Dayglow’s “Close To You” Gets Product Managers Out Of Their Heads, Back Into The Game

Dayglow’s “Close To You” Gets Product Managers Out Of Their Heads, Back Into The Game

Ever overthink things at work? Feel frustrated by personalities who dominate conversations and decision-making? Or feel paralyzed because you doubt you have enough data to commit to a decision?

Dayglow’s alt-rock song “Close To You” is about two strangers at a party who catch each other’s eye, but never actually say hello because they’re trapped in their own heads, and I think there are lessons for PMs in there.

The lyrics go like this:

[Verse 1]
I saw you looking for the side door
You didn’t want to stick around for
The rest of the night
I guess that’s alright

They all left when you walked home
It makes sense that they all know
It was only for you
If only you knew

[Pre-Chorus]
What good is love
Without any strings?
Held it above
Stuck in between
Tell me for once
What that even means
I want to know you
But can’t make it right

[Chorus] There’s something on my mind
There’s something that I
(Wish I would’ve told you,
But you just don’t seem to wonder
What you’re doing when you’re close to me)

Oh, yeah
There’s something on my chest
I wish I would’ve said
(I think it over and it might be true
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you)

[Verse 2]
We locked eyes from a distance
So close but I missed it
Now you’re walking away
When I wish you would stay

I get stuck in a conversation
A different night, same situation
I beat myself up for not speaking up

Every night I can’t make it right, yeah

[Chorus] There’s something on my mind
There’s something that I
(Wish I would’ve told you,
But you just don’t seem to wonder
What you’re doing when you’re close to me)

Oh, yeah
There’s something on my chest
I wish I would’ve said
(I think it over and it might be true
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you)

[Outro]
Only overthinking when I’m close to you
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you (Oh yeah)
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you
I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you (Oh yeah)

We locked eyes from a distance…

In the song, the two people connect but fail to actually engage. Brainstorming sessions can sometimes generate similar energy where one or two people monopolize conversation so we hang back and don’t participate.

Technology and design-thinking can help resolve these kinds of situations. For brainstorm session that I chair, I’ve been using rapid ideation with Miro. Here’s how it works:

“Giving your group a time limit, have everyone write as many ideas as possible on a piece of paper, sticky note, or in an e-doc. When that’s done, you can have the group vote on the best ideas, discuss what everyone came up with, or you can give the ideas to a “decider” to pick the most actionable.”

– Iris Latour, customer insights manager at MIRO

Participant feedback has been exceedingly positive — even from sales! — as we hold these sessions on video conference. Rather than letting one or two people dominate the conversation, rapid ideation exercises enable everyone to participate on equal footing and collectively generate a greater volume of ideas to explore.

There’s something on my mind…

In the song, one of the characters is lost in his own thoughts, unable to complete a coherent sentence:

There’s something on my mind, there’s something that I (wish I would’ve told you, but you just don’t seem to wonder what you’re doing when you’re close to me).

He’s overthinking. As a result, he loses the opportunity to connect with someone who could be a new friend or more.

I tend to be an overthinker, too. One tactic that helps me break out of that cycle at work is to remember why I’m there.

As part of my personal development goals, I created a vision for what I believe my job as a Product Manager to be. The central tenants of my product vision are: Be Curious, Find Facts, Have Fun.

Those six words are written on sticky notes, in ever-present view at my desk.

Reflecting on those principles helps break me out of overthinking and analysis paralysis by reminding me: If I’ve asked the questions, if I’ve found the facts, if I have the evidence to back up my decisions, then it’s time to commit and move forward so we can have some fun.

I beat myself up for not speaking up…

Sometimes, as an overthinker, I move from healthy self-reflection to dwelling on things I wish I’d done differently or better.

Psychotherapist Amy Morin articulates 10 signs that you’re an overthinker:

  1. I relive embarrassing moments in my head repeatedly.
  2. I have trouble sleeping because it feels like my brain won’t shut off.
  3. I ask myself a lot of “what if…” questions.
  4. I spend a lot of time thinking about the hidden meaning in things people say or events that happen.
  5. I rehash conversations I had with people in my mind and think about all the things I wished I had or hadn’t said.
  6. I constantly relive my mistakes.
  7. When someone says or acts in a way I don’t like, I keep replaying it in my mind.
  8. Sometimes I’m not aware of what’s going on around me because I’m dwelling on things that happened in the past or worrying about things that might happen in the future.
  9. I spend a lot of time worrying about things I have no control over.
  10. I can’t get my mind off my worries.

Any of those sound familiar?

When I get into that zone, I’ve found that the best way to stop beating myself up for mistakes I’ve made is to remember that God is in control. No matter how much I may have fouled things up, I can have peace in my heart because my savior Jesus remains perfect even when I’m not.

After taking that breath, even if things feel like they’re on fire, I can know that everything will be all right, and reframe my thoughts from endless rumination (“Why didn’t I…?”) to actual problem-solving.

That’s sometimes easier said than done because the temptation is to slide back down into emotions and get stuck there.

But as social critic Marya Mannes once said:

“The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.”

So the first step is to challenge those emotions — to look at the evidence to support or reject the emotions we’re feeling. Once we have that, then we can more clearly consider the situation and brainstorm solutions.

I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you (Oh yeah)

Paying attention to our thoughts — challenging our emotions — remembering why we’re here — using technology and different modes of thinking — all of these tactics, with some effort, can help break us out of overthinking mode and back into reality. So we can change our tune to:

A lot’s been on my mind,

And now it has been said.

(I thought it through and I found it true I’m no longer overthinking when I’m close to you)

Bonus Content

Watch the official video for “Close To You” on YouTube.

Watch the lyric video for less awkward dancing and more anachronistic technology.

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.
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