We have a very special kind of episode planned for today. Last month, I had the incredible honor of hosting my first ever ASCEND retreat for rural women in Destin, Florida. And on the final day of our weekend, one of my coaches and dear friend, Coach Kiah, pulled each woman at the retreat aside and asked them a series of questions about their experience. Coming home and listening to such beautiful testimonies of transformation and gratitude, absolutely filled my heart in ways that I can’t even explain.
You see, the very first inkling towards hosting a retreat for rural women came back in June of 2021. I quit my full time job with retreat hosting as the end goal. I just knew in my gut that it was something that I was meant to do. So to be able to put this all together in my first year as an entrepreneur was literally a dream come true. The interesting thing about planning something like this, though, is that from the very beginning, I could clearly see the vision. I knew deep in my gut what kind of transformation, community and impact was possible by bringing together like-minded, rural women together for a weekend focused around intentional growth. However, trying to accurately articulate that vision was a whole ‘nother story. So much of this kind of experience is indescribable.
My podcast manager and I wanted to use this audio to put together an episode to, first of all, serve as a beautiful tribute and keepsake for the incredible women who attended this very special, incredible first ever ASCEND retreat, and also as a tangible way to explain just what kind of magic is in store throughout the ASCEND experience.
Q: What brought you here to the ASCEND retreat this weekend?
What brought me here was definitely the need for fulfillment and looking for clarity and just looking to maximize my life. Like I think that life is so much more than what we just do day to day, and I was looking for something more.
I just felt a pull to be here.
I came because I desired a community of women that I was not necessarily getting back at home. I was looking for women who had the same ideals as me when it came to personal life and business who wanted to grow their mindset and look at life in a lens that most people don’t look at.
Pretty much Emily’s personality is what brought me here, I do one-on-one coaching with her along with masterminds.
I came to network with other like-minded women in the rural community and wanting to learn and grow or learn how to grow myself.
What brought me here was, I was interested in receiving clarity in what the next steps were for me, both in my personal and my professional life.
So the reason I’m at the retreat is I’m just continuing the work but also wanted to be around an incredible community of women that are doing the exact same thing that I am.
I came here for community and to be inspired.
What brought me here was, in the spring I knew I was entering into a new season, and I didn’t know what that was going to look like. And so I felt like this retreat would help give direction and clarity about what I need to be working on to move forward and grow as a person and also as a rural wife, a person who loves agriculture, and in my business.
For context, the word ‘ascend’ means to move, climb, go upward, rise to a higher point, rank or degree, embark, scale, escalate, aspire, grow, build, take off, soar, improve, expand, scale. etc. This retreat weekend attracted women from rural communities across North America. It was an experience all about turning inward. Figuring out what we really want and need, and then making an action plan to move forward. But even with that intention in mind, I will say, everyone came into the weekend with a span of expectations, worries, hopes, fears and dreams.
Before their retreat, I was extremely nervous. It was very, very hard for me to leave home and very hard for me to get on a plane by myself. I’ve never traveled by myself before ever. So this was extremely huge, it was extremely out of my comfort zone.
Extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect.
Before I got here, I was like, ready for the change, but I was dreading the heart work that I knew would be involved to get there.
I tried to not set any expectations before I came to this retreat. I wanted to come in with a very open mind, and heart more importantly, to try to figure out why I came here.
Before this, I had set some steps, and I was down the right path. But I still felt very confused and not sure where it was gonna go, if I believed in myself. Just still lost. Even though I felt I was going down the right path.
I was feeling like I needed a kick in the butt trying to figure out what kinda was next. Goals. Just kind of trying to find inspiration in my life.
I think before, I was nervous about the relationships, and just the new people, and I was a little scared that it was going to feel weird. And I was scared that I wasn’t going to that, you know that, I invested a lot in this. And I wanted to get something major out of it.
