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I don’t often use my blog to share concepts from others, but at the moment I am reading an excellent book called “Necessary Endings” by Henry Cloud. The premise of this book is that “today may be the enemy of tomorrow” and that there are things in our lives that need to end today if we want to experience better tomorrows. These are necessary endings. I would really recommend this book to anyone. The follow summation is taken directly from this insightful manuscript and I think it offers some fantastic insight into how we can all respond to the process of pruning. Pruning helps us to better engage and manage the relationships that are a part of our lives.

Cloud writes, “Pruning is the process of entering into proactive endings. A rosebush, like many other plants, can’t reach its full potential without a very systematic process of pruning. The gardener intentionally and purposefully cuts off buds and branches that fall into one of three categories:

1)    Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones.
2)    Sick branches that are not going to get well.
3)    Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.

There are three types of “necessary endings” in our lives that fall into each of these three categories.The first one is needed when the plant has enough life and resources to feed and nurture only so many buds to their full potential; it can’t bring them all too full bloom. In order for the bush to thrive a certain number of buds need to go away. The caretaker constantly examines the bush to see which buds are worthy of the plant’s limited fuel and support and cuts away all others. In doing so, the gardener frees those needed resources so that the plant can redirect them to the buds with the greatest potential to become mature roses.Secondly, some branches are sick or diseased and are not ever going to make it. For a while, the gardener may monitor them, fertilize and nurture them, or otherwise try to make them healthy. But at some point, he realized that more water, more fertilizer, or more care is just not going to help. For whatever reason they are not going to recover and become what he needs them to be to create the final picture of beauty. As a result, even more fuel and life can pour into the healthy buds.

A third ending that often needs to take place in our life and relationships is that dead branches need to be removed. The healthy branches need room which the dead branches are taking up to reach their full length and height. If dead branches remain, healthy branches can’t spread when the dead branches force them to bend and turn corners they should be growing straight for the goal.Like rosebushes, pruning must happen to us if we are to realize our full potential. Rosebushes are designed for incredible beauty, and there should never be an average one. If they are not adequately pruned, they never make it. And like rosebushes, your business and your life also need the same type of pruning to be all that you desire.”How do these concepts apply to your relationships? How can they help you improve where you invest your time and energy?

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