Connecting to Emotions

Posted on October 30th, 2017 by Guest Blogger

Connecting to Emotions
By Ryan Hill

In his 1993 acceptance speech of the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs, Jim Valvano said there are 3 things we should do everyday. He encouraged, “We should laugh, think, and have our emotions moved to tears.” He went on to say famously, “Think about it. If you laugh and you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.” Jimmy V was an emotional and fiery basketball coach and philanthropist. Through his foundation, millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research.

That famous speech is appropriately replayed regularly in the sports community and beyond to motivate donors toward a worthy cause. What makes a speech and a personality like Jim’s connect with so many, and how is it that over 15 years later their effectiveness is as strong as it was the day he stood on that stage?

Our brains are magnificent.

Consciously and subconsciously we have the capacity to handle millions of thoughts at a time. To name just a few, we are receiving, storing, filtering, dismissing, and processing all at the same time. In the information age, there is no shortage of data available, with an ever increasing access to more. There is no such thing as “the end of the internet.” The fuel to effectively use that information for productivity is not more information. If you take 10 minutes to watch Jim’s speech on YouTube, he doesn’t spend time talking about data and facts. He spends very little time sharing information.

Connecting Emotions

He goes to work on our hearts. He taps into the truth that the path between our thoughts and our actions by connecting emotions.

People are emotional.

Often we view that as a weakness or a less than desirable characteristic, especially in business. There is a place for keeping our emotions that may hurt others in check, and there is an equal place for discovering that which brings people, including ourselves, to passionate places. When we are coaching and know a person’s passion, we can speak their language. When we understand  and tap into what drives a person to never give up on their goals, or fight all the way through the finish line, we serve them. We give them the greatest opportunity to show up as the best version of themselves.

  • Who are the people that have significant goals in your circle of influence?
  • What is it that “moves them to tears”?
  • Who in your midst seems to be stuck in the same spot?
  • How could you connect with that person’s emotions to move them forward rather than just share more information?

As skillful coaches, we connect the goals of our team or people close to us with their emotions and passionate places. When we do that we will see and hear the hearts of our friends and teammates sing and dance with activity and purpose.
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Jim Valvano died of cancer a few months after delivering that speech. His emotional speech and life continues to live in the hearts of people all over the world, empowering us to transform our thoughts to passionate action. Inquisitively tapping into people’s emotion, is one of the greatest gifts we may offer a person.

Coaching is that gift. Who can you serve in this way today?

Guest Blogger, Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill has over 20 years in education as a teacher, an administrator, and a leadership trainer. He has also been involved with the direct sales profession for more than 18 years. As an educational leader, Ryan has worked closely with educational teams all over the country. He is eager to work closely with you and your team to support your vision, goals, and action.  You can reach him at

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