Guided by my Heart with Sarah Reuter
Guided by my Heart with Sarah Reuter
This episode of Badass Womens Council, Rebecca will be having a conversation with Sarah Reuter. Sarah helps companies create bespoke experiences that elevate their brand and relationships, also Founder of Elevate Travel Club and #SarahintheCity. Sarah discusses how she had to reinvent herself during the Covid-19 Pandemic; while her travel business was closed for a year.
The second annual “Stand Tall in Your Story” event will be on April 20th, 2021 for more details click on the link www.wethrive.live
Sarah ReuterEvent Planning · Corporate Events · Live Events · Virtual Assistance · Public Speaking · Project Management
Speaker 1: (singing).
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Womens Council podcast and I'm super glad that you're here. Today's guest, we have Sarah Reuter, who's going to talk to us about all of the craziness of the last year with life and business and this just walk us through the journey. Welcome, Sarah.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm glad you're here.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: One of the things I say about you all the time, I hope I say it enough that you feed it into your subconscious forever is the very first time I met you, I said to myself," She is such a good human." You know how sometimes you just get that vibe from people where you're like, I just dig her. Yay.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm so glad to have you on the show.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Before we talk about this last year, tell us just a little bit about you to give some context for the story that you're going to share today.
Sarah Reuter: Okay. I am so grateful. What a beautiful compliment. Thank you so much. I don't think I've ever had anyone describe it that way and that just makes me feel good. I am in the travel space. That's my world, Elevate Travel Co. is my work world and I'm also very much a philanthropic passionate person. Right now, top of mind that comes to me, I'm doing fundraising for LLS and I'm going back too of when I first met you, Rebecca. And I think it was at one of their kickoffs for LLS, where I was the emcee for that event, co- emcee for that event. And so I remember following you up to that point and listening to the podcast and just being so inspired by you, with all the women you've connected with and just the work that you do. And I remember seeing you that night and going up to you and saying," Hey, I know you."
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I forgot about that. Yeah.
Sarah Reuter: Yeah, yeah. Philanthropic endeavors are important to me and just giving back to my local community and now what I feel like is even a global community. With the last year of my life has been flipped on its head and so just reinventing myself yet again. I think I've really started to, I hate to say master, but it's almost like sometimes we have to just reinvent ourselves. It's constant with business ownership. You're constantly reinventing and innovating and doing all these creative things. My travel business was two years old last year, right when COVID hit. Imagine just a toddler out there. Out there exploring the world as far as business age goes. And we just, I use my old stories to be, if this were the game of Battleship, this just sunk my battleship when COVID hit. I went from crisis mode to the crisis was getting all of our groups and all of our people who are out traveling back into the US. And oh my goodness, I love good adrenaline. I love good competition. And so that was give me a good challenge and I am the woman for the job. I will get it done and without spending as much money. Spending very much money too, that was the other thing. We experienced so much change with the airline world a year ago with all these cancellation fees and just all kinds of that crazy stuff. But anyway, so crisis mode to rescheduling, postponing our entire book of business for the entire 2020 year.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: With no understanding of what the future looked like. I know uncertainty is such an overused word right now, but literally not knowing when you could even reschedule people. How crazy is that?
Sarah Reuter: Yeah. We kind of had that mindset of, oh, this is a three month, 90 day pause button. But something intuitively with me, I feel like because of my industry and I was watching Europe, I was watching this part of the world that a lot of people's eyes aren't necessarily on because I had a group in India at the time. And so I was definitely in that space. And there was just something that intuitively I knew that this was going to be a long game. This was a long stretch and I prepared our clients accordingly. I wasn't a gloom and doom. It was more of a, hey let's push out as far as we really can, even if that's a year, because I don't know what's going to happen in the next three, six, nine months. And let's just postpone until a full year. Once we got past that, it was a big blank canvas of starting over.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay, let's just pause on that for a minute. That's the mindset of Sarah Reuter. Crisis managed, get some shit done, get it done well, honor your clients. Some people would have then said," Cave into depression." You said," Big blank canvas." And that literally is the definition of writing your own story. Because you could have written the other story that said," Well, now what am I going to do? The travel industry is dead. I'm not going to have any work to do." But you reinvented. That in and of itself is a great message for people to say," We have the power to write our own story no matter the situation"
Sarah Reuter: We do.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Blank canvas.
