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How to Make Hard Decisions Easier: The Five Year Rule

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This is the 1st installment of our Lessons in Resilient Leadership guest blog series. The first blog is written by Jeff Buchanan, the Founder of Lead By Example Consulting, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired) and Worldmaker Board Member.

Decide What’s Really Important: The Five Year Rule

One of my mentors was not doing well. He was aging, had a number of health problems and it looked like he would not be with us for much longer. I contacted him and offered to take him turkey hunting in a couple of weeks. I knew that he would not be able to walk very far, but I also knew that watching the woods come alive as dawn emerged would be good for his spirit. Mine too, and turkey hunting was an activity we shared and loved. My mentor agreed and we set a date a few weeks in advance.

I next called my mentor’s son (who is a good friend) and told him: “I’m taking your dad turkey hunting and you’re coming along.”

He said: “Well, I’d love to but I have an important meeting coming up and can’t miss it.”

I told him that he needed to apply the five year rule: “Project five years into the future and look back on this moment. Would you have more regrets missing the meeting or missing an opportunity to go turkey hunting with your dad?”

When he looked at the situation from that perspective, it was an easy decision. We went as planned, had a great morning, and even called a couple of toms in close (but did not shoot one). That is a memory that I will always cherish, and it was even more special because I got to help bring a father and son together for what may have been their last shared hunt.

When you face a tough “either/or” decision, try out the five year rule—it may help you make a better decision.

Did you like this blog or find it helpful? Click here for more of our Resilient Leadership guest blog series.

Are you a leader who has insights to share with others and interested in contributing to this series? Email Katie, Worldmaker’s Communications Manager at katie@worldmakerinternational.org to learn more.

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