How to Find Guides on Your Journey (+ 4 Reasons You Need Them)

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.
— Joseph Campbell
How to Find Guides on Your Journey - Ezer + Co.

We look for a guide when we’ve been awakened to our status quo. When we can no longer tolerate our current reality, we search for a guide. When we are ready to go to the next level, we look for who can help. We never live into our full potential and experience wholeness without a collection of guides. No one is self-made, including you and me.

The transformation journey is a beautiful mess.

You were designed for transformation because it’s about becoming more you. It begins internally but shows up externally. But transformation is optional; you have to choose it. Life presents opportunities every day to become more whole.

Most of my guides haven’t been formal or official. We haven’t had weekly meetings or much structure. Some I have paid a lot of money, others I have paid for their meal, but I have been mindful to add value somehow in each relationship. 

  • Mindy accidentally became my spiritual director because I kept inviting her out for lunch and asking her pressing questions about soul care and God’s presence in my life. That was over 15 years ago, but we are still connected. Our family hasn’t made a major life decision without her. 

  • Dr. Henslin mentored me as my therapist and I paid him for it. I’ve been in and out of his office when I’m stuck since 2007.

  • Hendre has coached me at different points of transition so I could build a bridge toward the future I want to create. 

  • My favorite two Nancys are on speed dial when I need their voices of leadership. 

  • Middle school students have mentored me in curiosity, wonder, and honoring doubt.

  • My Girl Gang are friends who have been my entrepreneurial buddies and cheerleaders as I navigate starting this company of warriors.

Each of them have been critical in my journey toward fullness and wholeness.

4 REASONS YOU NEED GUIDES.

+     Guides call you forward. Unless you want to stay stuck, stagnant, and stale, you need outside voices to move you toward where you want to be.

+     Guides push you into who you really are, even when you don’t want it or aren’t living fully into your truth. External voices guide you toward transformation even when you don’t willingly choose it.

+     Comfort is in opposition to your transformation. Character is more important than your comfort if you want to be transformed. Inviting guides to call you out is an act of bravery. 

+     You don’t know what you don’t know. Ask guides to point out your blind spots. When you’re doing what you need to do but it’s not working like it used to, a guide will unveil new levels of growth. 

 

4 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE YOUR GUIDES.

+     What do I need? Transformation requires that you know your needs, so you know who to ask for help.

+     Do I want to be like them when I grow up? You become who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.

+     Do they have something that I want more of in my life? They can guide you toward your preferred future even if they aren’t the expert in that area.

+     Will they tell me the truth no matter what? Invite them to speak what they’re seeing that you need to be more aware of.

The fun part is that guides can be older, younger, and peers. Throw out old models of mentors. 

Final word of encouragement: Collect guides before you really need them. When you are in a dark or hard place, it’s much more difficult to reach out for help. Of course, there will be seasons when you reach out to a new therapist, spiritual director, or coach when life has kicked the crap out of you. But it’s far easier to say “YES” to transformation when you already have trusted voices. 

As you consider the guides to walk with you, may you say “YES” to this invitation to transformation:

When you are breathing your last breath, what do you want to be true of who you are and what you’ve done with your life? 

Commit yourself, Warrior, to the journey of transformation, no matter how difficult and ugly it may be.

And may know that you are enough. We need all of you in this world. So no hiding, no holding back, no half-ass version, no partial participation. We need all of you. And that’s enough.


I talked all about finding guides and mentors on my friend, Tash McGill’s fabulous podcast, The Transformationist. Each of her guests tell stories of transformation that can help shape you’re own. You can hear the full episode with these thoughts and more on The Transformationist podcastBONUS: Tash is my favorite Kiwi so her New Zealand accent makes listening to the conversation even more fun.

3 Guides Every Leader Needs

Guides - Ezer + Co.

No woman is self-made.

You can’t fulfill your potential and calling without guides to move you forward.

