I attended the final mass this past summer of Fr. Gilmary Tallman, the pastor of my home parish back in Hays, KS before he took a new assignment in Denver, CO. Interestingly enough, he didn’t give the sermon during the mass, another priest did. As Fr. Gilmary pointed out later, the constitution of the Capuchin Friars, the order of priests to which he belongs, forbids a priest who is leaving a particular parish from making a farewell sermon.

For months now, I’ve been thinking about the humility and the focus away from oneself this rule of the Capuchin Friars imposes.

Staying Too Long

One reason it can be hard to leave a place (whether geographic, situational, or mental) you’ve stayed too long is because you become too focused on yourself. Maybe things have gone well, you’ve been successful, and people continue to respond in very positive ways where you are now.  It makes you feel important and really needed. It blinds you to how things could go on without you. It can leave you intoxicated with feeling good right now, but ultimately stunting your development and the development of those around you.

It’s easy to get lazy about challenging yourself to start over and creating success again in a very new situation.

This has been on my mind while reflecting on this year and how it seems way too static in way too many ways. While I can honestly see progress in some important areas, there are far too many others where it feels like I still have a very firm foot planted because it’s more comfortable and easy not to be really challenging myself to start over and see what happens.

What Should I Leave this Coming Year?

This coming year is going to have to be a year of leaving the comfortable behind and starting afresh instead of simply getting by in less challenging situations. Next year needs to be a year of seeing how much I can stop doing in order to grow in areas where my experience is limited or non-existent.

It’s scary, but it absolutely can’t be put off any longer.

How about you? Are there things you need to leave this coming year that you have been putting off too long? Are you ready to stop putting them off and dive into something new?

Let’s get started and see what happens! – Mike Brown



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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “What Should I Leave this Coming Year?”

  1. Alex says:

    I can only say that if my absence is noticed, then it was the right decision. Heh.

  2. Sharon Corsaro says:

    Wow, such a great reflection Mike! I really appreciate this… I love the notion of pondering that “no farewell sermon” policy for the departing priest. Gives me this sense of, if we really do whatever we are doing – well, right and good, with all our heart and soul and best intentions – then perhaps our absence will speak for itself… When there is no chance to put any ‘final touches’ on our time, no final “statement” when its time to go, we are challeneged to let the legacy of our works (whatever that may be) speak for itself…. To me, that says, aim to do and be the best you can at anytime, because anytime could be the day you are done… and you won’t get a “final sermon” to “package” your departure. Wow… that’s something! ~ Thanks so much for this… great food for thought!

  3. Cheri Allbritton says:

    I love this post Mike. As you know 2011 was not the kindest of years to some of us. But I learned something a long time ago…you only have one major gift in life, to choose how change, good or bad, effects you going forward. Merry Christmas Mike, and here’s to a positive and challenging New Year for all.

  4. Carol Cadenas says:

    Mmmm…thank you, Mr. Mike Brown, for the simplicity, yet warm encouraging insight into this policy which can be applied in one’s own life… 😉

  5. The practice of Capuchin Friars not giving farewell sermons
    is so interesting. The precise reason appears to be open to discussion.


    I suggest that the reason is to ease the next person into
    the role without creating undue baggage for him to overcome.


    After a clergy person builds a relationship with the
    congregation over a period of years, the final sermon is highly emotional. Then
    the replacement takes over as the congregants feel a strong sense of loss.


    The order supports the new clergyman by not unnecessarily
    dramatizing the leave-taking and throwing him into a situation tinged by excessive




    • Mike Brown says:

      Interesting perspective, Diana. Growing up around Capuchins, I’d expect it’s less about the new person and more about enforcing humility upon the departing Capuchin friar. By eliminating the opportunity for self-absorption that can come with an emotional departure, the policy ensures that the vow of poverty Capuchins take extends to a detachment to “place” as a physical good.