10/10/10

I recently learned about the 10/10/10 rule. Essentially, the business writer Suzy Welch recommends that before taking any rash actions, we should ask ourselves, “How will I think about my decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now and 10 years from now?”

I just learned about this rule – or tool – last month. Little did I know that I would have an opportunity to use it so soon.

It takes a lot to make me mad. A LOT. But I had already had a long day – actually a long week. It was only Tuesday. That should say it all.

A partner on a project was conducting a webinar. The invitation had gone out under my name (a “known entity” to the invitees, as opposed to the facilitator) but I had no role to play. I connected to the webinar just to listen in. But soon after the webinar started, I began to receive emails and calls from invitees who were unable to log in. There was a technical glitch and – in that moment – there was nothing that could be done. But because it was my name on the invitation and thus, invitees associated me with their inability to participate, I was mortified. And ticked off.

I quickly drafted a snarky note to the facilitator, “How could you not know the limitations of your system? How are you going to fix this?!!” But before I hit send, I paused. And instead, I took my dog for a walk around the block. And when I returned to my office, I realized that my snarky email would not do any good. Don’t get me wrong – I was still mad (and embarrassed). However, I knew that my email would not lead to the outcome I was seeking. I redrafted my email: “Let’s follow up with those who RSVP’ed to ensure that they have the info they need, if they were not able to participate in the webinar. In the future, let’s test systems, and work together to have a back-up plan.” The facilitator apologized profusely, and we moved on.

And 10 days later, after the attacks in Paris, that technology glitch doesn’t matter. It wasn’t even worth the 10 minutes that I was mad.

This 10/10/10 tool is one that can apply in our personal and business lives. Truly – how many of us have pushed “send” on an email, only to regret it 10 minutes later? How many of us have fought with a loved one, only to regret saying strong words that have lingered 10 months later? How many of us have spent countless hours worrying about what other people think of us, only to not even remember who they are 10 years later?

Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a deep breath, or going for a walk around the block. Because more often than not, it just doesn’t matter at all.

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