During our time in Florida, we dove into workshops, and broke into small groups and worked through different guided activities with the intention of figuring out what we actually want. What are the things that are no longer serving us? What do we need to let go of? How big are our dreams? Where are our priorities and where we’re spending our time. So often we are limited by what we can see directly in front of us. So having the opportunity to get away, and be in an immersive space like this with people who truly understand where you’re from, what your life looks like, and also the vision for what’s possible. It was incredible. It was incredible. And the number of people that walked away from the experience with entirely different intentions and dreams and priorities than what they expected. It was just, it was so mind blowing, and so special in ways that I can only barely start to describe. So I’ll let their stories tell the story.
Q: How are you feeling now at the end of the ASCEND retreat?
I now am so grateful that I took a chance on myself, my life has literally changed because of it. Like I am not the same person that I was before I came. And I don’t know what our future is going to be. But I’m so excited for all of the possibilities.
I’m coming out of it with an entire community of women that I didn’t know that I needed as much as I realized now. I’ve walked into this house, a little nervous because we’re all strangers, but it never felt like you’re walking into a house of strangers. It felt like you’re walking into a house of old friends that you hadn’t seen in a long time.
Now that it’s the last day, I feel really empowered. Like we can do this. There is hope. And you guys have given us great tools for our toolbox to be able to make it happen and do that thing that I came for: to maximize my day-to-day and my life.
And now that day three, I think I’ve gotten 110% of my money’s worth out of it. I’m going home with seeds that have been planted that are going to help me for the rest of my life. Not just in the next year, 10 years, 20 years. Seriously, for the rest of my life. I will take these tools and use them.
Oh my goodness, better than I could have ever expected.
I’m very at peace. I haven’t felt peace in a long time. I have actionable steps. And even though they’re small, they’re gonna get me down that right path and that path is clear in front of me for the first time and very, very long time.
And now after meeting this amazing group of women, I feel like I’m ready to go back and take on the next thing, the next step in life.
I feel like I’m leaving a part of my family behind, which is sort of sad. I don’t want to leave them, I want to get to know them more and, you know, have more Sunday brunches together.
These women, these brave, smart, passionate humans came together on faith. They saw the vision, they felt the tug. And even when they weren’t quite sure why they were signing up to fly to Florida to hang out with a bunch of strangers, they knew. They knew in their gut that there was something that was there for them. And I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to share that time together. And I’m really excited because this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning. I know deep in my heart, that this is the way that I am meant to generate impact in this season. It is so stinking powerful. So this year, well, I guess next year, 2023, there are going to be more of these. And Kiah asked each of the women, if there’s someone listening, if you knew someone that was considering coming maybe on the fence about it, maybe kind of weighing whether this is for them, what would you say to them? And here’s what they shared:
Q: If there was a woman who was on the fence about coming to the next ASCEND retreat, what would you say to her?
Invest in yourself. I mean, it doesn’t have to be for anybody else but you. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to build a business, or if you’re trying just to find how to take care of yourself, I mean, just do it for yourself, do it for you.
Take the risk, invest in yourself, don’t be a chicken shit. And just do it. Jump in headfirst and don’t look back, you will not regret it.
If she’s on the fence, then there is already the reason to go. Like if you have any inkling, then you need to follow that for yourself. Not for anybody else, even though by you growing yourself is going to help everybody else, you need to do it for you because you’re worth it and your dreams are worth it and your goals are worth it and your space is worth it.
They just they just need to do it. I just think that if you have that small little, ‘I think this would be for me’, you need to listen to that whisper because there’s a reason why Emily said that, that tug, it’s there, you need to listen to it. And you just need to do it. Even if you’re scared. If you have a lot of logistics to figure out to make it happen. Go through those steps, just say yes, figure it out, do it. Be there. Put in the work because the outcome and the results from it, it’s life changing.
You definitely need to come, it’s totally worth it. You will uncover things that you didn’t even know your heart desired. And you’ll have so much more clarity walking away than you ever thought you would get.
Putting time into yourself is going to help you make so much more of the time that you have gifted. And I have never regretted an investment in myself. And I think a weekend like this immersed in this environment, in this culture, in this space, leaving whatever you left at home and coming into this is going to really be this spark that is going to continue to burn and burn brighter and brighter and brighter. And I don’t think that there is a better gift that you can give yourself than investing into this work.
