Music makes me happy. And specifically, "making music" with the Rotary District Choir. And when I'm happy, I'm a better leader.

Making music with the Rotary District Choir makes me happy. And when I’m happy, I’m a better leader.

Music makes me happy. Really happy. And when I’m happy I am more patient, more resilient, and more focused.

A big part of happiness involves the choices we make to fill our lives with the things we enjoy. The center of our philosophy is the idea that goodness pays. And I believe the most important decision we make if we want to radiate goodness is the decision every day to “be happy.”  In other words, when I’m filled with music in my heart I’m a better leader.

So the question is: What makes you really happy?  Are you happy today?

What are you listening to?

My mother's Brandenburg Concerto album on the turntable in my living room.

My mother’s Brandenburg Concerto album on the turntable in my living room.

This morning, I wrote this blog while listening to an LP recording of the Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach. Melinda and I rediscovered our 40-year-old Technics turntable and a stack of 75 LP albums during our move to a new home in March. This particular music makes me happy because my mother taught me to enjoy the Brandenburg Concertos before I was ten years old. Then I rediscovered them during Music History classes in college. The four-album set was a gift from my mom. A gift that keeps on giving…and making me happy.

When happiness multiplies

Along my journey, I learned how to be a choir director. It’s genetic; both my grandmother and my mother were choir directors. After retiring from 24 years of creating music with the Youth Choir at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, I agreed to become the Artistic Director for the Rotary Rooters – it’s a glee club assembled by the Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary Club (I’ve been a member of that club for a long time).

This past weekend, we assembled a choir of really happy singers from Rotary Districts 5950 (Eastern Minnesota) and 5960 (Western Wisconsin.) I was the choir director. My friends, Doug Schmitt and Gary Mosiman, helped recruit 42 singers to express our happiness over the luncheon. Heavens it was fun! You can watch and listen here, if you wish, to three songs: Let There Be Peace on Earth, Rainbow Connection and Sing! We’re definitely a bunch of misfits. Maybe the Bad News Bears of singing…but these people are having FUN!

How music matters

As guests enter into the Aspiration Suite of our Good Leadership Enterprises offices, they are greeted by music playing through our SONOS sound system. The relaxing effect is a welcoming gift to leaders who intend to examine “What’s possible?” in their leadership. And when we ask the question,“what’s your favorite music?”, everyone beams.

The Rotary District Choir was a happiness booster for the 300 guests who attended the conference.

The Rotary District Choir was a happiness booster for the 300 guests who attended the conference.

To be honest, there are days when directing the Rotary Rooters is a pain in the backside. We meet at 6:30 AM every Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis. But even on the worst days, I am a better human being because I’ll be whistling whatever song we rehearsed all day. It makes me really happy.

And there are days when running the business of Good Leadership Enterprises is also a pain. But even on the worst days, the music makes it better.

Good leaders know what makes them really happy. And they create daily habits to make their hearts sing with positivity in their leadership.

Please share with me: What makes you really happy?

Special thanks to our accompanist, Toni Yeamons; the videographer, Dan Lipman; and the photographer, Gayland Bender; for their help in making this blog possible.