How 10-10-10 thinking can simplify complex career and life decisions

How 10-10-10 thinking can simplify complex career and life decisions

Published 6th October 2017 by Rob Davidson, Founder of Davidson and Executive Coach

This self-coaching tool helped my daughter, Lily, solve her first career crisis and it might help you.

Lily woke this morning with a slight hangover, which is ironic because last night she was celebrating having completed her psychology honours thesis on alcohol use among the younger generation – I’m putting it down to post-thesis research.

Lily’s a hard worker and I’ve got faith she’ll get a good result, but rewind the clock to nine weeks ago and things weren’t looking quite so certain. I received an anxious phone call. Lily was working part-time and was intent on getting a good mark for her thesis. Time was running out and she wanted to discuss whether she should quit her part-time job and focus on her studies.

This was dangerous ground, full of emotion and potential conflicts of interest. Every parent will know that offering ‘advice’ to your adult child is risky, particularly career advice – even more so when your dad is a career coach. Man, if I gave the wrong advice, I’d never live it down.

Lily was working as a receptionist in a busy physio practice. “How could she possibly resign and let her boss, Loretta, down? It’s a small practice; Loretta relies on me a lot, what should I do?”

Now it would have been easy for me to jump right in and tell her what I thought, but I wasn’t that brave or foolish. So, what did I do? I taught her to use the 10-10-10 rule of thinking to put things into perspective.

The conversation went like this:

So Lily, if you were to resign today:

How will you feel 10 minutes from now?

Guilty that I’ve let Loretta down during a busy time.

How will you feel 10 days from now?

Relieved. I’ll help Loretta train my replacement and I’ll be focusing on my studies.

How will you feel 10 weeks from now?

Awesome. Hopefully, I will have nailed my thesis and given myself a great chance of graduating with a good GPA.

How will you feel 10 months from now?

Good. My grades would have helped me secure a great job and all that study will have been worth the effort.

How will you feel 10 years from now?

I probably won’t even remember this event by then and hopefully, I’ll have a great career as a psychologist.

And, conversely, if you were to resign today:

How will Loretta feel 10 minutes from now?

Frustrated and maybe a bit let down.

How will Loretta feel 10 days from now?

OK, because I’ll help find and train my replacement in that time.

How will Loretta feel 10 weeks from now?

She won’t care, life will have returned to normal by then.

How will Loretta feel 10 months from now?

Fine.

How will Loretta feel 10 years from now?

She won’t even remember this event by then, she probably won’t even remember me.

Needless to say, Lily decided to resign that day. The decision was easy, once she had gained perspective. And, in fairness to Loretta, she was fantastic and supportive.

I first learned about this technique from its creator, Suzy Welch, who used it to solve some much meatier issues in her own life and career. I’ve since used it many times to gain perspective on a range of issues. It works wonderfully.

Like all great tools, 10-10-10 thinking is easy to use. I find it particularly useful for making emotionally charged decisions.

Emotion can cloud our judgement and make it hard to see the wood for the trees. This technique makes it easier to dampen those unhelpful emotions by creating a sense of distance and perspective.

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