Karley Cunningham has a diverse background and a unique perspective on the world. At 8, she was being groomed to be one of the top pairs figure skaters in Canada (and the world). After quitting, she went on to compete in equestrian, cross country and golf (all at a high level) before discovering mountain biking. She became an elite mountain biker and raced for many years and now she’s come over to the dark side and discovered trail running.
Karley grew up in what she describes as a gender-neutral household, playing a lot of sport with boys, and it’s given her a unique perspective on the female brain, what she calls “female hesitation” and the way gender (and specifically our conditioning) affects our mindset and our success.
We discuss perfectionism, crashing, the worst mistake ever, the importance of keeping your focus on what’s right in front of you, why she says she’s hardly ever failed and, of course, the Imposter Complex.
Amanda Batty is a professional downhill mountain biker race based in the US.
She is also an outspoken advocate for women in sport and a vocal critic of the cycling industry for its treatment and portrayal of women.
In this conversation we discuss how cycling helped her find her sense of self and self-worth, that fear is healthy, why it’s important to remember why you are riding, how she handles the fear associated with crashing (especially after one crash described as the worst face plant you’ll ever see) and why she continues to share her deepest darkest secrets and fears about body image on social media.
Natalia Cohen is a member of the Coxless Crew, the first fours boat (and all-female team) to row, unsupported, across the Pacific Ocean (the largest ocean in the world).
The journey, which took 257 days at sea, is documented in the film "Losing Sight of Shore" (available on Netflix).
In this conversation, we discuss why she decided to apply (despite not having any rowing experience), her interesting struggle with the Imposter Complex now that the journey has been completed, how she used mindfulness to get through the tough times, how the sharks that kept them company on the journey were a highlight and why it’s important not to be afraid of the unknown and instead to embrace it.
Lisa Tamati is one of the world’s most experienced ultra marathon runners, especially when it comes to racing in hot conditions. She’s competed in over 130 ultra marathons, traversed almost every desert in the world, cycled through 20 countries, run the length of New Zealand for charity and is a successful businesswoman, running coach and New York Times best selling author.
She also suffers severe asthma, broke her back at 21 and struggled with self-doubt and self-esteem throughout much of her younger life.
In this conversation we discuss her severe asthma and the surprising advantage it has given her as an endurance athlete, what she learnt from a disastrous (and potentially life threatening) crossing of the Libyan desert, how ultra running helped to heal her self-esteem and self-confidence, why you should start working towards your goals even before you know how you’re going to achieve them and what she wished someone had told her as a young girl.
Chloe Chick is the Founder of Sisu Girls, an organisation I love and support that is dedicated to the empowerment of girls through sport and outdoor adventure in order to foster bravery, resilience, determination and self-confidence in them.
Chloe founded Sisu Girls in 2014 after seeing her daughter Olive start to show signs of a lack in self-confidence in certain situations (including being intimidated by boys in the playground or not wanting to play “boys” sports).
In this conversation we discuss Chloe’s experience attending an all-boys primary school and what she learnt, the importance of story telling, role models and the impact they have on shaping who we are, her fear, self-doubt and experience with the Imposter Complex and why you should recognise and celebrate your everyday acts of Sisu.
Our first return guest, Kirrily Dear, is about to set out on a mammoth challenge - The Run Against Violence in 2017 will take Kirrily 1,300km / 807 miles throughout remote and regional Australia over 19 days on a mission to raise awareness and start conversations about family violence.
This time we talk about how she has prepared, mentally and physically, for such a demanding and challenging event, her powerful and profound new perspective around comfort zones she recently gained on top of a mountain pass in the Andes as well as the Run Against Violence itself; the community and commercial support it has received and the logistics involved (including how many pairs of shoes she’s going to pack)
Nadine Champion is a Thai Boxing and Kickboxing Champion, an author, speaker and cancer survivor. In her new book called “10 Seconds of Courage” and in this conversation, Nadine shares a real, raw and emotional account of her journey.
We discuss her excitement at discovering martial arts at the age of 10, the practical strategies she uses to change her thinking when faced with a situation that is outside her control, how the lessons she learnt from martial arts helped her through her cancer battle, the question she asks herself when she’s afraid and how you can use 10 seconds of courage to push through your fear.
Michelle Lee is a quintessential ordinary Australian woman who has set out to do something extraordinary. In December 2017, she’ll attempt the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 5,000km unassisted and self-supported ocean rowing event across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain to Antigua in the Caribbean. If she completes it, she’ll become the first Australian women to row across an ocean.
But Michelle isn’t a rower and doesn’t come from a rowing background. So how does an ordinary everyday woman find the courage and bravery to attempt one of the world’s toughest nautical challenges as an absolute newbie in the sport? And what does it take to complete this event? I ask her in this episode.
Margie Warrell is a best-selling author, keynote speaker and Women’s Leadership Advocate whose clients include NASA, the United Nations Foundation, Facebook, the Marriott Hotel Chain, the Australian Federal Police (and the list goes on). Not bad for a girl who grew up on a dairy farm in regional Australia and is a mother of 4.
