Stop Making Yourself Smaller with Cara Steinmann
We hear from all the business coaches and growth strategists about the importance of niching down in order to grow. It makes sense…The more narrow our offering and ideal clients, the easier it is for others to refer us.

But this week’s guest, Cara Steinmann, doesn’t think we should niche down but rather “niche up.” That doesn’t mean you build out a bigger client base, it means that you know your limiting beliefs, understand how you’ve compromised your core values in the past, know how you want to impact the world, and more. And once you know this, you can start to present yourself in a different way, specializing and being really specific about what you do and who you do it for.

As neurodivergent business owners, we’re not too much, and we shouldn’t have to try to make ourselves smaller. We can and should be ourselves, however big that is.

Of course, as two ADHD business owners talking on the podcast, it took us a while into the conversation to get to this topic. But there’s so much that Cara and I align on that we addressed, including why women get diagnosed with ADHD so much later than men, why connecting and networking isn’t a numbers game, why being authentically you is so important, and ditching the patriarchal narrative.

Be sure to tune in! There’s sure to be a part two with Cara.

About Cara Steinmann:
Cara Steinmann is a business development strategist who works with purpose-driven women entrepreneurs to help them build strategic partnerships that open doors to new opportunities. She uses her background in psychology and behavioral science to connect the right people, creating mutually beneficial relationships and entrepreneurial allies.

Links & Resources:

Time Stamps:

[1:00] – The importance of intentionally connect to others
[4:06] – Who is Cara Steinmann
[4:38] – Networking needs a rebrand
[6:04] – Two reasons you’re struggling with connecting and networking
[7:15] – Don’t hire someone to engage for you on LinkedIn
[7:42] – Connecting isn’t a numbers game; it’s a quality person game
[8:57] – Plenty of awesome people out there; give a shit
[10:49] – Focus on quality
[12:52] – ADHD diagnoses in early 40s
[18:32] – Have self-acceptance; you don’t have to work how the world “typically” works
[20:53] – The more you appreciate how different you are, the more you’ll appreciate diversity in general
[22:22] – Conscious competence and unconscious competence
[23:32] – Cara doesn’t believe in competition
[25:47] – When you’re authentic and feel seen, others can reflect back a kinder version of ourselves
[26:32] – The numbers game is deeper relationships
[28:25] – People want to be seen for themselves, not who they are trying to portray
[30:55] – Cara hates the term “niching down”
[31:52] – What niching up is
[34:14] – Get curious about everything
[34:50] – Peeling away layers of patriarchal conditioning
[36:00] – Use curiosity and wondering
[37:09] – Curiosity as a false weakness; questioners are important
[38:42] – As women, we need to question everything
[41:10] – You can’t do effective biz development unless you’ve niched up and are clear on what you do, who you do it for, and why it matters
[45:14] – You can’t put boundaries in place if you don’t know what you value


Amber Hawley 0:01
Business owners are increasingly being pulled in so many directions, feeling like they aren’t reaching their full potential in business and life despite their type aways. With my background as a therapist, entrepreneur and as dropout with ADHD, I interview and coach high achieving business owners like you who want to stop struggling for success by using psychological systems, strategies, and the occasional care for entation. This is the easily distracted entrepreneur, your place to slay overwhelm perfectionism and shiny object syndrome so that you can get done what matters most to you.

Amber Hawley 0:40
Hello, hello, welcome to the podcast. I have a super fun and special guests that I am super excited to share with you today. I have the lovely Cara Steinmann with me. Welcome, Cara.

Cara Steinmann 0:53
I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for having me. Yes.

Amber Hawley 0:57
Okay, I want to point out to people, this is why it is so important to intentionally connect to people like I’m a huge fan of networking. And I think sometimes people hear the word networking and they have like very specific views on it. But we’re in a group together. We’ve been in it for a long time together, I think but never connected or like yeah, each other. And you had messaged me, like DM to me during the Zoom call. And we decided to have like a coffee date on Monday. So we scheduled 30 minutes to have a coffee date and kind of get to know each other an hour and a half later.

Cara Steinmann 1:34
I thought it was more than that.

Amber Hawley 1:36
It might actually might have been two hours

Cara Steinmann 1:38
10 hours later.

Amber Hawley 1:41
15 hours and two meals. Yeah, actually, it might have been an hour and a half me more is more what was it? Oh my god. Okay, that point out, it was so great. And this is why, like, I am discerning about my coffee dates, I will tell you like I have to be really thoughtful about that. But like I felt like the good vibes. And then it was like this is so amazing. And and by the end I was like you have to come on the podcast because this was so great. So anyway, this is my that’s my little thing for again, be open meet people because even if you have a extensive network and all these awesome friends and people in your life like you just could meet your business bestie soulmate on a coffee shop on a coffee chat.

Cara Steinmann 2:30
Or no, like you just have to be open to the universe bringing you the people.

Amber Hawley 2:34
Exactly. There you go. That’s my PSA for coffee for virtual coffee chats in person as well. But for this one virtual

Cara Steinmann 2:44
no in person too much anxiety.

Amber Hawley 2:46
Oh really? I love in person. So that’s actually been a lot of my joy lately is really found my new in person. BFF soulmate. I’ve read a couple of them. Yeah. And I’m like, I feel so much happier. But that’s a whole separate episode. I think so I want to ask cool. We have so much to talk about. So I’m a fan of both. I think you need to have local people who can impromptu like go out with you in person when you just want to change up your scenery or avoid work or have like people time, but I do love virtual as

Cara Steinmann 3:19
I might just be extra out of practice too. Because of that.

Amber Hawley 3:23
I mean, yes, I think we’re I think a lot of people are out of practice, right? Like it’s

Cara Steinmann 3:27
I’ve forgotten how to talk to people in in real life.

Amber Hawley 3:30
Is that why you were grunting for the first half of our call?

