In this video, international speaker Victoria Labalme shares how to succeed WITHOUT having a clear goal, and talks about her new book “Risk Forward”.
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(Literal) Text Transcription of the video : How to succeed WITHOUT having a clear
Olivier Roland: Hello, hello Victoria, how are you?
Victoria Labalme: I’m well. Hello, hello Olivier, how are you?
Olivier Roland: I’m awesome. Yes, I wanted to interview you because as we can see on the video you just happened to publish a new book called “Risk Forward”. And I mean I did an interview with you like a little bit more than one year ago for the YouTube channel, and a lot of people really liked it. In this interview we’re talking about the idea, it was just like one of the many topics of what we shared, but you said like you know a lot of people they focus too much on having a specific goal, and they get into a kind of paralysis because they don’t really know what they want. And so you where like… There is a solution for that, so people can still, you know, advance forward like having a better life even though they don’t know exactly what they want. And it happens that your book is exactly about this, right?
Victoria Labalme: That’s exactly right. Exactly. And it’s even beyond what they want, it’s where they’re going. So, you could be a scientist exploring a new venture, you could be an executive developing a new company, you could be someone developing a new art project. It’s when you know the general direction but you’re not sure yet what the exact item is.
Olivier Roland: Yes. So, before we dive into this, I would like you to introduce yourself. First, you’re an international speaker. We met through a mastermind where we were together, and you are famous for your ability to create good presentations, entertaining presentations, and to help people to be better on stage. But it also happened that you have an history in art that really like help you to be more creative. And that’s a big part of the book, actually. I don’t want to say too much, but how would you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you yet?
Victoria Labalme: Excellent. Well, my name is Victoria Labalme and I created two programs: “Rock the room” and “Risk forward” which is this particular book. And both “Rock the room” and “Risk forward” are really about helping people bring out their gifts and talents on stage, on camera, in meetings, in their communications, and in their lives. And I believe that in everyone there are these additional hidden genius elements. And it’s really a matter of how do we bring them from within ourselves and out. So I work with senior executives, I work with entrepreneurs, artists, individuals, scientists, and students. Whether they’re consultants or creatives, how do people take what’s inside of them and bring it out in their communications to distinguish their brand and rock their room? And “Risk forward” is really about how do we do that in the larger realm of our life? How do we find our way to take what’s inside of us? The skills and talents that we have that are distinct, and bring them out and rock it in our businesses in our lives.
Olivier Roland: Interesting that you see it just as a broader concept: being the best on the stage of life. For you, it’s a direct continuation of what you do on stage and what you learned when you were doing theatre, and mimes, right?
Victoria Labalme: That’s exactly right because in the art, we generally know a direction we want to go, but we don’t always have a clear picture of goal, we don’t reverse engineer the way people do in business. You know this is really the artistic approach to business and life. Therefore, it’s principle for art to help people up-level their performance in business and life.
Olivier Roland: So, your book “Risk forward”, it’s mainly for people who doesn’t know really what they want or is it also for people who has a specific goal in mind already?
Victoria Labalme: Yes, it’s both. Really the book is for those windows of transition. When we are in a period between clarity. For example, it could be five minutes when you’re trying to figure out what blog post to write or whether to speak up in a meeting, it could be over the matter of a few hours as you’re wrestling with a decision or a choice in your movement in your business, it could be over the course of weeks, months or years. So, really in that gap between moments of clarity is when we can find our best next move. The challenge is people are forced to make a decision too quickly because they are embarrassed to not know or we are told we always have to be clear. It’s the way we handle those minutes in between that determine our success. And that’s what the book is about, how do we make the right choice whether it’s in a matter of minutes or a matter of hours or months or years? We all go through these periods even if we know what we want, even if we know our goal. Along the way, there are many moments of not knowing, and this book is for those.
Olivier Roland: It’s so interesting because you’re right. All people, any person who is doing something with his life has this kind of moments. Of course, it happened a lot to me even though I had a lot also of moments of clarity when I wanted, and I knew exactly what I wanted. It’s so interesting to have this method, a methodology for this kind of moment that can be a bit painful, and even sometimes really painful. Why you have these doubts, and you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life, and maybe sometimes you have reached a success level, you know you’re like, “ Okay, so I did this, and this, and this. Now, what is the next level? What do I do?”
Victoria Labalme: I just want to pause you there because that’s exactly it, I mean, the people who are responding to this message. One woman who runs a very large company, she’d got the company to a certain level of success, and it was exactly what you said Olivier, you know. Now what? She was about to hire an outside consultant because she thought, “I don’t really know which direction to steer this large company ship.” And in the process of reading the book, there’s a wonderful line in there I have which is “Don’t outsource your vision”. When she read that, she said, “Wait a second, why am I going to hire someone outside to tell me what to do?” She said, “I know this.” She went through the book, and she made a clear decision. As a result she said, she saved her company about five million dollars.