Margie’s expertise is around bravery and courage and helping people make braver decisions and lead bigger lives. In this conversation, we discuss everything from how growing up on a dairy farm shaped her as a person, managing the doubts shared by your family about your goals or your ability, the Imposter Complex, gender bias in the way we treat and encourage boys and girls differently and how you can make braver choices in your life.
Michael Milton knows all about fear, self-doubt, bravery and courage. After losing his leg to bone cancer at the age of 8, he has gone onto become one of Australia’s most talented, decorated and all-around athletes.
He is a 5x Paralympic Gold Medalist who has competed in 6 Paralympic Games, both in Winter for skiing and in Summer for cycling. Michael is a World Record holder in both speed skiing and for the fastest marathon on crutches who has also summited Kilimanjaro and walked the Kokoda track twice.
In this conversation, we discuss what it’s like to ski at in excess of 200km/hr (132mph), his experience with fear, self-doubt and the Imposter Complex, why he’s entered many races over the years knowing he’ll finish last, why you should keep pushing forward when your instinct is telling you to back off and his experience competing in the Ultra Trail Australia 50km race earlier this year.
Julie-Anne Hazlett and Sarah Anne Evans are two members of the Veloroos, an Australian non-professional cycling team. The team broke the course record for the 5,000km Race Across America in 2015 and later this year tackle the equally challenging 2,200km Race Around Ireland.
In this conversation, we discuss fear and self-doubt, the logistics of riding across America or around Ireland, how everyday women, like you and I, who work full time and have families, find the train to train for such epic events as well as the importance of having a support network around you.
Katee Pedicini is a coach with a degree in Exercise Science who specialises in managing fatigue, stress and hormones to achieve optimum performance. She runs Holistic Endurance based in Melbourne, Australia.
In this conversation we discuss what stress is, the impact it has on your body, why many women train a lot, eat well and struggle to lose weight (or worse, put it on) and the small changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your overall health.
Ness Hartge is just like you and I. An age group athlete, a busy mum, small business owner and runner. She’s also someone who struggled to call herself an “ultra runner” despite having completed 3 x ultra distance events — and hoped she’d finally feel comfortable doing so once she finished her first 100km race at the Ultra Trail Australia 100km in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney in May 2017.
Ness has openly shared on social media her struggle with the Imposter Complex. In this conversation we discuss the way the Imposter Complex has shown up in her life, the times it has caused her to doubt herself (including when applying for jobs) and the steps she took that enabled her to line up at the start of the Ultra Trail Australia 100km and know that, as an experienced ultra-runner, she deserved to be there.
Dr Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson are a dynamic duo.
Simon is a sports psychologist with a distinguished career. He’s been a Professor, has published over 100 scientific publications on the psychology of exercise, been cited over 10,000 times and has real world practical experience as the Performance Psychologist for the BMC Racing team, a pro cycling team that competes in the Tour de France.
Lesley is a professional mountain biker, 3x World Champion in off-road triathlon, Ironman Triathlon Champion, coach and (according to her bio) foul-mouthed Scots lassie.
They are also married, the force behind Braveheart Coaching and the co-authors of a new book called The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion.
In this interview, we discuss how the brain works the way it does, some of the 13 most common mental conundrums (or stories) athletes face in their everyday training and life and how you can train your brain to overcome them with science-based, athlete-tested strategies.
Melissa Browne’s website describes her as an introverted, socially awkward, shoe-loving accountant. All of those things might or are true. But there is so much more to Mel and her story.
The CEO or co-founder of 3 business, Mel is also an author, speaker, expert on money and finance who regularly appears on TV and is on a mission to empower women and girls to find their voice and become both business and financially savvy.
However Mel is also someone who has (to use her words) overcome a lot of $hit along the way and has started to share some of it, and her journey, in public.
In this conversation, we discuss defying our family’s expectations, fear and self-doubt, the Imposter Complex and why it’s important for women to be financially savvy.
Hayley Talbot is the first person to kayak the length of the Clarence River in Australia - all 400km / 248 miles - which she also did solo, unassisted and surviving entirely off the land.
In this conversation we talk about Hayley’s childhood in the town of Yamba at the mouth of the Clarence River and her journey down it as well as why she doesn’t subscribe to “mother’s guilt”, how she deals with self-doubt and fear (including the human threat which she faced on this journey) and the mental strategies she used to get herself through the dark and difficult times on her journey.
Alyssa Azar is the youngest Australian to climb Mt Everest which she did at the age of 19.
But her journey hasn’t been easy; she only summited Everest on her 3rd attempt after the first two attempts ended in tragic circumstances and she (and her parents) have both been subject to heavy criticism including from internet trolls who didn’t hold back in expressing their opinions about how inappropriate it was someone so young to attempt what she’s done.
In this conversation, we talk about her experience during her 3 expeditions to Everest, how she manages her fear and self-doubt, how she handles criticism, the perfect performance line and goal setting.