Sarah Reuter: Blank canvas.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: What did you do with that?
Sarah Reuter: Well, I have to, honesty is a big value for me. I hit a low, low vibration before I hit that blank canvas mode. I think that's just part of being human. I went through, wouldn't call it depression per se, but there were some gloom and doom days where it was like, okay, what is next? What do I do? And it was tough. I had to grieve for a moment, but then just positive mindset. I truly believe that our thoughts become things. What we put out there, we have the ability to manifest. And so I said," Okay, I really it's so dark and gloom and doom out there, I want to spread some joy. I want to spread some light. I want to keep people inspired and motivated." And I started within my community because we couldn't go anywhere so I said," Well, let's start in my backyard. I'm going to go and support local businesses who typically host events." Venues, restaurants, vineyards, you name it. I just started a little series called Sarah in and the City and went out there and took my selfie stick arm and my iPhone and I started doing videos and recording and just sharing the stories of other business owners who were doing all they could to keep doors open, keep people safe. And I just wanted to support my industry, the event meeting, meeting space industry, the hospitality industry.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And it was a bright light. You could tell that you were doing it from a place of heart and light. And I noticed it immediately because here we all are going through our own grieving process of not being out in the world and to log onto social media and see you out just honoring local businesses who were hurting and doing it in such a beautiful way, really caught my attention. And I know it did that for so many other people. And that's another great example of saying," Okay, I know what I don't have available to me right now and that list is long. What do I have?" And you took what you had and you did something with it. And that's a beautiful message.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And the result of that was really, it was fun. People were responded.
Sarah Reuter: It was fun. Yeah. It really was fun. I love the hospitality industry. I love the service industry. The hearts, service. To have a servant heart, in the world that I operate in and in my industry, it's everything you really do. It's about serving others. And it really allowed me to focus out and it allowed me to take those baby steps. I had no idea what this would evolve to and I'm still kind of figuring out, well, what is this? What's next? And those little videos gained more. I just gained more confidence and I gained more, it just felt good to me to do that. And so one of those videos I did as I started to continue on this path, I thought, I saw the trend that larger corporate groups were not going anywhere. My initial target audience or target market were corporations that would do instead of trips, presidents clubs and that sort of thing. And so I could see though, that those types of experiences were going to take the longest pause because of the stricter rules and regulations. And I saw that it would be social groups and families and couples and solo travelers who would be getting out and about first. And so I thought, okay, I'm going to start a community. I'm going to start a private travel club. And so I invited our corporate clients to be a part of this and then started to invite other explorers and adventurers to be a part of this. And so now it's so much fun because I get to take people on virtual experiences that are custom made. They're curated. It's not like getting on and watching a YouTube video by any means. You're really interacting with the locals on the ground, wherever we go. And it's been such a joy, it's been so much fun. I'm just really enjoying that. And here I am today, we started doing our virtual experiences in December and it's April. I can't believe it's April. And we're booked on our virtual experiences through June, but I paused there thinking, well, the world will start to open back up and I want people to get out and be in it. And so that's where I'm kind of like, okay, what's next? What's next?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But I know I felt this early in my entrepreneurial endeavors and I think this applies whether you're in corporate or whether you're running your own business is there's this real societal expectation and maybe it's just pressure we put on ourselves sometimes that we're supposed to have everything figured out and have this master plan if we're really good at what we do. If we were smart, we'd have a plan. And I spent decades teaching people how to plan and organize around accomplishing the goals that they want to accomplish. But what I've learned and especially through this is sometimes you just start and you don't really know where it's going to end up. And I know for me, it's largely a spiritual journey. I sometimes just get these ideas that God plants in my heart and I've learned now just to try them. And what's the worst that can happen usually is very little, but the upside is grand. And that is another great example of you didn't know where it was going to go. You just were, you were taking what was on your heart and meeting people where they were and it's turned into some really beautiful offerings and some opportunities for people to see places in the world that they never would have been able to see without this experience. And I think seeing that, imagining that opportunity, because I think when we say seeing that it means somebody has already done it, we should follow the plan. But sometimes the best thing is just to let your imagination run free. And then you're creating something maybe that's never been done before that people really need. And that's what I felt like this was for you bringing that people there.
