040 Disney Strategy

In this episode of Live it, Lead IT! I am going to be talking you through the Disney Strategy, a straightforward, effective tool based on three distinct stages to help you realise your dreams.

“The Disney strategy says: Start with the dreamer phase. So dream, dream, dream!” 

Do you want an average life, or do you want to live your dream life? While it takes courage to reach for the stars, as soon as you start imagining what your ideal life looks like, you can work toward its realization. To achieve that life, you have to start with visualization – you cannot realise what you can’t imagine.

So how do you go about dreaming up an image of your ideal life? My best advice to you is to head out into nature, void of any gadgets or other distractions, and let your imagination run wild. Often, when thinking about life goals, people believe that they are undeserving, or that their desires are unrealistic. Put all of these concerns to one side and imagine what you would love to be doing for the next five or ten years. Try to avoid overcompensation, where you only picture having those things that you don’t have now. For instance, time to spend on a beach in an exotic location. Ask yourself if it will really fulfil all your desires.

Once you have a clear picture in your head, create a vision board. Preferably using a large sheet of paper, collect images, whether you print them off the internet or cut them out of magazines, to create a visual representation of your dream. Keep it somewhere visible where you can see it often.

“The realization phase opens the world of opportunities!”

Now that you have created a clear image of your dream life, you will need to start planning how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Treat this as a project plan and break down the steps you need to take you to realise your ideal life into smaller chunks. Don’t overcomplicate it and be sure to write it down.

“What will I have when I live in that dream life? Think of the Consequences!”

The third and final part of the strategy is to consider the consequences of realising your dream. You will need to ask yourself several questions to assess what the outcomes are of you living your ideal life. These include, ‘What will I have when I live my dream life’, these will include all the positives of you achieving your dream, which might include recognition in your industry or a larger wage; ‘What will I no longer have when I live that dream life’, which might include for example a boss that you need to answer to on the positive side; and ‘What might I miss when I achieve my dream life’, which for example might include less time with friends or loved ones. This latter question asks us to focus on the positive things we have in our current life.

“Use Disney’s strategy to make a huge step in your life.”

The beauty of the Disney strategy is the simplicity of the three phases. Be sure to spend most of your time focusing on the dream phase and try to expand your horizons as much as possible to ensure you are not limiting your ability to dream. Try reading books or studying others to explore new options. Dedicate a quarter of your time to the realisation phase as this is where you will see how you can move closer to your dream. Finally, spend the rest of your time on the consequences, as the final stage. Use the Disney Strategy to take a massive step in your life in the right direction, and, if you can please share the results with me.

Happy dreaming till next time.

Stay in lead!

Olaf Kapinski


Hello and welcome back to the Live It, Lead IT podcast, the podcast for successful leaders not only in IT.

And I’m your host Olaf Kapinski. Welcome back to episode number 40.

This is the 40th episode, and for the 40th episode I will just give you a very special strategy at hand.

The title is called Disney Strategy, and this is not about drawing comics or sketching out something. This is about objectives.

What a surprise in my podcast!

So business strategy. That thing is very, very old, and it was developed by Walt Disney, stated by him the first time. So everybody who is frustrated, what’s the problem?

The problem is how to get your own goals together.

And I’m not talking about the real goals, not this stuff that you’re just feeling around within the office.

I am talking about life goals, really the big things. And here is my belief system. If you don’t agree with that, then, all the following may not apply to you.

I believe that you only can achieve things that you can think about.

You cannot achieve anything which you can’t think about.

Stuff may happen to you, yes, but this is not really achieving.

So you can only achieve. You can only aim for what you can visualize in your brain.

And now you just have a look at the people around you. People live an average life. That’s the definition of an average person.

And my question is, do you want to live an average life?

I decided, and I hope you make the same decision, that you want to live a life in everything. A perfect life, make it as good as you want.

That requires a little bit of a bravery. But once you made this step, that you allow yourself that you are here on this planet and you are worth it, that you deserve an awesome life.

You come to the point that you can think about what is an awesome life.

How good can it be?

Let’s not go into the discussion if you have so many lives you have, there are people out there who believe that you can be reborn, and that you have several lives and this is only the first of 10,000 or 100,000 to come. I don’t care. This is your personal decision, your private decision. I don’t discuss that with you.

My true belief is that this is my life. I have one. I’m on this once planet.

