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A personal Christmas tale
ÔÇťAll that glitters is not gold..."

authenticity entrepreneurship personal stories storytelling-truthtelling Dec 18, 2023
Karolien Vanhelden - Personal Branding - A personal Christmas tale

Well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… This song has been stuck in my head the past few days. And now this celebration is already at our doorstep. I believe the holidays are a great time for connecting through stories. And if you like it or not, the Christmas story is one of the greatest ever told. Who else’s story has been passed along through thousands of years? Maybe Jesus was secretly the first powerful personal brand?

I could tell you a lot of personal Christmas stories: little Karolien aka the bookworm reading all her books under the Christmas tree or Lilly’s first Christmas or our magical Christmas time in London (wishing I was there now…) or…. the one where we were standing on the roof in the middle of Christmas night clearing snow.

Yes, I pick that last one. Years ago, Lilly wasn’t born yet, we installed a fancy office in our home: tailor-made desk and cupboards, new flooring, beautiful wallpaper, nice curtains and freshly paint. Everything was ready to start working there. But first we wanted to celebrate a white Christmas Eve at my parents’ home. We decided to stay there overnight and during Christmas Day. After two long days with too much food and presents, we arrived home tired and went straight to bed to get some sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and constantly heard water dripping. I got up and… yep, we had a leakage in our brand new office. The thick layer of snow on our flat roof had been melting during the day and apparently, due to the weight of the snow, there was a small crack in our roof. And you guessed it, everything was ruined in our office that we had for let us say 3 days. The only thing we could do at that point was getting rid of the remaining snow on the flat roof as soon as possible. So that is what we did, in the middle of the freezing night in our pyjamas: clearing snow as if our lives depended on it… Talking about a ‘silent night’…

Why do I pick this story to tell you? Well, for two reasons:

  1. All that glitters is not gold (to stay in the festive mood). You shouldn’t only tell the successful stories. And if some people do so, you always need to remember that something that seems to be good on the surface, might not be when you look at it more closely. For an authenticity warrior and truthpreneur like me, storytelling is about being authentic and honest. It is about the courage to be vulnerable and imperfect. Too often authenticity is threatened by perfectionism, a pitfall I still fall into regularly. So voilà, I share with you a less romantic Christmas tale.

  2. I consider my story as a metaphor for entrepreneurship. One moment you think you are on top of the world, hence the romantic image of the snow and the brand new fancy office. But if you turn your back for just one split second, something (or someone) knocks you off your pedestal. You fall, but you need to get up again and do the work. Entrepreneurship is about ups and downs, about thinking you have gold in your hands and questioning what the hell you are doing. But when you keep showing up, one day you will thrive. So you need to keep on removing snow. But that can be hard alone. It is better to do it together. And so it goes for an entrepreneur as well. You need a network that supports you and pushes your further.

Most stories close with a happy ending. So yes, I am writing this blog in that same office that is now all cleaned up and pretty. (I could have painted a more romantic image and say that I am writing this newsletter with a hot chocolate next to the Christmas tree. But then I wouldn’t be telling the truth, right?) So in the end, everything will be fine. This too shall pass… Remember that.

On this positive note, I would like to wish you already a cosy Christmas with family or friends, making memories and crafting stories to be told in the future. Have yourself a merry little Christmas...

Give yourself the Christmas gift that keeps on gifting... Don’t you deserve a present as well? I want to invite you to become more of who you already are next year. How? Well, check out my program Your Personal Brand kickstart with Fascinate® ...

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