Sarah Reuter: Yeah. Thank you. I agree with you so much. Sometimes when our head, and trust me, we have to use that brain power, with planning and goals and strategy and having that end destination in mind. But leading by the heart has always served me. It just has. And sometimes things don't make sense. And sometimes I fall on my face. Sometimes I get hurt. Sometimes I lose money. You name it. There could be a billion things that go wrong, but I've always been guided by my heart and I always trust it. It's the strongest compass I have and it always eventually gets me on the path that I'm intended to go on, that I'm supposed to be on,.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Gosh, I love this so much I have chills. I use a framework in my consulting and coaching business called Business is Human. It's very simple. It's a premise for all of the work that I do is I refuse to over complicate things that don't need to be overcomplicated just to make them seem more valuable, which is something we do in the world of work these days. But it just is two columns. If you picture one column, the business side, the business needs are to control, measure and optimize. Those are good business practices. It's exactly what you said. We should have goals and strategy and know how to execute that strategy. Good business. But humans are personal, emotional and social and our needs are very different than the business needs. Now, when we bring them together in a beautiful way, everybody wins because you want to be a part of a thriving, successful business but we as humans, aren't meant to be controlled, measured and optimized. We want to come and meet those goals where they are and know how to contribute to those goals, but following our heart and knowing that emotional challenge and doing things together as a community, which is another big premise that you have for all of your work, that's where we get a sense of wellness and thriving and satisfaction in doing our work. It's rarely from some externally validated metrics of success. It's something we feel. You I'm sure had metrics for your business, so even with the travel club, you were like, oh, I'm sure you thought, I want a certain number of people to come in and especially entrepreneurs, we do the math, what's this going to make me? As we should. But what you led with was how could I build this community that's going to have this experience, which is personal, emotional, and social? And those are the times that we say to ourselves," Ooh, this was good. This worked." And then we can say," Oh and by the way, I also made good money doing it." I think that to me is the great combo pack of good business.
Sarah Reuter: It really is. I go back, it just made me think about my first virtual experience. I had no idea what I was really doing. It's one of those things where I'm like, okay, I'm going to try this. We've all been on Zoom, but I felt like I was putting, and I do. We put on like a little mini TV series, a little mini live movie, if you will, of a destination. And so our first one was a safari to South Africa and that was in December of 2020. And as I was watching, we had close to I think 90 people show up for that first one and was watching all the Brady Bunch square tiles on Zoom. And there were people in tears. There were people who were moved to tears and I thought, okay, this is doing what it's supposed to be doing. This is what travel really, I believe traveled can transform you. I believe it's intended to evoke emotion. To just have you consider being present and learning something new about yourself and other people and cultures. And it's just a beautiful experience. And so, when I go back and reflect on that moment, it just was everything. I thought, okay, this is something I need to keep doing and I want to keep doing. And then it turns out the next month in January here I am moderating and we do a mix. We do have prerecorded videos. We show little snippets of some really nice videos and there was one video, it was so amazing. It moved me to tears. And so it was, back to me on the spotlight. And here I am with tears running down my face, the ugly cry on camera. How about that?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I've done it. I've done it, girl. I love that because you're right. Travel, you should feel something when you travel. And not always just the relaxing drink in hand, toes in the sand, kind of feel something while although I am leaving in a couple of days to do exactly that.
Sarah Reuter: Yay!
