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Necessary Endings

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December 1, 2011 by eric echols

You can’t have a great new beginning without a necessary ending. We all have things in life that just aren’t working, whether it’s a relationship, a job, or a project…knowing when and how to let go is essential to our success. Without the ability to ends things we stay stuck – never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that we could.

I recently read Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward.  Dr. Cloud defines necessary endings as “the process of removing whatever it is in our business (church) or life whose reach is unwanted or superfluous”. This book has had a tremendous impact on how I view life and leadership during the various seasons we find ourselves.

Here are some of the insights I’m taking away from the book:

  • Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on.
  • Endings are a normal part of our business and personal lives.
  • One of the most important decisions you will make is deciding what you’re not going to do.
  • Sometimes we don’t create a necessary ending because we take too much responsibility for other people by covering for them.
  • Leaders persevere, which is why ending something can be so hard. Leaders tend to have an aversion to quitting anything. We need to realize that quitting one thing leads to starting another thing that’s more effective.
  • Nagging or any other kind of repeated attempts to get someone to listen should never have to be done, and if you are having to do it, something is wrong.
  • It’s always worth entering the process of change with a wise person because they will learn from experience & make adjustments. Talking about a problem helps with a wise person.
  • When confronted with a necessary ending, a foolish person tries to adjust the truth so he/she does not have to adjust to it. It is a waste of time to try talking to them about the problem. You have to end their pattern by setting limits & consequences.
  • If you are dealing with an evil person you have to protect yourself, your company, your loved ones, and anything that matters to you.
  • Human brains are designed to create what they see in the future.
  • If we really want change to occur & endings to happen we have to create an urgency for change by: 1) Creating a Vision of the Future we desire, 2) Setting Deadlines to force the necessary ending. 3) Creating a Structure that drives the vision. The structure consists of time, plans, milestones, meetings, & resources. 4) Staying Close to the Misery. You cannot remain detached from the problem and expect to have a necessary ending.
  • This is a fundamental truth about endings: you have to be able to face losing some things you might want in order to be free to do the right thing. If you can’t, you are stuck.
  • Everything of value I have comes from being willing to end something that I was doing and go to the next step.

Necessary endings are a part of life. Without them you can’t have a great new beginning.

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