It’s that time, Lou,” I said as I put on his leash. Louie looked at me with those big brown eyes and his brows furrowed. And then he looked at the Furminator in my hand and started walking in the opposite direction, as though that would change my mind about dealing with his shedding. “Better outside than on my wood floor. Let’s go!”
Outside we went, and I started to brush. Louie’s not fond of the Furminator but it is a great little tool. The design of the edge allows the tool to push through the topcoat and remove the undercoat and loose hair without cutting or damaging Lou’s skin. Yet no matter how gentle I am, he often tries to reach around and “deter” me.
For a short hair dog, he sure sheds a lot. I comb him every day and still get gobs of hair. But it is a necessary practice and while I know he feels better with less hair, this form of “pruning” is not his favorite activity.
I understand that! It pains me to look at my beautiful flower garden in the spring and see the various colors popping up and bursting with life, knowing I will need to prune them back soon. I’ve tested the pruning method in my own garden and while it seems strange to pluck away flowers, the process gets rid of unhealthy portions of the plant and allows for more robust growth. My flower garden is always beautiful mid summer so it is well worth the pain of pruning and the patience it takes to see the results.
As Louie and I had to take a look at pruning some things out of our lives as well. Sometimes that involves relationships that have grown stagnant or unhealthy.
By now you know my heart and my business are all about relationships. To be successful, one must cultivate healthy and genuine relationships. It is difficult but wise to recognize when it is time to prune relationships:
- Release people who are negative. Beware of those who continually gossip. They will drag you down and drain the energy from the relationship.
- Be a good steward of your time spent with others. There are only so many hours in a day, and we only have so much energy. Think about who brings you joy? With whom can you invest time that will result in growth? Who might you need to serve?
- Recognize one-sided relationships and let them go. While I am all about serving others, there are people who take advantage of you or your sphere of influence. Be discerning about relationships like this that may need pruning.
- Cultivate your relationship with God. In fact, start there and the difficult process of pruning other relationships can be done with grace and wisdom. You don’t know what a relationship with God could even begin to look like? Ask me! That’s a discussion that is well worth our time.
While it is not easy to prune relationships and some activities, it is sometimes necessary for you and for others to experience greater growth. We are all better people and leaders when we take time to prune.