Bella Rareworld is an international business networking speaker and trainer for over 13 years with high-profile clients including the Houses of Parliament, o2 Arena, Metro Bank, NatWest.
She has also lectured on business networking at University of Westminster, University of Greenwich and University of West London. She is highly passionate about networking, sharing her expertise on the importance of building relationships first and running online networking training on how to turn coffee into clients.
She has decided to take the brave step in revealing that she suffers from bipolar disorder in an effort to increase mental health conversations and break the stigma. She recently launched Think Tenacity podcast and by sharing her story she hopes more people will recognise mental health symptoms to get help early.
It is so important to talk more about mental health because since the start of the pandemic there is more pressure on employees, business owners and entrepreneurs. The number of people struggling with mental health have increased since the first lockdown in March 2020.
As a positive way to combat her mental illness, Bella discovered the joys of owning a manual scooter for a healthy positive distraction to boost her well-being. She uses the hashtag #BellaScooterDay and blogging to share her adventures exploring nature and London’s history.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m the first UK BAME female Networking Speaker and my brand is Bella Networking Guru. My industry is business networking, working as a professional speaker and podcaster teaching professionals, entrepreneurs, SMEs, how to turn coffee into clients. Since January 2020, I expanded my podcasting skills to create a new mental health podcast called Think Tenacity Podcast.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Absolutely yes, I’m a big planner and strategic thinker at age 16, my goal was to run my own and my plan B, was to be a Marketing Director. At the start of the recession (2008), I attended my first networking event at the famous The Oxo Tower and my first taste of networking. I started my business in the same year as a Networking Guru then, a professional Speaker. I never planned a career in podcasting or to become a mental health speaker, this happened by accident.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Challenges is my middle name. For the first time, I’m publicly sharing that I am diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, a mental illness. I hid my mental illness for 13 years because I couldn’t face the stigma associated with mental illness. Initially I did not share my diagnosis with my friends, clients and colleagues because I was scared that I would be judged. Finally, I feel brave to share my story living with a mental health illness whilst a high-octane career.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I’m an example of how a woman with a serious mental health illness can get from A – B and did not give up on my goal to be a female business entrepreneur. That’s the message I’m trying to get across in my new podcast Think Tenacity. Despite any mental health struggles, you still can be successful and live a fabulous life.
Also, becoming a podcaster is my biggest achievement, not having a clue about the industry or how to start a podcast. My role as a podcaster has been 100% self-taught. I dedicated time to research, to develop my skills and often felt like I was training for the Olympics learning podcasting skills.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Tenacity, tenacity, tenacity! Colleagues in my network always say that “I am a go-getter” but I never knew what they were talking about until I created the Think Tenacity podcast. Yes, I’m challenged daily with symptoms of bipolar disorder however, there is always a light inside me that never blows out. During the most difficult darkest days, I always seem to push through and never give up.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I’m passionate about mentoring and believe everyone should have a mentor. I have worked with a marketing mentor for 13 years. Our relationship always begins with laughter. My mentor provides a non-judgement platform where I can completely ask any questions. I feel privileged and honoured to have a mentor who shares his 30+ years industry knowledge, experience with me for my personal development. My mentor, Barnaby Wynter was the person who encouraged me to be open and share my struggles with mental health with my business colleagues.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
I pray and dream most days for gender equality and hope one day we can be judged by our skills, talents rather than gender. I think this will open opportunities to the next generation of women to become motivated to achieve any career they desire without the thought of gender standing as a barrier.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Hey Bella; “You’re stronger than you think! Don’t forget your small wins rather than always focussing on the big goals!” and “girl, remember you are a creative and talented woman filled with tenacity”.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I can see my future focusing on my role as a mental health speaker and advocate by using my voice for mental health awareness. It would be rewarding, if I can help more people to open up, to share their mental health struggles rather than feeling ashamed and scared of stigma. Using my 13+ years living with bipolar, I would love to create a platform of fun content and tools to help professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs improve mental health while working from home or in the office.
Why are you passionate about reducing stigma in mental health?
For 13 years, I kept my mental health a secret because I was ashamed and could not face stigma in mental health. I couldn’t speak with my family about it. I felt ashamed that I felt this way. I wish more people were kinder and showed more compassion to people suffering with mental health challenges. I hope that one day, the vision will change to view mental health as no different to physical health.