And here’s my second belief: I’m here to have as much fun as possible, and you can argue with me on that.

But this is my belief. Only if I feel good, and we had other episodes about that, can make others feel good.

I do not believe in those cliches from Hollywood. You know you have this evil person who’s mad and he just has fun the entire day by punishing everybody.

Sorry, I haven’t seen that around me at all. This is not what happens in my life.

Are there crazy people out there? Yes, but they’re not listening to my podcasts.

If you decide you are a crazy person, that switch it off. Otherwise I’m making wrong promises here!

So I believe that you are the most important person in your life.

And if you think you are here to serve someone, by the way I’m disagreeing with that, even serving someone you could only do or you could do much better when you feel good with it.

So just sacrificing and slaving around doesn’t lead anywhere. This is the 21st century. We are beyond that. And everybody’s happy about that.

So you deserve the best life that you can imagine.

If you disagree, then switch it off because the next half of the episode will be exactly on that.

How to get to that point, how to get to those new ideas.

If you believe you’re here to suffer? It’s your call. This is really not my belief. I believe that you go first.

You need to be happy and satisfied. And you need to have a good life. This is the baseline that you can share the value around you.

I talked to leaders here. Nobody likes to work for an always grumpy boss.

I’m not talking about that. You have those days. That’s not my point.

But I’m talking about nobody likes to work or perform for a manager that is behaving like a jerk. Someone that always has this Grim Reaper face. Nobody likes that.

How are you successful? Well, if you have successful team, how do you create a successful team? Well, when they like you. This as simple as that.

At least, we could argue on the liking part. But at least if the people hate you, they will not be successful for you. There is no way around it.

So you have got to be a nice person, especially as a leader.

I believe as a family person, as a valuable member of your society, you have to be friendly. You have to be nice.

And being nice is nothing that you need to do.

This is something that happens when you just feel good. When you live a successful life and you feel very, very well when you wake up in the morning and say, “Yeah, that’s my life. Here we are, here we go. Let’s go for it!”

I’m not talking about cosmetics or this set-up, chuck apart, that you just only live your life when others see it, and as soon as the door closes, then you’re just crying into your pillows. That’s not what I’m talking about. I talk about your average set-up.

Can you have bad days? Sure. But on average, you should really enjoy being here.

You should enjoy your life. You should enjoy everything that you do, and then you can just stand the shitty parts that you can’t circumvent. But in average, my belief is, you should live.

We also have a life to the best that we can imagine.

And this is the very, very often asked question in my coaching: “Olaf, how do we get there? How do we imagine that thing?”

And this is the perfect strategy for that is the Disney strategy. It is perfect because it’s very, very simple and ridiculously effective.

The Disney strategy goes like this.

Nah, just let me sketch out the problem a little further. If you allow yourself the desire to live a life as good as you can imagine, then my question is, what can you imagine?

And then lots of people, especially in in Europe, are always too shy. “I don’t know. I don’t deserve 10 million euros of income every month.”

Um, or they always mix it up with the world.

Always the phrase, “This is not realistic in my world, complete garbage.”

And this is what the Disney strategy cleans up with. The Disney strategy says: Start with the dreamer phase.

So dream, dream, dream. What does dreaming mean?

You sit by yourself, alone. No toys, no gadgets, no blinky devices with you.

You sit under a tree and look into this valley and the sun rises and you sit under your tree in the grass. It’s peaking a little.

It’s very, very nice. There’s a very little bit of a wind, exactly the temperature that you love.

Not that you’re just die sweating, but that you really sit there and enjoy the whole day, and then you look into this scenery and you don’t do anything apart from imagining your life is perfect.

Do you wanna be a rock star? Then dream yourself as a rock star. Do you want to be a nurse? Dream yourself as a nurse.

Do you want to be an, and now we are we going back to what you’ve done, do you want to be an astronaut? Go think of yourself as an astronaut.

Firefighter. Go for it. Manager of your own company, I would say, yeah, go for it!

And it’s a bit small. Maybe dream, it all starts with a dream.

You remember this IPad? Um, I haven’t been in that room, but I would have given a lot of money for that. In my world it happened like this this is my imagination. You see this very big, very nice conference room. And Steve Jobs invited all the head architects and all the head engineers.

And he came late. So that means the people found themselves in this room with an invite from “The Steve,” and no content in the invite. Just be there.