You need others to help you move forward in life, but how do you know who the right person is to invest into your life? One of my favorite Proverbs is “plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Collecting and engaging reliable voices in your life will be a huge predictor of your life’s wholeness.

As a certified coach, I’m often asked about how coaching is different from other types of mentors or “guides”. Because of the popularization of coaching in the last decade, there’s a lot of confusion about what makes coaching different and what makes a coach qualified.

I am also a firm believer that if you’re a leader, committed to wholeness, you need each of these 3 guides to help you work through your past, pay attention to your present, and move forward to design the future.

Here are the over-simplified, not comprehensive distinctions between the 3 approaches:

THERAPIST: past focus

A therapist is a healing science, focused on the past. A great therapist knows how to help you heal from family of origin wounds, trauma, process past hurts, and know yourself better in light of your past experiences. I’m a huge fan of therapy. I’ve personally had about a half dozen periods of time in my life where I’ve utilized a trained therapist for my specific issues. Every member of my family has been to counseling (even my 7 year old!). The healthiest of leaders I know are people who’ve spent significant time in a counselor’s office. I consider this healing discipline a requirement for healthy, whole-hearted life and leadership.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR: present focus

Spiritual Direction is a mystical practice, focused on the present moment. A spiritual director is someone who helps you hear the voice of God in your life right now. A fantastic spiritual director has discernment and often prophetic gifts that can help you tap into the mystical nature of God. Direction offers you the opportunity to open yourself up to a deepening relationship with the Divine. I’ve had the same spiritual director for over 15 years. Brian and I haven’t made a major life decision without asking her to help us hear from God well. I’ve utilized another spiritual director this last year as I needed to know where the Spirit was in the midst of some confusion and pain. Spiritual Direction is a beautiful and powerful practice. “Be here now” is a great mantra for a spiritual director.

COACH: future focus

A coach is a behavioral science, focused on the future. Coaching applies the art and science of transformation for how a person wants to move forward in their life. A trained coach is intuitive enough to know people are complex, thus coaching is an artful process. However, they are also skilled in how people change on a neurological and behavioral level. Coaching is rooted in behavioral science. It’s mandate-based, action-oriented, and results-focused. A coach’s job is to see how people relate to the future and to use that as leverage for the present.

TRAINING MATTERS

It’s ideal when we have access to all three modalities of transformation. When I’m coaching someone I will often recommend using a therapist or spiritual director in partnership with coaching. Since they each focus on different aspects of transformation, each of them offer a unique perspective and approach. There are different periods of life when each modality is necessary and needs to be a priority.

However, just as you would never go to a therapist who’s not trained and certified, I strongly encourage you to work with a trained and certified spiritual director and coach. I’m not a certified therapist or spiritual director, so I don’t offer this kind of transformational work. I am a certified coach and, because coaching has changed my life, I love providing this space for others. It’s so empowering when we’re able to achieve our goals and move from here to there.

There are a lot of “coaches” these days. The majority of those who provide coaching offer reactive, advice-giving based solutions. That approach has its benefits, but it’s not coaching. They’ve positioned themselves as the expert with the answers for your life. Since coaching is a developmental science, be sure to get a coach who practices the art and science of results-based coaching. Before you jump into a coaching relationship, ask about their training and ongoing coaching development. Not all coaches are the same.


We offer 3 different types of coaching:

  • Join the next Coaching Group HERE. Don’t delay. Spots are filling up!!

  • Activate 1on1 coaching to design your future.

  • Become a certified coach so you can guide others toward holistic transformation. Learn more and register for October’s training HERE.

Today's My 40th Birthday! Thoughts on Our Voices

40 + Fab
Butterfly Tattoo - Ezer + Co. Founder

I’m 40 and fabulous today!!!

Fresh hair. New tattoo. Renewed commitment to live my life in all its fullness. I have all kinds of feelings about entering the next decade, but I’m really crazy excited about this next chapter of my story. I’m so grateful for this life I’m living, the family I’m doing it with, the friends who know and love me well, and what we’re building with Ezer + Co.

