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The Anxious Entrepreneur’s Playlist

Genre is not important

By Kelley SteadPublished 12 months ago 6 min read
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The Anxious Entrepreneur’s Playlist
Photo by Wei Ding on Unsplash

When I was in my early twenties, I dreamed of being a big bad CEO. I saw myself sitting on a tropical island sipping margaritas, watching my bank account soar effortlessly into the millions.

But entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.

There are many stages of starting a business. The planning stage is fun- sitting down and imagining all the things your business can accomplish, running numbers to see how much money you can bring in. This is the dreaming stage. And it’s glorious.

And then you start for real. You open bank accounts and register LLCs. You pay lawyers and accountants to make sure everything’s done just right. You make social media accounts and start trying to network with the people you think will help you build a fortune.

All while working your same old job. Because the money ain’t gonna roll in right away. And your landlord doesn’t care about your dreams if they don’t pay the rent.

And then you hire people. And now you’re responsible for their livelihoods too. Maybe you take out a loan. Now you’re in debt. And then you have a bad month (which is NORMAL) and the sky feels like it’s falling on top of you.

As a generally anxious person, starting a business only increased my inner chaos. It took everything I had to not be paralyzed, to not quit when things got dicey.

I now run a business that brings in well over six figures a year. And for that, I have two things to thank- my amazing business partner and this playlist.

These are the songs I listened to through the years when I felt like I was drowning. They’re the songs I blasted in my car on the way to important meetings. They brought me hope and inspiration in times I couldn’t muster it myself.

Music is powerful. It is melodic telepathy. It can change your mood in a second, if you let it.

This is my playlist for the anxious entrepreneur, or for anyone with a goal that will take everything they have to accomplish.

Genre is not important.

1. “Am I Wrong” - Nico & Vinz

When this little number came out in 2014, I didn’t pay any mind to it. I pegged it as a love song, a catchy pop beat. But then I happened to hear it on a day I was particularly anxious and struggling.

That day, I really heard it.

The song is about breaking out of the norm. Of becoming something more than you are now, and not taking the same path as everyone else.

Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? Am I wrong for saying that I'll choose another way?I ain't trying to do what everybody else doing. Just cause everybody doing what they all do. If one thing I know, how far would I grow? I'm walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home.

I like to run to this song. Pair my footsteps to the beat. I like to let it fill my soul, to remind me that I took the hard path for a reason— because I have a vision.

Because when you’re trying to achieve something great, you can’t always see what you’re striving for. You just know deep down that “maybe you can be something for real.”

2. “All I Know”- William Prince

I’m not a big fan of country music. Never have been. I did watch every episode of “Yellowstone” twice though, and somehow picked up an affinity for a simple guitar and a working man’s words.

This song is from that soundtrack. It’s soft and beautiful, with lyrics that say so much in so little words. During tough business times, when I’ve worked fourteen hours a day and worn myself out— this song is my anthem.

“And all I know, is one day this will all pay off. And all I know, is we pay the dues while they watch the clock.”

I like to walk outside in nature and listen to this song. I put it on repeat, get it deep inside my head, so I never forget that right now I’m paying my dues instead of watching the clock.

And it will all pay off.

3. “The Business”- Tiesto

This one is a little more obvious.

“Let’s get down let’s get down to business. Give you one more night, one more night to get this. We’ve had a million, million nights just like this. So let’s get down, let’s get down to business.”

Is this song about sex? Probably. But I don’t care. This is my go-to song for driving into meetings that could change the trajectory of my business. It gives me that little extra spunk when I’m not motivated. It’s fast and deep, easy to dance to in the car.

I’ve had a million days just like this. So let’s get down to business.

4. “Courage to Grow”- Rebelution

My husband is my business partner, and he introduced me to this song when we first began our journey together as a couple.

He, like me, always had aspirations to be a business owner. There was a time in the beginning of our business where we had to drive all over the United States pitching our idea to executives.