And then 25 people sit in that room in Apple headquarters, and I imagine a very, very nice room, you know, with a polished white table and a very big window. The window glazed front at the right side of them so you can see out in a very nice, beautiful scenery. And everybody sits there, and they know each other.

And they know, based on the people, that the others whom they don’t know are as highly paid as them.

So they know here sits the creme de la creme of technical departments of Apple. And they have no clue why!

And then the door opens. Everybody has a coffee and Steve comes in.

What he does, again, this is my imagination. He takes a thick block of paper like thick in terms of 50 pages. And it’s glued together somehow so you can’t open it.

You don’t see that this is a block, but it’s just flat and it has a black rectangle on top.

He takes this thing, throws it on the table.

Then he opens a presentation behind him, you know, and I see this a little bit James Bond style, so that the presenter just comes out of the roof and just opens up.

And then everybody in the room sees that on this black rectangle he’s drawn on this piece of paper that there is now the Internet.

And then Steve Jobs says, “Make it happen,” and then he leaves. And then it’s silent.

25 highest paid engineers, scientists sit in the room. They understood because he was showing a nice video.

He understood what he wants, like no keyboard touching around, opening it two fingers, scrolling in and scrolling out.

And nobody is brave enough to take a breath, and they just all look at each other.

And the bravest guy says, “Did he mean that seriously?”

This is how the iPad started in my world. How did it start?

Somebody had a vision, had a great idea, had a dream!

I believe Steve Jobs was sitting back at home and he was so sick and tired of fiddling around with this stupid laptop and this keyboard.

And then he realized, “Well, I never use my keyboard, I only use my mouse.” Which, by the way, has no cable so I’ve just lost it again in my sofa.  And I have between my sofa pillows now, the fifth mouse that has just disappeared.

Why can’t I just touch this bloody screen?”

He dreamed of it and he saw all of this happened and then he started with it.

This is how you start. You have to dream. Well, you don’t have to. My invitation is to dream because it’s just a lot of fun.

So you sit under your tree, you watch your landscape of choice, wherever you are in the world.

Then you imagine yourself in real. The Disney strategy separates this part out.

The Disney strategy consists of three pieces. It’s the dream phase.

It’s the realization phase, then the consequences phase.

And the beauty of it is that it isolates these phases.

You take the dream and then you make it shiny and colorful. You let it move.

You put tone to it, all in your head, it doesn’t cost you anything.

Imagine your life in real. What do you want to be? What do you want to?

What do you want to be? Yeah. What type of person do you want to be in your dreams?

Don’t mix it up with “Oh, but I don’t have this appropriate school, I don’t live in the right country, I don’t have enough money. Screw it all.

What is it that you want?

And here’s the thing that’s a hint from me coaching lot of people on that thing.

Imagine what you think for the next some years. I want to avoid your overcompensation.

Overcompensation means whatever you don’t have at the moment will be the first thing that jumps into your mind when I ask you what would be a perfect life.

For example, currently, you work 60 hours and you have a stupid boss and you work in a stupid company. The only thing that they do is they pay regularly but that’s all. The company is stupid and has no mission, stupid boss, crappy work and lots of that. When you are in that position and I ask you what is your perfect life, then I bet words like beach will come up or sleep will come up. Relaxation will be the headline of your dream, and I understand it. You want to have that which you currently do not have. So go beyond that! Live a dream life that you could easily live for the next 5,10, or 50 years. For the rest of your life.

Being on the beach, you know, on this hanging mattress and just drinking the whole day.

Yeah tell me about my dreams at the moment. I love it. And I know once I arrive in that all-inclusive hotel somewhere in the Caribbean, I know

regardless of how down I am at this moment, when I enter the flight here in Europe or the plane here in Europe, after 10 days maximum, I will get bored.

You know, the you take your paper from the reception and a pen and then I just draw my things on. And then I just developed stuff.

So don’t stick into the overcompensation. Whatever it is that you want to have,silence, sleep, free food, enough sex, alcohol, whatever it is, go beyond that.

I’m not talking about what is your next vacation excessively. I am talking about what is your life for real.

So think about your life for real and go into the details.

How would the day be? Where do you wake up? What’s the color of the blanket that you sleep on, if you sleep on a blanket.

What is the country? What is the language and so on and so on. Go through that.

This is the first section of the Disney strategy.

Stay in the dreaming phase and do not care about realization. Do not care about consequences.