Cara Steinmann 3:36
My eye was twitching. It’s different. It’s fine online. For some reason. It’s weird. Like

Amber Hawley 3:41
it’s like a barrier between me and you. Yeah,

Cara Steinmann 3:45
you can tell but I’ve got my my blankie in my lap.

Amber Hawley 3:49
Like it. Okay, so this is why we had a two and a half hour conversation. We cannot stay focused. We both have ADHD will do better for days. Yes. So why don’t you before we get into all of our stuff, tell people a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Cara Steinmann 4:08
Yeah, love to you. I’m Kara Steinman. And I had a big long career in content marketing and like inbound basically, until I melted down and realized I hated what I was doing and wasn’t really sure what to do. So I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out how to build a business that is really authentic to me and makes me happy and does something really good. So now, I’m a Business Development Professional and I help women entrepreneurs who help women entrepreneurs.

Amber Hawley 4:37
I love that you’re a connector. You’re like a super connector.

Cara Steinmann 4:41
I help them build strategic networks. I love that and I hate the word networking. It really needs a rebrand Don’t you think?

Amber Hawley 4:47
I know but then I also have this thing about like that we keep hating all the words like we’re like I’m so over that word so 1987 or something like you know, it’s so overused and I’m like, oh my god, we need to stop because there are no more fucking words and then I can’t figure out how we just need

Cara Steinmann 5:02
to like, need to like re educate people. We need to take some of that, like, when people think networking, they think that you I don’t want to be like all salesy and stuff. And so

Amber Hawley 5:12
yeah, at the start, I was like, that’s I think people think about, like, corporate types, you know? And then like, exactly, I’m shaking.

Cara Steinmann 5:21
Yeah, it’s no offense men, but do better.

Amber Hawley 5:26
Yeah, and it’s a so I agree, I agree that, yes, we need a re education is maybe what Yes, what it should be perfect. But it’s still like an important job. And so many people struggle with that, like struggle, figuring out collaborations and partnerships, and how to make strategic connections. So I think that’s, you know, when, when you’re naturally good at connecting people, as I would say both of us are, it’s one of those things where it’s so obvious, like, Well, that’s easy, but it’s not easy for most people. So I love I love that you’re doing that.

Cara Steinmann 6:01
Yeah, once usually one of two things that I hear people say when they say I, you know, I struggle with networking or making connections, it’s either that they don’t know who they should be connecting to. Because it needs to be strategic. Like you just said, we don’t have all the time in the world to connect with everybody. We’ve got kids, we’ve got jobs, we’re trying to eat dinner, whatever, run our business, you want those really high quality connections, but it can’t just be anybody. So who do I look for? And then the other thing is like, how do I connect? How do I approach them without feeling like I’m being salesy, or that I want something from them, which unfortunately, some people do, head out that and that’s how you end up with the DMS that are like, hey, buy this from me now, by the way, I’m calm or whatever it is.

Amber Hawley 6:42
We read all of our DMS, like, Oh,

Cara Steinmann 6:46
I saw the funniest thread one day and one of the Facebook groups I made about all the terrible DMS people have gotten. And there are some real, really good ones. You’re just like, Oh, who’s out there teaching that? Yeah, I want to know,

Amber Hawley 6:58
there are people who are doing it, because there are times where I get the same message in like a week, like from five different people. So clearly, people are teaching this shit, because they’re using verbatim like scripts, and automating

Cara Steinmann 7:12
everything and like, I’m a big fan of automation, but like, you can’t automate confusion, but you really can’t like I would never hire someone to engage on LinkedIn for me, or pretend to be me online. Because first of all, nobody’s ever going to be you. And second of all, where’s that going? The whole point is to build a relationship. So if you don’t have like, the first part of that you start connecting with somebody who thinks they know you, and they don’t. And it’s just weird. But you just brought up a good point, a myth that needs to be busted, is that it’s a numbers game, connecting, like, making connections online, lead gen, you know, all that business development stuff on LinkedIn, it’s not a numbers game. That’s totally false. It’s a quality game, it’s a person game, like, you can just a few connections can make a huge difference in your business as far as referrals and opportunities are concerned.

Amber Hawley 8:02
Absolutely. I mean, I would say that for my brick and mortar business that I had for, like, I think it was, like 11 or 12 years, we had really quality connections. I mean, we ended up getting because when you’re there that long, you get a lot of referrals, you know, referrals from clients, and just people and you know, good SEO, but we would have people who would specifically refer to us, and it’s amazing what a few, like you’re saying a few quality people to refer or connect you with other people, it really does make a difference, right? And honestly, that’s more manageable. Realistically, that’s much more manageable when you’re when you’re actually having a relationship. So, yeah, I do like that.

Cara Steinmann 8:45
It’s a lot easier to stay connected and to really be invest because you have to be invested in them, too.

Amber Hawley 8:50
I guess it has to be reciprocal. Yeah, that’s that’s like that.

Cara Steinmann 8:54
Was it? 10, 10 years, I think I was doing content writing in the fitness industry. And I didn’t even have a website the whole time. And I stayed super busy with two or three really strategic partners, but I also sent them business and I told everybody else and they were and because they were awesome. Yes. So yes, I think the key is just don’t try to keep relationships going with people you don’t think are awesome. There are plenty awesome people out there that you can genuinely care about.

Amber Hawley 9:22
Like that. That is times yes. Exactly. I think an episode 150 I talked about this. My, my Podcast Producer, Abby Herman interviewed me and we were talking about that and I said, I know that like I could have grown my business faster and bigger. But I refuse to network with douche canoes. So like that was like, it was like, I was like, I don’t like this person. And sometimes it was literally like, they’re just not my vibe. So they weren’t necessarily a douche canoe, but I was like, yeah, that’s too I can’t do that. I can’t maintain a relationship with people or not my vibe. Because, because I just like why that’s so like,

Cara Steinmann 10:03
it’s almost selfish to because just because they’re not your jam doesn’t mean they’re somebody else’s jam. Right? And they are, if they’re tied up, you know, spending time talking to you, then they might be missing the opportunity to talk to somebody who really could benefit, you know, be a mutually beneficial relationship for them.

