Music is a part of my earliest memories. Growing up, my mom would play the same two cassette tapes as she drove my brothers, sister, and me to and from activities: Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II, and Chicago 17. Throughout my adolescence, music continued to play a prominent role. Unlike most of my friends, I never jumped on the New Kids on the Block bandwagon; instead, I liked whatever my older sister liked: 10,000 Maniacs, Peter Gabriel, and Tori Amos. 

It’s funny how hearing certain songs instantly transports you back in time. I remember each summer of the 1990s by whatever pop songs were being overplayed on the radio while I sat for hours in a lifeguard stand. High school is Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind. College is anything by Nelly.

And of course, music was there for the break-ups: Old Apartment by Barenaked Ladies, Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco, and the underrated Don’t Shed a Tear by Paul Carrack seemed to be on constant rotation throughout most of my twenties.

But there are two, cheesy 90s songs that for me will always hold a special meaning. These two songs have carried me through stressful and challenging times for almost 30 years, and I think of them as my “walk-up” songs. In addition to being a fun form of self-branding, a walk-up song can inspire and motivate you, as well as become a part of a ritual to calm your nerves and boost your confidence. And the coolest part? There is real evidence that pre-task music can objectively improve performance. 

I think everyone can benefit from choosing their own walk-up song — YOU need one!

Watch the FIX19 talk below!