July 30, 2020

Meet Joshua Spodek, PhD MBA & Executive Coach

Credit: Joshua Spodek
Hi Josh! It's been a while since we've crossed paths on Sasha Talks. Please introduce yourself to the audience.
(Below is a snapshot of Josh's biography)

Joshua Spodek PhD MBA is a three-time TEDx speaker, #1 bestselling author of Initiative and Leadership Step by Step, host of the award-winning Leadership and the Environment podcast, and professor at NYU.

He ran six marathons (3:51 best), rowed one, competed at the world and national level of Ultimate (#5 at nationals, and #11 at worlds), including the first ultimate tournament in North Korea. He swam across the Hudson River twice, did over 150,000 burpees, wrote over 3,500 blog posts, took over 500 cold showers, and jumped out of two airplanes.

He hasn’t flown (by choice) since March 2016, has picked up at least one piece of trash per day since April 2017, and takes over a year to produce a load of garbage.

"My main passion has become applying leadership to sustainability and stewardship. I don't see any leaders in the area. I distinguish leadership from spreading facts, figures, doom, or gloom, or telling people what to do what you don't do or enjoy. Even Greta calls for panic. Until someone becomes a better Mandela of sustainability, I'll keep doing my best."

​You've authored at least four books. "Initiative: A Proven Method to Bring Your Passion to Life" (2019) references the myriad resources available for individuals to actualize their personal and professional passions. If there's greater access and quality of resources available today, then why are audiences less engaged to invest in their initiative for a better life? 
Our culture, especially our educational system, teaches compliance -- the opposite of initiative -- and tells you what to value -- undermining our ability to learn our personal values. If we've only learned music history and theory, no surprise that we don't know how to play the piano. Lectures don't put your fingers on the keyboard.

You've had the privilege of living abroad and experiencing life from different perspectives. Are there any unexpected parallels that exist between living in Paris, France and living in Ahmedabad, India?
I look for commonalities between people and cultures. People seem to look for differences. That's their prerogative, but I find finding similarities increases my empathy, compassion, and taking responsibility for how my behavior affects them, which motivates me to steward our common resources more. We all breathe, drink, and eat yet we are polluting our air, water, and land faster and more thoroughly than ever.

As a published artist, you've also taught art classes at Parsons and NYU. How would you describe the idea of art to someone who lacks the gift of sight and sound?
I find similar aesthetic beauty in mathematics and science. I've also heard that brain scans show that work that mathematicians and scientists call beautiful activate the parts of their brains that art activates in artists. So I would teach them math and science if they didn't already know it, through Braille I suppose, and give them those aesthetic feelings that way. Alternatively, literature, poetry, dance, or other fields could work without sight or sound, but I speak math and science more fluently.

Blogging can be a therapeutic ritual for some writers while stressful for others. How did you develop a routine to blog daily on JoshuaSpodek.com?
My friend who set up my site told me he posted daily with the words, "if you miss one day you can miss two. If you miss two it's all over," which started me posting daily. That was January 2011 and I haven't missed a day since. Contrary to my expectation that I would run out of ideas, experience taught me skills to write more. I developed my routine through practice.

I recorded a webinar on developing habits compiling a decade of practice, research, and theory. Since habits create greatness, I recommend it as one of my greatest works.

Josh, you host at least six patents to date. Is there any specific patent that you are most proud of and why?
Those were clever technologies, but they came before the shift in my life from doing cool things for myself to serving others and community.

The audiences have witnessed your passion for podcasting, writing, speaking, teaching, drawing, innovating and so much more. Is there any uncharted aspect of art you're wanting to pursue? Do you have any singing or acting aspirations?
I took an intensive acting course one summer that transformed my understanding of self-expression and self-awareness. I would recommend the experience to anyone. You can read how it affected how I teach leadership in the introduction to my book Leadership Step by Step. You can see some of my results in the videos of myself doing open-mic stand-up comedy I posted to my blog. If you search you'll find them.

I've also recently opened up about the years I devoted to learning attraction, dating, and seduction, eventually becoming the top coach in New York for the coach I studied most from. I spoke about that experience in my Behind the Mic series on my podcast, a cathartic experience.

Your portfolio of work provides sensory nourishment for one's mind, body and emotional health. How have your successes and lessons learned in your life contributed to your spiritual growth?
That's like asking how food and water contributed to my physical growth. I hope I don't sound too vague to say that everything infuses everything. I'll add that passively waiting and hoping for experiences to find me, as I did for my life's first two or three decades, didn't contribute nearly as much. I'll also add that I gained as much though physical fitness based on a healthy diet, vigorous exercise, and the right amount of sleep for me per night.

What is the worse entrepreneurial advice you've received? How soon did you recognize the advice didn't align with your vision?
When I was maybe five or ten years old, a great aunt asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I answered, "an inventor." She asked, "what will you invent?" I couldn't think of anything, which frustrated me. However natural her questions sounded to her, they crushed me. How can a child, in the moment, think of a meaningful invention?
After inventing things, I realized I could have started inventing long before had her questions not made me feel inadequate. I believe I have never asked a child what they wanted to be when they grew up, which I see as the adult mindlessly entertaining him or herself.

What do you believe are the top two ingredients in cultivating healthy relationships in life, business and love?
People think my book on leadership is about getting promoted and my book on initiative is on starting companies, but really they are my answer to your question. If I could put the answer in words, I would, but like any art, I think it comes through experience. The exercises in those books give the ingredients to cultivate healthy relationships in life, business and love. I value all my relationships today more than any from before I learned what they teach through experience.

Please share how people can contact and support your work.

Joshua Spodek Show: Visit Here
Favorite Blog Posts: Visit Here
Contact: Click Here

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