Amber Hawley 10:20
Well, that’s a way to look at it.

Cara Steinmann 10:24
As a positive.

Amber Hawley 10:26
You’re so friggin positive. I can’t handle it.

Cara Steinmann 10:29
And I can you kind of annoying ask me.

Amber Hawley 10:32
No, I love it. I absolutely love it. That’s the thing. I love the energy. And so yeah, I want to get into a little bit. I mean, we’ve again, we’ve talked about so many things. It’s interesting. We were just talking before we hit record about synchronicities. And this idea of quality, the conversations I’ve been having with people this week, really talking about really focusing on quality that has been a theme through my entire week. I know it’s only Thursday. And I guess that’s a long part of the week. But I mean, at least every single day. And I think I think that’s one of the ways that to make it sustainable is to be focusing on quality. Because when we’re not when we’re good, we’re playing a numbers game, and we’re on quantity. I don’t think it’s sustainable. I think we burn out and I think it’s overwhelming. Yeah.

Cara Steinmann 11:16
Yeah, it’s super overwhelming. That’s one of my pet peeves about, like marketing today is that people are still trying to do all the things everywhere. Yeah, like pick a pick one platform, where you’re especially if you’re a solopreneur. And you don’t have a team to like, put you everywhere, because I want a platform that feels good to you. And engaged how you want to engage like, I’m on LinkedIn, but I rarely post anything, unless it’s like really important. And I want to share something, but I engage all over the place in the comments, because that’s how that’s what feels good to me. I want to talk to people and have conversations. I don’t want to just, you know, put stuff out there because you’re supposed to post X number of times a week or whatever. Yeah, if it doesn’t feel good,

Amber Hawley 11:58
I think all the people who I know that have really, I would say like, I’m gonna say successful, and I do mean financially successful that they feel good about that. They feel like it’s supporting their lifestyle. Yeah, they they all say that same thing unless you have a team. Yeah. Right. And then And then again, that doesn’t mean you do all the platforms. It depends on how big your team is. Right? But that’s the one that’s the common thread is they’re always like, yeah, pick one thing one platform and do that. Well, do it well, quality, do it with quality.

Cara Steinmann 12:29
It’s the quality.

Amber Hawley 12:30
I love it. Well, so it’s gonna say, I guess I know, we know, we can talk for two and a half hours. So and yeah, we do have to Anthony to get on the right rant here. I know. Yes. I was gonna switch us to the right rants to the correct we’re going to be tangential appropriately. If that’s possible, but the I think there will there were a few things one, you and I really connecting and sharing our experiences of finding out we had ADHD in our 40s. And like, like, kind of the last week of that. We’re both 41 Yes, actually, I think I might have been 40 I think I’ve all this time because like once you say it enough, I think you believe it because I and the only reason I say that is today my Facebook memory. And I talked about having Edd and it was seven years ago. I was like, oh shit, I was 40. I was wondering, maybe I might have been 41 I guess for most of the year? No, I think I was 40.

Cara Steinmann 13:28
I was mine was during COVID. So I and it was like the early part of COVID. I’d have to go back and look now because that would have been when I turned 40. But I may not.

Amber Hawley 13:36
Yeah, I know.

Cara Steinmann 13:38
Already it somewhere around

Amber Hawley 13:39
that he was in there, it was the best late. See, that’s random 10 Gentle shifts. But this is the thing most women do get diagnosed later. And it’s because of how our add shows up. And it’s usually we were talking about what I see are two themes. Either their child is getting diagnosed, and then they start having this awareness of like, oh my gosh, that’s, that’s me. And for me, it was my friend, my bestie Melissa Hall got diagnosed and that was my awareness. And then it or it’s because they’re in their 40s. And they’re starting to go through like perimenopause. And the thing is, there’s a lot of research is showing that in menopause, ADHD symptoms are exacerbated, they get more severe and more problematic. And so I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot of women for sure. 50s getting it. Well.

Cara Steinmann 14:28
Plus, at that point in our lives. We’re just sort of like tired of trying to be something we’re not like I was burned out. I was really burned out. I’m trying really, really hard to shore up all my weaknesses all the time to like be normal. Yes. And it just like I just was like tired. And I was like I can’t do this anymore. I’m not happy in my business. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m good at. And it feels like everything is just hard all the time. And then tick tock. I started seeing all these talks that were like, Hey, do you do this really annoying thing. You might not just be annoying. You might have ADHD. He was like, Oh my God, wait a minute. So I started doing all this I, you know, down the rabbit hole, I started hyper focusing on, you know, what is ADHD? What does it look like blah, blah, blah. And pretty soon I had this like, massive list. And I was like, oh my god,

Amber Hawley 15:14
I love this. You’re like, I’m not annoying. You tell your husband. I’m not annoying. I have an add on.

Cara Steinmann 15:21
i told him I had ADD, because you know, self diagnose. But then I did talk to my doctor. And he was like, yeah, that tracks on my husband was like, carry it. You’re not hyper? And I was like, Yeah, you don’t get it. You really don’t know what you’re talking about?

Amber Hawley 15:34
Yes. Because that’s what people think. They think it’s just the hyperthyroid if you could see what’s

Cara Steinmann 15:38
happening inside my brain when I’m just sitting there that looks like nothing’s going on.

Amber Hawley 15:42
Yes, that’s the hyper part, right? Like our brains are like

Cara Steinmann 15:47
you said, it doesn’t look the same for women?

