I have a bonsai at home that I got years ago as a present from former work colleagues. For a long time, I left it unpruned and it got slightly wild to say the least, so its branches went all over the place. You almost wouldn’t think it’s a bonsai! It was time for me to do some work on it allowing it to regain its shape.

The point of pruning and trimming is that bonsai trees keep their shape as they grow. The trees need it and metaphorically, it’s similar with us too. When we let things overrun, overgrow, dedicate our energy and focus to too many things, we lose focus. As a result, our energy gets dispersed all around. Pruning is also about being ready to let go of the branches that still have leaves and are flourishing but not leading the tree to its right shape. Pruning helps the tree to gather energy in its key branches and focus more inwards.

Sometimes we need to pause, and it is in that stillness that we can find answers for moving forwards. When we rush around and days pass by so that we are unable to say what we did three days ago and everything blurs into one it’s time to slow down. It’s time to remind ourselves about our priorities, the direction of our travel but also why we do what we do. Once we do that we are ready to move on with more confidence and clarity achieving the goals we want. Sometimes we all need this ‘trimming’ – we need to cut the number of goals, priorities, responsibilities, ideas, options so that the dispersed focus can be regained and redirected again to a place that helps us to move forwards in the right direction.

Many people say that they don’t have time do to the things they want as they are busy. What does it really mean being busy? When we devote our time to something we love and are passionate about we never say that we are busy even though it takes almost all our time. Therefore, symbolically, don’t let your branches overgrow but rather look inwards and get clear on what it is that you really want to focus on now and devote your time to; get rid of stuff that is not helping you and practice letting go. Once you let go it will create space for something new to arrive that will be more aligned with your chosen direction of travel.

As for my bonsai tree, a week after pruning it got new green buds ready to grow maintaining its shape but also ready for the winter condensing its energy and staying rooted. Sometimes, we can’t do all the pruning and trimming ourselves and need some assistance; and that’s when a coach can help. Growing and looking after bonsai trees is an art in its own way and so is living.

What do you think you need to do less of and what do you need to stop completely?

What is important for you to continue with?