You know the idea behind pruning, don’t you? To grow a tree or bush, cut back a portion of its larger branches, even fruitful ones. I’ve been doing a lot of pruning lately, and I already see the healthy benefits.
I’m not chopping down trees, but I am letting go of a lot of responsibilities. These past few years have been incredibly liberating.
- Printing. Virtually all my production is outsourced to Oklahoma.
- Publishing. I’ve streamlined all my publications and curriculum, almost to where I want it to be.
- Partnerships. I’ve partnered with other speech and debate entrepreneurs to help diversify that which I can contribute to the community.
- Locally. I folded Monumentum, my local speech and debate club, as it was draining too many of my resources, especially time.
- Camps. I did seven camps this year, but that may be cut to just one or two (I’m still working on details, more announcements to come).
“Pruning” means cutting back in order to prepare for more fruitful growth. It is painful to cut things off, especially when they are bearing fruit, and many of my decisions are difficult for me. Take Monumentum, for instance. In five years, we as a club brought home four national titles. That’s awesome! But the time involved was taking from other opportunities to make a larger and more significant impact for the community I served.
Does this resonate with you? I hope it does. Maybe you’re thinking…
- I can’t prune back
- I can’t let go of that which is producing at least a little bit of fruit
- I’m stuck in an endless cycle of to-do lists and deadlines.
You may be feeling hopeless. I know I have. It’s kind of a curse of a self-employed entrepreneur. We work and work and work, and sometimes we feel there is no progress at all. It’s almost irony: cutting back may be the answer.
Remember, pruning isn’t pulling back your progress; it’s preparing for growth.
I’m faced with somewhat of a bold reality, and perhaps you are too. If I don’t prune back, I won’t produce the fruit I know I am able to produce. My 10 years building up this business has been productive, but it also has been exhausting. I must cut the heavy branches from my life in order for the better branches to grow.
Think about that for you and your life. How can you prune back?