Jill’s Blog

What's Your Jam?

I am currently sitting in the Camden HQ of inspireal, working on creative materials and marketing copy. For some people, this work may come easy. I think those are right brain people, those with endless creativity and vision. Me? I’m more of a left brain, linear type gal who struggles with the attention to the aesthetic. Sometimes, I have the intention of getting creative but then I get parked in front of the computer and I’ve got nothing creative in the tank. Bupkus. Typically, when that happens, I retreat to the black and white mundane stuff, that place I call my comfort zone. I build a spreadsheet or work on a project plan, that’s where I live.

Today, I couldn’t put the creative work off anymore, it had to be done so I had to find my mojo. While drinking massive amounts of coffee and trying to find inspiration, I was momentarily distracted by a headline on CNN telling me that Doris Day has passed away at the age of 97. This sent me to YouTube to find the music video for “Que Sera Sera.” What can I say, I am easily distracted. Squirrel! My time-wasting foray into Youtube turned out to be quite serendipitous when I stumbled upon a channel of classic songs from the 50’s and 60’s. Next thing you know I was grooving to Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and of course, Mr. Frank Sinatra. As the music appealed to the far recesses of my brain, it must have shaken something loose because the creative juices started flowing and I was able to churn out some pretty good stuff.

Music has the power to inspire, to comfort and to pump us up. I don’t care if it’s Montovanni or Mos Def, there’s something about a great tune that can completely change your outlook. Need a good cry? Put on some Sarah Maclachlan and let it the tears flow. Getting ready to work out? Well then get your 1992 Jock Jams Playlist ripping and your sure to burn some calories. Want to clean the house, I've been known to Get Jiggy with my toilet brush and my boy Will Smith. Well, you get the idea.

When I facilitate team building sessions, I always ensure that I have some universally upbeat music playing as participants arrive. I think it sets the tone for the day and wakes people up as they get settled and ready for the day. Have you ever walked into a meeting to dead silence....ominous! Never underestimate the power of a little soundtrack. An ice breaker I have been using lately that has been really successful is something I call, “What’s your Jam?” The idea is simple. We go around the room and do the usual introduce yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at the organization. But I ask folks to also share what’s their go-to pump up song. Their “jam.” The one song that can get them inspired to GSD (get stuff done) . Musical tastes say a lot about people and co-workers are often surprised to find out the Barbara in accounting secretly enjoys Motley Crue or that Kevin in marketing LOVES Ariana Grande. When the CEO tells everyone that they are wild about George Michael and saw him live with WHAM! In 1988, that’s a TRUE ICEBREAKER.

I encourage the organizations that I work with to use music in the workplace where possible to set the mood. Of course if you have an office where clients are visiting, potty mouth RAP just won’t do but that’s not to say that you need to listen to the same Muzak playlist they’re using over at Rite Aid. Maybe something in between can be appropriate and inspiring. When I finish a team building session, I leave with the list of the teams’ go-to jams from the icebreaker and as a parting gift, I create a Spotify playlist for the team to remind them of their common interests and diverse tastes. I truly hope some teams use this to embark on impromptu dance parties during stressful periods or when they are celebrating a great achievement. Music truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

And with that, I give you my latest JAM that we are adding to the inspireal playlist. No, it’s not Que Sera Sera by Doris Day but something a bit more motivational. Do yourself a favor, add it to your iTunes account and when you get in the car tomorrow morning to drive to work, put it on……LOUD! You will not be sorry.

Jill Parker