Turning Dreams into Reality

Turning Dreams into Reality: The Disney Strategy 

By Christine Walter

Walt DisneyIf you can dream it you can do it.”   – Walt Disney

Walt Disney coined the term “Imagineering”.

Walt Disney used 3 states to take an idea and to create it into reality; this is widely known as the “Disney Strategy”.  Some people said “you never knew which Walt was going to turn up to a meeting”.

Anyone can use this simple strategy to imaginer their future, it brings in 3 main strategies/stages to innovate and problem solve.


1. THE DREAMER – Anything is possible

This is the creative state; the state of possibilities and the luxury of where all ideas are great ideas.  In business this is what is called the “blue sky thinking” and we all know “blue sky thinking” is essential to progress and continued success.  In this area you can focus on what you want your future to be about. When you want to go into the Dreamer state be sure to pick a place that is feels creative, comfortable and relaxed.

In personal goal setting you might be asking yourself “what is it that I really want?” whether it is for something specific or as a starting place when feeling stuck. It is future oriented and very much internal referencing.  It is all about the “you” whether in a group or personally.

Did you know that often people are more creative when they look up?  This is accessing the visual part of our creativeness.

2. THE REALIST – “As if”

This is the stage where you will want to sort the ideas.  Perhaps there is more than one pile.  The action here is to start the process of making the key idea real.  It forms the dream into a plan.

This is the “how” you are going to get your goal. It is internal and external referenced, checking to ensure things can be aligned.

When you become the realist sit up straighter – you may even make a physical shift to a place that is more authoritative (e.g a desk, or table).

3. THE CRITIC – “What if?”

This is the stage where you look for potential stops as you move toward your goal.  What has been overlooked?  Be assured this stage is to note potential road blocks, not to delete the dream altogether, it is an essential part of creating the goal so take some time to be the critic, so you can have a flawless goal.

It can look to the past for learning opportunities as well as focus on the future.  How does one impact on the other or what needs to be done to make this goal a reality.  It is also references both internal and external checking as it may contain external influences as well.

To be the critic sit with your eyes down, head tilted and one of your hands touching  your chin.


For your personal goal setting take yourself through the 3 stages.  Remember you can physically move from one place to another to allow the stages to truly embed.  I was once told that the Dreamer room was warm, bright and breezy with a wonderful energy and colouring.  The Realist room was cooler, less comfortable and business like.  Lastly the Critic room was like the little closet under the stairs, a place where you wouldn’t want to spend much time and as such a place where you got the job done quickly so you could move.

Whether you move chairs, rooms or just positions, use the template questions below to assist you with your goal setting. Also note, these are guideline questions; you are sure to come up with more.

1. DREAMER STAGE (the ‘what’ stage)

Ask and then answer yourself  questions like:

  • What is it that I want?
  • For what purpose do I want this  (i.e. what is important to me about this)
  • What will I
    • See when I have this?
    • Hear when I have this?
    • Feel when I have this?
  • What are the benefits of (having) this?
  • When would I like this by?

2. REALIST STAGE (the ‘how’ stage)

Ask and then answer yourself  questions like:

  • When will I complete this goal by?
  • What resources do I have to achieve this goal?
  • What resources do I need to achieve this goal and how do I get them?
  • Who else do I need to involve to achieve this goal?
  • What are the chronological steps I need to take to achieve this goal?
  • What evidence do I need to know I am on track to achieving it?
  • How will I know when I have achieved the goal?

3. THE CRITIC STAGE (the ‘what if’ stage)

Ask and then answer yourself  questions like:

  • Who will be affected?  (This is an ecology check)
  • Who will support me in achieving this goal?
  • Who else might I have to rely on to achieve this goal?
  • What, if anything, do I need to be aware of when relying on others to achieve this goal? (Strategies for outside influences)
  • Who might object?
  • What are their needs so that we can find common ground?
  • What is missing and I need to be aware of?

If necessary go around these 3 stages again.

Now take time to finish with these Quantum Linguistics questions:

1.  What will happen when I have this?
2.  What won’t happen when I have this?
3.  What will happen if I don’t have this?
4.  What won’t happen if I don’t have this?

The way to get started is to quit talking and get doing.”  – Walt Disney

Christine WalterChristine Walter is a Master NLP Practitioner and NLP Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Life Coach and mBit Coach.  She offers training courses via the NZ School of Life Coaching and through her own business Lodestone. She is also a Director of Australia and New Zealand Coaching Alliance. 



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