Last week, one of the new books I started reading was Necessary Endings, by Dr. Henry Cloud. Intriguing concept.
In particular, I’m soaking on his idea of pruning. Deeply soaking.
On so many levels, this information is valuable — priceless even.
As Publishers Weekly put it, “Through specific strategies for ending things well, Cloud advocates for powerful personal changes…and will give many readers the fresh start they crave.”
If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m an advocate of all things fresh!
Dr. Cloud encourages us to not only accept, but embrace some of the endings in our lives. But he also provides clear, concise methods to make well-informed decisions on what and when to cut.
For instance, in his chapter on pruning, he gives three ways to determine if something needs to be removed, so we can flourish in the areas that matter most.
Using his rose analogy, here’s a brief overview of Dr. Cloud’s method for analyzing if something should be pruned from your life:
- Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones. Dr. Cloud contends, and I agree, that none of us are capable of acting on every idea, concept, project, or opportunity that comes into our lives. So we must seriously consider what might have the most lasting effect, what might help the most people, or what might feed our deepest longing for making a difference in the world. We must free ourselves of anything that doesn’t feed the resources necessary to accomplish our highest purposes in life. It will not look the same for each of us, so this is a private, and unique process for everyone.
- Sick branches that are not going to get well. It is appropriate to try to save what we can — after all, survival is wired into every human being. But once we’ve invested a season of nursing, monitoring, and intervention, only to discover our efforts are not bearing healthy results, Henry Cloud suggests pruning. Sometimes there isn’t enough water, fertilizer, or care that can salvage unhealthy relationships, projects, job-fits, or businesses. Formally identifying it, when the end is near, feels awkward, uncomfortable, and downright scary. But, in order to thrive in healthy relationships, projects, job-fits, or business, we sometimes must do so.
- Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive. We often deny the death of something or someone we’ve invested our hearts in. And yet, when a relationship, project, job-fit, or business are dead, there’s no resurrecting it back to life — no matter how much we want to. Unless we bury what has died, and resolve to move on, our highest purposes cannot spread to their full length and height. We cannot reach for sunny skies, bend, turn corners, and grow straight toward our goal. Because every effort will be blocked by the dead branches obstructing our path. The only solution is a resolution to cut.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market.
She’s a member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, client of WordServe Literary Group, graduate of CLASS for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, a co-founding partner of The Zenith Zone, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith. Anita lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.