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Art of Leadership

6 Awesome Songs To Motivate and Inspire You

By May 28, 2015September 25th, 20192 Comments


As a Rockwood trainer, I like to set the tone in the training room using music. Music is often seen as just a background thing, but it can actually help people shift their state of being. I put on dance music to get people up and energetic. If I want people to get quieter and do some reflective, contemplative writing, then I put on some calming background music. It can also be more subtle, like using songs on breaks that reflect the work we are doing through their lyrics.

So when Rockwood’s Program Coordinator Kierra Johnson suggested creating a playlist for the 6 practices, I said, “Oh! I have some songs already!” Actually, I had quite a few songs that would work, and that night, I sat down and gave some careful thought to what the playlist could be. I came up with six songs that I really love, and that I think hit the tone and rhythm of the 6 practices.

You can use this playlist to shift your state of being when you need a little “Rockwood Pick-Me-Up”. Music is especially useful for resilience (think of it as an auditory power pose), as well as helping you relax for personal ecology, and you can also use it to increase your focus and get motivated.

1. Purpose – “I Hear A Call” by Emmylou Harris. The lyrics say it all by posing questions: “I hear a call, now will I answer?/I see a light, now will I follow?” They invite us to listen in, look outward, and feel, which is exactly what we do when we explore our purpose.


Note: This song is not currently available on Spotify, so we have included a version by a different artist. As soon as this version becomes available, we will include it in the Spotify playlist.

2. Vision – “Tomorrow (A Better Me, A Better You)” by Quincy Jones and Tevin Campbell. The lyrics speak to creating a bright, clear, compelling future, and in addition to Tevin’s great voice, they use a children’s chorus for background vocals. I love this because it’s a reminder that the future is not just for us, but for the generations to come.


3. Performance – “I Hope You Dance” by Gladys Knight. Some people might say it’s a weird choice, but this song is really about the times when you’re not sure you can get up there and do it. It’s all about producing the results you say you want in your life, and sometimes you need someone else encouraging you to do that.

4. Partnership – “Loving One Another” by Latasha Lee and The BlackTies. By an incredible Austin, TX (where I live) band, this is a great song about taking responsibility for creating partnership. I especially love these lyrics: “Stretch out your hands to a brother/Unfold compassion and hold back aggression…”


5. Personal ecology – “Let’s Be Still” by The Head and The Heart. This song is so perfect for personal ecology. It’s about how the world is moving too fast, and we need to just create a little stillness in our lives.

6. Resilience – “Brand New Day” by Ruthie Foster. With a sweet gospel sound, this song brings it on home for me for the practice of resilience. It’s about telling your truth, taking the time to do your own work, and (for me, maybe the most important) practicing forgiveness as a way to see us through to freedom.

Listen to the full playlist:

What’s on your Rockwood Playlist? Share the songs you use to get motivated, connect with your purpose, help you relax, and more.

BONUS: For more Rockwood music, check out this playlist of superhero theme songs created by the April 27-May 1 Art of Leadership cohort.


Want to hear more of Leslie’s favorite songs? Join her and José Acevedo for the Advanced Art of Leadership, September 14-17 at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY. Apply now »

Rockwood Community Call

Cecily Rose Engelhart

Master Certified Life Coach, Speaker, and Designer

September 28 | 12 PT / 3 ET