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Be In Your Future Now: A conversation with Robert “Jake” Jacobs

Male sneakers on the asphalt road with yellow line and title Future. Step into the future.

Why wait when you can step into your future now?

Feel it. Taste it. Put it on like a wrap.

Look through it like a pair of glasses. Walk in it like a pair of old shoes.

Listen. Hear the sound of the street, the songs the birds chirp. Then pause to hear: what is this new world trying to say to you and asking you to do?

And as this future comes alive within you, take a step. Discover what opens up next.

These musings about living the future now came to me after an inspiring conversation with Robert “Jake” Jacobs, founder of “Real Time Strategic Change” (RTSC), a consultant who works with large groups and individuals to help them move faster into the futures they desire.

According to Jake, leaders who manage as if the future has already happened will discover possibilities they would not see otherwise.

At the very least, they can accelerate change.

This isn’t just positive, affirm-everything-you-desire-to-make-it-so thinking.

Personally, that kind of thinking leaves me squeamish, especially after I watched the viral video “The Secret” with its you-can-have-everything-you-want-if-you-just-want-it-enough logic.

I like to give the universe more credit than that. It’s a pretty complex place.

I happen to believe that we have a big hand in creating our own reality – and our power to create exceeds our power to understand how it all works. But the idea of already entitled people spending their lives affirming that they are going to own a big mansion on the waterfront in Malibu…well, is anyone else gagging?

What Jake was talking about didn’t deny current reality. He’s talking about starting to make the future changes that you want now, real time.

He offered an example. Let’s pretend that you’re in a meeting with a group that is not aligned around goals. You might start by acknowledging all the differences.

Or you could try a different approach.

You tell the group, “Let’s assume that we’re already aligned. What decisions and actions would we take make from that place of alignment?”

In Jake’s experience, “It’s a different meeting after that.”

The more you make decisions as if you are aligned, the more you discover the places that you already are aligned – or could be aligned.

Of course, the group will not become magically aligned around everything. You know that.

Yet as Jake says, “The more you that you start to live in the future. The more you start to make decisions as if you were aligned around certain things you find that in fact you can be aligned around many things without it even being an issue.”

If you ask the simple question: if were we in our future now, how would we approach this? What decisions would we make? What resources could we allocate?

The world can change very quickly.”

You speed the change because you aren’t just planning about it, you’re starting it now – not waiting for someday when the conditions are right.

Last week on the blog, I shared my goal of creating a thirty-minute performance piece over the summer. My teacher suggested performing it within two months. I countered with three. Jake suggested cutting the time down to one month.

He challenged me, “When we set a vision out in the future – like a vision 2020 we’re subliminally telling ourselves that we’re not going to get there until 2020. I’ve talked with leaders and said, ‘why don’t we cut the timeline in half around the project you are proposing’. I’ve never had anybody argue with me and say, ‘we don’t want to do that’.

If you have cut the target in half, even if you miss it, you’ve still beaten your target by quite a stretch.”

Often, by cutting the timeline, we find ways to accelerate change.

A lot of times there’s a whole new paradigm that’s required in order to make dramatic gains. You can’t just work a little harder or a little faster. You have to put on a different pair of glasses and a different lens. [You ask] If I were there, what would this look like today? What kinds of choices and decisions would I make?”

We can’t achieve our accelerated goals by tweaking our old ways. We’re forced to go outside the box and find tools and approaches we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

I get it. By extending my personal deadline for my piece, I was giving myself leeway and permission to wait to get started. With a one-month deadline I’d have to start now. And perhaps I could discover some creative and more efficient ways to do things – like speaking segments into a recorder before writing them.

But I’m caught in a contradiction: What about Ram Dass’ famous saying “Be Here Now.”

Does focusing on the future pull us away from being present, and in the moment, now*?

“Be In Your Future Now” implies action, and requires presence, so perhaps the two ideas are not so contradictory.

