How To Create An Uplifting Playlist In Our Teams' Heads

Mar 08, 2022

Whether we receive negative or positive feedback about our performance, chances are big that we internalize those comments and turn them into part of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. This is true for little kids, teens, and young adults, for everyone. Negativity will make us doubt our skills and capabilities, just as positivity can be encouraging to keep going and help us grow. 

As leaders, we hold an enormous responsibility in our hands; we have the power, sort of speak, to either encourage our employees to work on their strengths and help them become better or make them wither with negativity. 

In today's episode, we delve into a different side of overthinking, which is listening too much to what others say about us. We talk about the influence other people's words have on us and how they can become part of the stories in our heads. I share two stories that marked my childhood in both ways, their effects on my personal and professional development and what they helped me realize with time. We will also explore our role and responsibilities as leaders in this capacity and the importance of one-on-one meetings to help our team members become better and grow. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • About the weight of other people's words in our minds (3:05)
  • The power of positive reinforcement and how it can help us believe in our capabilities (4:44)
  • The difference surrounding ourselves with the right people can make, and how to be that people as leaders (6:40)
  • Deciding whether we want to be an encouraging force in people's lives, or that one person that puts others down (8:56)
  • We are the creators of our heads' playlist (9:56)
  • The impact of clear communication in our teams' growth and development (15:13)


  • Quote: Henry Ford - "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."
  • Quote: Jon Acuff - "If you listen to any thought long enough, it becomes part of your personal playlist."
  • Book: Jon Acuff - Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking
  • Coaching with Clint Consultation Call - Book Here
  • Download my free One-on-One Transformation tool

Let's Connect!


Clint Hoopes: Welcome to the Flavor of Leadership podcast. So grateful to have you here with me today. As you're listening today, please look for those insights – those insights that might change your actions in some small way, or maybe some large way. Even though the things we talk about on the show may not apply directly to your situation. Those little insights are the things that will allow you to change something, maybe small, maybe large in your own life. And if while you're listening, you also think about someone else in your life that could benefit from this message, please don't hesitate to share this message with them, so it can help them and also help the show grow. Thank you. So, today, I want to talk a little bit more about overthinking. Now, back in episode number 66, I did share about overthinking, about how sometimes I have a tendency to overthink and some of you may as well. Or if you don't, you might have children, a spouse, or employees that do have that same issue in their life of overthinking things a bit too much. Now, in episode 66, we talked more about overthinking and how it can cause analysis paralysis of some sort, that can happen in people's lives and stop them from action. Action is, in fact, the cure to analysis paralysis or overthinking, and so it's one of those tough things for people to get over. But today, we're going to go on a little different side of overthinking. And that's not always people that overthink that have this issue – the issue of listening a little too much to what other people say. 

What do you believe about yourself? Are they all things that you have carefully thought about and decided to believe? Or are they inputs from other people in your life? Maybe they're people you care about, people you love, your family, your parents, a spouse, a trusted friend, other people in your life. Help to craft what we believe about ourselves. So, the question is what other people say about us or think about us, stronger than what we think about ourselves, or what we say to ourselves. Henry Ford has a famous quote – he says, “Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right.” And that quote is one that I've heard over the years. And I believe there is so much truth to it. When we truly believe in ourselves and believe what we can do, we can do it, and we're right. We think about self-fulfilling prophecies – what is that? It’s nothing more than thinking something and having it actually come true. And so we see that in our lives constantly. And we will often take the input that comes from other people and we will start rewriting that story that’s going on in our head, and our actions will begin to change based on what we are thinking, and what we believe based on what other people might be thinking and telling about us. 

So, what do you believe about yourself? And what have you internalized from other people? And even one step further: What have you said to others that they have in turn internalized about themselves, for better or for worse? I can't help but think about this and start thinking about myself in elementary school. So, starting in kindergarten, first grade, I struggled a lot. I had a really hard time reading. And it was a struggle for me. I remember how hard it was, even though I was young. I remember just how hard it was. But I also remember my teachers and my parents telling me how great I was, and they appreciated me for how hard I worked. And they would tell me that I was a great reader, they would tell me that I was a great student. And it's funny, not only did they tell me those things, but then their actions supported it; they would help me extra; they would do extra things to help me succeed and help me become that person they believed I truly was inside. And guess what happened to me? I believed it too. I remember believing I was great at reading and a great student before I actually became that person. 

