I get excited about new beginnings. But like it or not, life is also full of necessary endings. Earlier this year, my wife started gardening. It’s a bit of a challenge since we live in a condo, so she turned our balcony into an “urban garden.” She’s got tomatoes, kale, basil, and a whole bunch of other things I hate eating! But I’ve learned a lot from watching her tend this garden, the biggest being the importance of pruning.
Pruning is the selective removal of buds, unhealthy branches, or deadwood to help the plant grow and reduce risk of it becoming structurally unsound. The life application here is that for you to fully grow, you’ve got to be ok with endings. It’s not always easy and it often hurts, but shying away from necessary endings is a silent killer. Here’s why:
1. You produce more than you can carry.
Ever see those wireframes gardeners use to help plants stand up? I never understood this until I saw how much time my wife had to spend propping up her tomato plant.
The plant doesn’t bear fruit once it’s fully mature; actually the tomatoes grow as the plant grows. It produces more than it can provide for. The wireframes allow the plant to carry the weight of the fruit it is already bearing. Pruning strips away the excess that weighs the plant down.
Isn’t this such a great picture of personal or organizational growth? We often sprout fruit before we’re fully able to carry it. But we can become so enamored with the good things that are happening that ending them seems sacrilegious.
2. Over-relying on a strength makes it a weakness.
Chances are you are producing more than you can carry. You probably have overlapping ideas and abilities. But you have to accept that you can’t do all of them equally well, especially if you’re creative or entrepreneurial.
Earlier in life, my concentration was in art. I won some awards and thought about being a comic book artist. When I discovered music, I put art on the back burner. Music was a strength and opened many doors for me.
But I realized about two years ago that I had to prune music from being first place in my life to grow further. Though art and music were bearing good fruit, they weren’t the fullness of what I am called to do.
3. You are a limited resource.
Consider what areas of your life or business need pruning. Whether it’s a job, relationship, habit, methodology, or strategy–shying away from necessary endings will leave you weighed down, structurally unsound, and a shell of what you could be. You are a limited resource. Save your best for the best. And now, I’m going to end this post!
Question: Are you hanging on to a habit, strategy, career, or relationship whose season has passed? Answer below!
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