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One Branch at a Time

A few days ago my stepfather came over to help trim one of our cherry trees that was growing over our roof and giving our cute little neighborhood squirrels and easy pathway into our attic. My wife had been mentioning for the last year that we needed to do that, but my fear of climbing high up on ladders has kept those branches pretty safe.

In fact, last year I blogged about ladder safety and this topic was on the forefront of my mind during this entire process. These branches were like 15 to 25 feet up in the air, and thankfully, Papa Don was willing to climb up the extension ladder and chop the branches down (Thanks Donnie!).

As he cut down each branch, I dragged them into the front yard and put them into a pile. One by one, I added to the pile. Slowly but surely, the pile grew and grew. I guess I didn’t realize how many branches we would be chopping down in this process.

Yesterday, I walked out to the front yard with my Alligator chain saw (it’s like a pair of scissors that’s a chainsaw too) and looked at the pile of branches.

Wow. It was HUGE! I’m talking BIG! There were so many branches resting on top of and intertwined with each other.

At first, I thought “This is going to take forever.” I started to cut branches here and there, but after ten minutes it seemed like I barely even made a dent. I could feel myself starting to get frustrated thinking that I was going to be out here for a few hours chopping up branches.

Then I took a step back.

I looked at the giant pile, and decided that I needed to change how I was approaching the task. Rather than looking at the giant pile and feeling overwhelmed at the size of the project, instead, I decided to just do one small area at a time, and simply focus on one branch.

This shift in focus completely transformed the experience for me. I knew that eventually the entire pile would get trimmed down, but if I just focused on what was in front of me and knocked out one branch at a time, I could enjoy the process.

I realize this way of looking at the branch trimming process can really apply to so much of what we do in everyday life. Sometimes looking at the big picture can be overwhelming and paralyzing.

For example, if you have 100 pounds to lose and the thought of losing this weight is just too much for you to handle, maybe just focusing on what you can do today will help empower you.

Just like trimming one branch at a time, if you make daily progress towards a goal, you will eventually get there. Focus on what you can do right now and enjoy the process