Do you have a difficult time making wise decisions, especially when the answer is expected within a really quick time frame? I recently discovered the 10-10-10 analysis for making wise decisions that Alli Worthington talks about in her book Breaking Busy, and I love it.
In her book, Alli talks about how important decision making is in our lives. First, she quotes Andy Stanley with this really challenging thought:
“Direction — not intentions, hopes, dreams, prayers, beliefs, intellect, or education — determines destination. I know it’s tempting to believe that our good intentions, aspirations, and dreams somehow have the ability to do an end run around the decisions we make on a daily basis. However, you and I will win or lose in life by the paths we choose.”
From there, Alli follows with her thoughts on how decision making affects our future:
“Like it or not, every single decision we make takes us down the road close to the destination that is our future. What we think, believe, hope for, study, or dream about doesn’t affect the outcome of our future. The decisions we make and the actions we take DO.”
Direction determines destination. I want to challenge you to consider what choices you are making daily that are affecting where you’re going. What things are you doing or not doing that are helping or hurting your direction and your ability to get where you want to go? The little decisions that we make throughout the day make an impact on our direction in life.
So what is this 10-10-10 analysis that Alli talks about in Breaking Busy? Sometimes, we aren’t given a very long time to think about and process information before making a decision. This is where Alli relies on Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 decision-making process. It’s simple:
Ask yourself how you will feel about your decision after 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.
Everything you do has impact. So when you’re struggling to make a decision, to know what direction you should take, or what your answer should be, ask yourself these questions.
That really, really challenged me. I thought it was a fantastic way to approach decision making. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to decide, but before we say yes, we can stop to ask ourselves how we would feel within those time intervals to help us decide what to do.
Sometimes we make a decision because it feels good right now, in this moment. But will it feel good or right in 10 months or years? It might be a hard and awkward no in those first 10 minutes that will save you so much misery, heartache, and stress over the next 10 months or years.
Inspired by the 10-10-10 analysis and as part of my Year of Rest, I’ve been challenging myself to not only ask myself, “How am I going to feel about this commitment in 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now?”, but then I’m going on and asking myself the following four questions before I say “yes” to any extra commitment:
- Is this extra commitment in line with my priorities and goals for this year?
- Am I absolutely, positively, and totally excited about doing this/making this commitment?
- Do I have the time, capacity, and energy to do this and maintain a restful pace of life?
- Is my husband fully on board with me saying “yes” to this opportunity?
Here’s what I’m discovering: once I’ve gone through the 10-10-10 analysis and asked myself these four questions, I am hardly saying “yes” to any extra commitments. And it feels amazing!
By doing so, I’m able to really, really give my best to those few things I’m saying yes to. I’m able to focus on them, pour into them, and give my all to them instead of giving my leftovers or what little tiny capacity I could muster up because I was stretched so thin and exhausted by all the demands of the other things I’ve committed to.
And not only that, but by only saying “yes” to a few things, it’s allowing me to be so much more fully present and have margin and breathing room for what’s most important:
- To be able to really listen to my child or pay attention as they go through all of the steps of how their latest LEGO Puzzle Box works.
- To stop and just snuggle with my husband, flirt with my husband, or have a 15-second kiss (or more!). To have an impromptu phone call with a friend who is struggling.
- To stop what I’m doing and give counsel to a friend who is wrestling with an issue.
- To write a note of encouragement to someone who could use some cheering up.
- To take time express gratitude in a meaningful way…
We only get one shot at life. I’ve spent enough time chasing and rushing and hustling. This year, instead of living life at breakneck speed, I’m focusing on breaking busy. And let me tell you, after one month of living like this and experiencing the benefits, I’m thinking of turning my Year of Rest into a Life of Rest!