Then, as time went on, guess what? I went all the way through high school with nearly all A's – all the way through college, to my master's degree with nearly all A's in every subject, because they believed in me. I went from being the kid who could barely read to the kid who loved reading. And to this day, it's changed my life. I love reading. I mean, I read constantly. And all of that was instilled to me at a young age, based on what others believed in me and what I chose to believe in myself. So, we're not victims, where people can tell us something and then we instantly internalize it; we get to choose. But surrounding ourselves with the right kind of people, and being those right kind of leaders can make all the difference in people's lives. 

Going back to earlier in life, it actually, on a negative example, makes me think of when I was in sixth grade as well. When I was in sixth grade, I remember, I had saved up money, I had worked and worked because I wanted to get these shoes. There were these very specific shoes. And I remember that I could have gotten the name-brand version of these shoes, the name-brand that everybody knew. But there was another pair that was essentially the knockoff version, and they looked almost exactly the same other than the tag. And I remember, my mom, she took me after I earned my money to go and buy the shoes that I wanted. And I wore them to school, I was super excited, I’m like, “These are great, looks exactly the same as everybody else's.” Wore them to school, I was totally stoked. And guess what happened? You guys already probably guessed it, because you've been in sixth grade and 12 years old as well, at one point. This “friend,” I had said, “Oh, yeah, those aren't the real ones, are they?” And I was crushed. It was so funny. I didn't even really care about my clothes that much. But heck, at 12 years old, y'all, everyone wants to be cool. You all want to be able to be seen as someone that everybody wants to be around, or that you fit in with the crowd in that way. And man, that crushed me. And I remember I went home, and I took those shoes off and put them in my closet. Never wore them again. I was embarrassed by them. I let someone tell me this story, tell me that it wasn't cool to wear those shoes. And that example, that story has stuck with me over the years. It took me a little while before I realized that, man, first off, maybe I had the wrong friend; second off, why believe them? And over the years, I've been able to do better than that, and not always believe what people say about me or about my choices in that way. 

But who are we? Are we those wonderful teachers that helped me be able to accomplish those amazing things? Not only told me that I was great, but helped support me to become that person. Or are we that person in my school that's bringing me down, and wasn't there to truly provide anything constructive or helpful? What kind of leader, what kind of person are we to those around us? What are the things that we say that are now going on loop in someone else's brain? Whether it’s an employee or a child or someone else, what are the things that we're saying that are going around in their head? Is it saying that they are good enough, that they are amazing? Or is it just the opposite? 

Jon Acuff – he's a speaker and author, and he wrote a book called Soundtracks recently. And it's all about overthinking and about what you tell yourself in your head about the soundtrack that goes on in your head. And this is his quote – he said this: “If you listen to any thought long enough, it becomes part of your personal playlist.” So, if you think of that story that's going on your head as a playlist, “If you listen to any thought long enough, it becomes part of your personal playlist.” What you're telling yourself, it becomes essentially a part of you and starts to change your actions. We always know that any action was first a thought. It's a thought, and then it's an action. And so our thoughts begin to change, our actions too will begin to change – so we have to be proactive about what we think, about what we tell ourselves, and also about what we tell others. 

