Victoria Colligan is an author, lifestyle expert and mother of two. She is the founder of Ladies Who Launch, an on and off-line resource for women entrepreneurs. Colligan has been featured on The Today Show, Oprah radio and in The New York Times. Her Daily Launch Tips are circulated to a community of over 100,000 women, and are the foundation of her second book: Dream it! Launch it! Live it!: Get the Life you Want in 5 Minutes a Day.
In this brief interview I asked Victoria about her new book and some tips she could share with us on how to improve our lives, one day at a time. She also generously offered to share an excerpt of her book (see below).
CW: What inspired you to write Dream It! Launch It! Live It!?
Victoria Colligan (VC): I was inspired to write this book as a vehicle for sharing and inspiring others to follow their dreams by using the strategies and thought processes that I identified after interacting with and interviewing thousands of successful entrepreneurial women. Whether starting a business or not, as women, we are always launching something. Once I realized that there was no single formula for getting projects and ideas off the ground, but that there is a mindset that can be learned to make success more probable, I felt compelled to share this message and these strategies with the world.
CW: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to women starting a business and how can it be overcome?
VC: The biggest obstacle for most of us is actually “starting” the process of launching, and then once having started, keeping the momentum going. As the entrepreneur of our lives, there is no one pushing us per se, so we must figure out how to take steps every day towards our dreams, goals and aspirations.
There are two ways to do this that work:
1. Do one thing every day towards a goal without questioning its value or expecting a specific result. Just the movement alone of taking one small step will begin to inform the next step and the path at large.
2. Try to get out of your comfort zone as much as possible– this is the only way to overcome fear and make what seems impossible possible. It is VERY difficult and requires a great deal of stamina and strength to accept the discomfort and keep moving. Send a difficult email, detach your emotions from results and make the dreaded phone call– one way to practice this that is more fun and less harsh– is to do fun things that are out of your comfort zone to get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable such that other applications become possible– if you hate to cook, cook a meal; if you’ve never been to a yoga class, go to one, etc.
CW: Can you share some of the exercises women can do each day to improve their lives?
VC: In addition to above, here are some other things that help facilitate dreams:
• Daily meditation, even if for five minutes. It clears the mind and makes room for solutions to appear.
• Daily deep breathing exercises.
• Stick to the one thing a day plan for as long as possible so that you avoid a state of overwhelm and create space to think about the effectiveness of your daily steps and whether modifications are in order.
• Correct and modify as you go with no emotion or judgment around making mistakes.
• Make excellent mistakes!
Book Excerpt: This is an adapted excerpt from the introduction of Dream It! Launch It! Live It!
When I set out to write this book, I asked myself several questions regarding its purpose: Who is this book for? Why am I writing it? What am I hoping to achieve? The answers, though not obvious at first, became more clear as I reflected back on my own success trajectory and the trajectories of others around me—not just the women we feature on the Ladies Who Launch website, but the women who are leading our local communities, joining our networks and generally launching passions and growing businesses.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fairly passionate about Dream Manifestation and the Path of Success. Surely (I thought) there must be a formula, a manifesto, a manual, that if followed precisely, would lead to the perfectly-crafted dream. Surely, if researched, studied and labored long enough, I would discover the science of Dream Manifestation—a perfectly formulated solution to make your dreams come true and achieve the Path of Success. I decided to embark on a journey of discovery with the intention of uncovering solutions and paving the way for others.
However, in my quest to uncover the science of Dream Manifestation, it didn’t take long for me to realize two important points:
1. There is no one formula for success. If there were, everyone would have already figured it out. The fact is, every path is different. This book is about finding and living yours.
2. Although one concrete formula for success does not exist, there are ways of thinking and acting that will make your dreams MORE likely to happen than not. This book provides a shortcut to those thoughts and behaviors and gives you tools for successfully adopting them.
Toward the middle of my quest, and nearly a decade after I started Ladies Who Launch, I realized that I had taken myself way too seriously. It dawned on me, not all at once but in unexpected surges, that perhaps the key to dream manifestation was to lighten up and turn down the intensity. In fact it occurred to me that if what I was doing wasn’t working, maybe I should try doing the opposite—maybe I should try letting go rather than holding on; having fun, rather than working 24/7; going out, rather than staying in; laughing rather than complaining. I decided to treat the science of Dream Manifestation like a science experiment, or rather, a series of experiments in doing things differently and documenting my results.
In fact I began the study of Dream Manifestation with the same rigor and intensity that I had approached everything else in my life (like getting into grad school, applying for a job, crafting a legal document, or checking my daughter’s homework).
In this case, the first order of business was to figure out what it was about certain people, their behaviors and choices that led some to achieve their dreams quickly and easily, while leading others to hang on for years in frustration, failure and disappointment. Since my specific dream was to create a financially lucrative business, I focused on a combination of study that centered around how to generally manifest dreams and how to specifically build a successful business. I learned, quickly, however, that no matter what the dream—start a family, launch a business, learn a new language, or retire rich—there were certain things that stayed true universally across the board. In other words, there were certain things one could do, actions one could take and a mindset one could adopt that would optimize the possibility of dreams coming true and minimize the risk of failing.
So, what can you expect from this book?
This book contains a rich collective of tips that I’ve written called Daily Launch Tips. They are designed to put any dream into action. They are designed to propel you towards a life of “living the dream.” These tips are meant to be accessible and easily integrated into your life on a daily basis. I have organized them into a step-by-step process by chapter and month to reflect the basic sequencing that I have identified around Dream Manifestation. You can certainly use them any way you like.
As we’ve already discussed, there is no one path to success—I can only share with you the strategy and tactics around what I believe to be the quickest and surefire path to achieve your goals and live a happier, more fulfilled life. They are a compilation of my own experiences as to what works and what doesn’t, what’s relevant and what isn’t, delivered for the first time in this comprehensive easy-to-follow format that you can use as a guide or manual for your own Dream Manifestation. For those of you who already subscribe to The Daily Launch on LadiesWhoLaunch.com, you will find them there and also in combination with my lifestyle blog.
To get the most from this book, you don’t need anything more than an open mind and an entrepreneurial mindset. If you’re not sure whether you have an entrepreneurial mindset, curiosity is a good place to start. When you are curious (as opposed to judgmental) about the world around you, you set yourself up for opportunity and success. Here’s the key: You don’t actually have to know where you’re going to see and take advantage of or to capitalize on possibility. Maybe you’ve started a business or maybe you’re dreaming of starting one someday. Maybe you have little desire to start a business but are generally curious about entrepreneurship and you want to lead a more entrepreneurial life—a life that is filled with creating what you want; happiness, peace and joyful moments. Maybe you just want to laugh more, dance more, sing more, or have “whatever that happy woman next to you is having.” Or perhaps you want just a dose of a new way of thinking and expanding your perspective.
Perhaps you’re “dreaming it” at this very moment, or maybe you are in the middle of “launching it.” Maybe you are “living it” or maybe you want to “live it” better. Whatever “it” is for you and whoever you are or however you define yourself, this book will put you on a path of expansion. And expansion is the first step toward change and love.
For more details about the book or to purchase it, click here.