It's the classic entrepreneur's dilemma: the bank has called in its loan, and you have two weeks to find a sizeable sum of money. What do you do? If you're Rebecca Harding, you take the dog for a walk. The irony of where she ended up that day -- at Beachy Head, a famous spot for suicides -- was not lost on her.
'I want to continue the conversation about women and work, success, and happiness. I want to create solutions and cultivate a joyous, supportive, and energizing community. I want to make as much of a positive difference in the lives of other women as possible during my own precious time on this planet...'
Bernadette confesses that she sometimes feels swallowed up by all of the responsibility of her business and the rest of her life. She says she can become so exhausted that she can't sleep, and yet when the next day comes and presents its new challenges, she looks forward to it - each day is different, exciting, and fun!
Falling back on my journalistic training, a surprisingly successful 25 career as a public relations consultant followed, during which I developed the courage and confidence to promote my own business as well as those of my clients. By the time I accidentally became a 'comedy producer', I had accumulated a wealth of experience and a collection of useful skills to grow my own brand.
Research shows that if you empower a woman, you empower a family, a community, and indeed a nation. This is because women invest 90% of what they earn back into their families' health and education, making a lasting difference. Yet while there are so many smart and hard-working women out there, many of them struggle in particular with access to banks and loans. Today, more than 2.5 billion adults in the developing world are considered 'financially excluded'. This means that they do not have access to basic financial services, such as savings, bank accounts, or credit. The majority are women.
All too quickly those childhood dreams and aspirations ebbed away as the responsibilities of your first mortgage, meeting your partner, marriage, children, a bigger house and simply staying afloat rapidly took centre stage. And before you knew it, there you were, slap bang in the middle of the rat race.
When I stereotype the American startup founders I've met in London, I notice the gene that they seem to share with Penny - that American go-getter "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" mindset. (Somewhere, my British friends are rolling their eyes at that cheesy quote.) Americans don't seem scared of their own idealism, whereas in British culture, I find brazen optimism often equated with stupidity.
When I'm speaking to my friends who are also women in the sport industry, we often find ourselves reflecting that we work in a sector that's predominantly male. It's not a new realisation. And it's not surprising. Sometimes it's a rant, sometimes it's a complaint, and other times it's just an observation of a meeting we had where we were the only woman in the room, or at an event where very few women were present.
As long as we learn from our mistakes and continue to take risks, it will help us reach our full potential. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, made 1,000 prototypes before finally coming up with a concept that worked, as he famously said; "Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up."
Highly confident people are their own master and are best friends with their inner voice. They are comfortable being in charge of what they think, do and say, as they trust themselves. They ask for guidance, support and often flesh things out with advisers, coaches, and mentors but at the end of the day they trust their intuition as they know it will never let them down.