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Virtual Staging

My siblings and I are in the process of selling our parents’ home. The home we all grew up in so it’s an older home. A 54-year-old home having just had one owner - you don’t see that very often anymore! One of the suggestions our realtor made was to do a virtual staging. We all knew what a virtual tour was but weren’t quite sure what virtual staging was all about.

The realtor explained that when homes are outdated or need some cosmetic upgrades, a virtual staging is a virtual representation of future possibilities that can spark additional interest in a home. It takes some of the guesswork on how to update the home away from the buyer. They essentially take our current photos of the home and edit them in such a way that can show the home with nice furniture and decorative designs.

That got me thinking about mental virtual staging. Do you ever find yourself dropping into old habits, old reactions, old thought patterns? What if we applied virtual staging to some of those auto-responses and see what happens. Did you know the brain doesn’t know the difference between “imagination” and reality? You can literally disrupt the neuropathways of habitual thinking with visions of something different.

I wish I would have had this insight as a young mother of young children! One example: I did not handle spilled milk; spilled water; spilled juice; spilled anything in a way I’m very proud of. I can almost relive it just thinking about anything spilling. The flash of frustration that comes immediately. The inconvenience of cleaning up the mess. To my credit at the time, I was able to resist flying off the handle by not yelling and screaming, but almost always I would growl in frustration and probably say something like, “you need to be more careful!” I remember being proud of myself for not yelling or screaming but come to find out later, my children feared “the growl.” But that is a topic for another day.

So, if I could go back in time, what I might do that evening after the kids were in bed was spend some time recreating that scenario in my mind but put in the pictures of what my ideal would have been. In my virtual staging I may have simply said (in a normal voice), “oops, accidents happen sometimes, don’t they?” And then kindly ask the child that was honing her glass tipping skills if we could clean it up together. I would have taken 5 minutes each night, for at least a week, to virtually stage a more ideal response and outcome. That helps forge a different neuro pathway. If you are in a position to do so, doing this virtual staging as soon after an incident when you didn’t show up in a way you wanted to, the better. Parents have ample experiences to employ this practice!

Maybe you have an employer or employee or coworker you have frequent negative exchanges with. Great time to practice virtual staging. Perhaps you have a sibling or other family member you don’t see eye to eye with and end up with cutting words being spoken. Great time to exercise virtual staging.

Virtual staging can also be used in preparing for something that is important to you. If you have a big speech to give, why not apply virtual staging? Picture the ideal of how you will speak. Where you will use different inflections and how you will look at your audience. What will your confidence level look like?

Are you an athlete? This is a great way to prepare for that big match, game, meet, that will likely heighten your performance.

I’m not promising that the actual event will turn out perfect like imagined in your vision, but I strongly believe it will enhance any performance by spending some time applying virtual staging.

What are some ways that came up for you to be able to apply this principle?

High Five!


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