#032: Karley Cunningham on Female Hesitation & Whether Your Stories Work For You [Podcast]

Sparta Chicks Radio

Oct 01
Karley's MTB adventures

I have to thank this week’s guest.

Whether in previous episodes of the podcast or privately with clients, I’m always talking about the stories we tell each ourselves.

Fear, self-doubt, our inner critic, guilt, fraudy feelings; they are all stories we tell ourselves. They are a narrative that goes on inside our head (if you’re like me, often all day, every day).

These stories are the foundations of the decisions we make and actions we take. They ultimately dictate whether we achieve (or even decide to pursue) the goals we've set.

But there’s another level to the discussion that I haven’t been able to articulate yet.

But I can now thanks to Karley Cunningham.


She and her wife will often ask each other: How’s that story working for you?

Great question!

Some stories are constructive and helpful.

They inspire us, drive us, enable us to push ourselves to new limits. Other stories, like those of our fraudy feelings, guilt, deflecting compliments, fear and self-doubt — not so much.

Karley is a diverse background and a unique perspective on the world.

At the age of 8, she was being groomed to be one of the top pairs figure skaters in Canada (and the world).

Karley in her figure skating days

Karley and her partner! 

 She quit the sport at 12, then went onto compete in equestrian, cross country and golf (all at a high level) before discovering mountain biking. 

Karley seeking redemption at the BC Bike Race

She raced for many years at the elite / national level in Canada and has recently come over to what I describe as the dark side of 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.

In this conversation, we discuss:

* the lessons she learnt from figure skating and how they have carried over into the rest of her life,

* perfectionism and it stops women from chasing their goals,

* how she discovered mountain biking and how terrible she was during her first ride,

* why she’s not afraid of crashing,

* her experience doing the BC Bike Race twice (which race has been described as one of world’s toughest final track adventure) and why she describes her first attempt at that race as the “worst mistake ever”,

* the mindset of women and the way we are raised (and the impact it has on our success),

* what growing up in what she calls a gender neutral household taught her,

* when she recognised “female hesitation” and how it developed in her, and

* the Imposter Complex and the question she asks herself when she experiences it.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Notes and resources:

iTunes | Stitcher

To find out more about Karley or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or the website for her company (Big Bold Brand).

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