My 9-month old son Joshua is basically a happy guy. He wakes up with a smile on his face and generally cracks up at what is going on around him. But occasionally, especially when he is forced to be in his carseat for a long stretch of time, he gets very cranky and cries as if someone took away all his toys, didn’t allow him to eat and kept Mom away for two weeks. At these times, I have a very effective and simple solution:
I sing "Baa baa black sheep."
For those not familiar with the tune, it is a catchy nursury rhyme that raps about bags of wool. It is the same song my Mom sang to me when I was a little girl, while rubbing my back as I was fighting sleep.
If Josh were old enough to have an iPod, I know that this is the only song he would download. When he hears it, he immediately stops crying, calms down and gets back to being his smiley self.
I think we should all have a song like this in our personal soundtrack. When I was teaching lots of classes in corporations around the States, I would sometimes get to a hotel in New York or Boston or San Antonio and have a feeling of insecurity or panic. "What if I bomb?" "What if they don’t like the material?" "What if the class doesn’t address their core problem?" While none of this ever happened, I would still fight these feelings of fear. I soon learned a good formula:
- Do a few martial arts moves that reminded me of my physical strength
- Take a hot bath
- Play "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner
If I didn’t have a way to play the music, I would just sing it aloud. Tina does great things for my self-esteem. I figure if she could leave a scary bastard like Ike, I can certainly handle teaching presentation skills to 35 engineers.
I encourage you to have a calming, empowering and effective soundtrack for those moments when you dissolve in a bundle of nerves. Josh wouldn’t mind sharing "Baa baa black sheep" if it would make you feel better.
What’s your soundtrack?