A while back, I was conducting a strategic decision making program and at the end of it, a young lady rushed to me and said, “Can you help me with a personal decision?” “Sure,” I answered. “OK. Can you help me decide if I should marry this guy?” All the alarm bells sounded in my head and I went, “Whoa! Hold your horses! I am no marriage counselor!” “But this is a decision, isn’t it? And you coach people in making the right decisions, right? How is this different?” “It is a decision, yes; and I can help you if you agree that whatever happens after you come to a decision, you make sure that you talk it over with your partner and both of you make that final decision together.” So, after getting all the assurances that nobody was going to come after me in the dead of the night for a decision that might come out of this session, we continued.
Without belabouring this post about the whole decision-making process, suffice it to say that when it came time to look at the situation in a holistic and time-based fashion, the young lady had some problems. So to make it easier for her, I proposed that we used the 10/10/10 process – how important will this decision be 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now. Using this thinking-in-time process, we applied it to her situation, and here is how the conversion unfolded…
10 minutes from now
“Assuming that you said ‘yes’ to his proposal right now, how would you feel about it 10 minutes from now?” “Well, I would actually feel a little guilty.” “Why is that?” “Because my mom tells me not to rush into things.” “And what are your thoughts towards that?” “Actually, I think I should listen to my mom.” “OK,” I say, “let’s continue.
10 months from now
“How would you feel 10 months from saying ‘yes’ to his proposal?” “Actually, I would not feel happy about it. I might feel trapped,” she answers. “Why is that?” “Well, because I really don’t know any other guy. We met when we were in JC and started going out together and I have not gone out with any other guy.” “How old are you now?” “27,” she replies. “And what are your thoughts about this?” “Actually, at 27, I should have met more guys, and I don’t know whether my boyfriend is the one for me or not.”
10 years from now
“So, how would your decision to say ‘yes’ look like 10 years from now?” “Actually, I don’t see us surviving 10 years.” “Really, why?” “Again, because I don’t really know him. And I don’t really know if he is the right guy for me.”
Wrapping it up
“So, summarising what you have just told me as we used the 10/10/10 process, what do you think you might do with your situation?” “I think I better break off with him.” “Really? That drastic?” “Yes. I think he was the one who wants to get married, not me. I think I need to find myself, and if I cannot be sure about a person, or even about myself, then, I think, it is better to call it off.” “Don’t forget that you need to speak with him about this, and tell him how you think and not just go off on your own and break it off with him unilaterally.” “Yes, sure.”
And that was how the session ended.
The 10/10/10 rule was developed by Suzy Welch, wife of the famous Jack Welch. Having lived with such an enigmatic person, Welch would have found the perfect solution to making tough decisions in the face of a tough decision-maker. She has published her ideas in the book, “10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea”. You might like to get it, or simply use it as outlined in this post. Again, just ask yourself how you might feel about your decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.