Hi, I’m Michael.
Michael Caloz has spent over a decade working with some of the top companies in the world. From startups and nonprofits to the Fortune 100, Michael helps leaders become more self-aware, empathetic, and values-driven. And, he helps teams communicate more effectively, behave more inclusively, and engage more mindfully.
He also offers life coaching to individuals to help them feel more alive and fulfilled. After spending a lot of his adult life struggling with happiness and purpose, he devoted three years to pushing himself outside his comfort zone to make big changes in his life.
Since then, he's found his purpose, and he's excited about helping people figure out who they really are, fill the existential void through purpose, and identify the barriers holding them back from living the life they want.
During his own journey of self-discovery, Michael gained awareness of all the types of privilege he holds (which led him to concepts like structural racism), and from there he developed his passion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. He's led a variety of trainings and workshops on race and racism, and he created a free, book-length website to teach anti-racism work to other white people step-by-step with gentleness and without politics.
Michael did postgraduate research at the University of Tokyo on a prestigious Monbukagakusho scholarship from the government of Japan. More recently, he trained at the renowned Coaches Training Institute in San Francisco, completed Brené Brown's Brave Leaders training program, and is currently midway through a comprehensive training program in counseling at the M.E.T.A. and Hakomi Institute of Oregon.
Beyond the professional, who am I?
Analytical challenger + Compassionate counselor: I spent most of my life stuck in my head—I'd always been highly-analytical and skeptical of anything woo-woo. But, along my journey, I've become a lot more open-minded, feelings-oriented, and spiritual (not religious; see below for what this word means to me).
I'm now at home in two very different worlds, and I'm aiming to bridge them:
The fast-paced corporate world of technology, business, cognitive analysis, organizational leadership, competition, individual focus, and world travel
The slow, embodied world of mindful seekers, dance, counter-culture, intentional festivals, meditation, plant medicine, deep vulnerability, and local community
- I live in Portland, Oregon in a community house that my partner and I created with five other people (plus my cat, Mr. Truffles, who's our mindfulness teacher)
- I'm an ENTP in Myers-Briggs (the "Visionary, Debater, Inventor"), which means I have constant new ideas but hate routine. I'm a 3w2 (one-to-one) in Enneagram, but that's resonated with me less.
- My most important values are:
- Connection (intimacy, community, authenticity)
- Freedom (autonomy, health, safety)
- Growth (openness, self-improvement)
- Spirituality (wonder, curiosity, present-moment awareness, life purpose-driven; not religion)
- Truth (learning, accuracy, clarity)
- My favorite book is The Way of Kings, and my favorite movie is Spirited Away
- Here are some of the ways I spend my time:
- Attending and hosting "authentic relating" retreats where we practice being transparent and vulnerable
- Trying to impress my awesome cat with toys instead of the boxes they came in
- Pretending that I'm a coffee snob even though I can't actually name any of the tasting notes
- Reading sci-fi and fantasy
- Coaching people, and being coached by the awesome people I've been lucky enough to attract into my life
- Facilitating groups to venture outside their comfort zones
- Meditating, and continuing my endless pursuit of self-discovery
Running away from the void
I’ve lived in Montreal, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Washington DC, and now Portland.
Why so many moves? I told myself I was searching for fulfillment and happiness. I tried to find it at each place, then I got bored, felt stuck, and moved.
I kept running because I felt a void inside me that I didn't understand. I knew something big was missing but I wasn't sure what. And there was a physical tightness in my gut that chased me wherever I went.
I finally realized that wasn't sustainable.
Leaning into my edge and putting my comfort on the line
I’d always been a very analytical, logical person who had shied away from serious emotional and spiritual growth. I had stopped identifying with religion as a teenager, and—as much as I hated myself for it—I had looked down on overly-emotional “feelers.”
I knew I wasn't truly happy, and several years ago I decided to take a hard look at my life and do something about it.
I'd always rejected the idea of "putting down roots" somewhere since I thought that would be admitting defeat. I thought it would mean abandoning personal development to just settle down and be like everyone else.
But I decided to actually test that theory and stay put in Portland to see if I could find a lifestyle and friends that finally resonated with me.
Transforming my life
I settled down in Portland and I tried everything from meetups, to church, to speed dating, to partner dancing, to practicing authentic relating and mindfulness in a yurt in the forest.
Most of all, I found communities that I really resonated with, and I finally found my people. I felt like I belonged, and that was incredible after so long feeling lonely.
I started going to community retreats every month, and I went from being the guy standing awkwardly on the side watching other people dance to being the first one out on the dance floor.
I realized how many stories I'd been telling myself that simply weren't true—like that dancing was for other people (physically-oriented people, I told myself, not mentally-oriented people like me).
And after a lot of hard work, I finally learned what it's really like to feel alive.
The elusive “life purpose”
Here's an example of an important lesson I learned the hard way.
Personal development authors love to talk about life purpose. They'll casually mention theirs as if they'd always known it.
Worst of all are the self-help books that talk about "finding" your purpose, as if it'll simply come to you one day on a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia or at a Vipassana meditation retreat.
For years, I'd been trying to "find" my life purpose. I traveled. I read all the books. But nothing ever felt quite right.
Here's the truth.
It's a lot harder than all that. But once you really figure it out, it does change everything.
After years of treading water, I worked with a coach who challenged me to explore a completely different side of life—the world of feelings, embodiment, and ecstatic experiences.
It will be different for each person. But those things turned out to be exactly what I needed to be pushed toward. And after a lot of hard work, I finally realized that my purpose wouldn't ever find me.
I had to create it.
My life purpose is to be the pathfinder who investigates alternative paths to personal growth; then, to model and teach the most effective ones to help other people feel more alive and aligned with their life purpose.
It's a bit of a mouthful, but it's very specifically written to capture all the nuances that are important to me.
And I want to be transparent about something: That's what it looks like after 9 iterations (and that's 9 for this latest version alone—there were many other versions over the years that never felt quite right).
See what I mean? Reading through it, you might assume I came up with it in a single afternoon.
Nope. That purpose statement represents months of work.
And because of that, there's real power behind it. It feels more alive to me, and that makes me want to take it seriously.
But, truthfully, it would have taken me far longer to get there if I'd continued my effort alone.
I'd meditated on it, I'd read all the big lifehacking books, and I'd gone through the most commonly recommended life planning exercises.
But the real shift came when I worked with a coach. Someone who got to know me and my specific needs, not the general reader that the book authors are speaking to.
Someone who really heard me and challenged me to go after what I truly needed.