Olivier Roland: Wow.
Victoria Labalme: So, it could be that. You could also be a student just out of college, and you’re not sure what’s next, you could have gone through a divorce or a health change, you could have just moved, you could be in a career transition. It’s all those moments.
Olivier Roland: So, is it a first step about realizing that it can be a blessing and not just a curse?
Victoria Labalme: That’s exactly it. That’s the first statement, it’s really that. It’s okay not to know. This is actually a gift. It’s ripe. It’s fertile. That’s window between knowing. It’s like a fertile ground, it’s full of possibility. If we can meet that void that not knowing without just trying to jump out, get through the quickest fashion forward. Then, what we create can be beyond our expectations and imagination.
Olivier Roland: Okay. So, I imagine someone who is watching this video, and saying, “Okay, right now I see it as a blessing. So what is the next step?”
Victoria Labalme: The book is written into seven phases. So, the first phase is that embrace the fog, recognize that you’re in the fog and it’s okay. The next phase to your question is to begin from within. And I offer a whole series of questions to the reader because often times when we’re in the fog we look around at what everyone else is doing, and we ask them for solutions or we look at the business models or the lifestyle models, and we think, “Well, I guess I’ll just do that”, instead of saying, “what’s right for me?”. And I take the reader through four questions to help them figure out their next best step. And one of them to give you an insight is: what interests me now? It’s not what did I have a degree in? What am I known for? What have I built to business around? What are people expecting of me? It’s none of that. It’s what interests me now in this moment? And that is your hidden genius at work. That little idea is worth acknowledging.
Olivier Roland: So, a practical exercise that people can do is to make a list of all the topics they are interested at the moment.
Victoria Labalme: Yes, it’s important to recognize that some of them may not make sense to the outside eye. They might think, “Why are you going to go do that? Why would you look at that?” It doesn’t mean you have to move to a new city. It doesn’t mean you have to change jobs. It might simply mean looking a video up on the internet. It might seem simply be picking up a book. It might be talking to someone. But it’s worth following those threads to see where they lead because often times that may not be the end goal in itself, but it’s the thing that gets you to where you need to be.
Olivier Roland: So, I assume from what you said that the first step is to start to discover a little bit this topic like read books, maybe go to events, talk to people, these kinds of things.
Victoria Labalme: Yes. Absolutely, yes. It just can be what I call a micro risk, it doesn’t mean a huge change. It could just be a micro risk to test it out.
Olivier Roland: So, stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something like a real action in the world.
Victoria Labalme: I’ll give you a concrete example. Right now, Ryan Levesque who’s well known in the marketing world and a friend of ours, during the pandemic started cooking, he just got very interested in cooking and doing these gourmet meals at home, and people would ask him, “Are you building a course from this? Are you going to make a product out of this? What’s the reason for it?” He said, “I don’t know. I’m just interested in cooking right now.” And when we talked about it, we did an interview about “Risk forward”, the book, one of the things he said is, “You know it could be a new insight on my business, it could offer an analogy, it could become something that brings me to a next step, it brings me an insight the way studying something outside your business often does.” Yet, what happens in our lives is unless we have a goal for it or if we can understand the logic behind it, we tend not to do it. We go where is that going to lead instead of saying, “Let’s just trust that the interest is there for a reason, and see where it takes us.”
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Olivier Roland: Do you think that most of the time, I mean not for every topic we are interested in, but most of the time it connects to something deeper, deep inside us that wants to exist, and to blossom?
Victoria Labalme: I do. And it could be because it’s going to blossom, it could be just because it helps our brain thinking in a new way. But that’s what I mean by the word hidden genius. That is your hidden genius, it’s there. And if you think about your own life, Olivier, I’m sure you have a lot of examples of that. I mean, that would be one in your life where you followed something even though it made no sense, but it was an interest in it. And it turned out to be a really good choice.
Olivier Roland: Yes, it’s when I decided to write a book like you did. And it didn’t make sense from a business point of view because it had a huge opportunity cost, because it took me four years to write it. Not full time, but still. And I could have made way more money by investing this time and energy into creating products. But for me, it was I wanted to create like a piece of art, you know a masterpiece. And it was like an artistic behaviour, an artistic mission even. Right now, I’m so happy because the book is a bestseller. And of course, it doesn’t hurt the business at all. For me, I’m almost as proud of my book as I’m proud of my business, you know. And yes, absolutely, I can completely relate to what you said. It means also to have the courage to explore paths that we are interested in, but doesn’t make sense in the short term, right?
