Peter MacNicol played a lawyer, John Cage, on the television show Ally McBeal. In a show filled with odd and interesting characters, John stuck out. He wasn’t particularly handsome, he wasn’t tall, he wasn’t even that well-spoken. Truthfully he was socially awkward and tremendously quirky. But when he needed to succeed, whether it was in the courtroom or in life, he had an incredibly powerful and energy-shifting tool:
He had a theme song.
Not just any song by any singer by the way. He had Barry White. And when John listened to that song he became powerful and brave and lived with gusto instead of shrinking at the challenges life threw at him. Barry White connected John Cage to his true self.
A theme song resonates with your soul. When you hear it, your body cries out YES! You feel powerful, optimistic, ready to tackle new challenges. Theme songs push you further than you think you can go. Remember Rocky? His theme song had him jumping in victory on the top steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Theme songs focus your energy on the task at hand. I guarantee every time we see Michael Phelps plugged into his iPod just before he steps on the starting block, he is listening to his theme song.
A theme song draws out an immediate visceral reaction. At the very least it should make you smile. Maybe it makes you Cha Cha, or pump your fists in the air or play air guitar. One client of mine conducted an imaginary orchestra as he listened to the 1812 Overture, complete with real cannon explosions, every time he sat down to look for a new job. That’s what I am talking about.
Use your theme song liberally. Play it whenever you need a lift or a little motivation to create some momentum. Listen to it before you go and ask for that raise, before you run your morning three miles in the rain, before you begin painting that massive canvas. I use my theme song as often as possible. You’d be surprised how many times I get caught dancing around the kitchen rocking out as I clean up dinner dishes.
Everybody needs a theme song. What’s yours?