Should you say "yes" to good things?

“Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck,never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.” Henry Cloud


Do you know when to stop doing things?

Do have clarity on when to quit a job, say "no" to an activity, or pass on an opportunity?

If decision making was like choosing between regular and super-sized, we'd all have a MUCH easier time blending together life's demands.  We instinctively try and avoid the obvious "bad" and lean into the obvious "good."  However,  most of the time we live in a more complex world.

For me, the pinnacle of my struggle happened when I was considering leaving A&E Networks.

That was when I read the book, Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud, which had a word picture I glommed onto.  The word picture compares our lives to tending a rose garden. The headline is this: Foremost among the many skills you need to be an expert gardener is the ability to prune.

In fact, Master Gardeners know you ROUTINELY prune a plant to remove

  • What's dead
  • What's ill
  • What's taking up space

While the first three areas seem obvious, the last category is surprising;  you prune what's healthy!

What?  Stop the presses!  I have to remove good things in my life?

Why yes, that's the implication and to me it sounds harsh.  However, it helps to remember the goal:

Every pruning is designed to give the plant extra space and resources to grow.

For me these days (and probably for you), pruning is particularly challenging when it comes to the schedule.

When I receive a meeting invite and if my schedule is clear, I accept.  It's almost a reflex.

If my kids want to do something fun, well "yes, and..." is where I start.

Catching up with friends, trying new restaurants, traveling to new places? Yes. Yes. Yes.

These are all good things, but when the good edges out the margin in my schedule, everything starts to fray.

That's the irony; if I'm around people too much, I begin to dislike me.  I dislike my snippy attitude and the way I make "hurry up" my biggest value.

What I lose when I fail to prune is my peace.

There's probably a long list of things I need to quit, but this week, I'm pruning staying up late.

I'll let you imagine what that's going to take for me, but it's not a small cut.  What do you need to quit?  What good thing is crowding your space?

Maybe this is the week to act like a gardener!