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From Daydreaming to Reality – make it happen!

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The Disney Creative Strategy technique is one that was actually used by Walt Disney (and coined by Robert Dilts, 1994), and is helpful to achieve something you want, a change you’d like to make in your professional life (e.g.: different career) or personal life (e.g.: a healthy lifestyle). It consists of two phases – preparatory and execution.



Let nothing hold you back – go big…something you’d like to achieve, a change you’d like to make in your life or your work or profession, or personal change such as improving your fitness or health.

Settle for nothing less than a stretch objective. The Disney technique is wasted on anything less than something that will push you to really develop over time – short-term goals are best achieved using the PECSAW technique.


Choose three physical locations (inside or outside) and add a fourth optional neutral location, from which to take time out of the technique if you want it.

  1. Dream: Allow your imagination to run wild in this location. Think about all of the benefits that come with your dream becoming reality.
  2. Plan: In this location, your plan is entirely possible – your focus is looking at the ways to make it reality.
  3. Critique: The task here is to actively look for gaps and problems with the plan. In this role, you only focus on the plan – not the dream. Seek to identify weaknesses, threats, and potential problems to ensure the plan’s success. Remember to leave resolution of any issues identified in this role to the planning role.

You need to anchor on-fire feeling to each role – you can refresh the anchoring technique here, as required. 

  1. Dream: recall positive experiences when you were fantasizing, daydreaming or strategizing a life goal and relive a couple of those moments in the dream location.
  2. Plan: now remember good times where you successfully planned a project a work, a life holiday, a home renovation and then step into those moments in the plan location.
  3. Critique: lastly think about a couple of instances where you successfully critiqued the plan of a colleague or one of your own and relive those experiences in the critique location.


Now you’re ready to submit your own “dream” to the Disney technique.


Physically step into your chosen location to dream and connect with your own on-fire moment dreaming freely. Bring the big picture of your “dream”. See it vividly and without limitations using an anything is possible attitude. .

There are some questions that can help you. They are most effective when spoken out loud and answered in the same way for each of the roles.

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What are the benefits of achieving this dream?
  • When and where will it begin?
  • What will I be doing – and who will I be doing it with?
  • What will achieving it mean to me and to those close to me?
  • How will I know when I have achieved it?

With the dream in mind, physically step into the plan location and connect to your on-fire planning moments. Believing that your dream is fully realizable, define the plan that will make it happen.

Remember to be practical and realistic – strive for a plan that is sufficiently detailed and clear so that it can be managed.

  • What do I need to do in order to achieve the dream?
  • What are the milestone steps or phases of my dream? How are they sequenced?
  • What baby steps are needed to achieve each milestone?
  • Why is this step necessary? And this one? And this one?
  • What is needed to make it happen in terms of people, time and money (or other resources)?
  • How will I know when I have achieved each milestone?

With a plan in mind (or written from step 2), step into the critique location and connect to your on-fire moment here. Your role here is to poke holes in the plan!

  • What are the threats and weaknesses in my plan?
  • What are the gaps in the plan steps?
  • Is there anything that doesn’t make sense in the plan or may create unintended consequences?
  • Who will be affected by the plan (favourably and unfavourably)?
  • What might derail the plan in terms of people, place or resouces?
  • Any other areas of concern in my plan?

Well done, you’ve completed the first pass of your plan, but you’re not done yet!


Big ideas and dreams will probably need a number of passes between the planning and critiquing phases of the process. 

How you do more passes of the plan

It’s a case of moving back and forth between the planning and critiquing stages – this is what it looks like:

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Continue this cycle until you have a strong and workable plan. You may have to run it a few times a week for ambitious dreams until it is second nature.


Remember, only change your dream if you’re absolutely sure that a workable plan is genuinely unachieved.

You can use this technique for our own dreams or in teams.

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