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Autumn Road

The 5 Minute Leader

  • Writer's pictureCarl Blanz

Personal Mastery: Find A Guide

I’m sure I had guides as a kid. I’ve been thinking about who they were, besides my folks, I don’t remember any that have a lasting impact on me.

As I look back, I think my first real guide was Rene Debon, a Swiss chef who I met when I was 18 and followed around the country for a few formative years.

I really wanted to be a chef. In cooking school, I learned a lot of great stuff, but not necessarily how to be a chef. Prior to Rene there were other chef’s but none of them excited me like Rene. I think it was because he actually was the chef I wanted to become and, he took a liking to me. I even remember listening to myself think with a Swiss accent, I could still imitate his little idiosyncrasies. Rene had a huge impact on me.

Through my career, I’ve had many guides, I can’t name them all, and, I don’t feel in my bones for them, the kind of feeling I have for Rene. I think that’s because I pursued a career that wasn’t always aligned with my desires and often was more aligned with me running larger and more complex operations in order to make more money and have more stature in my field. I did not consistently feel passionate about my hotel career.

Fast forward about 30 years until I found the next guide who had a massive impact on me. That is Will Stockton. I was leading a hotel with 150 employees and wanted to create a culture of servants. While I had other guides to help me, Will was the one who had what I wanted. I couldn’t articulate it at that time, but I later learned that what Will had was a view and a process for how to be powerful as a leader, while also being soft spoken and kind. I have been in that struggle my whole life, the one between power and kindness.

Over those years, I’ve also had guides who have come into my psyche and helped me tinker with the causes of my suffering. They are called therapists. Within the last year, I’ve had EMDR therapy for past trauma that has unlocked and allowed me to release some of that painful energy suppressed from childhood. I am incredibly thankful for many years of therapy with Dave and more recently Jenny, my EMDR guide. Interesting to me, this particular guide is younger than I am.

With Will and his partner Marjorie as guides, those 150 people and I did create a culture of servants that still lives in me to this day. A few years after that culture had flourished and I had left it. Will recognized a need for me to have a different kind of guide and introduced me to Patrick, who has been my guide as a facilitator and coach for the past 6 or so years.

During my career, I knew I had kindness and gentleness in me. I just couldn’t consistently access it. I often felt ashamed of how I treated people and knew that somewhere inside me was a benevolent, kind leader. I spent a lot of sleepless nights, frustrated and feeling like I was the only one in the world who knew there was a better Carl in there. Patrick has given me the toughest feedback I’ve ever had in my life and I feel loved by him. He is that benevolent, kind and gentle person I want to become.

Now having written this, I realize that I have a similar feeling about Rene and Will. There is a special feeling I have when I call them up into my consciousness… Love.

There are many types of guides and potentially, I guess everyone in your life can be a guide in some way. I think Youtube is a great guide, books, Google, movies are all potential guides.

And there are those guides who really transform who you become. For me, each of the three most impactful guides in my life have all been connected to my deepest desires. Unlike YouTube and the other kinds of guides, these guides came into my life at the right time. I didn’t do a search for them, but I did notice how much I admired them all and recognize that they showed up in my life already possessing the qualities I hope for myself. I think this might be the illusive law of attraction at work.

There are low hanging fruit kinds of guides that show up in ordinary ways all the time and there are course of life altering guides who may not smack you over the head with announcement of their arrival. The law of attraction feels just like love to me.

My invitation to you…


Take a moment to just reflect on your guides. Toko-pa Turner writes in her book Belonging, Remembering Yourself Home; “To acknowledge what’s present is to cultivate an attentiveness to the beauty that’s right in front of us”. Most likely, you too have lots of guides in your life.


Think about what you really want, something that cries out from your DNA, something that makes you a little nervous to admit out loud. If you don’t have a guide, put it out there into the universe, that you and that guide find each other. You’ll know it by your attraction to them.


Do you have any nuggets to share about guides in your experience? Please comment here, others can benefit from your wisdom. If I can help you get clear about how to access a guide, please reach out.

Carl Blanz

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