Secret Episode: The One Relationship That Determines Everything

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Secret Episode of A Braver Brand The Podcast with Kate K. McCarthy | Self-Awareness, Self-Compassion, Self-Expression

Hello, you beautiful brave humans - welcome to a VERY special, secret (transcribed!) episode of A Braver Brand, the podcast.

I wanted to pop in with this special episode, because, one, I just think that y’all are the best, and I wanted to make sure to say hi and check in as the year ends. This time of year can bring up so many mixed emotions. I’m here if you need anything - don’t hesitate to reach out.

And two, because, I wanted to talk about relationships.

The most important relationship, actually.

The one with yourself - and why it means everything to your fulfillment and success.

So, I’m going to start with an analogy. Because who can resist an analogy, am I right?!

Our businesses - get this - are like cars.

So often, we pay attention to the strategy:

We think about what kind of car we drive. The kind of car we drive is our business model, our services, our offerings. It’s the container. Is it small and agile, like a hybrid? Powerful and able to withstand some bumps and bruises, like an SUV? A classic, dependable sedan, able to to go the distance with a little TLC? Sporty with a splash of color, like a fast moving convertible?

We think about the resources it’s going to take, the speed that we’re going to travel, the number of passengers our business can hold - both clients and our team.

We think about our dream destination - our goals and metrics - and the route we’ll take: do we take backroads, seeking slow and steady progress, or hop on the freeway? Are we ok with navigating traffic or do we want to go off-roading and forge an entirely new path?

These things make up our strategy.

And the truth is that those are all great questions, great things to think about, to keep clear in our minds, to refresh and revisit regularly. Because the choices we make there, in our strategy, are important. They define how we show up, our marketing, our sales journeys. They reflect our values and inform our impact.

But… what’s so often forgotten in the conversation is this: THE DRIVER.

We pay so much attention to the car itself - the business model, the services, the offerings - we pay so much attention to the resources, the speed, the route… that we never remember to think about the driver, the one in charge - the one whose style of driving changes everything.

You see… whatever the car you drive, the journey and its success, is dictated by the kind of driver you are.

And we all drive differently.

Let’s say that you’ve decided to build your business like a sports car, flashy and sleek, and decide to take the freeway - like hundreds of sports cars before you. After all, it’s the fastest path to your destination. With that choice comes a super responsive accelerator and a business designed for speed. It defines your social media strategy, your ad spend, your sales funnel.

But what if as a driver… your strengths actually lie elsewhere? What if you freeze up at high speeds? What if your heart speeds up when you encounter traffic, becoming reactive to every little move of the cars around you? What if your real bliss consists of long drives on country roads with a minivan - or even that same sports car going a different way - full of your favorite humans, dancing and singing and having long, meaningful conversations? What if you’re not a city driver or a freeway driver but a driver who like expansiveness?

See what I mean?


We become our best, strongest, bravest, most aligned selves when we - the drivers - are matched with the right vehicle and the right route.


Otherwise, we’re always struggling against our own impulses and intuition, never reaching our dream destinations - or if we do, reaching without our fulfillment, freedom, or joy in mind. Our impact is limited, our business journey bound to be boxed up by road rage, defensiveness, or reactivity.

For so, so many of us - we pick our cars, our business models, services, offerings, and then simply go the route that hundreds of thousands of those same cars have gone before.

We find ourselves stressed out or unfulfilled or stuck somewhere that doesn’t light us up and doesn’t get us close to the destination - or the kind of ride - we want to see.

So how do we fix that?

By refocusing on the most important relationship in our business - our relationship with ourselves, the drivers.

In my work, in my training and in my experience, self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-compassion, self-forgiveness, self-expression… they make all the difference.

Now, I’m not saying all of this to reinforce the self-serving, ego driven expression that we so often see online. Rather, I have seen where so many businesses fail to thrive - they fail to take into account the strengths, stories, values, and unique versions of success that each of us - the drivers - bring to the table.

And when we forget that, we create business plans and work at paces that are fundamentally misaligned with who we are and how we are each designed to work.

When we forget that, our stories and unacknowledged narratives pop up in the midst of launches or social media calendars or discovery calls, throwing us off-kilter and leading us farther away from ourselves and our greatest dreams of impact.

So how do we figure out what kinds of drivers we are? How do we reorient our businesses to be in line with those strengths and skills and gifts?

For each of us, the journey is different, but I wanted to take some time today - particularly as the year comes to a close - to share some of the ways that I have seen success in knowing what kind of drivers we are and how we can find OUR most easeful, aligned route to our goals, our dream destinations. I’ve seen these things work for myself, my clients, and my amazing soul humans and colleagues online over and over and over again.

