Episode 6: Kate Fitzsimons Speaks On Turning Tragedy Into Triumph

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It’s easy to go through life living as though nothing bad will ever happen.  In the paradigm of “it will never happen to me” we can’t possibly have a grid for understanding how life can completely turn on its head in a split second.  So when tragedy strikes, where does it leave us?  How do we ever come back from losing a loved one?

 Tragedy can strike at any moment and at certain points in our lives, we are all affected by pain and loss.  In those moments of suffering and grief, we begin to understand our own mortality and we’re left with a choice.  Will I stay in this place of despair and darkness, or will I pick myself up and not be defined by my current circumstances?

Kate Fitzsimons, our incredible guest today, is a woman who knows all too well the pain of losing a loved one. Originating from Australia, Kate is an acclaimed Youth Resilience Expert and International Motivational Speaker living in New Jersey.  She speaks to thousands of young people every year about building resilience to overcome adversity.  

Kate began her journey in this arena after the tragic death of her sister, Nicole Fitzsimons, in 2012.  Nicole was a bright and energetic sports journalist working on Channel 9’s “The Footy Show”.  In the prime of her life and living it to the full, Nicole was tragically killed in a motorbike accident while holidaying in Thailand.  Her family in Australia was shell shocked and plummeted into the depths of grief.  It was in this place of grief that Kate was faced with her own mortality and she began to do the seemingly impossible task of turning her tragedy into triumph.

In this episode, Kate shares how her life has been impacted by her sister’s death and how we all have the opportunity to learn and grow from the tragedies in our lives.  You will be so inspired as you listen to Kate’s positive message as she unpacks some of the powerful skills she has learned along the way.  No matter what you are facing now, there is so much potential for growth if you choose to change your perspective.



  • [0:56]: Introducing Kate Fitzsimons
  • [3:40]: Kate’s recent experience in the USA sharing her story at schools
  • [4:29]: Recalling an event on the Sunshine Coast where Sam and Kate first met
  • [6:03]: The tragic story of Kate’s sister’s death and how it completely rocked her world 
  • [8:02]: How Kate moved through her grief and began the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation
  • [9:36]: Kate shares about Nicole’s motorbike accident in detail
  • [12:01]: It’s the split second decisions that can change your life forever
  • [12:49]: The astounding statistics of how many Australians are dying in accidents in South East Asia each day
  • [14:30]: How the horrible statistics fired Kate up to use her voice to raise awareness
  • [16:55]: How Kate’s story is really hitting home with the young people she talks to
  • [18:36]: We need to change our mentality and make choices for our safety
  • [19:30]: Testimony of people who have been saved through Kate’s work
  • [20:34]: The impact Nicole’s death had on Kate’s life
  • [22:15]: Some of the tools that helped Kate through her grief
  • [23:30]: The power of gratitude to turn things around
  • [26:12]: Tips for how you can be a friend to someone who is grieving
  • [28:27]: The importance of comic relief and being ok with laughing
  • [30:28]: How confronting her own mortality has been one of the best things that has happened to Kate
  • [32:37]: We can inspire others to turn their lives around if we share our stories in open and honest ways
  • [33:36]: Every day acts of kindness ripple through the world to make it a better place
  • [35:00]: How Kate measures her impact
  • [37:01]: How Kate manages her emotions and her advice to others in similar situations
  • [37:40]: It’s not about avoiding suffering but finding meaning in it
  • [38:36]: We all have the opportunity to find purpose in the tragedy
  • [39:24]: Life is not about being happy, but about growth and contribution
  • [40:13]: Trauma forces you to train your brain to deal with emotions and change your perspective
  • [41:54]: Resilience is a skill that anyone can learn
  • [43:46]: Separating your thoughts to recognise what’s going on and not let them dictate
  • [44:47]: Breaking down the 3 P’s - Permanent, Pervasive, Personal
  • [46:01]: How to connect with Kate



Kate’s Website: https://www.katefitzsimons.com

Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation: http://www.nicolefitzsimons.com/

Instagram: @katemaree_fitz



For any questions, topics you'd like us to cover, and interview requests, please send us an email to: podcast@livin.org

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