This was the song we belted in the car, driving through rural Texas or the neon-blanketed streets of Vegas.

It’s upbeat. It’s reggae. And it’s inspiring as hell, regardless what your life goals are.

Cause every one of us, has a purpose here. Sometimes its hidden underneath your fear. Just takes some time for the truth to come out, So whether you want love or money, good fortune or fame, A brand new car, You want the world to change

You better take some action right now.

It’s a call to action. A reminder that regardless what you’ve done in the past, the mistakes you’ve made, it’s never too late to discover your purpose. And accomplish your goals.

5. “Silhouettes” - Avicii

I loved this song in my youthful, club hopping days. But it means so much more to me now.

“Straight ahead on the path we have before us. Day by day, soon a change will come. Don’t you know we took a big step forward? Just lead the way and we’ll pull the trigger.”

This song infects me to my toes. It reminds me to remember how far I’ve come already. How day by day, I’ve gotten to where to the point I am now.

The days of working my old job while putting all my extra time into the business. The day I took the leap and finally quit to be a full time entrepreneur. All the meetings, failures, and closed deals.

“There is a beaten path before us.” All we have to do is stay the course.

6. “Don’t Lose Sight”— Lawrence

If you don’t know Lawrence, you’re missing out. His bluesy voice has carried me through many hard times and raised my spirits.

Lawrence is gospel music for people who don’t go to church.

“This shit’s gonna kill me but I won’t let it. And I try to give em hell but they don’t get it. So I tell myself when I sleep at night, don’t lose sight baby, don’t lose sight.”

This song is for days I feel defeated. The days I feel like I’m grinding and grinding and getting nowhere. I listened to it a lot when I was working two jobs and dreaming about how my life could change if I just kept going.

It reminds me that the grind is important. It’s the only way to get to my goals. And it’s not going to kill me.

Because I’m not gonna lose sight.

7. “Stand Out” — Tevin Campbell

This one is embarrassing but I’m putting it on here anyway because it’s probably the most motivational song on this list.

It’s from “A Goofy Movie”- yes, that 90’s gem from every millennial’s childhood.

I used to sing this song at the top of my lungs as a kid, dancing around my room with a marker for a microphone. The lyrics went over my head back then, but not now.

“Some people settle for the typical things. Livin’ all their lives sitting in the wings. It ain’t a question of “if”, just a matter of time. Before I move to the front of the line.”

This is my song for the days I need to get pumped. The days I need to remember what it takes to stand out against my competition, to be the sort of person that takes control of my destiny and not sits on the sidelines.

Yeah, it’s from a Disney movie.

But maybe life is a Disney movie if you have the guts to stand out above the crowd.

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About the Creator

Kelley Stead

Grew up on a steady diet of Tom Robbins and Stephen King.

Spinning tales in the quiet moments between motherhood and building a business.

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Comments (6)

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  • The Invisible Writer12 months ago

    Loved this. I’m not an entrepreneur but I am a driven person my favorite quote and motto in life are never give up, never give in and my own personal mantra always keep trying. Great writing, great songs!

  • AGB12 months ago

    Wow this was excellent! I love your take on the Challenge. I love the motivation and inspiration. The songs you choose are definitely THE SONGS needed to continue on the final stretch. I love it. Hey, no need to feel embarrassed by your Disney song, those are the best for almost any occasion. My entry is like 90% Disney songs! Lol. Excellent job Kelley and the best of luck in the challenge! 🙂✌

  • I know no songs and two artists, will check them out. Your post is excellent

  • And my musical education continues. Thanks for the list, the inspiration & aspiration of it all, Kelley.

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    “Don’t lose sight” is one of my absolute favs. They have some great other ones too. Great playlist entry!👏👏

  • sleepy draftsabout a year ago

    Wow!! I love this take on the challenge. Hopeful, heartfelt, and inspirational. 💓 Good luck in the challenge! This is a superb entry!

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