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that when you feel something, because you've experienced something new, that lights up a part of your brain and your heart and your emotions that you didn't expect. Sometimes it's just learning about a new culture or just sometimes it's meeting new people in a new place, people that you wouldn't have met otherwise. It could be anything, it could be something beautiful in nature, but something that moves you in that way, I think is the whole reason that we need vacations and travel and get away.
Sarah Reuter: We do. Yes, we do. And it's been a long time. I know a lot of people are out on spring break and they're getting revitalized and rejuvenated. And so many people discovered places nearby where they live instead of there's that sometimes there's that mindset that you have to go really far to experience something. And I discovered so many little hidden gems right up the street last year. It's just all about kind of what you said earlier, and I love that saying, start where you are with what you have. Keep it that simple. And we don't need all the lights, camera, action sometimes. And in fact, I'm still pinching myself because my consistency of the videos that I did was seen on LinkedIn by a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. And so never in a million years, did I think anything other than, oh, this is a great video of I want to show people what it's like to travel to Aruba. And I went to Aruba back in February to show our audience what international travel really looks like. It's from my perspective, I'm not privy to one brand or one specific experience. It's me out there, really showing people the hardships and the joy, all of it and everything in between. But it was really, I thought I was getting pranked or punked for a second when I got the call. I thought, well, hang on. Who is this? But it was true. And we made the front page of the Wall Street Journal on March 15th. And that was just an incredible pivotal moment for me as a business.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That makes me tear up.
Sarah Reuter: It really was. And again, it was just that affirmation and that validation of, okay Sarah, whatever you're doing, no, maybe financially, this doesn't sense this month, but you're doing something that is of value and just keep going. Keep stepping in the direction that you're being guided to step in.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And I love this part of the story because there was no part of you that said," Well, if I start doing these three things and post these four videos and do this travel club, my goal is to get on the front page of the Wall Street Journal."
Sarah Reuter: I know.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Right?
Sarah Reuter: Right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But yet it was this unexpected and beautiful, like you said, affirmation that the work that you were doing mattered in a way that they wanted to showcase it and I just think that is everything. I love that.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that so much.
Sarah Reuter: Before we started recording, we were talking about, I almost feel like and you can appreciate this as business owners and you work with a lot of high achieving women. Rarely do we pause and reflect and just pause and not really do anything. And my subconscious mind when I am pausing, which I am right now is telling me," Oh Sarah, you should be doing all these things. Check all these things off the list." And it's future oriented. But there's part of me that wants to just pause and look back for a moment to say," What did I just go through in the last 365 days or three months, whatever that timeframe is? And what does all this mean?" I just want to kind of sit in it for a moment and pause before I create that next blank canvas, if you will.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You have just illustrated beautifully the tagline of this podcast is reflection and connection, for that exact reason is we are so hell bent sometimes on check it off the list, go, go, go, that we don't honor that reflection time. And it's the reflection time that allows us to connect in a meaningful way. But when I talk about reflection, I'm talking about what you're saying, looking back, glancing back, but also saying, asking yourself," Who am I? What do I want? What do I need? Where am I going?" Just to have that space in time is the work, but we have somehow gotten away from understanding that that's an important part of the process, because if we're not checking something off the list, we're not quote unquote productive. But we're not machines here to produce. We're humans here to have impact and be relevant and the only way that we can do that is to pause enough to ask ourselves," Where am I? What do I need? What do I want? Who needs me?" I'm a huge fan of that reflection time. I went through a mini piece of that last night and this morning even. I have a huge event on April 20th, Stand Tall in Your Story Event, our second annual one. And it's a big undertaking. And I was saying to myself, as I was walking the dogs in the woods, my first thought was, you need to hurry up and get back because you've got a list to do and blah, blah, blah. And I had to stop myself and say," Rebecca, the most important thing you can do right now is spend this 30 minutes in nature, letting your brain settle. By the time you get back to your desk, you'll have clearer thoughts. You'll have probably new ideas that are better than the ones that are written in your planner right now." And I did that for myself again this morning. And what was interesting when I sat down and looked at my list this morning, after having that experience last night and honoring my morning routine this morning with lots of prayer and meditation, my list isn't nearly as scary and crazy as I had mustered it up to be. But it was through that reflection time that I could calm those parts of my head and heart and go, it's good. Everything's fine.
