Blog Book Tour: Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10

This entry is part of a MotherTalk/MomCentral Book Tour for Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10, I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. 


Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10: 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years: A Life-Transforming Idea , to paraphrase various descriptions, is about learning to choose the life we live, acting rather than reacting to changing circumstances.  When faced with a decision, following her 10-10-10 method will guide you to give serious thought to the consequences, rather than just going with your ‘gut.’ 

I joined the MotherTalk/MomCentral book tour for 10-10-10 (and received a free copy!) because I love reading personal development and success books. 

Now, I don’t go in for the Stuart Smalley  ‘You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!’ type guides, but I enjoy books based on solid guidelines that helped the authors get a better grip on their lives.

Suzy Welch uses lots of examples (from her own life and from other people who use 10-10-10) so the reader can see how the method works in real life** situations, which makes for an enjoyable read.

I like Welch’s writing style, it’s authoritative but friendly at the same time.  And the system that she suggests is very simple.  When you are faced with a decision that matters, instead of going with your highly emotional, reactive, ‘gut’ you should put the decision in your brain by gathering information and doing a 10-10-10: asking yourself about the consequences of your decision in the immediate future (10 minutes), in the short term (10 months) and in the long term (10 years).

My first reaction to this idea was a bit of tension, because I was afraid it was one of those ‘Will this matter in 10 years?’ ways that people use to dismissing someone’s immediate concerns, but that wasn’t the case.  Instead, Welch is suggesting that you develop a fleshed out idea of how the consequences will affect you, not suggesting you write off today’s turmoil because it doesn’t matter. 

In fact, she specifically cautions against focussing too much on any part of the 10-10-10 timeline because all of the time frames matter – this method is about teasing out the big picture, identifying important issues, rather than going with our immediate reactions to situations. 
10-10-10 works best when you have a good sense of your own values.  Welch guides you to identify your values* by asking a few specific questions, and then you are supposed to use them to guide your visualization of the outcome of your decision over time.  Will this decision bring you closer to living by your values?  (People often state values differently than they live them, because they are not always conscious of how day-to-day actions add up).

Once you are clear on your values, you can use 10-10-10 to make sure you live as close to them as possible.   When faced with a decision, Welch says to develop a specific question addressing the problem (i.e. Should I accept this job?).  Then gather information*** and use the 10-10-10 structure to imagine what you will feel, and what the impact of your decision will be in:

– 10 mins (How will you feel? How will others feel?  What does it make you think about?)

– 10 months (Will you be settled in? Will things have calmed down?  Will you be closer to living the sort of life you want?).

– 10 years (What path does this decision put you on? Where could your decision lead you?  How will others remember this decision?)

I like the idea of using a framework for making decisions, because in parenting and in writing I often find myself with only vague ideas about why I chose a particular path, or why I feel we *should* choose that one.  That makes it hard to be consistent and hard to explain (and I’m a huge fan of information and explanation****) why I think things should go the way I do.  Using 10-10-10 will help remind me that some of the challenging actions I must take now (not giving in to the whining about video games, for example) are the groundwork for benefits in the future (kids with a variety of interests).

I’ve already helped a friend use 10-10-10 to make an important decision, and the feeling of regret that came over her when she thought about it being 10 months from now and not having taken action was immediately useful to her – and powerful for me because I could see how the thought affected her. I can definitely see myself using the 10-10-10 structure for helping my kids, for making career decisions and for mediating disagreements.

I do have a few suggestions (when do I not?  I am a suggestions queen!). 

I realize that people should read the whole book (or at least most of it) before undertaking 10-10-10 so they would have all the information before starting to use it, but lots of people will probably skim for the action steps.  For that reason, I would have like to see the section about determining values earlier in the book.  To be fair, it IS in the third chapter, which is pretty early, but it felt like I already had many of the tools to use the method by that point and then discovered there was a step before step one.  

Welch mentions values in the first two chapters (she says in chapter 3 that she has already mentioned them five times) but I would have liked for her to reference the upcoming values section in the first two chapters.

I would also like to have a 10-10-10 template included in the book or on her website.  Perhaps a values worksheet and then a form to use to structure the process the first few times you do it.  And a few, leading, thought-provoking questions would be great too. I think that would add great value to the book and help some people cement the process.

 Overall, I think the 10-10-10 method is a very useful framework for decision-making and it could remove a lot of angst from the process of making important changes in your life. 

*And she does this without injecting her own values in there.
**For everything from a discussion with a kid to choosing to relocate for a job
*** Sometimes the 10-10-10 structure helps you gather information, sometimes you need to gather information first and sometimes it helps you realize you need more information before a decision is possible.
****Seriously, I could never, ever, get enough information, not if I had a million years to research a topic.

FYI: This is crossposted with my other blog