Just a few days ago – it's actually what prompted this podcast – we were just about to start dinner. Actually, we were cooking dinner in the kitchen. And one of my little boys, my six-year-old – he loves to write notes to people. And I love it. I love the notes that he writes. He writes amazing things. Actually, so many of my children are great at expressing gratitude and helping people see where they're great. It makes me so happy. They leave me notes all the time. And it feels me full of happiness and that makes me feel great. And so my six-year-old – he had written a note for my three-year-old. And of course, my three-year-old can't read, so he had to have somebody tell him what it said. And the note – I don't remember all that the notes said, but the note did say, “You are so creative.” And it's so funny, but my little three-year-old is like, “I'm creative. I am creative.” And he started saying over and over again. He was kind of chanting it and yelling it. He’s like, “I am creative!” And it's so funny because it just got to the point where it made me think, “Oh, my goodness! I'm so grateful that he is internalizing this thing that he is – he's a creative person. And he believes it, and he knows it. He's shouting it from the rooftops.” But then immediately my mind went to, “What happens when somebody tells him something else about him that's not true. What will he believe? Will he choose to believe it? Or will he begin to say that he is that thing over and over in his head? And how can I help him as a father to believe the true things and disregard those things that are false or those things that won't serve him, those things that he does not want to become?” So, I've been thinking about it a lot, thinking about what stories are going through my kids' heads? What soundtracks are in their head right now because of me? Now, I sure hope that there are some great ones in there, that they know that they are enough, they know that they are loved by their parents, they know that they are great at so many things. But honestly, no parent is perfect, we are not perfect as parents. So, I'm sure, going through their head, there are some things that I have said or things that I have led them to believe in some way that aren't true or not what I intended. And I want to make sure that with my children, I'm helping to combat those things in their head with the good things, and the things they know I believe about them that they will believe about themselves. 

And I think about employees. What do our employees think? What's going on in their head? Are they thinking, “I am amazing. I am the best receptionist in the world. I know it. I'm told it constantly.” “I am the best salesperson in the world.” “I am the best engineer.” I am the best fill-in-the-blank. Whatever it is, whoever you lead, whoever you manage; what do they believe based on what you're saying to them? What is it reinforcing? What is it reinforcing for them at work? I'm not suggesting that we just go ahead and never give anybody any constructive feedback and just tell them, “Hey, you're great at this, and you're great at that.” When it's not really true. No, I'm not saying that. I'm not saying we don't help them work through things, or help them with things they're struggling with, or help them identify places where they struggle. I'm saying, help them find the places where they are great and help them be better, not just in what you tell them, but in how you help them, as a leader, you coach them and help them become better. So, they begin to have that soundtrack in their head, reinforcing where they're great because they will do more great things for themselves and for you – their leader. And their results will show because you believe in them. The remedy to this, the way to make sure people have the right soundtrack going on in their head or the right story, is through consistent and clear communication. 

Now, how's that happening as a leader? We've talked about this over and over again. And why? Because it is the thing that we most often fail with is communication, and communicating clearly. Consistent one-on-one meetings are the key, they’re magic. Consistent one-on-one meetings with your employees will make it so that they not only have clarity on what a good job looks like for them and what is necessary for their job, but you will also be able to help them see where they're great, and you can help them become better, even better than they are now. But without having the one-on-one meetings, you won't know where they're improving; you won't know how they're performing, based on the metrics that you have for that role. They won't be clear, you won't be clear. And in the end, the performance that you're seeking, won't happen. The personal growth that they need to love working at your company, they won't have it unless you're having that consistent one-on-one communication, that is clear. And you as the leader, it's within your control. It's within your control to help them see it and to help them improve. 

So, what can you do about it? Well, it's an easy thing: If you're not doing one-on-one meetings consistently, start now, do it now. Schedule them. Don't just assume that the communication that you have in the hallway or in other meetings when you're in a group is good enough. Or that drive into a sales call, or that drive to a meeting is enough communication to count. You need to have specific metrics, specific things that you're working through so that they're clear, you're clear. And that communication can happen in a consistent one-on-one meeting. If you want more help or more thoughts on one-on-one meetings and how I run one-on-one meetings, go ahead, go to the link in the show notes, or just go straight to my website at, or once again in the show notes. And you can download my free one-on-one transformation guide. Go ahead and download that, and you'll be able to have the step-by-step guide to make your one-on-one meetings amazing so that you can know that your employees have a soundtrack in their head, have a story in their head that says that they can be great, and they will live up to your expectation of them. You got this. Until next week.