Jim’s Journal: Is Jimmy V. in the House?

December 2, 2013 in Jim's Journal

The opening activity during my BOOT CAMP last week saw each participant make a one-minute presentation on the best presentation or workshop he or she ever delivered or the best presentation or workshop he or she ever saw.  This activity also serves as a mini needs assessment because it affords me the opportunity to see the learners present for the first time.  Jim, one of the participants, selected former North Carolina State college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano’s famous 1993 speech at the ESPY Awards Show (in New York) as the best presentation he ever saw.  Despite his failing health, the unflappable and personable Valvano spoke for more than 10 minutes about his life and his illness (cancer) with a positivity and perspective that continues to inspire people today.  A few weeks after his speech, Valvano passed away at the age of 47.  I remember tearfully watching the live broadcast.  After making his one-minute presentation, Jim shared that he’d like to be able to present like Valvano but has always found it difficult to come out of his shell.  “How long have you been telling yourself that story?” I asked him before he returned to his seat.  Needless to say before the BOOT CAMP was over (and after he made the decision to “get out of the box” and “get out of his head”), Jim was presenting like a seasoned professional.  He was passionate, vulnerable, funny and fearless all rolled into one.  When he finished his final presentation I said, “Hey Jimmy V., thanks for visiting my class.”

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