My writing teacher talks about “going into the scene.” She advises how our writing becomes more vivid and alive when we write from the middle of a scene we’re trying to describe, letting ourselves live fully in the scene, and then enlivening our writing with the sensory details we can observe.

So maybe “Be In Your Future Now” is like entering into a scene, a scene of our choosing, a scene that can allow us to be present in a new reality where we can discover possibilities and actions to take.

As in a dramatic scene, the steps that ensue may be very small, but they will cumulate.

Plan. Be in your future scene. Act.

Standing in the future makes the future a lot more real.

More real, perhaps, than that mansion in Malibu.


* Love your thoughts on this one.




3 Responses

  1. I love this article Sally! Having read a good amount on the power of expectation, and letting go (mentally) of the things we really want in order to get out of our own way (both good tools to help bring about the change we want in our lives) this article seems to bring all important facets together through actively living today as if the changes are made. It reminds me of the quote from Neville Goddard “Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled”, that tells us how we can get there quicker and is at the heart of your article I believe.

    I really like seeing this being practiced on a larger scale too, in corporations where everyone will have access to this technique that I think will undoubtedly overflow into their lives outside of work. You can’t learn one good lesson for one part of your life and not apply it in other areas of your life. So what i’m saying is even if it only gets taught as a good business strategy its a simple enough of a notion to be more universally used in all areas of life. For example: i may be going through a difficult phase with my teenager. If i adopt this strategy though I can imagine and pretend that we are passed the phase, and onto more fun times of communicating with ease, and enjoying our time together and maybe agreeing to disagree with no drama. If I can assume this is where we are at NOW then i will treat her differently.

    Now I wholeheartedly agree with this, but here’s where I have a bit of a problem with it: using my example above, if I have been on the receiving end of some unpleasant conversations fueled by my teenager’s lack of respect for me, I want to work that out. I don’t just want to pretend we’re good. So maybe my theory that it will carry over nicely to our personal life is faulty! But I do still feel this is a necessary tool to help bring about any change undertaking.

    1. Kinga,

      A core principle of Real Time Strategic Change is “Reality is a Key Driver.” If you’ve got issues with a teenager you’ve got issues with a teenager. This is not about sweeping anything under the rug. It’s about finding some aspect of the future you prefer and to begin living it today. How much “control” do you have over your teenager’s behavior? A lot more than you think I believe. How I choose to engage with someone has a lot to do with how they choose to engage with me. We have a whole section in a book I co-authored on “Troublemakers.” The first point we make is that troublemaking is in the eye of the beholder. If I have you be a troublemaker I will tend to see you making trouble. If I see you as a valuable contributor to our common cause I will tend to see you making valuable contributions. In some cases, a very, very few in my experience, people are just difficult, vengeful types. Let’s not waste our time on them. But for the other vast majority, let’s learn a bit more about their preferred future….really understand and appreciate it. Then share ours. Then see what we can create together. Ask away more….maybe we can get clearer together.

  2. Thanks for the reply Jake. I agree with your points here, and do feel that any adversity we’re facing has been brought to us for a reason, because we’ve attracted it in some way, for the purpose of growth. I think the underlying current with any of this though has to be being in the here and now enough to truly have a clean slate so you can look at things with fresh eyes and not keep seeing that menacing person as a menacing person. Just like if you show a photo to a crowd and tell them this person is a criminal they’re going to find things that confirm that in their mind. Same with a person in your life who you tend to not see eye to eye, but its a 2 way street, and there’s only so much you can do to forgive them, to leave them alone, to try again and if its all one sided, its hard to make any progress. But still there is progress in that I think, because as long as we are trying to stay true to who we are, and make an effort to just focus on the here and now and not the past, it will help change how we see others, and how we feel ourselves. Sorry if this sounds confusing, i’m blending lots of thoughts here!

    I will have to review more of this Real Time Strategic Change philosophy/strategy because its very interesting to me. Thanks for this.

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