Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Life & 10-10-10

Once in a while God sends a book (other than the Bible) to come along side you at the right moment to help you through the tough times of life. John Maxwell refers to them as "the books that have marked my life". As many of you know, the last year has been trying for my family. I spent a weekend in the hospital the end of March 2011, Heather and the boys spent April in Michigan trying to figure out if a change in environment would produce a positive response in her battle against her sickness, and we chose to give up many "things" in our life to relocate our family to Jacksonville for Heather's health. What a year!

Last May, I saw Suzy Welch (wife of Jack Welch) speak at a leadership conference. She spoke on a decision making tool she developed. The idea addressed the problem of feeling like your life is running you and that you are just a bobber on the ocean of existence. Through her own struggles while being forced to deal with a life she hadn't chosen, she stumbled onto a concept that would change her life forever – 10-10-10.
The idea is rather simple but powerful when used to make decisions – large and small. Knowing what you value (being there for others, time with your children, having fun, etc), what are the ramifications of your decision in the next 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years? In other words, what is the impact immediately, in the foreseeable future, and in the unknown? This framework allows you to check your emotions at the proverbial door, take a step back, and calmly think through the impacts of your potential decisions.
I used this tool almost a year ago to try to wrap my brain around the impending decision to give up my position at my company, put our house up for sale, and relocate our family. Heather was way ahead of me. She was ready to go. It was me who was holding up the process. I was torn and waiting for a "sign" of what to do. Thank God for 10-10-10.

Thinking about 10 minutes, I knew that it would be financially painful going backwards. I also knew that we were young enough to recover. Knowing myself, it was clear that my ego would take a beating. I wasn't sure if I was 100% comfortable with that, but figured I was blessed with a few active mentors in my life that could help me navigate the waters.

At 10 months, Heather could be feeling better and we could have the queen of our family back. If we stayed, she could get even worse, and I dreaded the thought of living without her. I was unsure about how I'd adjust with my new role at work, but knowing how competitive I am, I figured I would find a way to succeed. The financial part scared me a bit, but when I thought about it, I knew that we would have to find a residence that fit our financial condition.

In 10 years, my hope was that we would be able to look back with confidence knowing that even though it was a difficult decision, we made the right one. Heather would be healthy again, our family would be stronger than ever, and our boys would learn countless lessons through the tough decisions we made. If we stayed, she could be gone and there wouldn't be a job on Earth that I'd take or a paycheck large enough that'd I'd exchange for life with her. There will always be money to be made, but memories and moments are priceless.

Throughout all of this I knew that if God was in it, He would not let us fail. He would provide for us financially, He would help me land new clients, and He would heal my wife.

It will be 8 months this weekend that we moved. The boys have adjusted beautifully, we live in a downsized yet cozy house with a pond full of fish in the back for the boys and me to play with, my sales pipeline is strong with relationships at potential clients that still make me scratch my head about how they came to be, and the best part is that my wife has made HUGE leaps and bounds toward a full recovery. The boys consistently share about how different she is and those closest to use continue to comment about how beautiful and healthy she looks.

I will admit that coming to the point of deciding to go for it wasn't easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had. I am thankful to Suzy, and if I were to ever have the sincere opportunity to spend some time with her, I would thank her for taking the tool of 10-10-10 and sharing it with the world. Thank you Suzy!