How to Find Guides for Your Journey (and 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

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.

  • Dr. Groppel was my first coach back in 2005. He quite literally shifted the trajectory of my life when I realized my rest and recovery would lead to burnout and took action to write a new story.

  • 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 Nancy’s are on speed dial when I need their leadership voices, wisdom, and overall ass-kicking. 

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

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


+     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. Most of us don’t consciously make bad decisions, but we don’t know enough to make better decisions. 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. 



+     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. 

A 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.