Book notes: Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

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07 January 2015: Completed

Also by Henry Cloud (and highly recommended): Boundaries

Today may be the enemy of your tomorrow. In your business and perhaps your life, the tomorrow that you desire and envision may never come to pass if you do not end some things you are doing today.


Growth itself demands that we move on. 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.

Rel: Some Basic Propositions of a Growth and Self-Actualization Psychology (A. H. Maslow)


Being alive requires that we sometimes kill off things in which we were once invested, uproot what we previously nurtured, and tear down what we built for an earlier time. Refraining, giving up, throwing away, tearing down, hating what we once cherished—all are necessary. Endings are the reason you are not married to your prom date nor still working in your first job. But without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, stay stuck, and fail to reach our goals and dreams.


We are not prepared to go where we need to go. So we do not clearly see the need to end something, or we maintain false hope, or we just are not able to do it. As a result, we stay stuck in what should now be in our past.


…executing the three types of necessary endings described above 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.


“There is a big difference between hurt and harm,” I said. “We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths, but it makes us grow. It can be the source of huge growth. That is not harmful. Harm is when you damage someone. Facing reality is usually not a damaging experience, even though it can hurt.”


The pruning moment is that clarity of enlightenment when we become responsible for making the decision to either own the vision or not. If we own it, we have to prune. If we don’t, we have decided to own the other vision, the one we called average.


…both businesses and individuals will begin, gather, and have more activities than they can reasonably sustain.

Some of those activities may be good, but they are taking up resources that your best ones need. So you always will have to choose between good and best. This is especially tough for some creative people, causing them a lack of focus. They create more than they can focus on and feed, they are attached to every idea as if they were all equal, and they try to keep them all alive. Instead of a to-do list, they have a to-do pile. It goes nowhere fast.

Rel: The outwork myth

Rel: In search of lost time: Why is everyone so busy?

Rel: Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek

Rel: Real Simple and the Myth of the Time Crunch


So if no one ever leaves your organization or your life, then you are in some sort of denial and enabling some really sick stuff all over the place. And it probably is accumulating.


All of your precious resources—time, energy, talent, passion, money—should only go to the buds of your life or your business that are the best, are fixable, and are indispensable. Otherwise, average sets in…


They have realized that their success depends on having the time and energy resources to go deep with a few relationships, and they have to end the wish to go deep with everyone, as it leads to skimming the surface with almost everyone.






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