Amber Hawley 15:50
No, it doesn’t, it looks very different. And honestly, having worked with so many people over, you know, in my career as a therapist for a long time, even within women, it looks so distinctly different. And that’s why like I told you about Dr. Ayman and the seven types, I really subscribe to that, because I can see that distinction, that some things are so true for one person and not for the other because of how their ADHD shows up. Yeah, I absolutely love that. And

Cara Steinmann 16:17
I don’t know if I told you this when we were talking the other day, but when I call my mom to tell her, because, you know, I gotta tell everybody, everything when you find something that I told my mom, and she was like, she got mad and real defensive and really care. I don’t like labels. And I was like I do because that’s what gives you context. And then I know like I can do whatever I want with that label. And I told you, I have decided that ADHD is a is a cluster of symptoms, I experience when I am not being true and honorable to my neurodivergent brain. It’s right. If I’m I have had less depression and anxiety since finding out I was neurodivergent. And being willing to work with my brain and change things in my life. I’ve been in a better place than I’ve been ever.

Amber Hawley 17:02
I agree. And I think it’s that acceptance piece, right? It’s like understanding, there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s just my brain works different. So I need to change my expectations, I need to change how I approach things, it totally

Cara Steinmann 17:14
empowered me, I literally, I set to work changing everything in my business that I don’t know if there’s any correlation, but you know, the Kolbe a index, and I’m a quickstart. So I change directions all the time. And I’m not really big on structure, I’m a one follow through I like, you know, agility and everything. And that feels very like ADHD to me. And it gave me permission, I gave myself permission because of that, to be able to say I don’t work with certain clients who require a lot of structure and a lot of like consistency and planning, because that’s not I can’t do that. Yes. Which also opens me up to network and become really good friends with people who do something similar to what I do so that I can be a referral partner to them, because I don’t take those kinds of clients because they’re not going to enjoy working with me.

Amber Hawley 18:04
Absolutely. It’s going to be a negative experience for both of you. And yeah, I said the same thing. Like I had the same kind of, even with my therapy clients, like there were just some people, when you talk to them, you’re like, Oh, this is not going to be a good fit. Because they were like, I would like homework every week and this and that. I was like, well, that’s not how I work. Like sometimes I do give homework. But I also have a philosophy about that. But But I think it’s what what you really highlighted and you talked about, and this is where I think it’s that self acceptance piece. It’s not like I have to figure out a way to work in the world and how it typically works. You were like, I’m going to do my business model to be exactly how I work. So then there’s less stress, there’s less friction, you’re not taking on clients that are going to be, like problematic for you, right, you’re working at zone of genius. And it allows you to utilize that agility, which can be so it can be such a blessing and such a it’s so powerful. But if we expect for our agility to fit into this extreme structure, it gets, you know, like diminished, right?

Cara Steinmann 19:13
Yeah, the self awareness factor. I mean, this works for anybody, right? You don’t have to be neurodivergent to adjust your business to work with how you are we just happen to be you know, this is we’re on one side of the spectrum here and there are people on all in all the different places highly conscientious people, I encourage you to plan and be organized

Amber Hawley 19:29
play has been for you those people.

Cara Steinmann 19:33
Yeah, totally. Absolutely. I just Yeah, yeah,

Amber Hawley 19:37
pull in. And I think you know, and I will say the same for me, like after finding out I felt so much better about myself and I did I had less like depressive feelings and I felt less anxiety. I mean, I still had that because there’s you know, then there’s the RSD part but well yeah, rejection sensitive dysphoria, for those of you have not heard that term before, but I do think when you can just you can go with your strengths and I love that when people talk about this so like Denise Duffield Thomas talks about this a lot with like her with the money archetypes, which Kendall some are worth, because I’ve done her coaching certification and she she has these branding archetypes and money archetypes. And but Denise Duffield Thomas really talks like she has taken it to the next level of understanding your money archetype helps you decide what type of business structure to have. And I think it’s so genius because when you give yourself to that, then he again, you’re in such alignment, there’s ease fulness, there’s not this friction. And so yes, I think self awareness all around. That’s why I love all the personality tests, all the things of understanding our motivation, keeping how? Yes, I know exactly, it’s

Cara Steinmann 20:52
like nothing, nothing’s perfect, but there’s a grain of truth and all these things. And the more that more we can learn about ourselves and how individual and different we are, we can I appreciate, like diversity even more than I ever have. Because now I can see like just how different I am compared to somebody who I thought I was alike to. And and how much easier is it to work on being in your strengths as opposed to constantly fighting to shore up your weaknesses? Like, that’s exhausting. Physically,

Amber Hawley 21:19
it is exhausting. Because even even that approach when I think about it, because obviously, I think we’ve all heard the term like, hire for your weaknesses. And I still agree with that. But if you just approach that and say, I’m going to keep everything the same, my business model my business structure, like who I work with, I’m going to keep it all the same, but hire for my weaknesses, you still are causing yourself a lot of distress. But if you cultivate your business around your strengths, and then the other remaining weaknesses that fill in the hole, your strong suits you hire for that. I think it’s slow, transformational. And then it’s, I mean, I think it really just, it is transformational. I think it’s life changing in all honesty, and that is not hyperbolic for once.

Cara Steinmann 22:07
In the deeper you dig, the more specific you can get about like what your because you know, we have our zone of excellence, right? Yeah. Or what do they what does he call it?

Amber Hawley 22:16
Yeah, zone of excellence Well, zone of genius. And then there’s, you know, what is the one zone of well,

Cara Steinmann 22:21
it’s like, it’s your zone of competence and your zone of No, it’s conscious competence and unconscious competence, right. And so, so many so many of us are like, we hope to get to our zone of conscious competence, where we’re really doing something we know we’re good at it. But like, the really sweet spot is in the unconscious competence, where we can’t even see we’re so good at something because we’re doing we’ve been doing it our whole lives. And we need those other people. That’s why community I think is so important for women entrepreneurs, especially, you know, since you mentioned the rst thing, we can’t see ourselves like we’re in the jar, we can’t see the label and having someone there to point out to you, Hey, did you know that not everybody does that? That is really hard to do for most people?