This is the beauty of it. Keep it pure. Go into the dream. How would your life be perfect?

My personal advice is to write it down. Write it down means draw it down. That would probably be the better phrase. Creative a vision board.

A vision board is a preferably a big piece of paper. Big like a meter width minimum, and then you glue on pictures that represent your future life.

Why pictures? Because the brain works with pictures. Why am I a bit hesitant at the moment on that?

Because I know that for me it working with paper is a hell of an effort?

Why? Well, I’m not working in some enterprises where everything is still on paper. I don’t have a printer.

Well, I have one in the basement, but, you know, printing a piece of paper out and then preferably sign it, then scan it in is for me always an hour of effort. I struggle with that at the moment, with giving you advise of putting something on paper.

And I know this is the most effective one. So if you’re taking it seriously, take a big piece of paper, print out the pictures that you find on the Internet that you find in a catalogue, that you find in the newspaper, that you photograph wherever, printed out.

Cut it out and put it on that so that you have a visual representation of your dream life in front of you.

If you really take it seriously, then you print it out in front of your desk or kitchen or wherever you see it the most often.

Don’t put it in the garage if you’re never in the garage. This is useless. Put it somewhere you can see and you need to decide, discuss with yourself, if you allow other people to look at it or not. I don’t care. My advice is do it for yourself. Put it in a private place so that you are not in this, depends on what people are you surrounded with, do not get into an argument with someone. Don’t show this people who just can’t understand it.

Don’t put yourself in a position that you put something on this thing and everybody can see it, everybody is just laughing because they are too stupid and they don’t understand the power of a dream.

So the vision board this is first section of the Disney strategy.

The Second piece of the Disney strategy is the realization phase.

How could you realize that, how can you get from where you are at the moment to the perfect life?

What other small steps, cut in pieces, cut it in small chunks, cut it!

Make this plan a bit exciting.

Don’t keep it all serious. There is no reality out there.

Reality is what you think is reality! And if you make a plan, that is and are serious, that’s a real plan.

This is reasonable plan, but it’s a small one.

So make a plan, how to get from where you are to where you want to be This is the real life. My recommendation is to just really write it down Write it down and leave the things open where you have no clue at the moment.

We all know these business project plans over here, they look nice and shiny and fancy.

Everybody signs it, and then there’s one person that has a deeper look in it, and I hope it’s you.

And then you look at it and try to understand it, and then you lift your head and look right into the eyes of the project manager who proposed this thing.

And then you point your finger on this printed out project plan in this area and you say, “How do we get from here to there?”

Then you see that something in the project manager break because he know that this was the weak point of his office planning. He was hoping that nobody finds it.

His serious answer should be, “Well, there. We pray for a miracle.”

Technically, nobody has seen it. And this is the beauty of big plans. Nobody checks a big plan because everybody thinks, “Wow, what? The plan is big then it’s true.”

Usually this is garbage. A big career step is to double check big project plans, really double check them. And then usually they are not worth the paper that they’re printed on. Sorry to say, but that’s the case. I haven’t seen any big project plan that was reasonable.

I can see a small project plan that is  reasonable simply because the big project plans suggest that they know how the future comes along. So that’s usually not the case. So you make a plan.

I don’t care. Paper, powerpoint, whatever.  Don’t go with complicated rules! Don’t overcomplicate it.

And then you scribble down the steps one by one by one. You want to become president of the United States? Stupid example because you don’t need such a big education for this, one can see at the moment. Let’s say you want to become boss of your company. Okay? What other steps?

What other path is there? Yes, you could work in your company. You become better then you get promoted to the position.

Or you marry rich and buy the whole shop or you drive him, or whatever it is. There are several ways.

Then the last piece of the Disney strategy is to support consequence of faith.

Some people put that into the middle. I’m not a big fan of that because in the middle its, for me, too early. You have this dream.

So let’s take an example. What do you want to do, by the way? On average, people have dreams that are really within striking range.

I haven’t had any client that came with a dream that was completely rich, odd and beyond everything.

Stuff like I want to live on this motorboat 80 meters long, surrounded by I don’t know, naked slaves, or whatever. And then I make my living out of making YouTube videos.

I never heard that before. One, because I believe this becomes boring after week number two.

This is not what makes people happy.

People are happy when they are socially interacting.

So usually in the dreams, they just wanna have different friends.

But a lot of them. A lot of friends, different ones, different societies,  or maybe even different families.

