Joshua Spodek’s (PhD MBA) book, Leadership Step by Step, launches in February. He is an adjunct professor and coach of leadership and entrepreneurship at NYU and Columbia. His courses are available online at and he blogs daily at

Jack Welch said that most of his work was keeping his company entrepreneurial, preventing it from ossifying with red tape and other bureaucracy. He was very successful, in his workplace as much as outside it.

I call that stuff garbage. The waste we produce as side effects of what we want.

I guarantee your work life has garbage you haven’t been able to get rid of. Same with your personal life. You have relationships that aren’t working for you that you haven’t gotten rid of and the garbage is holding you back from forming new ones.

You have old processes and habits that aren’t working for you. You haven’t gotten rid of them either and the garbage is holding you back from forming new ones.

You have material possessions you don’t need any more.

You have more literal garbage — the stuff in your trash cans — than you need and it’s holding you back. It smells and takes work to keep from getting too much of it, then to get rid of.

I write a lot about pollution. I mostly think I’ve written it because I love nature and I believe my understanding of science gives me insight into the damage pollution does beyond the average person.

I’ve come to think that writing about pollution is writing about garbage in general, and that garbage in the general sense of this post plagues us more that we think, and that most of us would prefer a life with more discipline and discrimination that would reduce a lot of that physical, emotional, intellectual, habitual, relational, and every other type of garbage.

What garbage can you get rid of right now?

Sign up for Josh Spodek’s mailing list.

Originally published at