Browsing through books in the bookstore the other week, I came across one called “10-10-10″ by Suzy Welch.
It caught my eye for some reason – perhaps intrigued by what it could mean, and then the subheading “A Fast and Powerful Way to get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and at Home” sounded perfect for my quest for “new material” to share with my clients. And new material for my own life.
I bought it and read it.
And loved it.
And have shared it.
And have used it (more on my personal experience in another post).
The concept is very simple. So simple in fact, after I read what it was, I wondered how she was going to write a whole book about it.
She explains the concept in the first chapter:
In a nutshell, it’s a life tool to help you make decision differently and proactively, by deliberately considering their consequences in the immediate present, near term, and distant future.
In ten minutes…ten months…and ten years.
The process is quite simple too:
1) Every 10-10-10 process starts with a question: posing your dilemma, crisis or problem in the form of a query. For example: Should I quit my job? Should I end this relationship? Should I buy this house? Should I skip this meeting? Should I go to the party?
She emphasizes the importance of having a defined question – so sometimes you need to really take some time to figure out what the “real” issue is. (There’s a lot of side issues and distractions that can make problems much more messy).
2) The next stage is to collect data: You can do this in your head, on paper, make charts, diagrams, talk it through with a friend, or even outloud to yourself! But you need to be honest. What are my options?
Then you need to look at: given my question, what are the consequences of each of my options in ten minutes? In ten months? In ten years?
As an FYI – she points out there is nothing literal about each 10 – each 10 just represents the immediate here and now, the short term, and the long term.
3) The last step is analysis. Take all the info you have collected and compare it to your innermost values – your beliefs, goals, dreams, and needs. She suggests you pose yourself this great question: “Knowing what I now know about all of my options and their consequences, which decision will best help me create a life of my own making?”
The trick in this stage though is you have to have thought about your values, beliefs and needs. You need to have a good understanding of who you are and what you stand for. If you don’t then this is the opportunity to figure it out. There is a great Appendix with questions at the end of the book that can help you dig a little deeper if you need some guidance.
By the time you have completed those steps, then it is often easier to see what the “right” decision is for you.
Of course “right” decisions don’t necessarily mean “easy” decisions. Sometimes it’s the case where both options aren’t great, or both options are great and you have to choose the “best” one. However, at least you can rest assured that you have made the decision based on “something” and you can go back to your 10-10-10 to remind yourself why you chose what you chose. It can help stop the ruminating about whether you made the best decision or not. You can be comforted that you made the best decision based on the info and the options that you at the time. So you don’t have to keep looking back and questioning yourself (if you do, then perhaps you really do know that you made the wrong decision….)
It is also helpful to have done the process, then you can share it with others that may be impacted by your decision. It may help them also understand where you are coming from. It shows that you are basing your decisions on “something” (hopefully your values) – not just haphazard-hope-for -the-best kind of thing.
After explaining the whole process, the rest of the book provides different scenarios and examples of how 10-10-10 can be used. It was actually a great read – to see some of the struggles people have (often ones I could relate to) and see how 10-10-10 helped. It was interesting to see how the same questions can lead to different results for different people, or to different results to the same people at different times.
It was also interesting to see how sometimes asking one question really led to the discovery that it was not the right question (the problem was really about something else). Or, it opened up people’s eyes to different options that they never thought were available. It certainly helped people think more in general about consequences (you have the freedom to choose, but with every choice comes consequences) and I think evaluating consequences helps you to be more mindful, as well as more forward thinking.
Overall, I think it is neat, quick, thoughtful and deliberate process that can help ensure you are making choices and decisions that are in line with your values, and in line with the kind of life you want to read.
Can’t wait to try it out more… have already done it a couple of times and it is a success!