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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

Episode 50 | January 16th, 2024

Kate Rawlings a Cleveland business owner, professional athlete, women's coach and single mom joins us to talk about life's adversities, how to cope and come out stronger.

Listen in as Kate Rawlings, Owner of Coca Athletics, talks building strength through life's hardships. Though she continued to get knocked down, she kept getting back up and decided to choose joy.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 



Trigger Warning: The following content may be difficult for some audiences – it includes child/infant/pregnancy loss, graphic medical discussion, domestic violence, and parental abandonment.

Kate Rawlings: gym owner, professional CrossFit athlete, single mom, and women’s coach joins us to talk about survival and recovery. After many extreme life hardships, including major physical injuries, profound grief, and an abusive marriage, Kate has come back in full force. Though she got knocked down, she continued to get back up. No one is ever going to keep her down!


Key Takeaways

[00:03:12] Rejecting the Standard Life Matrix

  • Realizing that the standard 9-5 isn’t for you
  • Taking the leap towards what you love

[00:05:15] Starting a Business and Facing Life Challenges

  • Often times this feels “right” this feels like a calling
  • Recognizing that life can go wrong

[00:05:51] Suffering an Injury and Identity Crisis

  • Immediately after opening a gym suffering a major injury and having to make the choice how to continue
  • After a secondary injury, falling into depressing – wrapped role and identity into the same category

[00:06:57] Dealing with Depression and Finding Purpose

  • Finding that your role (in a career or workplace or position at home) isn’t a definition of who you are
  • When life changes it is fair to grieve and it is not linear

[00:08:09] The Impact of Personal Struggles on Business

  • When you have little to give yourself it becomes impossible to give others and your business the time and attention it also needs
  • Sitting down and swallowing some hard truths about viability of a business along with other potential limitations
  • If it is feasible, what steps are you willing to take (and are necessary to take) to move forward

[00:10:24] Facing Family Rejection Over Sexual Orientation

  • Choosing to leave/go no contact with a parent
  • Sometimes space or time can help heal those wounds
  • How rejection can push others you love to one “side” or the other

[00:11:26] Reconciliation and Personal Growth

  • A parent recognizing that they chose the world over their child
  • Being an “ally” is not accepting those at a distance, it’s accepting all members of the community as strangers and loved ones

[00:13:1] The Impact of Coming Out

  • Losing team members, losing clients due to homophobia
  • Receiving stipulations from people around you
    • Don’t do it in front of us
    • We are fine with it if you keep it quiet

[00:16:10] Coping with Grief and Loss

  • Losing a child at 22 weeks, the profound heartbreak and pain you experience
  • Making a difficult decision about birth
  • Struggling with feeling guilt over being happy

[00:20:04] Learning from Grief and Choosing Joy

  • Asking yourself what you want to do with this life
  • Make hard choices by prioritizing what is important
  • Knowing that happiness won’t always be constant
  • Define success for yourself

“For me, I always tell people I choose joy.”

[00:22:26] The Trap of Comparison and Defining Success

  • Choosing what is and has value to you without making decision according to what others are doing or accomplishing
  • Do what you need and what makes you happy
  • Knowing that grief, hardships, and pain happen
  • If I could just, fill in the blank – realizing that before all those other things, you need to find fulfillment

“I did the best I could with the resources I had today, then that’s a win.”

  • Myth of constant happiness
  • Do what you love/enjoy

[00:27:03] Midlife Realization and Changing Paths

  • Envy about “the dream”
  • Changing careers or downsizing can be what you want regardless of perception
  • Identity is not value

“And it’s a weird thing. To me, it’s not a midlife crisis that happens. It’s a midlife realization.”

  • Helping others feel seen

[00:29:17] Embracing Life’s Unexpected Turns

“Having a plan is like, it’s like when I was doing paintings. I would kind of have a plan. I would have a sketch. I would have a color palette in mind, and then I would hope things would go wrong, because it’s when the things would go wrong that the great surprises would happen, and I’d end up with a much better piece of art.”

[00:31:40] Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Imposter Syndrome

  • Your inner self is there to keep you alive – but occasionally it can go into overdrive
  • Address your fears and reassure yourself
Where to Find Kate
Read the Transcript
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer, Kae Holmberg