What Happens after Rock Bottom with Abby Rike Rockenbaugh | Do It Scared Podcast with Ruth Soukup | How to move forward when tragedy strikes

The Do It Scared™ Podcast with Ruth Soukup provides weekly motivation, inspiration, and practical instruction for anyone tired of settling for “good enough.” Each week we tackle topics like goal-setting, overcoming procrastination, finding the time, energy & know-how for accomplishing our dreams, and overcoming the obstacles that stand in our way. Don’t miss an episode; subscribe here.

There are strong, beautiful, courageous women, and then there’s Abby Rike Rockenbaugh.

You might recognize my guest for Episode 8 of the Do It Scared™ podcast from her time on the NBC reality show “The Biggest Loser.” But her story is far more heartbreaking and ultimately inspirational than you could ever imagine.

Abby Rike Rockenbaugh former contestant from "The Biggest Loser."

At the beginning of October 2006, Abby was a happily married mom to a 5-year-old daughter and a newborn son. She worked as a teacher at the same school where her husband taught, and they drove there together each day. It was the life she had always dreamed of, and it was just getting started.

Then, the unthinkable happened. When she was still on maternity leave just two weeks after the birth of her son, she lost her husband and both of her children in a horrible car accident. It was beyond devastating. In an instant, everything she cared about was gone, and her life was immediately shattered.

Abby spent several years trying to pick up the pieces. Understandably, she didn’t know how to keep moving forward, she didn’t know who she could talk to, and she began to question her faith. In 2009, she reached what she calls her “rock bottom day,” and she realized that the only way out would be to make a drastic change.

That’s when she auditioned for “The Biggest Loser.” She didn’t know how to fix herself, but she knew she needed to start taking better care of her body. To her surprise, the producers chose her to be on the show, but even then, she wasn’t sure she wanted to expose herself to the world in such a raw and naked way. The scariest moment, she explained to me, was when she had to get out of the car at the airport to catch her flight to Los Angeles and begin filming.

But, despite her fear, she took that step. And it was the beginning of a journey that would redefine her self-worth and give her an entirely new purpose in life.

In Episode 8 of the Do It Scared™ podcast, Abby opens up about the day that changed her life forever and reveals how she found the strength to push through the pain and become an author, motivational speaker, and founder of an online ministry called Rock This Revival.

She’s truly one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and she’s incredibly beautiful both inside and out. Take a look below at just some of what she taught me.

If you’d like to listen to the whole episode, you can find it on iTunes HERE or on Google Play HERE. (Or just search for “Do It Scared™” wherever you prefer to listen!) You can also visit doitscared.com for more notes from this episode. Never miss a new episode by subscribing on iTunes.

You can't live in the past when living your best life.


“If you spend all your time looking in the past, you never see what’s right here.” Click to Tweet

Life is a journey. But if you’re constantly thinking about where you’ve already been, you won’t be able to appreciate where you actually are. Whether you’re dwelling on past disappointments or trying to recapture joy that you used to feel, it’s not going to do you any good today. Abby will never stop loving the family she lost, but she chooses to honor them by living the best life she can. “If you spend all your time looking in the past, you never see what’s right here,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is not what I picked. This is not what I would have picked. But this is where I am, and I will make the most of every day that I’m here.’”


It’s easy to sit back and assume that everything will work out in the end. We think that if we just wait patiently, the universe will eventually reward us for making it through the hard times. That’s what happens in the movies, isn’t it? But life is not scripted by Hollywood. You have to write your own story. “We’re never promised an easy life,” Abby said. “To think that everything’s going to magically fall into place at one time, you are wasting your life. Because we can’t control our circumstances. All we can do is choose how we respond.”

Ignore any outside noise and try to disconnect from social media for a happy life.


Everyone has an opinion. And these days, it’s easier than ever to share it with the world. Sure, it’s important to listen to the advice of people you love and trust, but that doesn’t mean you have to do what everyone thinks you should. And you definitely shouldn’t worry about random Facebook comments or dirty looks from strangers. “At the end of the day, I serve an audience of one,” Abby said. “You do what’s right, and either people will like it or not. But it really doesn’t matter. I always say, ‘Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t read the comments. Just stay off that. Do what’s right and move on. Keep your head down and go.’”


From an early age, we’re all conditioned to avoid making mistakes. Don’t spill the milk. Don’t be late. Don’t get distracted. It’s how we learn to be successful at whatever we’re trying to do. But we often forget that NOBODY is perfect and that making a mistake is really the best way to grow. Abby explained that there’s no sense in beating yourself up about a bad decision. “When you do things and when you have a pure heart in what you’re doing, you’re going to make mistakes,” she said. “It is going to happen. Say you’re sorry and move on. Don’t get bogged down on the mistakes. It’s not a big deal.”

Create your own path when living a happy life.


“Never, never do anything that you can’t look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m good with that.” Click to Tweet

We’re always looking to others for guidance. It’s human nature. If there’s something we want to do, we find someone who’s already done it and try to follow their road to success. But sometimes that road doesn’t exactly line up with our own personal beliefs or values. Abby said it’s up to each of us to decide what’s right for ourselves. “I think that it’s just paramount that you learn from the people that have gone before you, but that you’re not obligated to take that same exact path,” she said. “Never, never do anything that you can’t look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m good with that.”

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These are just some of the highlights from this episode, but there is SO much more to hear! You can listen to the entire episode on iTunes HERE or on Google Play HERE. Visit doitscared.com for show notes from this episode, and never miss a new episode by subscribing on iTunes.

Triumph Over Tragedy


Ruth Soukup

Ruth Soukup - LIVING WELL SPENDING LESS. Practical solutions for everyday overwhelm. Food Made Simple, Life Etc., Home 101, Smart Money. Start organizing your whole life today!


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