Completion

Words by Phoebe White

November brings us to Samhain, the festival of completion. Phoebe shares a self-reflection game, encouraging positive and honest reflection for turning your visions into reality. What would you like to create, resolve and complete over the coming months?

November brings us to harvest’s end and the festival of completion. As the trees let their leaves die and fall to ground, completing an other year’s cycle, we too can look to what we shed for winter, making room for new endeavours.  

What have you harvested this summer? And what do you plan to complete this Autumn before winter sets in, or even beyond that?

Neuro Linguistic Programming’s (NLP) technique, the Disney Creative Strategy offers us a way to reflect both positively and honestly on what we envisage for ourselves to hone our insights and wildest dreams into achievable action. 

NLP trainers, Todd Epstein and Robert Dilts, unpicked and understood Walt Disney’s methods for turning big ideas into tangible products. It was said that he played three distinct roles at separate points in the creation process (dreamer, realist and critic), and it was this ability to use these different thinking styles that meant ideas were clearly, and successfully executed.

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A self-reflection game

Most of us take our deepest heart’s desires and jumble them up with ifs and buts, maybes and why nots.  But doing this can often mean we’re so enthusiastic to begin with that we run out of steam to ever complete; or invest time and energy into poorly thought through plans that go awry. Or conversely, we become too concerned about planning around limitations that we track well away from the original dream; or are even too fearful, focussing on negatives alone, to ever get things off the ground.

If any of these resonate with you, let’s play!  

Set up

First we need to set up the playing field, and bring your thinking into line with the three styles.

Set up three spaces. You can either run this in your mind’s eye or in an actual space (doing it spatially is better if you can, you can even add aide memoirs to each space based on the example you choose as below)

Dreamer space:

  • This is the free world and you’ve got a magic wand, anything is possible. You are motivated to create.

  • To set up, go to the physical (or mental) space and remember a time when you had energy and enthusiasm for a dream, when nothing could stop you. It doesn’t matter how small the dream was… even if it was just sorting out a cupboard!

  • Relive it. What do you see, hear and feel?  Maybe you’re looking at the results of your work, are hearing great feedback about your efforts and feel all warm and fuzzy about it. 

Great! Change the subject in your mind briefly, and then…

Realist space:

  • This is the world of order and rules. You’re assessing the practicalities, organising and planning.

  • Go to the space and remember a time when your best laid plans really were best laid and everything ran smoothly. No matter how big or small the undertaking.

  • Relive it. What do you see, hear and feel? Maybe you see the plan written out, and hear the conversations of making plans with others. Maybe you feel in control.

Great! Change the subject in your mind briefly, and then…

Critic space:

  • This is the world of evaluation and past learning. The critic picks up on what would otherwise have been missed.

  • Go to the space and remember a time when you were able to positively critique your own or an other’s plan creating a clean focus. When pointing out the details was useful, rather than disempowering.

  • Relive it, what do you see, hear and feel? Maybe you see an issue avoided, a near miss. And hear thanks for spotting the issue in time. Maybe you feel lucky.

Great! Change the subject in your mind briefly, and then take a review of your three distinct thinking styles.

Make sure you can differentiate, we mustn’t ever confuse our internal life planner with the voice of harsh criticism, or our dreamer with our realist.

Rules of the game

Bring to your awareness a deep desire…. Maybe it’s something that you’ve struggled with previously, or perhaps something you always think about; never managed to get started or never even thought about how to achieve.  

The aim of the game here is to run this desire through each of the thinking styles we’ve set up spaces for. The key point here is to make sure to keep the thinking styles separate.

After getting into each space, ask the questions listed below.  Be sure to pay attention only to the first thought that comes up, whatever it is. This is really important. Make a note if you feel inclined.   

Let’s go

First, get into the dreamer space, remembering the example of a dream achieved. Ask yourself,

  • What’s the dream, my deep desire?

  • What will I see around me?

  • What will I be doing?

  • What will others say?

  • What else will I be hearing?

  • What will having this make possible?

  • What are the benefits?

  • What else will this do for me? 

It’s crucial here to spend good time picturing the dream. Suspend any ifs and buts until later. Play the movie of it being real and make sure you’re the lead character.

Got it? Good.  Change the subject in your mind briefly...

Next, get into the realist space, remember the example of a well executed plan. Ask yourself,

  • What steps do I need to take? (avoid judging if the step is easy or not!)

  • How specifically would I make this happen?

  • What time and money is it going to take?

Got it? Ok. Change the subject in your mind briefly....

Next, get into the critic space, remembering the example of avoiding a near miss. Ask yourself,

  • What’s wrong with how things are right now?

  • Why bother changing anything?

  • What else would be affected?

  • What problems might happen?

  • Who else needs to be involved?

Take a breath. Change the subject in your mind briefly...

Given the Critics useful points, step back into the realist space, ask yourself:

  • What plans will solve the critic’s concerns?

  • Who else can help?

  • What first small step can be taken?

Take a breath. Change the subject in your mind briefly...

Ok, what does Critic have to say about that?  Ask,

  • What’s the one thing that would make this fall apart?

  • What objections might there be?

Take a breath.  Cycle round between realist and critic again if needed.

Lastly, back to dreamer, ask yourself

  • What’s the dream?

  • What will I see around me?

  • What will I be doing?

  • What will others say?

  • What else will I be hearing?

  • What will having this make possible?

  • What are the benefits?

  • What else will this do for me?   

You should have more honed and clear answers to these questions. Play the movie in your mind and make sure you’re the lead character.

 Consolidate

Take a couple of deep breaths and sit in silence, digest the mental and emotional work just undertaken and list your key reflections.

Happy dream making!

If you’d like personalised support in using this model, either in person or online, get in touch and quote Balance Garden for a discount! Namaste.

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A long serving Londoner, Phoebe is a qualified practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming, life coach and yoga teacher, and experienced singer songwriter. She’s been leading workshops in a range of personal development topics and supporting people to achieve their goals for over 15 years. She teaches and sings regularly in North London and all around the world. You can find her over on instagram, facebook