As any good Back To The Future
fan knows, the things we do in
the past can really jack up our present, our future and – apparently
stuff we did back in the old-west times, too? I do admit I sometimes get
lost in the timeline in these films. Perhaps it’s because crazy-eyed
Doc Brown looks exactly the same age – and exactly like he just stuck
his finger in an electrical socket – no matter which time period (or
sequel) he’s in.
Past Present Future
is a brand exercise
we created for small businesses to help them balance out their
crazy-eyed Doc Brown future-vision – with a realistic look at where
they’re already great. Like Marty McFly (a.k.a. Michael J. Fox), who’s
effortless confidence comes from sticking to what he’s good at – playing
electric guitar really loud and looking boyishly mischievous in
designer denim and puffy vests. Talk about what goes around comes
If a small business can find the overlap where big dreams
meet proven core strengths – the result is a balance of truth and
aspiration. But you don’t need a flux capacitor, just ten minutes, to
try this brand exercise for yourself.
So Try This:
A. In the PAST column write five most memorable accomplishments or victories.
B. In the FUTURE column write five goals or dreams that would define your future success.
Last, in the PRESENT column rewrite just one idea from the PAST and one
from the FUTURE that have the most natural overlap between them. Why
those two? How can you pull strength from your past and find a way to
execute on that single future action?
The thing is, this brand
exercise has been equally eye-opening for individuals who still have
some proving to do and whose aspirations are frankly a bit overwhelming.
We’re talking about creative professionals taking the leap into their
own startups or micro-businesses. And this brand exercise can actually
help them gain clarity and courage on what they should act on today –
even when their actual “brand” is still a few more milestones away.
Steel your courage for your leap year, read this month’s newsletter Leap Foward By Looking Back.