When last did you prune?

Pruning of trees and shrubs is an important activity if you want the trees, bushes and shrubs in your garden to maintain healthy growth. But trees and shrubs are not the only things that should be pruned.

Every full time or part time gardener understands the need to prune because pruning involves cutting back dead or overgrown branches to increase fruitfulness and growth. If you want healthy trees which thrive and produce fruit, you prune them.

Timing is also important when it comes to pruning. While the pruning of small branches can be undertaken at any time of the year, other pruning should be done at selected times during certain seasons. By the selective removal of certain branches, buds and roots, you will be able to maintain healthy trees.

But what about pruning things in your life? How many dead branches, roots and unnecessary buds are there in your life that need to be pruned to maintain growth?

As we travel through life, we accumulate things – material things that we store in cupboards, spare rooms, sheds and garages. Those things just remain there for years in the mistaken belief that we might need them one day. Another term for such things is “junk”.

How much junk are you living with in your home? Take a quick walk around and do an objective assessment of the clutter that you’ve allowed to creep into your home and your life – not only the big things in the shed and garage. What about all the small things that are filling up your shelves, drawers and corners?

Are those things serving any purpose? You can answer this by asking: when last did I need or use any of these things? If the answer to that question is, “Not in the last few years,” face the fact that what you’re looking at in that draw is junk.

But we don’t collect or accumulate physical junk in our lives. We also accumulate emotional junk, also known as emotional baggage. How much emotional junk are you carrying and for how long have you been carrying it? The more important question is: for how much longer are you planning on carrying it? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re planning to carry it for a long time …

Holding onto emotional junk or baggage is one of the most wasteful and useless activities you could ever engage in. In all my dealings with people at a fairly personal level, I have never met anyone who is carrying baggage who’s happy. If carrying or keeping emotional junk or baggage were to make you happy, I would say, “Carry as much as you can.” But it will never help you. Instead, it will destroy your happiness, meaning and fulfilment.

So, if you are aware that you’re holding onto a whole lot of emotional junk, maybe it’s time to start the pruning process. Start cutting away all that deadwood that’s been weighing you down, holding you back, keeping you from being who you were really meant to be.

Maybe you need to prune some relationships from your life – ones that have not been helpful or uplifting – relationships which have left you feeling drained rather than empowered. Some relationships only help the other person who feeds off our energy but who doesn’t give anything back to us. If you realise that you have been holding onto such relationships, it might be time to prune those relationships so you can set yourself free for new growth – forming new relationships that will energise you.

You see, pruning is not about loss – the cutting back and removal of dead wood. It’s more so about creating space and opportunity for new growth. If you feel you haven’t been growing lately, in yourself as a person, in your career as a professional, in your relationships, maybe some pruning is what is needed.

Set yourself free to grow to your full potential. If you don’t do that, nobody else can do it for you. And growth is what you were born for.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery so that they can live and lead with greatness.

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