Victoria Labalme: That’s exactly it. Yes, it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes later on it starts to. Or for example, anyone watching this might have disparate interests. So, you might have a business in insurance, but you happen to love photography. Or maybe you have a business in marketing, but you happen to love salsa dancing. My belief is that there’s a connection between the two. And there’s a whole section in the book called “The Prism Effect”. If you think about a prism like literally a prism, and all the different colours that come out of that. I think we are like that as people. And that those different aspects of your personality and your passion are there for a reason. When we bring them together, we fuse those. You bring together your love of marketing with salsa dancing or your insurance with your photography, and you find ways to fuse them it can really make you stand out and distinguish your brand. It’s about recognizing the current interest. But also what you already have that you’re doing that you could bring together. Here’s an example. You know for me I wrote this book which is primarily a business and personal development book, but I use a lot of mime and movement as an analogy to explain the idea. So, “Risk forward” itself is a term that comes from the world of mine. Yet, I use it as a philosophy for life. So, how can you take your expertise and your interest, and use them to take an audience or a reader or a client or a customer to a new way of seeing something?
Olivier Roland: Yes. And that’s what I really like in this book. All the examples that you take are from your experience in mimes, in art, in theatre, and also on stage. And also the book is visually very interesting, it’s actually art in a way. Could you share? Could you show a little bit to our audience?
Victoria Labalme: Absolutely. So, it looks like a simple book on the front. But when you open it up, it is just like the prism, it is a full spectrum. Every chapter has a new colour, and every page is different. So, for example, some pages have a diagram like this, and there’s a whole study within: how we can keep our vision clear?
Olivier Roland: And of course the “V” is related to your name.
Victoria Labalme: Well, that’s a nice bonus. But it’s really about vision that in the world of making films. The director often does this. That’s to show the camera, the camera angle, but this is also how directors talk, “We’ll shoot this way, and then we’ll shoot that way”. So, this stands for like vision point of view. But it’s also your vision in not just a camera and a shooting of a scene, but in life like, “Where is it that you’re going?”
Olivier Roland: You where showing something else in the book?
Victoria Labalme: Well, yes. Thank you. So, certain pages are, you know, like any book. They’re full text. There are stories in the book. But there are other pages that are really diagrammatic and just fun to look at. So, this one’s all about… it’s called the clock of calm and the clock of angst. It’s all about how we can either have a mindset that stresses us out or we can have a mindset that makes us feel free and do our best to work.
Olivier Roland: We have a good example here of like a synergy you created between your different skills. And that you wanted to use to enhance the way you’re communicating your message to the audience.
Victoria Labalme: Exactly. So, you know, a lot of books look the same. I thought, “How do I take my spectrum, my full range of colours, and put them together?” So, for example, I’m a performing artist, I happen to draw, I have a trademark character that little figure that’s in the book. I like poetry, I use visual examples, I worked in the corporate entrepreneurial and artist market. “How do I bring all of that together?” So, that’s what this book is. It brings together various aspects and talents of mine. My challenge to anyone watching this interview is, “What do you have that you could use to make whatever you’re making different from everyone else’s?” Instead of looking the same as I say in the book, the opposite of courage is not cowardice. The opposite of courage is conformity: it’s doing like everyone else is. So, “Risk forward” is a call to do it your own way, to do it in a different and unique way that lights you up. And that is going to surprise and delight if you will the people that you’re meant to reach.
Olivier Roland: Yes. When we really look at the cover of your book, I really like the picture, too because it’s like this metaphor of creating your own path in life, your own adventure. We see a lot of people who are super creative and more often than not they are just, I put this in quotes, right? “Combining existing stuff,” and the combination is new. But the elements are maybe not so new, but it’s fine. It’s just a process you share like of combining stuff we know, but in a new unique way that is your own, right?
Victoria Labalme: Right. I mean and I think you’re such a wonderful example of someone who’s followed their own path, I mean, we all admire your lifestyle.
Olivier Roland: Thank you.
Victoria Labalme: You’ve always lived on your own terms, you have a very different perspective in the world than most, and you’re true to your soul. That is this character, you know, and I respect that tremendously.
Olivier Roland: You know, I really felt connected to the character on the cover, actually. So, thank you for saying that. I would like yes. It’s also what I want that my audience do. For everyone that is still watching, really I think this book is a great thing for you. A great complement of what I share because Victoria really teaches you how to embrace the uncertainty. How to use it as a fuel instead of as a brake. And it really can help you. About this uncertainty, is it something that people will have thrown out at the end of the journey or is it going to fade at some point?
Victoria Labalme: I love that question. I think it comes constantly. The illusion that we have is when we figure out whatever it is we’re struggling to resolve that, that’s it. Yet, we all know we hit the next patch of not knowing and we go through periods of clarity and confusion. I say clarity comes and goes like the weather. Every time you hit a new situation, you have a new decision to make. And this book is really a guide in that way, you know, for example, if you need to make a decision that you’re not sure which way to go, there’s a chapter on indecision and how to handle decisions. If you’re feeling like you’re getting advice and you’re not sure which to listen to, there’s a chapter on advice. If you’re feeling pulled in different directions by your talents, there’s a chapter called “The Prism Effect”. So, ultimately, if you’re dealing with yours, you’ve got too many ideas, and you’re not sure which to do first, there’s a chapter on figuring it out, it’s called “Creating”. And it’s a whole system I use that I teach in the book around these V cards, how do you use these coloured index cards?
