Russ & The Coach - Part II Vision

“The Unprecedented Results Program.” I call Julian Cohen at 9AM on Tuesday. We never have an agenda. He says “Hello” and we are off.   

One of the first things Julian and I talked about after getting reengaged last year after 15 years apart, was vision. More importantly, he asks, “Do I have an updated one?”

Flashback to December 17, 1998, which was the first time I completed a vision. A month or so prior, Julian gave me the homework of creating a vision and sending it to him before our next call. He described the assignment in detail and during the following week I sit down at my desktop, wrote it up and emailed it to him just prior to our call. I was excited to call him thinking, “I really nailed this.” My excitement didn’t last long after Julian answered the phone; one of the first things out of his mouth was, “This isn’t what I wanted!” Wow, I screwed up my own vision!

He reiterated the exercise exactly as he had done before, and ended the call abruptly.

I found it amazing that I completely misunderstood what he had requested. What I realized at that moment was the first time he gave me the assignment, I was in a typical business/corporate mindset. I hadn’t written a vision, I had written goals, “10 years from now I want this … and I want to accomplish that.”

The vision assignment started with Julian asking me a question, without any discussion or explanation, “When do you want to be where it is you’re going?” I quickly responded, “10 years.” He said ok, now I want you to write a narrative as if you are already there. Describe it with a lot of color, texture and detail. It doesn’t have to be for a long period of time, it could just a day in your life, e.g. “I woke up this beautiful morning and …”

Now that I got it, I sat down again. What would December 2008 be like? Without even thinking much about it, I just started typing. It began with a Wisconsin snowy winter’s day… and before I knew it, the vision had just sort of flowed out of me. It wasn’t long, 2 ½ pages single-spaced. I printed it and sat back to review it. When I got to the end I realized something and I completely freaked out! I had created a vision for my life that was missing my wife. I was so afraid of the vision getting out that I wrote her back in before sending it to Julian. Julian and I talked though it on our next call and I moved on.

Fast forward to just a couple of years ago, when I came across my vision on an old desktop while I was searching for some other files. I had completely forgotten about it since Julian and I discussed it in 1998. I opened it and once again, freaked out! Literally, everything I had spelled out was either in progress, or had come to fruition with the unedited version. I had moved back to Wisconsin from Seattle, I had moved on from my marriage, I was enjoying being way more involved in my kid’s lives including enjoying the small stuff like taking them to school, I’m working from home, I’m developing a successful sales & marketing business and I have a 3rd daughter, Grace, born in 2001 exactly at the time I had written about 3 years prior! This was eerie; how could something so seemingly innocuous, not to mention something I never paid attention to, become real?

At that point I became a massive believer in the power and importance of consciously creating the life I want, which starts with a vision. While taking action is critical, this is not about creating goals and objectives. This is about creating a picture from a broader perspective, a more holistic scene of your life off in the distance that you cannot see, but you can feel. This is about leveraging your own imagination guided by your intuition, or inner compass, for guidance. When unencumbered by today’s reality, it flows out. Writing a vision feels so good because it resonates with the real you.

Julian talks about creating a vision far enough in the future so that you are not constrained by your current beliefs, which will limit you. For instance, if my work, home, relationships, etc. are not in a place that I want them to be, focusing on a vision in the short-term will most likely be negatively influenced by those unwanted situations. In other words, the brain doesn’t have the ability to sabotage your long-term vision as easily as it does the short-term.

So last year when Julian asked me to create a new vision given my current life and new business venture, I couldn’t wait.


Russ Salzer is an accomplished business leader with over 25 years of expertise in building marketing, sales and operational teams, revitalizing infrastructure, developing and executing strategic plans, and driving businesses to greater levels of profitability. Russ’ knowledge of the interdependency of people on business results, combined with his ability to dramatically improve interpersonal relationships and develop teams, creates a competitive advantage that delivers rapid and sustainable results. His approach to success through even the most extraordinary challenges, has been to ensure the workplace is accountable, open and honest. He is currently on a mission to help businesses effectively support their marketing and sales teams in consistently growing top-line revenue with a proven and methodical process through 3YG Sales Training Technology. Contact Russ at

Julian Cohen has more than two decades of experience in Executive Coaching. He is acknowledged for his skill in facilitating the expeditious realization of extraordinary results. His expertise includes coaching CEO's, Fortune 500 company senior managers, and prominent professionals. He attended New York University School of Commerce, with a major in Banking and Finance and holds a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. His professional experience includes the creation of a $60 million dollar investment portfolio and an entrepreneurial role in developing three innovative companies widely known within their industries. The depth and breadth of his community involvement extends over a 40-year span and currently involves voluntary work with international and locally known organizations. Contact Julian at