Amber Hawley 23:02
Exactly. But if you’re only with people like you, they won’t know that either. And that’s that mirroring back, we want people to mirror back, like, what? Like, oh, that’s really hard for me. And that’s easy for you. And that support. And I also think it makes us happier because we’re less judgmental, because it’s not about making value judgments about oh, they do it this way or this or that’s wrong. It’s really about like, I do it my way because it works for me. And I respect that you do it your way, because it works for you. I

Cara Steinmann 23:32
don’t believe in competition. I really don’t. I wrote a blog posts a long time ago about how I don’t do competitive analysis anymore. And I will never do it again. And if I see somebody who looks like they do something similar to what I do, I want to meet those people. And I want to I start picking out how are we different because I don’t want to work with everybody. I’m going to need somebody to refer these people to because they need help, too. Again, and you know, you’re talking about the rst thing I think I know how to overcome that. I used to have really

Amber Hawley 24:00
let me get let me get my take.

Cara Steinmann 24:03
Important. Take note. So coming back to what you’re saying about RST. And in business, we’re talking about like our strong working in our strengths and cultivating a business around that. But it’s not just that it’s our personality, it’s our values, right? Building a business around our values, our core values, helps us figure out what our purpose in businesses like what do we want to accomplish? How do we want the world to be a better place? And what part are we going to play in that right? And when you have something you’re doing in your business that is more important than your fear? You will take action regardless. Yes, and that that’s how I get over the rst I want to smash the patriarchy. I know we’re not going to say that anymore. We’re going to find another word that’s more positive somehow, but that like it needs to stop. We’re done here. I’m done being told what to do. Because just because I’m a woman, we need some equality here. This is bullshit. And in order to do that, I’m gonna have to find all my allies that feel the same way because we’re gonna have to work together here. Yeah, and I can’t do that if I see them as competition?

Amber Hawley 25:01
No, I agree. And I think, you know, not only is it not really being in a place of scarcity, but we do feel so much more connected when we have those people who do what we do. And we don’t feel like we’re in competition with them. Like we do feel like we can easily like refer back and forth or, or be in collaboration and not worry about being screwed over like that kind of thing. Yeah, yeah. So I definitely, so we still haven’t even gotten to the thing. Oh, God really talk about? Although you did mention how we were gonna say smash the patriarchy, that was a conversation we had before we hit record, so but we’re gonna we’re gonna get into that the one? Yeah, I get what you mean. Because I think when we have a lot of people who were authentic, and we feel seen by the people in our, in our in our inner circle, or the people around us, they can reflect, reflect back a kinder, more loving version of ourselves. And that helps us get the data, right when I work with clients. And we’re talking about that kind of stuff where I’m like, let’s seek out the data to see if this this feeling this extreme feeling or emotional response is true. And so that’s helpful. I do you think we still have RSD show up like, still in our relationships, because we can perceive something like, oh, I said something really stupid. And now they’re not responding. And it just turns out, they were busy. But we’re freaking out. Because like, we’re very sensitive to that stuff. Right. So that there’s that piece, but I agree with you, I do think it takes a layer off. And it gives us support.

Cara Steinmann 26:30
And I think what what you were saying earlier, we were talking about the numbers game thing, just real quickly, and then we’ll get back on track. But that’s another another, you know, another vote for smaller, deeper relationships, like fewer deeper relationships, because you can’t really reflect back to somebody if you don’t know them very well.

Amber Hawley 26:47
Exactly. And there’s some times where like, I’ve met people, well, I’ve met people and talk to them for an hour and feel like I get a sense of them. And I genuinely can say something positive about them. And feel good in that. Right. But you’re right that when we’re because it’s I just said this to your client this week, because we were talking she was having a lot of stuff come up and, and, and I said, you know, but do you consider yourself to be this way? And, and I said, because I just don’t see that in you. And she’s like, No, I don’t really think I am and then I was like, but you’re already thinking that’s because nobody knows the true me. And she’s like, Yes, that’s what I was thinking. And that some people are

Cara Steinmann 27:28
way more guarded. If you have to be vulnerable, you have a marble, so

Amber Hawley 27:32
So that’s the end, you know, like Brene, brown talks about you have to earn those marbles. Like it’s earning marbles to disclosure, I shouldn’t just randomly disclose. I mean, unfortunately, I do. But, but then I also don’t have that in common, but a lot of people, I was like, I was like, whatever. But random stranger at the gas station. But. But it’s I mean, I’m sharing just my random thoughts, not like my trauma or something like that. So it’s just to be clear. But I do think that’s the problem. When we don’t, we need those tight knit circles of people that we feel we can be 100% honest and vulnerable with to whatever extent we feel capable, then we feel seen, and then that is the thing that gives us otherwise we do the thing of like, oh, yeah, but just that’s because they don’t know the real me, right? That’s a common thread among all human beings, by the way.

Cara Steinmann 28:23
Yeah, I used to do this exercise with clients that I was helping figure out their, their position and their brand strategy and all that. And it was a series of exercises to help them understand what their core values are, and what they stand against and what they stand for. And it’s really vulnerable, because you have to kind of go back in your life and look at the times when you have felt violated by something or, you know, kind of working backward to figure out what your core values are looking by looking at what when they’ve been violated, you know, and after some of these, the most common responses I heard from this work was I feel so seen, like, we’d nail their values and, and they’re being reflected back like, This is who I am at my core. And they like people want to be seen 100% themselves. That’s it for who they’re trying to like,

Amber Hawley 29:11
your sense of all humanity. I really do believe that. And that’s why even in like couples, sometimes it’s like, you may have just listened to what I said, but I don’t feel like you see me and understand me and how why I’m why I’m still feeling this way or why this is coming up. And I think that’s the key is like when we can help people see each other, then it’s, it’s so different, right?

