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Victoria Labalme
Ash RoyMar 4, 2021 2:17:05 AM5 min read

208. Risk Forward with Victoria Labalme

Risk Forward with Victoria Labalme

Do you think goals can sometimes be overrated? In this episode of the Productive Insights podcast, Victoria Labalme and I discuss exactly this and more in this conversation.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to  Victoria Labalme, the author of Risk Forward, and how we can apply some of its principles to our businesses and lives. 

It's a book that aims to help those who aren’t entirely sure of what next steps to take. I think it’s timely given the situation we have. 

Victoria Labalme, explains that “risking forward” is a great way to help us gain momentum and direction even when the big picture isn’t clear yet. 

We discuss the power of taking empowered action during times of uncertainty and the importance of listening to that internal whisper in your heart which often knows more than we think it does.
Some other topics we touched on include:
  • What to do in the "fog of unknowing"
  • Are goals overrated? (We explore the myth of goals)
  • How we can take steps in risking forward
  • and lots more...

I hope you find this episode useful. To learn more, go to Visit to buy a copy of Victoria Labalme's book!


Watch the full episode on our YouTube channel here:


What does the term Risk Forward mean? 

Sometimes, taking the plunge to the unknown is the best course of action because it takes you to a new vantage point. The value of taking action to gain clarity is often underrated. 


I used to believe that clarity was a precursor to taking action but over the years I've learnt that action often precedes clarity. And that essentially where the Risk Forward principles kick in.


Victoria explains it beautifully at the start of our conversation: “some people in life know exactly what they want to achieve. Risk Forward is a book for the rest of us”.


Victoria explains how most of us encounter the fog of unknowing — a period of time where we don’t know how to move towards a direction — whether it’s our ideas, businesses, lives. 


Victoria also touches on the 5 Myths in her book:

  • Myth of Goals
  • Myth of Speed
  • Myth of Followers
  • Myth of Focus
  • Myth of Purpose. 


The Crippling Myth of Goals


We're often consumed (sometimes obsessed) with goals setting. While goals are important, they can be problematic if they prevent us from focusing on the process and enjoying the journey. 


Here’s a question for you: Are your goals really your own?


Victoria talks about goal contagion, where we copy others' goals.  This has certainly been true in own experience.


Climbing the corporate ladder and pursuing "the dream" of sitting in corporate boardrooms left me feeling empty inside. 


Saying goodbye to my corporate career and launching Productive Insights was one of the most meaningful things I've done in my life. 


So ask yourself, are your goals truly your own? Will they make you happy? Or did you buy into someone else's dream? 


When you decide to follow your inner current, it often leads to amazing things. 


The Micro Risk


So do we need to make humongous life altering risks?


No, not really. 


Victoria talks about micro risks. 


Following through the micro risks may lead you to one or more of three things:


  • The aha! moment
  • Arrival at a new vantage point which reveals a related but different way forward (that you couldn't' have seen before you took that micro risk) ... or ... 
  • The discovery of a completely different path and a new direction

Taking micro risks almost always leads you to outcomes. They don't carry the pressure that comes with traditional goals. You're often following your instincts.


It often reveals the idea that leads to the idea.


The Prism Effect 


Much like the crystal pyramid that refracts light and splits them into various colours, Victoria explains that with close examination, our inner light can reveal the various “colors” within us — our unique interests and talents. 


What if we took the time to explore our inner beings and took those micro risks to unearth our unique gifts? 


You might think it is crazy or too left-field, but taking micro-risks could lead you to invaluable insights. 


In this conversation, Seth Godin and I discuss the idea of “dancing with fear”. Risk forward is about doing exactly that. It's about forging your own path and unlocking the hidden genius within you. 


Uncertainty as an asset


If there's one thing that's certain in life, it's the presence of uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic and various other events that dominated 2020, have unequivocally illustrated this fact.


Victoria saw 9/11 happen as she looked out her window in Lower Manhattan. Two days later, her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 


We all have experiences where we feel like the rug has been pulled from under us. Sometimes it's a spouse filing for a divorce, a sudden illness, employees going AWOL, the current pandemic and so on ...


But Victoria explains that these situations that create the fog of uncertainty, they can also offer us an opportunity to dig deep and choose the best way forward. They offer us the opportunity to respond rather than react. 


The fog of the not knowing is fertile and full of potential. Making a choice is what matters here. 


Ask yourself this question:


What interests you now?


I asked Victoria if she could share one of her 4 questions to connect with our inner current


Her response?


“What interests you now?” 


This is a great question to ask, because it elicits introspection and gives you a chance to discover (and articulate)  interests you’ve been hiding from your conscious mind.


Allowing ourselves to take time and think of our current interests may lead us to the next best thing. So why not? 


In parting, Victoria quoted the following words from her book “at the edge of not knowing, is the extraordinary”. 


So I hope that this episode inspires you to try something new and risk forward. 


Links Mentioned

  5. Victoria Labalme's Risk Forward TedTalk

Emails Mentioned


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Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!