Leap Forward By Looking Back


Leap Forward by Looking Back

Let’s say you’re about to take a leap into the future – a project launch, a new collaboration, a complete brand overhaul – or (brace yourself) a new business that’s all your own.

A leap implies mustering enough energy and bravery to propel yourself across a distance that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to just, you know, step across.  Another factor is of course the motivation to leap. There has to be something visible on the other side to make you want to risk crossing the gap to reach it (or something chasing you from behind with big teeth.)

But typically, unless you have angered a bear, a dragon, or some volcano temple’s warrior god you’re not leaping across some chasm to save your skin. You’re leaping to get somewhere new and exciting.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not just as scary. In fact without any immediate consequences for not jumping (i.e. getting eaten, consumed by flames or sacrificed in some lava pit) there leaves too much room for hesitation, self doubt and backpedaling.

And then the real beast rears it’s ugly head, the one that can freeze you dead in your tracks and stop any sort of momentum that you had going for you. She has many names but I like to call her “analysis paralysis.”

Analysis Paralysis - It'll Freeze Ya

But I would like to argue that looking back over your shoulder, doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks, in fact it can give you clarity and courage. And when paired with that future vision waiting for you, it can help channel that energy into actions that will help you “leap” on through to the other side.

Analysis Without The Paralysis
There’s a branding exercise that Kathleen and I have created called Past Present Future. And no, it doesn’t involve tying on headscarves and pulling out a crystal ball.  But it has amazingly has revealed some of the most insightful brand “truths” to come out of our methodology.

Basically it helps us get realistic about what we’re communicating with a brand. Not getting so far into the future vision for a business that it’s too far removed from any authenticity. And not getting so bogged down in the safety and comfort of what’s been done in the past, that we’re not getting anywhere new.

Past Victories / Present Action / Future Vision

Finding Clarity and Courage
Okay, but none of that sounds too dire. An established small business taking a “leap” with their brand is usually more like an evolution, moving up into a new league with their look and feel with either a rename or logo or website redo, a launch of a new product or service, or introducing themselves to a new market.  We find that the Past Present Future exercise for them typically helps them find an overlap between pie-in-the sky hopes for what’s next for their business and where they’ve already had the most tangible success. It’s mostly a clarifying overlap.

But it’s when individuals are really taking that first leap into their small, sometimes even micro- businesses, that this exercise really lends more than just clarity – but courage.

The Problem With The Present:
The funny things about actions, you know like leaping, is that you have to, well... act.  That’s the challenge of the present. And the biggest contributing factors to delay, especially when embarking on a new endeavor like a first-time business or startup, are:

a.) I’ve got too many ideas, how do I focus on the right one?
b.) I don’t know if I can figure this out, what if I fail?

Solve those two problems and you’ve got your a.) clarity and b.) courage, or at least enough to spur you into action.
Past Present Future
So Try This Past Present Future Brand Exercise:
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.
C. 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 overlap is where you uncover the most natural thread that runs between where you’ve excelled and where you are going. Like a rope between what you’ve already done and what you want to do next.  Dare I say rope to help you across the gap? The past in this case doesn’t not freeze you with indecision, but but steels your courage by reminding you of your core strength or talent.  The future is always going to need “shades” it’s so bright and busy, but picking just one beam to focus on frees you to execute – to act.

Don’t know what to do with that extra freaky day of February? Try some more of our 10 Minute Brand Exercises.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.



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