2023: The year of two halves

Challenges don’t define us, our actions do…

As we turn the page on 2023, I find myself reflecting (as usual…)

2023 was spectacular for so many reasons, but it was also, by far, the most challenging year of my life.

It suddenly dawned on me, when I waved my 8-year-old daughter goodbye to spend her first Christmas away from me and with her Dad, (another challenging moment), that I’ve not spent enough time talking about how two-sided the year was.

Here’s the thing.

Social media only really gives you one side of the story. It’s largely used as a platform to showcase your success, positive memories, best practice and inspire others. That’s amazing, right?

But the reality is, adversity and challenges are inevitable for us all, and no-one is exempt. So, maybe it’s time for us to “normalise” the fact that we’re just human beings outside of our role as leaders, parents, and partners. Perfection doesn’t exist and most importantly we need to understand that our challenges don’t define us, our actions do.

What’s really interesting, is that if you lift the bonnet on the challenges you’ve faced this year, and then actually take the time to consider what action was taken to provide fulfilment, positivity and success, the full story starts to take shape.

The truth is, it’s the bigger picture and all it’s vulnerability that will truly resonate with others and go on to provide nuggets of strength that we can carry into this year and beyond.

For example:

1. I lost my court case, witnessed huge inequality issues within the legal system and tragic dishonesty that put me on the receiving end of a very messy divorce, resulting in emotional and financial loss.


The truth prevailed in other ways. My hard work and commitment to the business saw me proudly receive 2 regional awards for Baltimore and 3 national awards for my leadership capabilities and the difference I make to others.

2. I Suffered with pockets of poor mental health because of the trauma I had encountered.


I entered my 14th year of therapy, continued to talk about my feelings, removed the personal shame and gave myself permission to shine as a parent, partner and leader. Oh, and I unexpectedly fell in love again!

3. My business experienced a record low downturn in sales performance across Q4 last year.


I continued to have the uncomfortable, difficult conversations with staff, I used fact-based evidence to squash the ostrich effect from breeding, and I Invested in external training to up-skill my staff to ensure recovery and growth was inevitable.

My point is, we have zero control over some of the chapters that we face in our lives. Some are inflicted by others, and some are curve balls sent to test us. We do, however, have full control of the actions we take to enable us to face forward, brush ourselves off and go again.

I’m a talker, I always have been, and I know it’s the only way I can heal and become the best version of myself. Other’s may not have the confidence, or they may fear judgement and wear a mask to make others feel that they are okay.

There are always two sides; beneath the smile, the awards and the glitter, there may very well being a hugely vulnerable person. Someone that may need words of kindness and encouragement as opposed to judgment and disrespect.

I have won awards, had our best year in business, hit ridiculous personal and professional milestones, and yet, I am carrying some battle scars into this year. But that is okay.

So why am I writing this? This is ultimately, me giving others permission to be vulnerable. To show up authentically and to inspire others to know there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

In the words of Brene Brown;

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”

Here’s to a new year filled with opportunity, curiosity, and action, alongside our challenges, adversity, and battle wounds. I’m ready for 2024, are you?


Charmaine Vincent

Owner & CEO