BOOKS: 'Risk Forward: Embrace the Unknown and Unlock Your Hidden Genius', by Victoria Labalme

• 📖 'Risk Forward: Embrace the Unknown and Unlock Your Hidden Genius', Victoria Labalme – March 30, 2021


When Victoria Labalme shared an early draft of her new book with me, it was the middle of our quarantine winter. It's hard to know what you're doing and where days begin or end after a long period of isolation, amid pandemic life disruption. I felt like my brain was warped, my sense of who I am was going through a weird photoshop filter. Guess I still kind of feel that way. Who doesn't?

I knew Victoria's work as a performing artist — 25 years on stage and screen, she even worked with Marcel Marceau! And I know pre-pandemic, she always seemed to be flying to one country or another to do corporate strategy sessions that teach people how to apply generative creative processes in business settings. Didn't fully understand it, but from what I did know, she commanded respect. I was stoked about her book coming out — but didn't appreciate how deeply it would affect me until halfway through being unable to put it down in one sitting. That's another cool thing about 'Risk Forward,' the book — you can totally read it in one sitting, it's sort of a graphic workbook with minimalist images and no word-waste.

This is what 'Risk Forward' asks: Many of us build our lives around planning, achieving, goal-setting. How do you move your life, your creative work, your ability to evaluate personal risk, forward, during an extremely weird and uncomfortable time when your goals aren't yet clear, you maybe have bits and pieces of a plan rattling around in your head at best, and you don't know exactly what you're supposed to be doing but what you have been doing is — just, it's not working. The world we all inhabited before about a year ago, when coronavirus started disrupting all our lives, has shifted. Creative people who work in the performing arts, entrepreneurs who own restaurants, actors who work in bars, so many saw everything torn apart.

The past is not a solid blueprint for what to do in the future.

Victoria's book is.

Just how do you move forward?

Victoria answers questions so many of us ask ourselves. Her insights felt comforting. The book felt freeing. It changed how I view something important. My own creative life.

I don't want to give away the playful secrets of the book, which in part are in its very structure and form.

What does the book lead to, when you've really had a chance to digest it and apply it to your creative and professional life? I'll get back to you on that. I've only begun. You can, too.