More + more + more is always better. Right? We live in a culture of excess, and it’s affecting every area of our lives. We pushed our budgets, calorie intake, and energy reserves to the max during the December sprint. Our current predicament is twofold; the constant search for more isn’t actually better and it’s also not sustainable.

When I coach leaders and consult with teams I see this belief in excess shaping our goals. Unveiling massive company goals breeds overwhelm. Individual goals stack higher expectations on top of us every year. Goals are great, but only when they start in the right place. Where is that place? Cutting off things that aren’t supposed to continue.

I read Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud a few years ago. I needed it. As I reflected back on 2019 I realized the extreme amount of change, growth and transition me, my family and my company navigated. I knew I needed to pick up the book again.

Our excesses (financial, screens, schedule, vices) are pushing us to an unhealthy level, and this is the crucial moment to pick up this book again. If we are going to flourish in the future we are going to have to cut off some things from our past.

Why this matters

“Good cannot begin until bad ends” p.9

“Without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, say stuck, and fail to reach our goals and dreams” p.9

“When we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on” p.12

“Proactive endings” are necessary, like pruning, which is a natural process for anything living to focus so a few things can thrive.

We are trying to do too much, and putting out average work.

Scores of leaders are overwhelmed and heading toward burnout.

Killer quotes from Necessary Endings

“For us to ever get to a new level, a next step, something has to end. Life has seasons, stages and phases” p. 6

“Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they were meant to be” p. 7

“When pruning is not happening, average or worse will occur” p.19

“You can’t prune toward anything if you don’t know what you want. You have to figure out what you are trying to be or build and then define what the pruning standards are going to be” p.28

“False hope buys us more time to spend on something that is not going to work” p.86

“Change takes place when we are surrounded by people who support our desire for change and growth, whether in our personal or our professional lives.” p.106

“If you don’t have new energy, you will probably get more of what you were already getting” p.113

“You cannot fix people who will not take feedback, because from their perspective, they do not have a problem” p.131

“If you are not creating urgent energy toward an ending, you will have no movement” p.150

Questions to ask

What do you need to end right now?

Why are you waiting to end it?

What have you been hanging on to for too long?

In which area is an ending necessary in your life?

Where are you afraid of the unknown?

Where is your fear of confrontation holding you back?

In which area are you overly afraid of hurting someone?

What thing do you know you should end but don’t know how?

What past baggage from an ending is getting in your way right now?

In which specific areas have you repeatedly held onto things longer than you should?

“Am I sowing when I should be tending?” p.45

“Am I tending when I should be harvesting?” p.45