, big hearted and in-powered.

So, please try it right now. Push your chair back. Stand up, raise your hands high over your head, puff out your chest and see how it feels. After all, you are in-powered with Big P Power and you are free to be yourself! Think of yourself as a gymnast who has landed a 10 off the rings, an author who has just completed a brilliant novel or a tri-athlete who has crossed the Ironman finish line! Arms up, chest out...this is how Big P Power feels!!!!

When have you recently felt your inner power?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Can You Guess Who Said This? my personal quest to shift our language around beauty and power to a more authentic and genuine perspective...I'm going to, once a week, present a quote from someone who is currently in the public eye...a LOT...and see if you can guess who it is that made the statement.
This week's quote comes from someone I hope to meet one day. I think all of us would say that we feel like she is one of us...someone we can trust...someone we'd love to meet at our local Starbucks and chat for a while on motherhood, the challenges of being real despite the efforts of our culture to make us otherwise...and leadership.

So here goes: Guess! I dare ya!

"I'm an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. You too can control your own destiny."

After she spoke, someone went to shake her hand, and she said, 'No, I don't do that. I hug."
So...who is our mystery woman?