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.

The book is outstanding. Henry’s take on how we do this? You have to make decisions about what to prune by asking the following questions:

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?eing 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.”

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