My whole life is aligning and integrating for this next chapter. Bring it on!!

For the last decade, I’ve been thinking a lot about my voice and the marginalized voices of our world. This is how I’ve come to think about our individual and collective voices.

OUR VOICE IN THE 20s.

My 20s were wonder-full and rough all at once (actually, isn’t all of life in that tension?). I started into my leadership vocation at a globally influential church. I married my high school sweetheart. We moved to SoCal for our first real adventure together. I discovered more of my gifts, passions, and spiritual pathways. We traveled the world. We bought a condo. We started our adoption process. I started speaking nationally. The highlight reel was wonderful.

It was also rough. I activated my workaholism and found myself having 2 panic attacks. I watched my husband struggle deeply with anxiety and depression. I was almost always a gender minority in leadership spaces. I became a racial minority when we moved to our church in SoCal and had to navigate different racial/ethnic cultures for the first time in my life (embarrassingly true). I spent a lot of time in therapy. Our marriage had a dark season as we were forced to confront past wounds. We went through years of infertility - diagnosis, treatments, pokes, prods, meds, hopes deferred.

In your 20s, FIND YOUR VOICE.

The 20s are a fantastic decade to try on other’s voices. Mimic the voices of those you respect and see how they settle within your own unique voice. Work through your childhood wounds as best you can so you can live and lead with more wholeness. Learn as much as you can about who you are so you can live and lead from a true place. Your 20s are about exploring and finding your voice.

OUR VOICE IN THE 30s.

My 30s were living la vida loca!!! We became parents to three kids in 15 months, and Brian and I basically didn’t breathe for two years. I went deep into practicing self-leadership and soul care. I went back into counseling. I was coached for the first time and something lit up in me. I wrote a book and contributed to several others. I became a runner and completed a couple half marathons. I became certified as a coach. I quit a job I loved, in a church I never imagined leaving, and it was devastating. We moved cross-country again and that move that almost killed all of us. We moved “back to the future” two years later and settled into SoCal as our official Diaz home. I traveled more internationally, speaking to tens of thousands of people. My justice convictions became red hot. Silence was no longer an option. Vocationally, the last five years have been a lot of experimentation, wandering, and discerning my best contribution to the world.

In your 30s, CULTIVATE YOUR VOICE.

Because of the inner work I did in my 20s, my 30s opened up so many opportunities to move more powerfully into who I’ve been created to be. My confidence grew. I welcomed being the minority (gender AND race) in the room. I moved from a belief of scarcity into abundance. It’s changing everything. This last decade has been truly about cultivating my voice - what must I speak about (from a stage but with my whole life), how do I want to say it, where do I best contribute my words, and what voices do I want to be aligned with.

The 30s become the early days of not having time to care what people think or holding back. When you do the inner work, you have more capacity to show up confidently, with power and humility to truly be yourself. Your 30s become a decade where your energy shifts from “proving” to “being”. The inner muscles you’ve cultivated in your 20s become the outer muscles on display - aka YOUR VOICE. The 30s can be so much more fun because the insecurity, measuredness, and comparison voices are turned down so you can truly be yourself.

OUR VOICE IN THE 40s.

Since I’m just entering this decade, I don’t have personal experiences to share yet. But here’s what I’ve noticed in the guides I’ve followed and the voices I listen to: Your 40s are the best yet!!

In your 40s, AMPLIFY YOUR VOICE.

The 40s, you’ve got 20 years worth of adulting. You’ve worked for 20ish years. You’ve accomplished some stuff. You’ve done inner work. You’ve received some battle wounds and healed from others. The lows haven’t taken you out and the highs haven’t defined you. This is the decade to turn up the mic and let your voice say what it needs to say. It has more authority and weight because you’ve lived for a hot second. You’ve failed because you’ve taken risks.

I believe your 40s also need to be even more about amplifying the voices of those who’ve been marginalized, silenced, or oppressed. Your voice doesn’t exist for the sake of yourself. Your voice is for the greater good. The 40s are the decade when you no longer give a shit about what people think in all the best ways. You settle into your body in new ways. You’ve been cultivating your potential and are living more into it.

These are the gifts I’m eager to open in my 40s. There’s more than enough space for your voice and my voice and everyone’s voices to be heard. There’s so much work to be done in this world for the sake of equality, partnership, justice, and wholeness.

So let’s get about doing our inner work so we can live and lead with wholeness. Your voice matters.

(PS. if you’re beyond your focus, share what happens with your voice. I love to learn from you.)

Amplify Your Voice - Ezer + Co.

If you want to find, cultivate, or amplify your voice, the Coaching Group is a great place to do that. I’m committed to amplifying your life and leadership.

We do the inner work and focus time on the power of your voice in our 6-month journey.

Spots are filling up and we are starting soon.

Join us.

Do the work.

We need your voice.

Feet, Ocean, + Freedom: Why I Needed This Coaching Group

Megan Kallenbach - Ezer + Co.

Megan Kallenbach

Guest Post

I was standing on the edge of the road looking down at the water. As I strolled the path, I felt the wind gusting through my hair. The sound of the ocean was roaring through my ears. As I sat down to look out and embrace the moment, I had this thought: ”I just have to put my feet in.” That thought and feeling wouldn’t leave my body until almost instinctively I headed for the shore. I’m not sure what made those thoughts come to me. Maybe it was the desire to wash away the last season of my life. The season that broke me and rebuilt me all in one. I felt like I was a phoenix that rose from the ashes.

Before I started this journey, I was a broken woman, barely surviving. You see, I was in this journey to motherhood through unconventional means. In January of 2018, I became a foster mom. In February, I got placed with the best little baby girl the world has ever known. For awhile, I felt on top of the world. I was leading three ministries through transitions, I was a mom for the first time, and I honestly felt like I was rocking it all. Of course, we know that things never stay that way. My church had decided that I was not the person they were looking for to continue leading the ministries, so they started to look for someone else. They found that person and unfortunately I felt a tension in that relationship. It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t my fault; it was the result of a bad situation overall. Shortly after that, I got a call for a little toddler, in which that “yes” turned my next season into one of the hardest I have ever experienced. All of a sudden, I was bearing the weight of disappointment and the feeling of being overwhelmed in a constant state.

Realizing I needed help, I heard about this Women In Leadership Cohort. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I realized I needed something. The trajectory I was headed was not good for me nor the children I was caring for. So I signed up. That single moment changed everything for me.

I remember going into the first retreat so broken. I wasn’t sure the ladies would like me. Heck, I didn’t even like me at this point. I was stressed and overwhelmed and that was a baseline for my life. I remember people always saying, “I’m not sure how you do it.”; meaning be a single parent and work full time. Truthfully, I’m not sure how I made it through those first months either. It was clearly Jesus and coffee, because there was no other way. Parenting is hard enough, but parenting trauma is harder. Then factor in that I was in a position at a church that I loved so much but wasn’t happy anymore. It was a tough season. As April asked the hard questions and gave us room to search our souls, I began my wrestling stage. When I finally felt like I was ready to give up, life shifted. A job opened that seemed like a dream and I began my crawl out of the space I was in. Parenting was getting easier and routine began.

By the time we got to the second retreat, I was in a completely different place. Noticeably different. Even the other ladies could see the actual physical changes in me. Hope. I had hope. But I wasn’t done yet. I needed one more thing: forgiveness.

As my feet touched the water, I breathed in and out, thinking of the people, the hopes, the promises broken, that I needed to forgive. I felt the tinge of cold surge through my whole body. I felt alive. It was time to let go. Let go of it all. The journey was long and hard but it brought me to this place, this moment. The moment where I could look back and see the faithfulness of God. The point where I could let go of those hurts and decide to wash it away in the salty, cold water. In that moment, it was like I let Jesus Himself wash my feet as He said, “I am here, I love you, well done my faithful servant”. Then, as fast as it started, the moment was gone and I was on a plane back. But I will forever remember that moment. The moment I felt free.

first shared on Megan’s blog: http://www.megankallenbach.com/


Thoughts from Megan after our first coaching retreat:


Our next coaching group starts September 24-26th. If you need to shift your self-leadership investment like Megan did, say “YES” to yourself and your leadership.

Have some reasons (aka excuses) about why you can’t say yes right now? Megan personally paid for her own coaching group experience. Single momma of 2 foster girls, working full-time in job that was strangling her soul. She found childcare for her foster daughters. She sacrificed financially to make it happen. Her transformation mattered that much to her. She’s a new woman as a result of what she learned and did in those 6-months.

Say “YES”. You are worth it.


My Partner for Life

Diaz+Wedding+2001

We were basically children when we got married. In 2001, digital cameras were just entering the photography world. Thus, enjoy pictures of our wedding pictures.

We couldn’t even rent a car for our honeymoon; we were so young. On this day, 18 years ago, we said “Yes” to each other forever. Saying “I Do” to Brian is the best “Yes” I’ve ever said. We’ve been partners since day one.

There have been a lot of chapters to our story that we never expected or planned. We’ve had our share of lows - heartbreak, disconnection, disappointment, hope deferred. That’s part of the gig.

Diaz Wedding 2001

But we’ve also shared the greatest of adventures together. We’ve traveled the world. We committed not only to each other, but to living an “only God“ story. We’ve intentionally built a family that reflects our love for the whole world and displays miracles. We’ve been committed to our own transformation and wellness in our unique ways. We’ve moved cross-country. Twice. We have fought big, disagreed, been in stalemates, and consistently worked toward oneness. We have honored each other, forgiven frequently, stood our ground, led each other, and sought to partner in every way. We have worked to figure out how we can each contribute our best to our partnership, leaning on each other in weakness, and pushing each other to grow.

We’re just getting started.

The day you say "I Do" you do so without any clue what you're really committing to. You say "I Do" to whatever is to come. You say "I Do" to the person who's in front of you and to whomever they might become. You say "I Do" to who you are now and who you will become. And you do so in the name of love and hope. 


I was raised in a faith system that taught me from an early age that I was to submit to my husband.

Submission was a one-way street. My husband was to lead me and our family and I was to follow. Through a variety of messages, I absorbed that somehow women were secondary to men. Our voice was less than and our roles were prescribed.

Through a whole bunch of grace, I married a man who didn’t believe in any of that. He believed we were equals. Partners. Better together. Submission was mutual. Gifts, roles, and responsibilities weren’t based on gender. Equality was our posture.

Our goal was partnership.

We’ve flipped a lot of scripts in our marriage. It’s not “traditional”. My gifts are far more leadership and teaching oriented than Brian’s. I’m better with finances. He’s been a stay-at-home dad (most of the time). I’ve been the breadwinner (most of the time). I’m more people-energized. He’s a deep well of wisdom due to the power of his observation and discernment. He’s emotionally intense. As I am. He’s an Enneagram 5w4 and I’m an Enneagram 8w7.

And yet, our partnership works not because we’ve put on “traditional" roles and responsibilities, but because we’ve done the work to figure out how WE work best together. We’ve wrestled through how we best display faith, hope, and love to the world. We have listened to what we each can bring to our marriage, family, and world. We have actively shunned what the world — and church! — have told us we should be. (Can we agree to stop SHOULD-ING all over each other!?!?) We have flexed in different chapters of our story so we can serve each other best and help each other live life to the fullest.

Response to Patriarchy

PS. this may likely be my anniversary card because traveling last week plus a sick child this weekend has been legit. #reallife