Necessary Endings Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Necessary Endings is a guide to change that explains how you can get rid of unwanted behaviors, events, and people in your life and use the magic of new beginnings to build a better life.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Necessary Endings Summary

Audio Summary

Listen to the audio of this summary with a free account*:

Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut with a part of your life? Maybe it was a difficult relationship that never went anywhere. Or a job that was unsatisfying enough to make you want to slit your wrists and do pushups in saltwater. Sometimes it’s as simple as that nasty hangnail that just won’t go away without a struggle. 

Whatever it is, ending things that we know are holding us down is tough. It’s often easier to remain in pain because change is so hard. Sadly, too many people are surprisingly good at sticking with things that suck the life out of them. But it’s important that we learn how to say no more when we need to cut something off from our lives. 

This is where Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings comes in handy. Although transitions are difficult, Cloud makes it a little easier by outlining some steps to get you out of that rut. After reading this you’ll feel inspired to take a hard look at your life and make some necessary improvements. 

Closing out what’s keeping you from blooming is good for you. This book will teach you how to make your necessary endings happen.

Here are 3 of the most life-changing principles this book teaches about endings:

  1. To prune away the aspects of your life that are holding you back, focus on your goals.
  2. Change is hard, but creating urgency by taking a hard look at your current circumstances will boost your motivation to act.
  3. Ending a relationship can be particularly tough, so set standards and visualize what you want to accomplish after making the separation official.

Grab your pruning shears and let’s learn how to cut away the things that keep us from greatness!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: Focus on your goals to help yourself prune those things that are holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Have you ever pruned a tree or bush? It seems strange to cut something back but is actually remarkable when you think about the purpose. We prune things to help them grow more healthy, vibrant, and beautiful. A rose bush, for example, will grow healthier and more colorful when pruned properly.

To prepare for slashing out of your life that which holds you back, think of your life like a rose bush. Imagine all the health and happiness you will achieve by making those necessary steps to move forward in your life. Just like that gardener pruning his rosebush thinks of the beautiful end result he seeks, you should do the same. 

Take some motivation from Jack Welch, author of Winning and former CEO of General Electric. His cutbacks involved layoffs and canceling unproductive business ventures. The result was the market value of the company rising from $14 billion to $410 billion. GE also become one of the top in its market. 

One additional tip for making endings easier is to see them as good and natural parts of life. We too often look to shearing the baggage from our lives as negative and something to avoid. But remember our rose bush analogy. Without pruning the bush grows unruly and may even die from disease and pests. Don’t let that be your fate!

Lesson 2: Make it easier to start changing your life by getting the urgency that comes from looking hard at your current circumstances.

The reason endings are so difficult is that they require us to change. We’d like to stay in our comfort zones, making improvements only when completely necessary. We either need the fear of continuing forward or the opportunity of something greater to push us. 

What works best is when we feel that it’s urgent to get out of our current situation. 

Imagine you are the CEO of a business that sells chairs. Your company is barely staying afloat, but you’re managing alright. One day, an employee notifies you of a rival whose prices are lower and chairs are better. Wouldn’t that light a fire under you to cut off your current supplier in favor of a better one? 

For a more personal approach, spend some time in front of the mirror. Literally, go stand at the mirror and look honestly at yourself. 

What does it feel like to be where you’re at right now? Take some time to really reflect. Feel, smell, and imagine your current state. Then, look to your future. Can you imagine taking everything you’re feeling right now with you? Let that dissatisfaction you now feel fuel your movement for improvement.

Lesson 3: Overcome hurdles to breaking off relationships by setting standards and realizing what you hope will happen after the separation.

Ending relationships is particularly difficult. Most of us are more in love with the idea of being in love than with the people we think we’re in love with. It’s easy to stay comfortable in what we know, even if that is bringing us down. But sometimes, even what seem like the best relationships, must come to an end. 

So how can you navigate this difficulty? First, you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth ending in the first place. Be clear about your standards and aspirations, and communicate them to your significant other. 

The next step is to let them decide for themselves if they can move forward with meeting your desires. If their answer is that it’s not possible, end the relationship. That’s easier said than done, right? The conversation required to end the relationship is a tough pill to swallow. Let’s look at some ways to make it a little easier.

Similar to our rose bush analogy from earlier, consider your end goal beyond the discussion to make it easier. What will it feel like to be able to move on? How will you use the additional emotional space and time to move forward? 

Decide in advance what you want to say and be clear on your desires. If the relationship is abusive, put your foot down that you never want them to contact you again or you’ll involve the authorities.

Necessary Endings Review

Necessary Endings really inspired me to take action on some changes I want to make right now. I’m confident that it will have the same motivational power for you as well. This book is a must read for everyone!

Who would I recommend the Necessary Endings summary to?

The 34-year-old wife in an abusive relationship who wants the confidence to break her way out of it, the 56-year-old entrepreneur who feels stuck but knows they need to make some changes in their business, and anyone who could use some encouragement to improve their life.

Last Updated on August 23, 2022

Rate this book!
This book has an average rating of 4.2 based on 5 votes.

Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.