Cara Steinmann 29:35
I think that’s why it’s so hard for like, especially purpose driven women in business who are really trying to make a difference and do something in this content saturated. Audience has no like interest in paying attention, no attention span, they don’t trust anybody anymore. And we’re out here trying to be like, but we’re trying to help we’re trying to do something good and like nobody’s paying attention because we’re like all the same in the sea of same This screen is devoid

Amber Hawley 30:02
of you see that proceed? Okay, that feels like the perfect transition to actually fucking talk about what we’re actually going to fucking talk about this too. I literally was having a thought I’m looking at the clock, we have 10 minutes until my appointment. And then I was like, Should we just make this a two parter and record. That’s literally my thoughts. But let’s see how I was like, let’s see how far we can get, just because, um, but I almost will have to see. Because if we just did this, I know we’ve we have so much to talk about, we have so much to talk, there’s so many important things, but I want to get back to. So all of this was why we kept talking and connecting. And, like, I think we’re both really passionate about helping people, and especially women, like, be in their true selves, do things in a sustainable way feel good about themselves and feel connected to others. And so one thing that you talked about because of the way that you know, your expertise, and the way you do your business, is you don’t like the term niching down. Can I hate so. But what I like is because I thought it’s gonna be this thing that everyone’s gonna like, wow. But then you had a you have a brilliant philosophy. And I think it’s so important. So why don’t you run running,

Cara Steinmann 31:20
I’m I’m sorry that I’ve faked you out there. But yes, I don’t like the term niching down. And it I think it makes it triggers some kind of like, trauma in me from being made to be smaller than I am supposed to be my whole life, like, be quiet, stop talking so much, you know, like, we’re talkers and help it and it like I like but I know that we need to be specialized, and really specific about what we do and how we do it, and who we do it for in business so that we can stand out so that we can be referral. And so I feel like we need to stop niching down, and we need to instead niche up and into like the fullest expression of who we truly are. Which requires peeling back some of the conditioning that we’ve experienced, you know, what are my self limiting beliefs? Do I believe that? Is that true? You know, what are my core values? How have I compromised them in life? And in business? What are my strengths? What do I want to see change in the world truly like, and once we can, like, accept all of those things, instead of shaving things off, and like becoming less of who we are, then we can find the perfect sweet spot. We know exactly who we want to help how we’re going to do it. And I think when we’re in that space, where we’re super aligned and authentic with who we are in our business, we cannot lose people will like the energy is just going to be there. And that’s just how it has to be. That’s what we’re doing people.

Amber Hawley 32:42
I and that’s the thing, when you said that I was like, oh my god, this is so powerful. And because again, it wasn’t that generic thing, because you know, sometimes people just like to give advice. That’s the opposite of whatever is being said. And I’m like, Oh, I fucking hate that. Because that’s not any, that’s not any more critical thing. No, it’s not critical thinking like to do the opposite is the same lack of critical thinking to do the thing if you if that’s the way you’re approaching it. Right, right. But what you’re saying is, and that’s what I love, you’re like, No, we do need to specialize, because it is that does make you recoverable. And I mean, I’ve been in business long enough to know that that absolutely fucking is true. And it totally, but I love the idea of were getting to our highest self. And you’re right, it does involve peeling back all of those layers, because so much of that. Like, like you said in the stories we tell ourselves, even the reactions we have the things that we feel sensitive to why why do I feel triggered by this thing that was just said to me or why? Like, sometimes I’ll struggle when somebody says something to me. And I’ll take it as a fact. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I could remember the latest example. I feel like it happened just like a couple of weeks ago. And initially, I take it as a fact. And then I was like, Wait a minute. This is just somebody’s opinion. This doesn’t actually this isn’t actually a fact. And this isn’t actually true for me. So why do I care? Right? So why why is that bother? But if you don’t take that time to like, analyze, like, why am I feeling this way? And I think all of that peeling back is part of that process.

Cara Steinmann 34:14
I think we have to get curious in general, like curious about why that triggers us that kind of takes some of the sting out of it like getting curious. And it’s also the key to building relationships to I’m genuinely curious about everybody I connect with I’m like, I really want to know, what is this person all about? What are they doing? Why are they doing it whoever and and it’s a process that never ends this whole peeling back thing. And that’s why my framework for this is a circle, and it never ends we’re always going to be learning more and doing more to become more authentic and like that’s just the work for the life so don’t hurry because it’s just gonna keep going.

Amber Hawley 34:47
Alright, and I love and that’s what I loved about it. I thought it’s it’s so important and I think it is part of the shift that we need. And like you said it’s peeling away those layers of patriarchal conditioning have of being told you’re too much especially as neurodivergent people like, yeah, we get told that a lot, right? Like, you are too much. You’re too loud. You’re too. You talk too much, you. You’re too animated. You’re too hyper whatever. Like all the things. Yeah,

Cara Steinmann 35:16
I actually have a whole exercise for that, too. It’s like a false weakness. And there’s a framework I use called recover, recognize, what does it recognize, reclaim and reframe? So like, recognizing what is the thing that you may have been criticized a lot for in your life as a weakness? And then like, claim NASA? Yeah, sometimes I do talk too much. That’s not good or bad. That just is, right. And then reframe that. Well, maybe I have a lot to fucking say. Yeah, maybe it’s fucking important. So shut up. And listen,

Amber Hawley 35:44
I, I love that so much. And that’s so like, in the therapy process, like it’s, and again, I’m going to use couples as my example. Since I that’s a big part of my work. Like, that’s part of how I help couples like, bring down conflict and create more connection is, I say, you have to say things in a wandering way like it has to so wandering or quiet. I forget with the word you use just a minute of curiosity, curiosity, yes. Curiosity or wandering, because it has it a it, it hits us different on an unconscious level, right? It feels it doesn’t feel accusatory or blaming. So there’s that piece. But when you talk about that, recognize reclaim, and that reclaiming part is the the lack of value judgment, you’re like, that’s important isn’t bad or good. This just is your right, because I have said that like, as somebody who talks a lot. And there are times where I’m like, okay, don’t say anything, allow this person to finish their thoughts. And I’m like, shut the fuck up Amber, like, mostly in my personal life, because in my therapy, I was like, I’m trained to do that. But in my personal life, like, okay, stop and just sit and listen and hear them. And I’m a good listener, I think, yeah, you talk a lot. So then I put them that was the thing where I think about how I felt as a kid, like really dismissed and not seen and lots of trauma stuff. And I’m just like, that’s the I have, nobody fucking listens. Felt, I was like the canary in the coal mine.