If you have an inkling that there’s something more for you out there, and you feel like you’re entering into a new season, or you want to just be a better person. If you want to grow in your business, personal, as a wife, come to this retreat. Especially if you’re a person connected to agriculture, connected to farm life. And it’s just major connections that were made. And you just feel validated, heard, listened to, and able to move forward by the end of it. So come to the retreat, and your life will be changed.
Hey guys, Jill Carr here. I’m Emily’s podcast manager. And there’s one final segment I want to share. And I’m intervening a bit because Emily did not want to share this part because she’s too sweet and humble. You see, all the retreat attendees were asked if there was something they wanted to share with Emily; any encouragement, or what Emily meant to them, just anything at all that they wanted to tell her. And although these words that were shared meant the world to Emily and she’ll treasure them forever (trust me, we’ve had several conversations about them and tears shed together) she was going to keep them to herself as she didn’t want to come off as bragging. But I’m going to share them anyway because they’re too beautiful and powerful not to share. Sorry, Emily! So I’m going to share them next. And if you don’t know Emily, these words will give you some insight into the beautiful person she is. And if you do know Emily, you’ll be listening and nodding along and saying to yourself, “yep, that’s exactly right”. So here you go.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to tell Emily or share with her?
Thank you for hosting this retreat. Like I said, thank you for giving me the community I didn’t know I needed.
Emily, you are a ray of sunshine. You are a ball of energy. You are this eternal, positive cheerleader, to women, to everyone. Keep encouraging everyone, keeping this full of life, why not person because you are a why not person, I just know that. And keep encouraging everyone in your very logical, nonsensical, straightforward, drama-free way of doing that.
Her energy is so radiant, and that’s authentically her. And we are just so blessed to be a part of that. But like, she has no idea how much she has blessed our lives in turn. And I just appreciate that she has done all the hard work to get to that point so that she can pour into us. And yeah, just that she’s an amazing human and she is working God works.
I love you so much. You’re my favorite person on earth. And I’m so thankful that you have created a space for women to come together to do these things. Because it is scary. And there’s a level of unknown to it and you just guide us through it so easily where we’re doing the hard work, but it’s comfortable.
Just thank you for being your real self 100% of the time. Because I struggle with that. I feel like I’m at most me when I’m at home. And when I go out and visit with other people, I feel like you know, I have to be a certain way or when I show my face on social media, I need to be a certain way. And Emily is the exact same person that she is online as she is in person. Like I felt like I knew her when I walked in the door because she is who she is. And I admire that so much. Because I want to be like that. I want to be my true authentic self 100% of the time. And I’m just so thankful that she took a chance on herself by putting this retreat together and bringing all of these women together and creating a sisterhood.
First and foremost, congratulations! I cannot even begin to fathom the amount of work that went into putting together something like this, and you freaking did it and it kicked ass. Great job, way to go! You should be so gosh dang proud of yourself. And you have done so, so much to serve these women who will, in turn, go out into the world and serve others.
Oh, Emily, I feel like we are soul sisters. I really, really feel that. I appreciate so much the growth that I have been able to experience alongside you on this journey. And I understand the ups and downs of putting together an experience like this. The experience of putting this together mostly in the selling the tickets, has brought out a lot of our own inner struggles to the surface. And that feels hard and it feels messy. And I’m so grateful that you did it anyways, that you can continue to show up that you lead by example of working through that discomfort. And every single one of the women in this room is better because of that. And you have placed this spark in the hearts of these women. And I know that it is their responsibility to make the most of this experience. It is their responsibility to take this back and put it into practice. But you have put together the most beautiful, safe space. And I want you to celebrate yourself for that. It is powerful and you are leaving a legacy that is creating ripple effects that are going to continue so much farther than you will ever ever see or witness. And you are doing the work that you were sent here to do. And I can’t wait to see what you create moving forward. I am so deeply proud of you. I love you. I love your heart. I love your soul. And thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for letting me be a small part of it.
