“Waiter, I’ll Have What SHE’S Having”

when-harry-metI’m a pretty decisive person. For example, I’ve noticed that, 99% of the time at restaurants, I’m the first one to decide what to order, close the menu and put it aside. Others at my table take a few more minutes to peruse the choices, pose questions (“What are you going to order?”), and eventually choose. (And sometimes, that choice is up for debate up until (and even after!) the food is delivered.)

Now, maybe that’s not a fair example of my decisiveness as I love to eat and have no food allergies. But, I still think I lean toward the decisive-end of the continuum, something I was reminded of after thumbing through Suzy Welch’s new book, “10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea.” (How’s that for a long way to go to get to the point of today’s post? My apologies to those of you who read the title and thought I was going to share tips from the Kama Sutra.)

Welch’s premise is that life’s tough decisions should be analyzed through a 10-10-10 lens. Namely, as you wrestle with a problem, you ask yourself: What are the consequences of each option being considered – over the next 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years? By tuning into the immediate-, short-, and long-term impact of the various choices, you allow the “right” decision (for you!) to bubble up to the top.

I had two reactions to this approach:

  1. Frustration/Envy. 10-10-10 seems like yet another example of a simple truth packaged in a new way and selling like hotcakes. Don’t even get me started on, “The Secret.” Darn that Suzy Welch. Why couldn’t Anne and I have come up with that catchy hook first?!?!?
  2. Curiosity. Hmmmm … Do I analyze decisions similarly? Certainly not at restaurants, where the first ’10′ dominates my thoughts (my satisfaction over the next 10 minutes). The latter, longer-term 10′s (impact on my waistline and overall health) are usually off my radar.

I’m more familiar with the decision-prompting question: “What would you do if you learned you only had 30 days to live?” This question (usually invoked for significant decisions) is designed to help people identify and make time for what’s most important to them.

My version is a tad more graphic: “If I were to be hit by a bus tomorrow, would I be satisfied with how my overall life was going?” You may laugh, but I truly imagine myself sitting up in Heaven either smiling with satisfaction or clucking with regret.

Now, for life-changing decisions, I still won’t make a snap decision after using this “rule.” Usually, I’m too ambivalent to immediately know the right path (true for even decisive people). But, I do know that, if I’m on the wrong path, I continue to see a regret-filled Elaine-in-Heaven and that image begins to haunt nudge me in a certain direction.

The problem is – that’s the Elaine I’ve been seeing lately … Sigh. I KNEW there was a reason I picked up that book. Darn that Suzy Welch …


  • Sharon Says:
    9-22-2009 06:28:34

    I don’t have trouble deciding what to order to eat, and until recently I was pretty good at knowing what I wanted and how it would impact my life. Then I would make the appropriate plans. Now I know what I want – a book that tells me how to get what I want when the universe won’t cooperate.

  • Joanne Says:
    9-23-2009 14:16:52

    I don’t have too much problem with choosing at a restaurant, because I usually stick with just a few tried and true meals. But for big decisions, oh I have to think them through, and I mean more than just once!

  • Cindy H Says:
    9-23-2009 20:39:36

    A while ago, I heard someone recommend the tombstone approach: what’s really important is what you might put on your tombstone. Of course, I’d like my tombstone to include just a tad more than the bare bones facts (sorry for the pun). But I guess the point is, just before we die, we probably won’t say, “Gee, I sure wish I’d spent more time at the office” (or in my case, dusting!).

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