Like many people, I get excited about new beginnings. But one thing I’ve come to realize is that endings are just as normal and necessary. A wise person once said, “To say yes to one thing means you have to say no to other things.”
One of my favorite books (it’s in my top 3) is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud. I highly recommend it, and I re-read it every year.
One of the main illustrations in the book has to do with pruning: the selective removal of buds, unhealthy branches, or deadwood to help a plant grow and reduce the risk of it becoming structurally unsound.
The life application here is that for you to fully grow, you’ve got to be okay 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 fruit 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 gardeners spend propping up tomato plants.
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 buds that weigh 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 also 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 may 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 in my thirties that I had to prune music from being first place in my life in order to grow further. Though art and music were bearing good fruit, they weren’t the fullness of what I wanted to do with my life.
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.
Question: Are you hanging on to a habit, strategy, career, or relationship whose season has passed? Answer below!