I am a huge fan of music. I enjoy many genres and have always enjoyed having it playing around me as much as possible. As the years have gone by, I have progressed from my first AM transistor radio with a one-ear primitive headset, to a clunky tape player I wore while mowing the lawn as a kid. My lifeguarding days in the summers were filled with the radio blasting and the swimmers around us all having a great time. I eventually put speakers in my office to play my CDs and transitioned to speakers for my MP3 player.
I am not sure why it took so many years for me to get past the “unprofessional” hesitation to play music in my corporate environment. We have heard that “music soothes the savage beast.” When I am grinding out the work on my own and am not in meetings or speaking to customers, I listen to my library of music. It calms my nerves, inspires me, motivates me, and just puts a smile on my face. I feel more in control and more alive when I am playing music softly in the background. Many times, I don’t even realize what song is playing. Sometimes, I often mouth the words to songs I know well. I listen to many different types of music depending on my mood, or simply listen randomly. In most cases, it doesn’t matter to me as long as there is music playing.
I found over time that people would come into my office and hear a song they had not heard in years and make an engaging comment. The music became a conversation starter in some cases, or just personal memories for others. These conversations spurred a new event for a group of people I was working with. I started walking around the floor and would ask music trivia every day. This simple act had a positive influence on the team’s overall morale. Even people who were not interested in music began to yell out answers, and surprised themselves when they knew more than they thought. We started to play music in the morning as people were coming into the office, and found that there was an official One-Hit Wonder Day in September each year that we began to celebrate. In group settings, we tried to vary the mix of music to include the interests of everyone. We used it more in group celebrations, and played it lightly in the background while everyone worked throughout the day. I found that music as a motivational tool was as effective as anything else out there.
I like all kinds of music, although I realize that there are picky music critics out there. They may need rock to run and soothing music to work with. The point is not the music you choose, but that I have found the therapeutic advantages of music in my own professional career. Music allows me to put myself into a state of mind that is strong and helpful in my workplace.
When playing it by myself, I usually don’t even realize I have it on in the background any more. What is interesting, however, is that I do notice when there is pure silence; I know I like the music to motivate me. I find myself tense until I press the play button. Maybe I just like the company of another voice. I am not sure of the reason why. I just know the difference it makes in my mindset as I am working through the day. If you can find a way to do it, give it a try.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby