When Pruning Just Doesn’t Cut It
I do not like to cut down trees. I would much rather prune them. But, last summer, I grabbed my chainsaw and cut down a tree which blocked our satellite television reception (cable is not an option at our country home). Pruning was just not enough.
Reaching the tree was a major challenge. First, I had to cut a pathway through thorny blackberries six-foot tall and twenty-feet thick. When I finally reached the tree, I had to cut low tree branches and still more blackberries to get to the trunk. Finally, I was there. Within minutes, down came the tree.
In life, there are times when pruning just doesn’t cut it. We need drastic changes; what I call chainsaw changes. Here are some of mine.
- I quit my first job out of college (as a police officer) to attend graduate school and pursue a different career. A chainsaw change.
- In my late 20s, my wife and I sold nearly everything we owned in Indiana, left our friends, and drove across the nation to live in Oregon. We had little money, moved in an old beat-up school bus, and had no jobs waiting for us. We had only a dream for a different lifestyle. A chainsaw change.
- In my 30s, I admitted failure, closed a losing business and went to work for a vendor who believed in me when I no longer believed in myself. A chainsaw change.
- In my 40s, I left corporate employment and started my own management and marketing consulting firm and am blessed to work with some of the brightest and nicest people I’ve ever known. Another chainsaw change.
Here are some areas in your life which may need a chainsaw change:
Business Relationships. I reject long-term win-lose. I seek and accept only win-win. For example, it’s a lie to say, “The customer is always right.” Frankly, some customers are jerks. In my career there were times I showed them the door and said, “Don’t come back.” I have no use for bosses or fellow employees who verbally or emotionally abuse me or my colleagues. The chainsaw change says, “You’re history.”
Personal Relationships. Are they helpful or hurtful? I need others who encourage me and whom I can encourage. The truth is some people are toxic to me. They may not be toxic to someone else; but to me they are toxic. And, though, I may care deeply for them, a close relationship is unhealthy for me. I need a chainsaw change – drastic change in how I relate to them.
Cutting down the trees in our lives which block us from being the people we want to be is not an easy task. Remember, to get to my tree I had to cut through a six-foot wall, twenty-feet deep of thorny blackberries. Blood was shed getting there. Hopefully, you won’t have to shed blood. But, you may need to shed some tears.
The same day I cut down that tree, I saw a bumper sticker which read: “Remember who you wanted to be?” What a powerful question. Who did I want to be?
Every single day I move either closer to or away from the person I want to be. Successful people know they must stop doing certain things to be successful. Some activities need the chainsaw. Though they may incessantly try to return, chainsaw vigilance is required to keep them away
A favorite humorous quote: “Inside every old person is a young person who asks, ‘How the hell did I get here?’” When you look at where you’re at today, do you want to stay there? When you look at your path ahead, is it leading where you want to go? Are you on-track or off-track?
I like the “Life is good” t-shirt. But, I also like and chuckle at the t-shirt which says “Life is crap”. Life is not always easy. It’s sometimes painful. But, if we’re courageous, and make the necessary chainsaw change we can get in touch with the person we want to be, discover the person God wants us to be, and be the person our friends and family want and need.
Remember who you want to be – that’s not a question; it’s a statement. Sometimes pruning just isn’t drastic enough. Perhaps you need to show some courage and grab the chainsaw.