TICM 160 | Josh Spodek | How To Practice Leadership

Joshua Spodek, bestselling author of Leadership Step by Step, is an Adjunct Professor at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc., and founder of SpodekAcademy.com.

He has led seminars in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, and sales at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, INSEAD, the New York Academy of Science, and in private corporations. He holds five Ivy League degrees, including a PhD in Astrophysics and an MBA, and studied under a Nobel Prize winner. He helped build an X-ray observational satellite for NASA, co-founded and led as CEO or COO several ventures, and holds six patents.

He earned praise as “Best and Brightest” (Esquire's Genius Issue), “Astrophysicist turned new media whiz” (NBC), and “Rocket Scientist” (ABC News and Forbes) and has been quoted and profiled by ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has visited North Korea twice, swam across the Hudson River, and has done burpees every day since December 2011. He lives in Greenwich Village and blogs daily at www.joshuaspodek.com.

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If you’re not doing something you’re passionate about what have you achieved?

Introduction: The Inner Journey of Finding Leadership

My guest today is Joshua Spodek. He is a borderline genius. He’s known as an astrophysicist turned media whiz. He’s written over 2500 blog posts and takes a cold shower every fourth die. He even swam across the Hudson River and toured Korean twice.

[1:55] Helping Others Find Their Leadership

Josh doesn’t find himself very interesting. He often turns to who he’s having a conversation with to be interesting. He looks at making meaningful connections. He asks people about their passions and hobbies. He finds they turn out not to give a right answer. People don’t want to be vulnerable. They’ll share something more if they don’t feel they’ll be judged.

When Josh finds people who have a passion for something he knows little about, he still finds a way to relate to it. Whether it be someone he knows or an experience. This speaks in a non-judgmental supportive way with people. This helps in getting to know the person more. When someone opens up more they become more interesting. This is also a strong point of leadership.

It’s important to be supportive when showing leadership. Telling people what to do is authoritarian. You need to exhibit that support to be a leader. Avoid these kinds of situations by preparing for what’s to come.

[10:45] Be Passionate Towards Your Leadership

Josh grew up watching a lot of TV. He found growing up that he wasn’t much into sports. Physics played a major part of his life. He found himself made fun of in his high school years for being into science. He took a year off and traveled to Paris after high school. This gave him maturity and showed him his passion for physics. Early on Josh explored what he had a passion for. He’s now trying to help others and finds it much more meaningful.

People need to understand themselves before they provide value to others. In Josh’s book “Off The Record” he explains how to lead others. It’s easy to go in circles when you don’t understand yourself and your goal. Understand what’s passionate to you and reach your inner self.

You can achieve a lot, but it may not feel meaningful. It’s your relationships with yourself that sustain you for the long-term. Satisfying your passions and those relationships you form will help you sustain. It’s also important to take time for yourself to grow and mature.

[19:38] Guidance Towards Leadership

When Josh teaches leadership, he gives more than time. Structured exercises can accelerate the processes tremendously. Having a teacher to guide you helps get you to where you need to be. It takes time to get there and it’s more effective to have that leader or teacher. Once you get to where you need to be, then go out on your own.

It’s not possible to learn leadership from a book. There are so many moving parts to leadership. Without having a teacher you’re not going to get it. You can read as much as you want but you need to execute.

[25:15] Spodek Academy

It’s difficult to get out of your own head. You need to apply the methods you learn. It’s a challenge a lot of people face. Josh’s school Spodek Academy is built to teach you how to be a leader. There are courses to take online where you need to provide your reflections on the exercises to continue. This is to ensure accountability to applying the methods you’ve learned.

There are people who start and stop when taking Josh’s courses online. While he’s happy to get the money, he doesn’t like that they’re not learning. He wants people to become leaders of what they’re passionate about. He tries to select people who want long-term and not just in the moment.

[28:50] Setting Your Priorities

Most people don’t know their priorities. Josh’s exercises take less than a couple of hours to complete. But some people when it’s time to execute they get distracted. They think of other things that aren’t of priority.

Everyone has daily habits. You need to create habits that set yourself aside. Doing something healthy and challenging is the difference between building in sand and in solid ground. If you don’t put a structure in place you’re not going to grow. When putting your structure in place ensure there’s consistency to keep it running.

[34:58] Learning Leadership

Leaders are not born. People use that as an excuse to not be a leader. If you want to be better at something continue to practice. Once you get to where you need to be - increase the challenge. Keep challenging yourself to continue to learn. Learn the fundamentals by doing them.

If you practice exercises that work, it’s difficult to not to learn. The better you get, the easier the exercises get. Once you stop practicing you begin to lose those skills. It makes growth harder. It’s also important to ensure you are passionate to learn. You can work hard towards something but if you’re not passionate about it you’re not going to like it. It doesn’t become meaningful for you.


[39:45] Environmental Leadership

Josh hasn’t acted on his physics background lately. Josh has done keynotes on leadership in the environment. He feels laws are trying to be changed but without popular support. With climate change and pollution where it is there isn’t enough leadership surrounding it. We’ll soon have more plastic in the ocean than fish.

There’s no leadership to pollute less. Everyone says you should change but they’re not willing to themselves. Josh changed his lifestyle to try and make a difference in the environment. He now throws his garbage out only once or twice a year. He gets food from farmers markets and cooks from scratch. Living by your values will give you a better life.

Successful leaders know when they can’t make it they find a way to make it happen. Josh gets a lot of failure stories supposed to success stories. Failure stories will always be more prominent. It makes us human. It’s important to get through the failure and learn from it.

Explore more fruits and vegetables. It’s important to not only keep our environment healthy but ourselves. It also helps towards your leadership skills. Be an example to people. Someone who takes initiative will increase your growth personally and professionally. Whatever you get from meat you can get elsewhere as well.

[55:00] Josh’s Definition of an Inner Changemaker

Josh’s definition of an inner changemaker is someone who continues to change. If you’re not changing you’re not growing. Inner stagnation doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

 

Episode Outline

Introduction: The Inner Journey of Finding Leadership

[1:55] Helping Others Find Their Leadership

[10:45] Be Passionate Towards Your Leadership

[19:38] Guidance Towards Leadership

[25:15] Spodek Academy

[28:50] Setting Your Priorities

[34:58] Learning Leadership

[39:45] Environmental Leadership

[55:00] Josh’s Definition of an Inner Changemaker

 

Links

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