In the book Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud shares a very simple and effective way to create success in any area of your life.
He says that there are three things we need to do in order to grow, flourish and be successful.
Our lives and businesses are just like the rose bush. We may have a lot of really good strategies, products, activities, relationships, or ideas that we’ve poured our resources into. But if we pruned some of the good stuff back, we would enable the best parts to get all that they need to thrive, making our businesses and relationships even more productive and happier.
1) What is “good but not best?”
2) What is “sick and can’t get well?” and
3) What is “long since dead?”
I’ve got a slightly different take on it now. My grandparents used to have a rose garden.
Like a rose bush, in life, you first have to get rid of anything sick or dead. You have to get rid of anything that is not going to become the best. Then, you have to nourish the best.
When I explained Henry’s model to Sarah, who works with me, she said what about the manure… Surely that’s the most important thing for roses to flourish?
Seeing the truth in her question I immediately thought, what a great point! Where does putting shit on roses play a part in our lives?
I saw my grandparents do that religiously. It was clearly very important to creating a ‘perfect’ rose garden.
I responded by saying that she was absolutely correct; this completes the truth and metaphor for me. In order for us to become the best we can, we have to go through suffering and pain. Like roses, we need some shit to really thrive.
I instinctively said to Sarah that “it’s the suffering and shit we go through that informs our gift to the world.”
Perhaps after all, holy shit really does exist.
I’ve found myself reacting to the shit that life has thrown at me as a burden, something I wish I didn’t have to deal with. I’ve hated having to go through much of it! But it’s there. The Buddha said that suffering is a part of life. Go one further and as Gene, my mentor would say, suffering has a purpose.
We need to prune but we also need manure to nourish, grow and experience beauty and the true depth that life has to offer. To take Henry Cloud’s questions – which by the way are brilliant – to another level I’d ask…
What painful lessons have you learnt or are learning that could help others along their path?
What has to be true for you to commit to sharing your learning with others in ways that profoundly open up and enriches your world and theirs?
What’s the next simple step you could take right now, to begin moving towards this vision and calling today?
For me, I’ve experienced excruciating emotional and physical pain – through having a broken home and a broken back.
That’s where I now get to use the ‘shit hand’ I was dealt in life – to embrace the ‘gift in disguise’ that it undoubtedly was – to grow, flourish and to use NLP Coaching help others to do the same.
This is done by helping others go through similar shit – until they realise that it’s the very fertiliser that they need (and probably don’t want) to make sense of their pain. It’s their gift from and to the world.
Ultimately it’s the difference that makes a difference we were put here to make. How cool. And paradoxical.
Like a rose, we were all born to be beautiful, but we need to prune what isn’t working or isn’t the best. And we get to grow from the shit put upon us by life.