I thought I would tackle Motivation Monday a little differently today by adding in the angle of song. As you may know, I’m a professor of American music, so music plays in integral role in my life. There is so much power in this art form. It has the ability to convey complex emotions and share important messages that words often fail to express. I think that’s why music can be such a motivating tool.
For our first Motivation Music Monday, I chose the song, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam). It is, and has always been, one of my favorite songs. I have wonderful memories of my family sitting around the dinner table, listening to The Very Best of Cat Stevens album, and simultaneously breaking into song during the chorus. No joke; it was like an episode of 7th Heaven or something.
My dad and I also danced to this song at my wedding. Needless to say, it holds a special place in my heart.
I think this song has an important universal message as well, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Below is the song’s opening verse/chorus, and the recording follows after that. If you’re in a location that allows you to play music, I definitely encourage you to listen to it.
Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are
And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are
You can do what you want
The opportunity’s on
And if you find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
Wow. There is so much power in these words. What I especially love is that you can take this message and apply it to whatever challenges or opportunities that you’re facing right now.
Are you a teacher bemoaning the fact that it is already August 7th? Are you heading back to school but feel like you haven’t really embraced your summer?
If so, do it now. If you want to relax, if you want to go play, if you want to simply spend time with your family or your friends, do it.
If you want to sing out, sing out.
Are you stuck in a job that leaves you feeling empty? Are you in an unhealthy relationship that causes you pain? Have you committed yourself to something that is holding you back from the five most important things in your life? If so, reflect a bit, and consider letting go.
If you want to be free, be free. There’s a million things to be, you know that there are.
If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been seeking that elusive work-life balance. It is an incredible struggle for me.
As I listened to Cat Stevens this weekend, his message really hit me hard. I DO want to sing out. I want to play, I want to spend more time with my husband, I want to laugh with those I love. I also know that the responsibilities, pressures, and expectations I feel from my job often hold me back.
As this familiar dialogue replayed in my mind, Cat Steven’s broke through with his wise words:
If you find a new way, then you can do it today.
Yes, I am passionate about my job. Yes, I want to succeed in that position. But at the same time, I am determined to find balance and enjoy my life outside of work as well. I am back at school on August 21, and for the next 14 days, I am making this song my soundtrack.
I’m going to sing out, I’m going to be free, and I’ll find a new way to balance that with my responsibilities. Because I can do what I want, the opportunity’s on. I’ll find a new way, I’ll do it today.
What makes you sing out? What’s your favorite motivational song? Does music play a big part in your life? Let me know below!