The Art of Pruning to Cultivate Excellence

What's 'dead' and taking up space in your life?


Why do we hold onto things that are in the process of failing or dying? Dr. Henry Cloud talks about the reasons behind this behavior, and how learning to face your fears and let go helps us create room for new opportunities.

How many of you are hoarders? Raise your hand if you're a hoarder. Okay, you know we got a gazillion people and like two people raise their hand. You know why only a couple of you raised your hands? Because the rest of you hoarders, you're in denial.

Okay, because here's why. Hoarders by definition are in denial. Have you ever tried to help a hoarder? Who's tried to help a hoarder clean out their garage or something?

All right if your co-dependent, you know what a co-dependent is? It's a person right before they die someone else's life flashes before their eyes. So you're always trying to help people. If you're co-dependent and you're organized you go volunteer for your hoarder friend, right. So you go over to their house and on Saturday you're going to organize their garage. So you walk in there you are, looking around, you're all excited and you pick this thing up and you go, "When was the last time you used this?" And they go, "I don't know, like 20 years." "Let's throw this away. We're getting rid of this." And what do they do? What is the first thing they do? "No." And you say, "Why not? You haven't used it in 20 years." And what do they say? "I might need that." Really? They have electric ones now. But they can't let go of it because they feel like they might need it.

Why do they feel that way? Think about this. Why do some people hold onto this little part that's contributing just a little revenue, or it's contributing this, or it's contributing that. It's not what you need to be investing in for the future but they have this hoarder and leaders do this all the time. There's a hoarder pattern inside of them when it comes to business and here's the hoarder pattern. It is a deep sickness of the soul, where people, experiences in life, have wired them and taught them that they have to be the source of everything.

See I can't get rid of that. I might need that. I got to hold onto it because I've got to be the one that provides everything and if I let go of this, there might not be another one. Not realizing we can find you one. If you got the time and the energy and the creativity, you can find what you need out there around the corner. We can find the money, we can find the investors, we can find the markets, we can find these things, but not if I'm holding on because of fear that if I take a step, we won't be able to figure it out.

And your people need to know that you do not need to feel like you have to be the source of everything, but that you take them arm-in-arm and courageously go into the future and say "we can figure this out." And to let go of some things that you feel like, "Oh, we might need that." No you don't. What you need is the freedom to be able to go do what tomorrow is asking you to do.

And then the second fear, you walk over here in the garage and you go, "What is this?" And she goes, "It's Johnny's first poopy diaper." "Well, let's get rid of this. That's what memories are for." She goes, "No, he was so cute then." She's got this attachment and longing for a time gone by. I can't tell you in how many cultures and teams I've seen people stuck in what used to be, or the leader before, or when we did this, or when we did that, and sometimes there's got to be a boundary on yesterday is gone. Throw away the prom dress. We're going to go do something new. But that gets at a moment for leaders to be able to sometimes just have a little funeral and let go of yesterday.
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Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is an acclaimed leadership expert and psychologist who draws on his extensive experience in business, leadership consulting, clinical psychology, and church ministry to impart practical and effective wisdom for growing...

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