There are many things in life that are not our favorite activity yet still need to get done. The question “Are You Willing to Take Out the Garbage?” is rhetorical and metaphorical.

Rhetorical in that “are you willing to take out the garbage?” means are you willing to set your ego aside and do whatever it takes to get the job done. The Collier Companies owns and manages apartments. As owner, I set the example when I am on site by picking up litter. Is it my job? Yes and no. Only in the most general sense of “the buck stops here” and the universal qualifier at the end of every job description; “and such other duties as may be necessary/required.” I could say I pick up litter to set an example and that is certainly true. Another reason is that I sincerely see myself as part of a Team effort and I always want to do my part. Yet another reason is that I am OBSESSIVE about quality, Customer Service, and keeping things neat, clean and crisp, and I deeply want to send that message.

Metaphorical in that there are aspects of every task that are less fun than others (to put it mildly). Even as owner of a company with 500 Team Members and a highly competent Senior Management Team there are things that I cannot delegate, that I find myself resisting the temptation to postpone. Being “willing to take out the garbage” means you are willing to do the nuts and bolts portion as well as the glamourous parts of any task.

A second metaphorical aspect of being “willing to take out the garbage” refers to the need at times to discard that which no longer serves us, be it outdated policies or dysfunctional coping mechanisms or obsolete ways of viewing the world. 


As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier