Leadership DJ: What Song Is Playing In Your Head?

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”


"Our life is what our thoughts make it." ~ Marcus Aurelius

Music is very important to me.  I love hearing a great song whether it’s while I’m exercising, driving, having dinner with a friend or out  dancing.  A great song can energize me, excite me and make me feel in love with life.  It seems to me like anything is possible with the right song and the right play list.  But what about the music and the play list that you have circulating through your mind?

Just like music on the radio, there are lots of songs competing for air time in your mind. A variety of  messages, thoughts, people and emotions want to get on the airwaves of your mind and take over your beliefs, mood and actions. You, as the leader of your own destiny, get to pick what you want playing and to the extent that you play the right song, you can get better results.

The first step in in this process is to stop and notice what song is playing.  What message are you telling yourself? Your brain is the jukebox and can literally play what you order up.  For example, if you are feeling kind of blue or unsure of yourself and would like your brain to support this blue or lacking in confidence feeling, then your brain can play the message that supports that mood.  Some of the favorite “songs” that I’ve heard leaders play when they are not feeling their best include “I don’t think that I can do it”, or “Don’t mess up” or “Who do you think you are?” And of course there’s always the lyric- “if you take that risk, then you may upset others or look like a fool”.  All of these songs are designed to reinforce the mood of  “I can’t do it”.

Your actions will dance along to the tune of each song as your mind runs the programmed behaviors that go to the beat.  For you to succeed, you have to notice what message is playing in your mind. You can’t change what you don’t notice, so start noticing the message or “song.”  If you feel nervous or anxious, then instantly, your mind sends the messages that will support this mental state and set of beliefs.  It’s just like picking an actual piece of music to match your mood.  Once that music is playing, your actions will follow along consistent with the tone of the message.  But unlike walking into a party where the play list has been set, you can choose your inner music. You wouldn’t play a sad song when you’re feeling happy or put on a waltz when you’re in the mood to disco dance.  And it’s almost impossible to do the waltz to a disco song and vice- versa.  Pick the music that matches what you want to do, what you want to believe and how you aim to behave.

In order to increase the opportunity for success and effectiveness, play the song in your head that matches the goal.  How about, “I can do this thing.  I’ve done plenty of hard things in my life and I can meet this challenge too”.  One of my favorites, “Slow down, breathe and just take the next step before worrying about all the things that I can’t control or may never happen.”

We pick our actual music to help enhance our experience, to help us feel better and to do better.  We play energizing music when we want to feel more energy.  We play positive music when we are in a good mood or want to get into a good mood.  People don’t go running (usually) to Mozart and you won’t find a basketball team pumping themselves up with a pregame dance to a sad slow song. The right music supports the intention and the tone of the event and its success.

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts" ~ Marcus Aurelius

Now think about your leadership and the songs that you’ve got playing in your mind.  Are you playing the tunes  that support you for better success?   The right message in your mind will support the better result.  You are your leadership DJ.   Get the best song, the best thoughts, playing through your mental headphones. You are what you think and what you hear impacts your thoughts.  The next time that you hear anything playing in your mind that is not the right song to support your success, just tell yourself “I am the DJ” and play the music that supports you (and others) for a successful leadership journey. For your career,  your business, your team and your life – YOU are the DJ. Play only GREAT songs.

Thank you for reading this article.  Please share your thoughts, ideas and comments in the below comment section.

Sending you all warm and positive energy for your leadership journey!

Larysa Slobodian

Principal Consultant & Executive Coach

L4 Leadership LLC


  1. Lisa August 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Thanks, again, Larysa. I love the DJ/jukebox analogy and will be more intentional about selecting the right music for the job! It is amazing what a good, positive beat or thought can do to my emotional state. It is time to tune up my attitude playlist.

  2. Larysa Slobodian August 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Thanks Lisa! Enjoy your playlist!

    Larysa Slobodian
  3. llew August 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Bring on the Beethoven!

  4. Boomer's Buddy August 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Thank you Larysa for writing this beautiful piece! So true – it is critical to be mindful of the ‘songs playing in one’s head’.
    From the Upanishads:
    You are what your deep, driving desire is.
    As your desire is, so is your will.
    As your will is, so is your deed.
    As your deed is, so is your destiny.

    And from the Little Engine that Could:
    … “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

    A friend of mine shared something yesterday: Acknowledge and accept the current moment as it presents itself. Don’t fight it. If there are things that you don’t like, calmly think what specific actions you can take that would realistically (not just wishful thinking or resentment) change things & get going on those. And then, when you have put the effort, accept the results without judgment. You can’t always control the outcome, but you can control your intent, efforts and how much you let the ‘reality’ affect your state of mind & happiness.

    thanks again!

  5. Larysa Slobodian August 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Welcome to the party Llew!! Thanks for reading and for your comment. Looking forward to more. Thanks again!

    Larysa Slobodian
  6. Larysa Slobodian August 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Boomer’s Buddy-you are singing Boomer’s theme song “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.. all day every day. Thanks for reading and for commenting. And it’s all about intention. Check that song several times a day.

    Larysa Slobodian
  7. Chloe August 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    100% Right. On. Usually when I want to pick the right song, it starts with a question – “What do I want to hear today {in this moment…n}?” When it comes to messages, a song I play in my head is not just “I can do this,” but I often start with “Can I do this?” the resounding “Yes!” response is even more affirming to me because I have closed all questions about my ability to do the thing. If someone else asks the question, I already know the answer so therefore do not second guess myself. It falls into a rhythm, Can I do this? Yes I can. Can I do this? Yes I can.

  8. Larysa Slobodian August 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Yes you can Chloe! Yes you can! Thanks for reading and for sharing. Loved the comment.

  9. Steve August 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I will use this mantra “I am the DJ” when things get tough. I love it. Thank you for the inspiration and practical idea.

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