ONE. Self-reflection as a routine and ritual. And by this, I don’t mean stopping constantly, getting mired in self-criticism or an internal, ongoing and one-sided conversation of “what could I have done better?” Rather, I mean having regular conversations with yourself, conversations that emerge from two things: compassion and curiosity, and are inspired by joy, ease, flow, and fulfillment. All of which will look different depending on who you are.

For me, this has looked like a regular journaling practice focused on connection and joy-soaked curiosity - along with doing things that remind me of what joy and flow feel like FOR ME. And it’s also meant number two.

TWO: Partnering with aligned support. That might mean finding a therapist that fits. My work with my therapist, who I've seen off and on for, like, 10 years has REVOLUTIONIZED my relationship with myself.

It might also mean finding business support - a community, mentor, or coach.

I wanted to make sure to share a little advice with these two things - because just like the skill of a mechanic dictates how well your car works, your community, coach, or mentor can radically change how things work for you.

My biggest piece of advice in terms of mentors and coaches is this… To, one, find someone you feel sees and hears you (because presence is way underrated), and two, is able to help you move forward in a way the works in concert with you are, your strengths, and values - not in terms of the template that you have to fit into.

This work takes courage and stepping out of your comfort zone - but courage separated from authenticity always falls flat or falls through. Don't let feelings of desperation or fear fuel your decision.

In terms of community, get clear on what your heart is craving. The Fireside Collective, my free Facebook community, was created to be a space and a community committed to engaging and connecting from a place of openness, honesty, curiosity, and courage. The doors are always open for you!

But get clear on what your heart is craving. If you need feedback, find a community that can provide feedback. If you need a community to help you rumble with what it looks like to be a creative entrepreneur, find that.

THREE: Self forgiveness. This is a tough one, y’all. It’s the pathway to self-compassion, to being able to look back on who we’ve been and the choices we’ve made without that tight grip of judgment and expectation. Practically speaking, this can look different for each of us - for some people, a ritual around self-forgiveness works. For others (like me), it’s a daily, weekly, monthly process of positive self-talk and sitting in the discomfort that so often accompanies the space before that self-forgiveness sinks in.

It’s also meant going back to #2 - partnering with aligned support.

AND FINALLY, FOUR: Getting clear on what success actually looks like to YOU. So often, in both the online and offline worlds, our destination - the one that we strive for, hustle for, push for - is dictated by external forces.

Personally speaking, that can range from relationships to home ownership to kids to the kind of car that you, quite literally, drive.

In our businesses, that can look like what “success” (you can’t see me now, but I’m using air quotes) looks like on our social media feeds and emails from influencers. It can look like income goals or the number of clients we have each month, like living that laptop lifestyle or the kind of style you rock in your brand photos.

But here’s the thing - those externally dictated markers of success - they don’t mean anything unless they’re truly a part of what you want.

So what does success mean to you in your heart of hearts? What does it feel like? Look like What does it look like for you to be fully expressed and fulfilled?

Knowing this changes your destination altogether - and then helps you define the car, the route, and the experience of the journey itself.

If you’re listening to these questions and you’re just not sure - if it all feels a little foggy, that’s ok. That’s when #2 - finding aligned support, the community, coach, therapist, or mentor - can be so, so helpful.

The truth is that I’ve seen way too many business owners get caught up in the strategy - the kind of car, the route, the resources, the number of passengers, the destination - all without being intentional and deeply connected to who they, as the driver, really are.

They forget that they really hate driving on freeways or that they always avoid busy streets. They ignore the fact that their dream life - like, their dream life, not the one that’s dictated to them by social media - is actually best reached with a classic, reliable sedan. They see all of the cars that have gone the same way before and they assume that it’s the only way to go.

But when we get back in touch with the most important relationship in our businesses - the relationship with ourselves - we’re then able to:

  1. Create an intentional, aligned strategy

  2. Know what kinds of clients we need to be attracting - and the best ways to do that

  3. Create businesses that are more than just successful, they’re deeply fulfilling.


And believe it or not - that’s the kind of business that you deserve. The kind that fits like a glove, runs and responds to who you are, and gets you where you want to go.

As I sign off, I wanted to remind you that I’m here for you. It would be the utmost honor to support you in getting back in touch with who you are as the driver - and help you build out a soulful strategy to put that beautiful self-awareness into practice.

I have a few more spots open for my free 45-minute Next Right Step Sessions this coming week (the week of December 17th), and then we’ll be back with them again after the 1st of the year. These sessions are made for you if you’re ready to take that next, right step forward and you need some wholehearted support in clarifying, planning for, and taking that brave action. Click here to learn more and schedule your session!

Until next year, friends. Happy Holidays!

Kate McCarthyComment