Sarah Reuter: Good. Yes, that is it's so important. And it's like anything, it's a practice. It's like you really have to practice this doing nothing. Or maybe just getting out in nature. That's one way that I reconnect with myself and with just letting go of all the crazy that's going on upstairs in the brain. Get out in nature and just walk and kind of zone out for a little bit, because it gets overwhelming, with social media and technology and all these things we're doing.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I had a session. I have a Badass masterclass, a monthly subscription and one of the masters in there is Eliza Kingsford and she did a session a couple of months ago on high achieving women and stress and her not recommendation, her plea to these women was you have to put in a practice of stillness because we have absolutely normalized stress to the point that you don't even recognize it as a problem. And so without a really diligent stillness practice, your brain is never going to have the opportunity to normalize. It's just always going to live in high stress and high cortisol, which is weight gain and cloudy thoughts and all the things we don't want. But she was very clear of saying," Look, this is no longer self care, bath bombs and booze Instagram posts. This is health. This is manage it accordingly." I took that message loud and clear. But I think going back to what we said earlier about travel, travel is a great opportunity to do that for ourselves. And even the experiences that you're giving people now with the travel club, just to emotionally check out for a bit and do some of that reflection time through that kind of experience, how can people be a part of the travel club? Can you still join?
Sarah Reuter: Yeah, you can join. We do pop up events. I do quarterly pop up events locally in Indianapolis. I'm from Indy and so this is my home and my community, but we also have members who are global, who are in the UK and all over the world. But yeah, you can join and become a part of our community. It's an annual subscription. The solo traveler is 99 a year and couples are 149 a year.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: 99, less than a$100.
Sarah Reuter: Less than a$100.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Crazy. Yes. Okay.
Sarah Reuter: It's really a great value. And we love to over deliver. We give away a trip once a month to one of our members during the end of our virtual experience. We draw, we have our partners who are on the ground at the location draw one of the member's names out of the hat. We've given away a safari to South Africa, a trip to Patagonia in Argentina, South America, Aruba, Cabo and then next month, well, no, I say next month, it's April. April 30th we're doing a mystery trip. I love surprises. I love the element of surprise.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And you don't even know what that trip is, right?
Sarah Reuter: I do, yes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Isn't it a mystery?
Sarah Reuter: I do.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay I was thinking I saw something you posted at one point that said that, Oh no, that was a guest that you were going to have. It was a mystery guest.
Sarah Reuter: Yeah. I had a mystery guest. I love to incorporate some sort of surprise for people. I think catching people kind of off guard, it just keeps things exciting and keeps you feeling alive.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Agreed. Well, thank you for being here and sharing your story. I just I love it. I love the work that you do. I love the way that you engage. I'm fully intending on engaging your services for more retreats now that we can start to open up and a part of the Badass Womens Council online community is that we're going to start meeting live and going places and doing things. And I'm excited to partner with you on some of those experiences.
Sarah Reuter: I cannot wait. I cannot wait. You always connect with a great group of people and I love partnering and working with people who just have good hearts, good energy, good vibrations, all of those wonderful things. I look forward to serving you and continuing on this fun journey of whatever's next.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And I will look forward to seeing you in a few weeks at the April 20th, Stand Tall on your Story Event.
Sarah Reuter: I cannot wait. I have a feeling I'll be in tears, hearing some of those ladies' stories and you guiding them as their leader. I cannot wait to be a part of that. That's going to be great.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: It's going to be so good. There's some laughs. There's some tears. There's some just, oh my gosh. I can't believe she just shared that. There's some good stuff in there.
Sarah Reuter: Awesome. Awesome. I can't wait to be there.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thanks for being here, Sarah. Appreciate you.
Sarah Reuter: Thank you, Rebecca.
Speaker 1: (singing).