Rudey's Room

Create a Playlist to Stay the Course in Your Life


“We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. We are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.”

– Arthur O’Shaughnessy


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic in schools.

And for good reason.

Educating the whole child is critical to their wellness and growth.

My school uses the Leader in Me model as our social emotional curriculum. We’ve been using the 7 Habits for five years.

The first year, the teachers partook in a two-day workshop to learn about the Habits and how to teach them to our students. That year, I was taught to identify the primary roles in my life and in part, this first session pushed me decide to launch Rudey’s Room.

That first year, we were asked to create a mission statement and I felt so, so, so, overwhelmed at the task. At a break, I even talked to the group leader to express my inability to put my mission into words.

I get the need for a mission and a vision – especially for schools and organizations.

I like the idea for families and individuals as well.

Yet creating a mission statement has always overloaded me – I want to add this, and that, and then this, and geez, I feel really locked in … what if I change my mind?

After the session, I created the about page on Rudey’s Room. It was the closest I could come to a mission statement. It works for me.

This August, we had a refresher on the Habits and the mission statement came up again. I felt the same panic – who am I? why am I here? what’s my mission?

My anxiety level started to rise.

Every time we do this activity at school, I find that my list is somewhat scatty. And long. Mostly my mission statement is just really long.

And I’m wondering, why do I need to create this rigid notion of myself? I know my mission inside of myself. Why do I need to spell it out? 

That is, until this year.

This year my mind was opened. It happened when a co-worker told the group that instead of a mission statement, she created a mission playlist.

I thought, a mission playlist, now that’s something I can get my head around.

Music is powerful for me. It stirs my subconscious to light and can put the lid on my stress. Words sung help keep me on my path when I’m starting to stumble.

If you’re a mix tape maker like me – you’ve got playlists for driving to work, running, cooking dinner, eating dinner, and hanging out – then you’ll probably like the idea of a mission playlist too.

After my co-workers suggestion, I thought: Why not create a playlist that’s my mission statement?  

I decided to give it a try.

This year, the playlist I created has been my daily medicine. Each song is crafted for what I need. I press play in the morning to put me in the right mindset for what I need then and in the afternoon to quickly shift from teacher to mommy. In it all, the songs help me to remember that I am me. That I’m on my own mission.

My list isn’t necessarily full of my favorite artists – I listen to Federico Aubele religiously and he’s not on my list. Rather this list contains the songs that make me feel what I need to feel right now to keep me on my course. My play list is more of a booster shot then a mellow maker that I listen to as the fabric of my life.

Some songs will stay for years – like The Gambler; others are for this season or this year.

Here’s my current playlist that I’ve labeled “Mission Statement” on my iPhone.

  • Doin’ It RightDaft Punk – “If you lose your way tonight, that’s how you know the magic’s right.”
  • Shake It Off – Taylor Swift – “But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving, it’s like I got this music, in my mind, saying, ‘It’s gonna be alright.’ “
  • Burn One DownBen Harper – “My choice is what I choose to do, and if I’m causing no harm, it shouldn’t bother you. Your choice is who you choose to be, and if your causin’ no harm, then you’re alright with me.”
  • Girl on FireAlicia Keys – “Oh, she got her head in the clouds, and she’s not backing down.”
  • The GamblerKenny Rogers – “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
  • Hey Hey HeyMichael Franti & Spearhead – “No matter how life is today, there’s just one thing that I got to say, I won’t let another moment slip away.”
  • Lose YourselfEminem – “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.”
  • Count On MeBruno Mars – “And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me, everyday I will, remind you.”
  • Jardin d’HiverKeren Ann – “Je veux changer d’atmosphère, dans mon jardin d’hiver.” I want to change the atmosphere.
  • We’ve Only Just BegunCarpenters – “So many roads to choose, we’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run.”
  • UnwrittenBoyce Avenue – This is a cover, which I prefer to the original. Veronica’s favorite line is, “reaching for sometime in the distance, so close you can almost taste it, release your inhibitions.”
  • Patience Guns N’ Roses – “… take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine.”

There you have it. This is is my playlist. Each song is special to me.

Yours will be full of meaning for you.

The power of music is that you create your optimal mindset.

Stimulating, relaxing, empowering, soothing, … you can set the tone.

What is it you’re after in your play list?

Only you can decide.

Dig deep into your personal history and think of the songs that line the fabric of your being. Find the songs that make you feel oh so … 

If you’re having trouble finding the songs that set the stage for your life, ask yourself a series of questions: What music do you listen to when you need to feel happy? In balance?

What lyrics make you excited about tackling life?

On your mission?

Reflect on your songs: How do I feel when I hear that particular song? Is this how I want to feel? What does this song do for me? Does this song speak to me?

It’s all about you.

You’re in control of the content. Your in the control of the soundtrack of your life.

So yes, when you land on that song, snap it up and put it on your playlist.

One at a time. Or maybe many at a time.

This is a means to find your mission. It’s a way to discover your anthems.

These are the songs that get you through life’s twists and turns and keep you on your path.

Find the songs that make you want to turn up the music as loud as you can and make you feel unstoppable.

My playlist took me about a month to create and it’s a fluid list. Some songs that started on the list have since left – Don’t Stop Believing didn’t make the final cut. I’m also certain that some that did make the cut will leave and be replaced at some point (except for The Gambler, that’s one of my forever songs).

I like the fluidity of my mission playlist.

What gets you going? I would love for you to share your go-to songs in the comments below.

Turn up the noise.





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