The power of using past tense in the present moment when focused on the future….what?

So, okay, the title of this blog may be a bit confusing…or sound like some motivational speaker mumbo jumbo..ha ha…so let’s dig into it…shall we?

Vision is a core principle in life…for me, it’s the ability to imagine something that’s not real…yet. For those of you that practice the principle of developing a clear, bold vision you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that don’t practice this, read on and see if it makes sense for you to ‘experiment’ with this. I call the model I follow and coach my clients through…jckrbbt. It’s a simple set of 5 principles…with ‘develop vision’ at the middle.

And here’s why. After a tragic accident in 1992 that left a friend of mine dead, and me having been dead, then come back, I was very ‘lost.’ I was deep in a shitty muck of guilt, blame, despair and regret. This mindset placed me on the road to more tragedy…until I was given the gift of vision. It came during a quick phone call with my mom when she asked, “When are you coming home? We can’t wait to see you.” This simple comment of caring and love jerked me out of my mindset—if only for a few minutes—to consider getting better. It gave me a glimpse of a vision—that of getting better, of recovery, of being happy again.

One great way to practice developing vision is to write a vision letter to yourself dated in the future…I usually recommend 6 months or a year (and put this date in the top corner of the letter). This letter is a prediction of what you want to have real in your life…what you will create for yourself and family and friends and business. Some think of it as the trailer for their life’s movie over this future period of time. Remember though, this is your vision, so we must watch developing a vision that depends on the contribution of focus, energy and action from one or more people. They must be committed to the same vision…if not, we likely will not create reality from our vision. I’ve seen it happen in relationships, on sports teams, and in business.

The characteristics of a strong vision are listed below.



And here’s what I mean from the title of this blog. You’re in the present when you write your vision…and you’re writing it about the future. Why I recommend writing it in past tense—as if it’s already real—is that I believe our brains love completion, we love to finish things. Think about how excited we—and our children—get when we finish something. Some people love this sense of completion so much that they will actually write something they already completed on their to-do list…just so they can cross it off. Crazy, right? Not at all…claim the energy that comes with completion…it’s the cousin of momentum, and that’s a powerful force.

So don’t be shy…give it a try. If we met for a cup of coffee…or beer…or a Cosmo six months from now and I asked you, “How’s life?”, and you say, “Great. Freakin’ wonderful.” And then I ask, “Why?”…how will you answer? And your answer, my friends, is your vision…so have at it. And if you’d like you can send it to me at and I’ll provide the appropriate feedback—if you’re open to it.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” - Dalai Lama