These things are what people usually dream of. Steps, but not huge leaps. More steps into a direction.

So the majority of people are quite happy where they are.

I mean, it’s not that everybody lives in hell and they just want to get out. Everybody lives a life that is very okay.

My recommendation is to think about a life that is by far beyond.

So when you’re just employed and you work 60 hours, then maybe your dream will be okay. I wanna have a job where I do the pieces that I currently love in my job.

I want to do them 30 hours, because I do only the pieces that I love. I become extremely good.

So I wanna have a parallel business, which makes me an additional, I don’t know, 200 grand a year or something. Or I just explain to others how to do that.

Then I wanna have and so on and so on.

So those this is more the level that people think. People want to create stuff. We are human beings and creators.

People want to create stuff. Nobody likes leisuring around the whole day.

We all love leisuring around for a weekend, for week of, maybe even two.

But generally, successful people want to achieve something, and you don’t achieve anything when you just park your butt on the sofa.

So,  going back to the consequences of this, the third part of the Disney strategy.

If you want to have different friends, to stick to that example ,if you wanna have a parallel business next to your business, if you want to do only the interesting stuff in your office and you will only work 30 hours, what are the consequences? You need to have a look at that.

What are the consequence of that?

For example, to stick in that one, when you say you wanna have a parallel business next to your 30 days job, then this has consequences.

Consequences on how much time you have available for friends and family.

If you want to have different friends, that has consequences.

And so on and so on and so on. Give yourself some questions.

What will I have when I live in that dream life, that’s easy.

What will I not have anymore when I live in my dream life. So when you currently feel guilty, but you love to park your butt on the sofa and you have this active life and you’re just pissing around. And you know the limousine waits for you in front of the office to bring you on stage.

Then you can’t lazy around anymore.

Is that a consequence that you’re willing to take? Think about it. There’s nothing right around. Think about it.

So what? What is it that you do not have anymore when you live your dream life? This is question two. Question three is: what do you have when you don’t live your dream life?

What do you have when you don’t live your dream life? This is not like the one before. What do you have when you don’t live? Your dream life focuses on all the good things that you have currently in your life.

So the 4th one, as we are IT people, is quite obvious. What don’t you have when you don’t live your dream life?

So this then the next driver. If you live your dream life, then you are famous on stage because you’re awesome. And your boss in the office pays you more money to avoid you disappearing.

You will not have that when you don’t live your dream life. Then you have a boss who is just a jerk and just forces you into the 70th hour this weekend.

They are not appreciating whatever you deliver at all and the company is still rubbish.

So this is the power house.

This is the consequence. So those are the three steps in the Disney strategy. And the beauty of the Disney strategy, and this makes it so powerful, is to keep those phases pure. Dream phase one, plan like realization phase two, what are the consequences phase three.

My take is put minimum 2/3 of the time into the dream face because it’s fun.

And because this is where the power is little bit. The problem of the dream phase is that you usually only dream about stuff that you already know.

So my recommendation is read books.

Look at other people’s lives to get an idea of what options are out there.

Don’t be jealous. Fact. Jealousy is just a brain killer. See how big boats are out there? How golden can a pool be in your private Airbus A380?

Is that something that you wanna have? I don’t care about your decision, but make sure that you open your mind for all new ideas. What is possible?

Maybe you think you are connected to some things which you aren’t like. I’m not saying family, but maybe you think you must stay in the village that you live in the moment. In my world, that’s not true.

So make sure that you just put effort into the dream phase, exploring new options.

Allow yourself new thoughts. Open new gates in your brain.

So then minimum 1/4 off the time you put, I recommend, into the realization phase.

Because the realization phase brings you even closer to all of that.

That brings it to the point to understand. Where are you at the moment, in brackets, where the beauty is at the moment, What are your options that you have?

What are opportunities that you can either see that you can kind of push what’s there.

The realization phase opens the world of opportunities, and then the rest of the time you just put into the consequence phase, because everybody is thinking about the consequences or the whole time.

The beauty and the success of the Disney strategy is that you just handcuff the consequences down to the very end and then this is the best. It’s a very effective idea.

It’s a very simple idea, and this is my invitation for you.

Use Disney’s strategy to make a huge step in your life into the rhetoric.

I wish you all the best, share with me if that was worthy for you. Share with me if you did it and what the results were and, hear you back in the next episode. Olaf, bye!