How You Know When It's Time to Cut Something From Your Life

Uncategorized Dec 28, 2018

Do a dictionary search on pruning and you’ll discover phrases like this: A function of cutting away to reduce the extent or reach of something by taking away unwanted or superfluous parts.

Wow, if only we would lead and live by definitions! In the simple word pruning is the central theme of what a necessary ending is all about:

Removing whatever it is in our life whose reach is unwanted or superfluous.

In life, executing necessary end­ings is what characterizes people who get results. (1) If an initiative is siphoning off resources that could go to something with more promise, it is pruned. (2) If an endeavor is sick and is not going to get well, it is pruned. (3) If it’s clear that something is already dead, it is pruned. This is the threefold formula for doing well in almost every arena of life.

The areas of your life that require your limited resources — your time, energy, talent, emotions, money — but are not achieving the vision you have for them should be pruned. Just like an unpruned rosebush, your endeavors will be merely average without pruning. And here is the key point: by average, I don’t mean on an absolute basis. There is nothing wrong with being in the middle of the bell curve in many aspects of life, as that may be what success is for that person or at least that dimension of life. I have friends who own small businesses of less than average size in their industry or by other measurements, yet they have a fully maximized, thriving en­terprise for what it is and is supposed to be. Hundreds of employees and tens of millions of dollars is a great rose of a business and a life for what their talents, dreams, and opportunities consist of. Not the size of Microsoft perhaps, but they have achieved fullness of maturity for their company and/or life. Alive and thriving to the max. But without pruning, they would not have gotten there. And by the same token, if Microsoft or a much bigger company with tens of billions in revenues is not pruning, just because they are large, they can still be “average” relative to their own potential. They can truly be lagging behind where they should be.

So the question is more about this: are you only achieving aver­ age results in relation to where you are supposed to be? In other words, given your abilities, resources, opportunities, etc., are you reaching your full potential, or are you drifting toward a middle that is lower than where you should be if you were getting the most from who you are and what you have? When pruning is not happen­ ing, average or worse will occur.

Too often, as bad as the results of not pruning can be, we still persist in avoiding it because it involves fear, pain, and conflict. Yet in order to succeed, we must prune. How does that make you feel? Con­flicted? Welcome to the inner turmoil of necessary endings.

Need a safe place to relate to others about this topic? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups. 

Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries in Church

Boundaries with Codependency

Boundaries in Dating 
Boundaries with Parents
Boundaries with Adult Children
Boundaries After Divorce
Boundaries with Narcissists

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