Emily, you’re my best friend and you are just such a fierce leader for so many women. You have truly touched my life but the lives of so many here this weekend on your journey. I’m just very, very, very proud of you.
Thank you for taking a chance on yourself and putting your servant heart into so many other women.
There’s so many words I have for her. She always just says I just created the space. But I just want her to know her true worth and value to my life because she has challenged me from day one. She was a stranger to me on the first mastermind call and she challenged me from day one asked me the hard questions, never hesitated. And she is I wrote it down in the journal, I just said “you have helped me to grow but also to cultivate my roots”. And I’m just really forever grateful for her. She does a lot more than she gives herself credit for.
Thank you. It was everything I needed it to be. Thank you for bringing such a wonderful group of women together, it was a great experience.
Emily, I love how you aren’t afraid to be 100% yourself. As a fellow bubbly, high-energy person who got picked on a lot about it, I have enjoyed so much seeing you be you and the way that it has inspired other people and these women at this retreat. Thank you for hosting this workshop. It has changed my life for the absolute better and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
I am going to call this insert mic drop. If you have made it to the end of this episode, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Our upcoming ASCEND retreat presale is now live. You’re going to head to my website for more information and to get your name on the list. These spots are going to go so fast. Because now you see, you see what’s possible. And you are meant to be there. That tug that you are feeling, that yearning, it is not an accident. This was made for you. And I can’t wait to experience it with you.
Again, I just have such overflowing gratitude for this experience. I am so proud of each of the women that said yes to themselves and to each other. And as you heard, whose lives are forever changed by this experience. I’m not being dramatic when I say that. When you give yourself the opportunity to really invest in your growth at this level, insane life change is possible. And it might not be in the ways you think it might not be a huge business plan or something like that. It might be something deeply personal as taking steps to love yourself deeper. It’s just very special to be in a room with like-minded women who deeply understand where you’re coming from, see the vision for where you’re going, ask you the hard questions and love you for all that you are, every step of the way.
So I hope to see you at an ASCEND retreat in 2023. Because in my opinion, it’s pretty dang awesome.
Where can I connect with fellow rural women who aren’t afraid to dream big dreams? How do I create and sustain daily habits that help me reach my personal and professional goals? Am I the only one that absolutely loves living in the middle of nowhere but wants to understand the world beyond my backyard? What should I do about the unshakable feeling that there’s more to life than just showing up? How do I break free from other people’s opinions and confidently live as my authentic self?
Welcome to Gather in Growth, a show created for passionate, growth-focused rural women like you. From mindset work and building strong habits to nerding out over personal growth books through the lens of life on a backroad, this is a show to leave you feeling joyful, inspired, ready to take action, and a little less alone.
Tune in for honest and heart-felt conversations with host, Emily Reuschel, and fellow thought leaders, to talk about personal growth and thriving as a rural woman. Here you’ll gain tactical strategies to bring your dreams to reality, real talk about the ups and downs of tackling goals, meaningful insight from fresh perspectives, and the confidence to step into the calling that’s been laid on your heart for a reason. If you crave to feel seen in a small town, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re currently running on a backroad, shuffling kids to town, hopping along for a tractor ride, or three loads deep into folding laundry… we’re in this together. Absolutely anything is possible and I’m so grateful to be on this journey with YOU!
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Welcome to Gather in Growth, a show created for passionate, growth-focused rural women like you. From mindset work and building strong habits to nerding out over personal growth books and exploring the unique joys and challenges of living rural, this is a show to leave you feeling joyful, inspired, ready to take action, and a little less alone.
I’m a midwestern farm wife and former elementary school teacher with a freaking passion for pouring into rural women and helping them tap into the callings on their heart and build healthy and authentic lives that they love.
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“Being connected to Emily is a blessing because her radiant energy and positive vibes are contagious. She makes me feel like it’s okay to stay grounded in my own truths and be the kind of person who walks around with a smile even if everything isn’t okay. Her genuine smile and charming personality is a blessing to the world. She continues to inspire me even on the days when I feel uninspired.”
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