At HITEC Dallas 2021 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Victoria Labalme performed a keynote presentation called “Crazy Busy Nuts: Getting Off the Conveyor Belt of Life.” During the session, she shared a glimpse into her life’s work of acting and becoming a speaker, strategies for becoming less busy, and insights from her recent book Risk Forward: Embrace the Unknown and Unlock Your Hidden Genius.
Labalme discussed the idea of “risk forward,” a concept she described to assist people in “getting off the conveyor belt of life,” which is “like a philosophy for life at work.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, work and life blended for many people who previously had work-life balance strategies in place, and working lives became more chaotic. Labalme shared, “The mistake that we make right now is that we think there’ll be a time of certainty. And every great leader, every great creative endeavor, every great collaborative venture moved into the unknown, and that’s really what we have to do at this point. We can’t rely on security. We won’t have it, but we will have our courage, and that’s what ‘risking forward’ is.”
Labalme learned her first strategy when she worked as a commercial actress and studied theater. Finding the driving force or the intent behind what a person does every day is what Labalme called a “through-line.” She shared that finding the motivation behind why people continue to live and work is key to getting out of the constant busyness that people have found themselves in since the beginning of the pandemic. She said, “There’s a lot of talk these days about purpose, and people get all twisted up worried about their purpose.”
Second, another strategy she presented was elevating communications, which Labalme says can be done by understanding the intentions behind actions. An example of this she shared was the difference between donating money to a charity or investing in a charity; the action is similar, but the intention and perception are different. Labalme added, “This strategy again shows up in a micro-moment, in a phone call…or in a quick meeting. And it can show up in a macro-level of your life.”
Lastly, she shared that leveraging one’s personal gifts in unexpected ways can “create this sense of…balance.” Once people identify their personal gifts and what they bring to the table, it’s easier to separate work and play and strike a balance between busyness and effectiveness. She describes this as shining a light into a prism, relating the colors of the prism to the gifts that people bring to the table.
As Labalme noted, “risking forward” is her perception of putting strategies in place to leave the busyness exacerbated by the pandemic. And as she ended her presentation, she shared one final piece of advice: “The way we’re going to get out of this pandemic, the way we’re going to get out of this crazy busyness is through creativity, through courage, through innovation, and through—in my opinion—risking forward to go into the unknown, heart open, even if you’re on the wrong balance, risking forward.”