Why pruning is an essential element of personal growth

We have a relatively large back garden and over the last few years, we’ve added many trees and shrubs which have now become well-established. Some of them have actually become too big for the space in which they are planted and so we have to prune them.

One such plant is the wisteria which grows by the patio. It’s a beautiful, fragrant shrub which is incredibly vigorous. It needs a thorough pruning twice a year to keep it healthy and to encourage it to produce even more blooms. It can feel strange to prune away healthy growth but if we leave too many branches intact, the plant’s strength is depleted. Sometimes we need to take away a branch in order to let another branch grow properly. It’s a big job but the results speak for themselves.

Our wonderful wisteria

Our wonderful wisteria

In ‘Necessary Endings‘, Dr Henry Cloud writes about how we sometimes need to prune our professional and personal lives, comparing that to pruning roses.

He suggests that we need to take a long, hard look at the career or the life we are growing and see if it’s developing in the way we desire. Just as you’d consider what a vigorous, productive plant should look like before you begin pruning, you need to be clear about how you want your career or life to develop. (If you haven’t already done so, you may find it useful to download my e-book, Seven days to shape your future, to help you with this).

Dr Cloud writes that you may find that some areas of your career are sapping your finite resources but not delivering results. These are like unhealthy branches and they need to be pruned.

There may even be some activities you no longer pursue but for some reason, you retain an emotional attachment to them and they therefore still take up your energy. Perhaps you had a role which didn’t work out the way you’d hoped or you have had a relationship break down. These are like dead branches and they need to be pruned.

Dr Cloud also writes about branches which are good but not the best. To allow the best areas of your career or life to flourish, you may need to prune the good ones so that they aren’t a distraction.

Sometimes, the wisteria looks a little bare after we’ve taken away the unwanted growth: however, next season we see the way in which that pruning has allowed the plant to best use its strength to be healthy and so very beautiful.

Today’s pebble for you to ponder:

In order to nurture the very best elements of your career or your life, what do you need to prune?

What do you think?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?



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