Morgan B. McCarthy is a Life coach specializing in the relationships women (& men) have within the disability space. She is more recently known for her online presence as Your Hot Disabled Bestie. Morgan has been public speaking professionally for the majority of her life as an ambassador for many nonprofits in the medical space in New York and across the US. Her background includes a bachelor's Degree in English from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts ‘15 and a Masters of Science in Hospitality Management from Johnson and Wales Univerisity ‘21. Since 2022, she has combined many of her skills to freelance and support companies' efforts to be inclusive and ADA-compliant. You can follow her on Instagram as @YourHotDisabledBestie or on LinkedIn.
Nicole: Morgan, thank you for being here.
Morgan: Thank you for having me.
Nicole: We've obviously talked a couple of times, but for people who don't know about you, can you tell us more about yourself?
Morgan: Yes, my name is Morgan, I reside in upstate New York, and I live with two conditions. I live with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, and I also have a genetic bone condition called Brachydactyly.
As a result, I've spent a majority of my life in the space of research and nonprofit development. Just because my legs might not work right, or I have a different bone structure doesn't mean I don't have a mouth, so I use that to my advantage.
Nicole: You've obviously been in the innovation space for a while. What are your favorite kinds of projects or things that you like to see?
Morgan: The things I love most are people that come at their projects with genuine purpose behind them. I've always known that people want to make money, but the things that I've found have worked well are generally because they come from the heart.
For me, the coolest thing is when it's apparel or home goods, anything that would impact my day-to-day. It’s things that are challenging and now somebody came up with a way for me to fix it.
Nicole: That's great. And I noticed from your Instagram, you're focused on being motivational. You're a life coach, right? Could you tell us more about that?
Morgan: I started life coaching over a year ago after I realized a lot of people in my community, whether they had CP themselves or a limb difference or they were a family member, asked me for advice and questions around disability.
I started thinking, “How can I use social media to share what I've learned and answer questions that people have without them feeling worried about hurting my feelings?” As long as someone is coming from a place of wanting to be educated, wanting to know how to be a better friend, or how to offer support, I'm happy to answer.
That's kind of how it all started. It's something I've always wanted to do. And, I have the fortunate opportunity of having a great support system at home. I'm very lucky that my life is the way it is and that I can have this as a profession as well.
Nicole: As a life coach, of course you're helping guide or motivate other people. What motivates you day-to-day?
Morgan: What motivates me is knowing that one day, my future self will be married, will be a CEO, and will be a mom. Maybe I’ll be on the cover of a magazine or write a book.
I look at all the things that I want to accomplish and it motivates me to know that eventually people are going to hear me talk and eventually they’re going to listen. Not because I'm forcing them, but because I've worked so hard to create something that is steadfast and personal. I'm motivated because I just know that there's people watching.
Nicole: It's funny, Molly and I were both talking about what a great champion you are. It seems like the things you love, really love and that's such a lovely quality in a person. What advice do you have for people who are at that starting point where you were a year ago and who are only now starting to figure out what it is they want to do with their life?
Morgan: It is probably super cheesy, but just take the leap forward. You need to trust yourself. I've rebuilt a lot of trust in friendships and relationships in the last year, including the relationships that I have with my parents, my medical team, and my team of people that are with me every day to help me get things done.
Seek out other people that are also trying, so you can depend on each other and see that others are trying too. Whether you’re failing or being successful. Try until you get good at it.
It motivates me if I see someone out there grinding just as hard as I am. It's like one of the things I love about you is how hard you work. And I can't get enough of it.
Nicole: I appreciate it, although it’s borderline workaholism. You mentioned that you've had the chance to be part of many different opportunities and just cool, innovative work. Could you talk a little bit more about how you built that for yourself and how you put yourself out there?
Morgan: I'm never afraid to write an introductory email or bug a person if there's a company or person I want to talk to. I just send an inquiry. You never know if you don't try it.
In middle school, we were learning how to write a business letter and needed to pick a company to send it to. I wrote to Frito Lay and ended up getting a bunch of merch back. And I was like, “I could do this for literally everything and see what happens.”
And sometimes people say no, or they don't take you up on your offer. But those no’s are foundational, they’re where I've come to learn the greatest lessons.
So I would say, don't be afraid to ask.
Nicole: Then the last question, what brings you joy?
Morgan: What brings me joy is my family, my dog, and my friends. I’ve also had a great year.
In the last year alone, I've figured out how to distance run. And that has been just wild. I've had a wild mental health journey and gotten off of all medications. That whole process was seven months.
And it's been kind of wild, but what I've just learned about myself is something that someone else told me. They said “Try.” In a flat voice and it stuck more than when others have said it.
Because everything I've experienced medically, the first thing out of people's mouths is “we highly advise against you doing X activity.” This person was like, “Try, you can figure it out.” And it took that reframing for me to realize how many things I said no to just because I was advised to stay away from them.
For example, physical activity. I just let other people decide for me for so long and now I'm finally in a place where I have joy because I’m 100% authentically me. I want to be here, I want to help people and I want to change the world. So this makes me the happiest version of myself. I am joyful because this is me.