Olivier Roland: The infamous V cards.
Victoria Labalme: The infamous V cards. How do you use these V cards to make clear decisions? So, it’s really a book that you can keep on your bedside, on your shelf. And you go to it like a guidebook whenever you have, like you said Olivier, a new time of confusion. We go through them every week, we go through them every quarter, and it could be a personal or it could be a professional, but this book is like a guide for that.
Olivier Roland: I don’t think you can be an entrepreneur without embracing a bit or a lot of uncertainty because you have to do to have some risk at some point. You can try to minimize the risk, you can use like the Lean Startup methodology, for example. But at some point you never know if your idea is going to work or not, if it would be easy to know. If the idea would work or not, we will all be billionaires, right? So, yes. Everyone should have these tools, the books which are like a methodology to deal with this kind of risk of uncertainty. Okay, am I doing this step or not? And your book, I think, is perfectly grateful for this purpose.
Victoria Labalme: Well, I appreciate that and I really wrote it for people to make it easy to read. It’s not really long so that when you’re in that phase of uncertainty, it’s right there. It’s very accessible. The whole book is short as you’ve seen. People are finding it very helpful because as an entrepreneur, there is so much pressure. You’re always making new decisions, you’re leading the way, and that can be lonely. And this book is like a companion.
Olivier Roland: Most of my audience is French speaking. Is your book going to be translated in French at some point?
Victoria Labalme: I would hope so. I’m in touch with various publishers now, so we’ll see what happens. But, even if English is a tough language for you, I think it’s worth getting because there’s such a visual book. A lot comes through visually.
Olivier Roland: True
Victoria Labalme: And the words are very spare on the page. So, it’s not a lot of heavy reading. But yes, fingers crossed for a French translation.
Olivier Roland: So, in any case, there are a lot of drawings. Yes, it’s fun. And like you said, it’s like a short read, it doesn’t have to be long to give value. So, I encourage my audience even if you’re English. It’s not maybe the best, but if you can understand what we talk about, you should be able to understand the book without any problem. They can find your book easily on Amazon, right? And on different online platforms? And I think if you go to the English books of a physical library like FNAC in France, for example, you will be able to find it. For people who want to go even beyond that, do you offer anything? Because I mean I know you have like a… You create a lot of content, too, so…
Victoria Labalme: Sure. So, if you go to riskforward.com, you can find out about the book. We have bonuses for people who buy the book. And we have a little mini course that I just recorded that you can get if you want to have a little additional insight into each of the chapters where I share strategies and extra materials and extra examples to help bring these principles to life. One more thing I should say, two more things. One is, we in the book did not want to make it too much of a burden for people to read that’s why it is so short, and so we created an online center. So, when you get the book you’ll see there’s a link where you can go and download extra ideas that go with the book. And there are videos, and fun support, that’s free. You just go to the URL in the book and that’s free. For anyone who’s interested in more about presentation, performance skills, you can look at the video that Olivier and I did. We did a great interview on “Rock the room”. Also, if you want to go to rocktheroom.com I have free materials there.
Olivier Roland: Absolutely. We put all the links in the description so go check them. You will see it’s awesome. And I mean we did I think it was a 45 minute or one hour interview last time about many topics, but it was awesome. We put the link below. And I encourage you to check it. So, if you are interested, and I think, if you are still here you are, right? By this topic, you can easily find “Risk Forward” on Amazon. We also put the link. So, thank you a lot Victoria. Anything you want to share to the audience before we leave?
Victoria Labalme: Yes, two last statements. The first is at “The Edge of Not Knowing”. At the edge of not knowing is the beginning of the extraordinary. That’s the first thing I want to say. When you don’t know, that is the beginning of something amazing. The second thing I want to say is “The opening line of the book”. I can tell you I’ve said this line in front of world leaders, I’ve said this line in front of chief marketing officers at some of the biggest companies, I’ve said this in front of all types of entrepreneurs, artists, and executives. And everyone smiles when they hear it, which is this: “Some people in life know exactly what they want to achieve. This is a book for the rest of us”.
Olivier Roland: Awesome. It’s a book for the people who want to embrace their inner adventurer, their inner Indiana Johns.
Victoria Labalme: That’s a wonderful way to say it.
Olivier Roland: All right. Thank you a lot Victoria and see you around. Ciao.
Victoria Labalme: Merci à vous. Ciao ciao.