Cara Steinmann 37:10
The whole curiosity thing is something that I had as a false weakness, because I remember my mom saying, when I was little, I was like, hanging on her leg all the time. But why But why, like, you know, all kids do that I was extra. Why? And I think at some point, like when employers when you ask employers will, why are we doing it that way? Or like, what, why nobody in your nobody who employs you wants to hear like why, right. And so I was like, super unemployable. Because I was always like, Well, why why don’t we do this? Or whatever, you know? Well, unless

Amber Hawley 37:41
leadership educates themselves, right? Because this right is interesting, because we have this conversation that would make me lead me to believe you’re a questioner in the Gretchen Rubin. Four tendencies. But you said you’re a rebel.

Cara Steinmann 37:52
I’m a rebel. Yeah,

Amber Hawley 37:53
yeah. You I mean, you did point out some serious like, you are a rebel. You do you have question or tendencies as well, which I think we can have multiple. Right. But I think like, yeah, questioners are really important. And again, it’s like, both having respect for people’s different ways and how we approach it. Yeah. Right.

Cara Steinmann 38:14
And I think what’s behind it, too, like my questioning isn’t coming from like a rebellious place. Even it’s coming from like, it’s part of my Colby and part of my, like, my strength. It’s a strategy thing. I’m just always looking at what are the alternatives? Like, where’s the loophole? Well, how can we make this easier? Just like, options?

Amber Hawley 38:29
Yeah, well, questioners help us, like streamline, have more efficiency, like do things in a more like in a better way, sometimes, like they help us break through. So I think it’s really positive.

Cara Steinmann 38:40
I think as women, we all need to be questioning everything. Because we’ve been conditioned in so many ways, like, questioning, like, everything about who we think we are at a certain point in our lives. And it’s not even like, it’s intentional. It’s just we get conditioned because that’s how does the society we’re living in right now.

Amber Hawley 38:58
Yes, exactly. Well, because it’s the even though I would say, my my household wasn’t like this. So it wasn’t like I was told children’s to be seen and not heard. It was not that at all. But I do think like I grew up, you know, in Minnesota, I feel like there is that there’s this thing called Minnesota Nice. And it’s about don’t bother people. Don’t be rude. Like to be rude. Sometimes. If I don’t respond to somebody, I feel like I’m being so fucking rude. And it’s like, and then I’m like, Oh, I showed them and you’re like they have no friggin clue. Because I’m like, I’m not answering you right now because I’m pissed off like, but it’s that thing where there I have I had so much that people pleasing and then also like codependency stuff and caretaking stuff as you know, the eldest child of you know, and as an alcoholic parents, so it’s like, so it’s like the thing like all of that conditioning. It’s really fucking hard. And so sometimes it takes sometimes I’m, I’ve gotten so good at it like that. I don’t question it in certain areas. And then sometimes when something hits me on a deeper personal level or triggers it, I have to take that space. But like you said, it’s still thinking like, Okay, what’s going on? How can I come back to this

Cara Steinmann 40:12
curious about it is like the non judgmental thing, like you just said, not adding any any right or wrong to it just being curious, like, where did that come from?

Amber Hawley 40:20
Exactly, exactly. And I think, you know, that’s why I thought what you were saying, you know, that was one of the probably 100 things we talked about. But I think that that philosophy, and what you’re talking about is so important. And I think this, we’re so primed right now to hear this message, I think we’re ready for it. And that’s the thing, sometimes when I have friends who have these, these viewpoints, and sometimes they felt like I came out before my time, like people were ready to take it in. And I feel like this is, so I’m like, do when you’re writing your book,

Cara Steinmann 40:52
I’m working really hard to get it published before the end of the year, I’m doing a six week spread right now. And my publishers on board, and we’re gonna make this happen, because I really want to make it available and, and get the information out there. Because it’s not, I don’t do brand strategy anymore. I don’t help people like position themselves, per se, but you can’t do you can’t do really effective business development and find refer like highly effective referral partners, and really invested people unless you have done these things unless you’ve niched up and are really clear on what you do, why you do it, and why it matters. And like who it matters to,

Amber Hawley 41:25
exactly. And I actually think that that all of that philosophy that you’re talking about, and the niching up, and the questioning, and really identifying, I think that’s part of the quality, you taking the time to really get clear with yourself is about showing up with quality. Because if you understand how you work who you are, and then you really, you know, the next step is then how breaking down, like how you help people in your offers, and how you show up for them. And that having that quality is gonna sustain your business, because, you know, people are gonna have this amazing experience, right?

Cara Steinmann 42:01
Literally when you’re working in your strengths, and we’re going to change and evolve as people and we’re going to need to experiment because we’re figuring this out, right? We’re trying to remember who we are and what we’re really great at. And there’s might be opportunities in the future to utilize your strengths that don’t exist now. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been very, very successful in my business, because nobody was on Zoom talking to anybody else. So, you know,

Amber Hawley 42:25
and also, I think you, like you had said earlier, I’m guessing you can correct me if I’m wrong, you wouldn’t have believed that the way your business model the way you approach it would be sustainable, because you were like, No, it has I have to do it a different way.