Hanny Allston is an insightful, soulful woman with a passion for running, the outdoors and sharing that passion with as many people as possible.
Back in 2006, Hanny became the first non-European to win a World Orienteering title. And in fact, she won two - a Junior and Senior world title in the same year (and became the first person, male or female to do so).
These days, Hanny is a running coach, the host of the Find Your Feet podcast and owns a retail and online store for trail runners and outdoor adventurers with her partner Graham called Find Your Feet.
In this conversation, we discuss the Imposter Complex, what success means to Hanny, why running is play, the role of a coach and why it’s important for women to draw confidence from their sense of self, not just from their physical strength.
Melissa Urie is only the second women (and first Australian woman) to complete the Epic 5, an (appropriately named) event consisting of 5 Ironman distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands over 5 days. That’s 224km / 140 miles of swimming, riding and running every day for 5 days.
In this conversation, we discuss how she fits her training into her life, why she wanted to do such a seemingly "impossible" event in the first place, her strategies for dealing with the heat, how you inspire people around you often without realising it and how being mentally strong can help you achieve things you shouldn’t, in theory, be physically able to accomplish.
Even if you aren’t involved in triathlons, I have no doubt you’ll learn from and be inspired by Mel’s experience.
Stef Hanson is a triathlete and the Founder of Witsup (Women in Triathlon) - an online and real life community for women in triathlon. Established in 2012, the mission for witsup.com is to break down the barriers of entry for women to the sport but also to give women in the sport the recognition they deserve (at a time when women’s sports is often relegated to a few sentences).
Normally the interviewer, I turn the tables on Stef and share her journey. We discuss how we are all prone to worry about what other people think (despite how confident we might otherwise be), why women’s sports has such a low profile (and what Stef is doing to change that), Stef’s struggle with adrenal fatigue in recent years as well as the importance of looking after yourself, switching off and recharging your batteries. Even if you aren’t interested in triathlons, you’ll enjoy this conversation.
Beth White is a mother of 3, remedial massage therapist and the 2016 ITU Paratriathlon World Champion in the PT1 category.
Beth began losing her sight from the age of 5. Misdiagnosed most of her life, it has only been in recent years she has discovered she has a rare genetic condition (so rare, it does not yet have a name) with numerous symptoms including vision impairment and an inability to sweat. Sadly Beth’s 3 children have inherited the condition and each is slowly losing their sight too.
Beth has thrown herself into her triathlon and is on a mission to raise funds, awareness but also inspire people with her story. She has gone on to win 2 medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships; Silver in Chicago in 2015 and Gold in Rotterdam in 2016.
In this interview we talk about the practicalities of triathlon as a visually impaired athlete, how the reward of pushing through your fear is always worth it, the “mother guilt” she experiences, how she isn’t brave or courageous, just determined and the importance of trusting your gut intuition and believing in yourself.
Laura Siddall is a professional triathlete with a difference. With her gap year spent as an Officer in the British Army and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, she only discovered triathlon in her late 20s. Laura quickly made up for lost time by winning 4 x Age Group World Championships over various distances in just 4 years.
In this interview we talk about the doubt she struggled with after making the decision to turn professional (and how it affected her results for the first few years), why it’s important not to make assumptions or judgements on a day-to-day basis about your training and why you shouldn’t check your watch when you finish the swim leg in a triathlon (hint: anything behind your ears is irrelevant).
Kirrily Dear is an ultra-marathon runner, a lover of trail running and the co-founder of the Run Against Violence; a volunteer association established to use running and other sporting activities as a conduit to educate and engage communities in family violence protection.
The Run Against Violence in 2017 will take Kirrily 1,300km / 807 miles throughout remote and regional Australia over 19 days.
In this wide-ranging interview we talk about why this cause was so important to Kirrily (despite not having any personal experience with family violence), how you achieve something that is so far beyond your current capabilities that it seems impossible, the icky murky world of self-limiting beliefs and how you can get involved with the Run Against Violence.
Natalie Cook is a 5-time Olympic and winner of two Olympic medals in Beach Volleyball; Bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and Gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In this interview, we discuss her 4-year journey of personal development after the Atlanta Olympics when she realised she didn’t have the mental toughness or emotional stability needed to achieve her goal of winning the Olympic Gold medal in Sydney. Plus in an unexpected twist, I get called out on why I’m hiding behind my fear and not telling the world of my goal for 2018.
Masha Gordon failed PE at school and admits that she “opted out” of sport from her pre-teen years until her mid-30s when she discovered hiking. Just 6 years later, the mother of 2 now holds the record for the fastest ascent by a woman of the Seven Summits as well as the women’s record for the Adventurer’s Grand Slam (the Seven Summits plus the North and South Pole).
In this interview we discuss mothers (or parents) guilt, the challenges she faced during her epic adventure, why you need to surround yourself with people who celebrate your small wins and the importance of not letting what you couldn't do as a child shape your decisions as an adult.