Like David Letterman and Guy Kawasaki, I am fond of top 10 lists. For awhile now, I have been trying to come up with a top 10 song list for wannabe entrepreneurs. I jot notes in my “little black idea book” whenever I think of one. I don’t have hours and hours to sample music and come up with a perfectly ordered list, like John Cusak’s character does in the movie High Fidelity (that is one of my favorites – I highly recommend renting it, if for nothing else than Jack Black’s record store employee character), so here goes:
- It’s My Life by Jon Bon Jovi. With good ole American head-bouncing lyrics like “I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice – I’ll shout it out loud: It’s my life and its now or never, ain’t gonna live forever …” how can you not get fired up to take responsibility for your life? BONUS: Get the Paul Anka version and prepare to crack up. This would make it suitable to play for your grandparents. Bon Jovi version: Paul Anka version:
- We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister. This is one of the great “Damn The Man” rallying cries of all time. You could sing it to your corporate bosses as you flame out the door: “Oh you’re so condescending, your gall is never-ending, we don’t want nothin’ not a thing from you, your life is trite and jaded, boring and confiscated, if its your best, your best won’t do … Oh we’re not gonna take it – no, we ain’t gonna take it … we’re not gonna take it anymore.” Bizarre personal connection: I saw the lead singer of this band at my Greenstone Media event in New York. Strange, I know.
- Who Are You? by The Who. This gets at the heart of what every new entrepreneur has to deal with … who are you, really, and how do you want to express yourself through your work? I thought about using it as part of my intake process for new coaching clients, then considered that Roger Daltry screaming “Who the F… are you?” may be slightly off-putting to new clients. Still, the thought crossed my mind.
- While You See a Chance Take It by Steve Winwood. I will admit that I am one of the biggest crybabies in the world and choke up every time I hear this song. I don’t know if it is the stirring music or the words that get me: “When some cold tomorrow finds you, when some subtle dream reminds you how the endless road unwinds you … while you see a chance, take it, the wrong romance, break it – because it’s all … on you.”
- Here Comes the Sun by George Harrison. When you actually quit your job and begin to taste the freedom of entrepreneurship, this song seems appropriate with lyrics like ” Little darlin’ it’s been a long cold lonely winter… Little darlin’ it feels like years since its been here .. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun And I say its alright ….” Note: I could not find the George Harrison track anywhere, so this is a cover:
- MJB is da MVP by Mary J. Blige I have written about this song before, since I love the way she responds to her critics … “Go ahead envy me, I’m the soul hip hop queen and I ain’t going nowhere, but you already know me …” Then, after thanking her fans and celebrating the place she is in her life, she says “You can hate it or love it!” Truer words never spoken.
- For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder. I realize that Stevie is probably talking about a woman, not a business, when he sings “For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of long before I do, someone warm like you would make my dream come true … For once in my life, I won’t let sorrow hurt me, not like its hurt me before .. for once I have something I know won’t desert me .. I’m not alone anymore.” Is it so wrong to see your dream business like a lover?
- Celebrate by Kool and the Gang I may forever lose the respect of some readers by admitting my love for this song, but I can’t help it. Who in their right mind cannot shake their bootie and dance when this song comes on the radio? I don’t even drink, so I can’t attribute my enthusiasm for this song to drunken escapades in discos with 80’s flashbacks. It is just the kind of song to play for your family when you come home after giving notice at the job you hate.
- Muevete by DLG (Dark Latin Groove) This song is in Spanish and simply tells us to “Get Moving!” with engaging rhythms and a hypnotic dance beat. I am a total fan of salsa music and get motivated to shake things up on and off the dance floor when I hear this song.
- Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones. I just couldn’t have an entrepreneur song list without this one. Not just because of its obvious connection to starting a business through the song title, but the way that Mick Jagger reinvents himself year after year and always comes out swinging. When my son was a little baby and could hardly sit up by himself, we were watching the U.S. football Superbowl and the Rolling Stones played. He immediately perked up and started dancing in place. When the song was over, he started clapping wildly. I swear, we never taught him to clap like that — it was Mick’s magical enthusiasm, catchy for 90 year old grannies and 10 month old babies alike. If we could all transcend market segments so well!
So there is my first shot at a playlist.
Now … your turn!
Update 10/26: Sevenoaks had asked me to include audio clips, so with much head scratching and fantastic guidance from Alex Suarez, Darron Padilla and Derek Padilla, I figured out how to do it! It was such a learning adventure that I am going to blog about it tomorrow.