Cara Steinmann 42:42
Well, I had been in inbound marketing and content strategy deal building strategies and executing for clients for so long, feeling like a total fraud, because I never did any of it. For myself. I never even had a website for the first 10 years I was in business. And I never blogged for myself. I was just doing it for everybody else. And you know, I wasn’t doing any SEO and I’m like, God, I’m such a fraud. And then I heard Natalie Eckles, the big checks podcast about relationship marketing, and I was just like, Oh, my God, ah, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Amber Hawley 43:10
Yes, yes. And also, like, sometimes we don’t do our own strengths for ourselves. We can it doesn’t mean we’re frauds. Yeah. So it’s just, well, anyone you’re successful. Like, why would you take the time to build all that? Like, if you’re busy? Like, why would you do all that shit? Right. I think I think what I mean is when you talked about, and maybe this was part of the conversation on Monday, I can’t remember now. But if it was today or Monday, but you talked about that, like have even the getting referring out clients who need extreme structure, I think you still would have approached it as I need to give them this laid out. Oh, yeah, I’m not sure. I mean, I think I would, you wouldn’t have seen that that was possible, because now you’re like, that’s not how I That’s how my magic works. Yeah,

Cara Steinmann 43:53
I it was only recently that I owned, how I operate. And what feels good to be the Colby helped a lot with that understanding that I’m a quickstart. And then I’m a one on follow through and I don’t like structure, and that that there is value in that same with like, like the false weakness thing. That’s not a bad thing. It just has strength that has value elsewhere. And so I don’t work with clients that require that because they’re not going to enjoy working with me.

Amber Hawley 44:17
No, because they will it will not feel good to them either. And I think that’s being in alignment with your clients as well. And, you know, I know I’ve had that experience, like, I actually have an episode coming out soon about teaching people how to work with you. And part of that is vetting and understanding like, are we a good match for how we work? Like there’s the there’s this, there’s the symbiotic balance of each other. And then there’s also like, if you’re too structured, it’s not going to work for me because as a client, because you’re going to have these expectations and this attitude and I’m going to take it in right like it’s gonna be a problem.

Cara Steinmann 44:50
I love knowing that about people. I work with me too, because I changed my mind in an hour. And if you need me to make a choice right now and Like, not question that I’m going to be a terrible client for you. Yeah, I’m not gonna be able to give you a testimonial, because it’s not going to feel good to me. And like, yeah, and that it’s, it’s about boundaries. How do you know? I think it is, how do you I got to a point where I was like, so I figured out my figured out my self limiting beliefs. And I’m like, trying to figure out why I’m stuck, right? And like, what I felt like, I should be doing something that I’m not doing, like, I’m not doing what I should be doing. But I can’t figure out what that is right. And I knew I needed to put some boundaries in place, because my clients walked all over me. And I just did all whatever they wanted, basically. But like, what, how do you know what boundaries to put in place? If you don’t know what you value and how you work?

Amber Hawley 45:38
How do you know what you attacked? Exactly? No, I think that’s so huge. And then the other piece of it is, I have and I don’t know if this is part of, well, I think this was this is what you’re talking about. I felt like I had a lot of clarity about myself and how I work and what works for me. And I really, because I’ve been doing it for years, and I felt really good about it. But then I launched like a new thing. And I was like, Oh, that’s not really you know, the way that I structured it was like, that’s not ideal for me. But I’m going to try it’s just one small part of this bigger thing. One small part. I’m going to do it though, because I think my clients need it so bad. Oh, yeah. And because their ADHD is hard. And then I was like they need this. And so I added it, and it was a fucking disaster. It was a fucking disaster. And I was miserable. And the client wasn’t happy. And really, even though we did so much good work like that, they could only see this one small piece, it was very small. And it was like, and it still got fulfilled. It was just not as timely as I would have liked. But it was like, fuck, why did I do it? So I stopped doing it. Like, but sometimes you do have to experiment or go through and realize it’s kind of that whole new level devil, like, I had a new offering. And I’m like, but my clients need this. And I went against what I knew I could do.

Cara Steinmann 46:52
Yeah, and it’s hard when you’re purpose driven. And you really want to help like I fall into that trap too, because I know so many people want to learn how to do relationship marketing, and they want to know who to connect with and how to do it to build those relationships. And I want them to have those relationships to be connected. We’re all happier when we’re connected. We need it. And women especially right, we really need this. But I suck at like writing written strategies and plans and I suck at like teaching. So I’m not going to do webinars, I have to find a different way to help my voice by so I’m going to publish the book, and I’m gonna give all the information away once and if they want to buy the book, great. But just knowing that it’s genius. Yeah, save a lot of time,

Amber Hawley 47:31
and a lot of stress. Okay, so we are way over, and I do have to leave for my next week. I know. I, I mean, I think even if it’s not a part two, I think we’re gonna have to do more, because I do think this is an important thing. And I love what we’re talking about. Because this is that stuff that I talked about, too, about getting clarity and boundaries and, and working in a way that supports you, especially for neurodivergent people because we’re always trying to fit in like we’re always trying to make it work. And like you said, when we’re purpose driven, we care about people. And so it’s really hard, you know, to not go down that route.

Cara Steinmann 48:07
So I don’t know, I’m sort of reveling these days and not fitting in so well. Because it’s really easy to stand out when you don’t fit in.

Amber Hawley 48:14
True that true that okay, so Okay, before we leave, where can people go to find more about you

Cara Steinmann 48:20
know, my website is two n’s on the end there. And just I love connecting with people on LinkedIn. So if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, it’s just and awesome say hello. That’s my favorite.

Amber Hawley 48:34
I love it. I love it. Not not just hey, though, I think I may I don’t know. Okay, I’m not gonna go down the rest. And yeah, I was like, Oh my god. Fuck. Okay, so some context. We can’t talk. We can’t talk about this. We have to stop. Everything will be in the show notes. All the links will be in the show notes. But thank you. Thank you. Thank you and obviously Thank you. I need to have you back soon.

Cara Steinmann 48:52
But this was so fun. I love you hear the rest. Okay, thank you.

Transcribed by

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