In January of 1996, NYC got a 3-foot delivery of luscious snow.  I love snow – the smell, the feel, the cold air, and the quiet that accompanies it. I went to work that day and sat, resentfully lamenting being inside instead of out.  It wasn’t a productive day.

It’s not easy to choose to between two important options, especially when one is an income source. You can make pro/con lists, you can call friends for their advice, but the best way to get to a decision as quickly as possible is the 10-10-10 guide; it puts things in perspective lickety split.

The 10-10-10 guide was created by Suzy Welch, a best-selling author, television commentator and business journalist. It works like this:

You’re sitting there ringing your hands.  What to do, what to do? Ask yourself:

What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?

In 10 months?

And in 10 years?

If I had used this guide back in 1996, I would have considered a few factors:

What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?  If I skipped work, I’d get to enjoy the rare, delicious snowfall! And I may be perceived as less committed to the company.

In 10 months?  I’d have memories forever of snowshoeing on streets of Manhattan. And I’d have shown my extraordinary commitment to the company each day after the snow day.

And in 10 years?  Those memories would be with me forever. And my reputation is based on more than one snow day. It’s based on consistently good work.

Does this resonate? I had the snow, I had the shoes, but I didn’t have the parameters with which to make the difficult choice. That’s what 10-10-10 does; it creates parameters within which to weigh possible benefits and repercussions over a ten-year span.

The time span is the key. By looking at how the choices we make in this moment may affect our lives in the immediate, the short term and the long term, it forces a higher-level look at how we’re living our life in the present. That’s a powerful gift.