About the Owner
EEdge Coaching is owned by Michelle Ellwanger. Michelle lives and works in Hickory, North Carolina. Her formal education includes a BS in Psychology from Virginia Tech and a MA in Counseling from ASU. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Michelle's diverse counseling experience has been in multiple settings including private practice, public and continuing education, programing for under-privileged youth and prison ministry.
Today, Michelle Ellwanger focuses on being an executive coach, training facilitator and public speaker. She is a founding member for Board Certified Coaching (BCC) and belongs to the International Coach Federation (ICF). Clients from companies including Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Gore-Tex and UPS have worked with Michelle. Her specialty areas include conscious leadership, emotional intelligence and personal strategy. In addition to working directly with clients, Michelle provides staff development, motivational speaking and intensive retreats for individuals and companies seeking wellness.
Edge Coaching and sister company, Counseling Edge, were founded to provide coaching and counseling services designed to help individuals thrive. By utilizing cognitive and behavioral approaches, individuals are empowered to face fears that stand in the way of their personal and professional success. Michelle encourages clients to envision healthy meaningful lives and then walks with them on this journey.
My Personal Journey
There are a lot of things in life that don’t matter. Yet, most of us spend hours every day consumed by meaningless activities. I wish I were wrong about this. But think about where all your time goes and then honestly say you are actively living your life the way you want.
I have lived in Hickory, North Carolina since 1991 when I moved here with my husband after graduating from Virginia Tech. In 1996, our fourth child was born. A month later, my husband Mike came home from work and asked me if I wanted to move to Germany. Looking back, I’m not sure what we were thinking, but at the time it sounded like a fun adventure to 27-year-olds with four small children. So within six months, we officially moved to a tiny town in Northern Bavaria called Ebersdorf, where we lived for the next three years.
Our lives are not random. They are not accidental. They are not meant to become meaningless.
Once we settled into our new routines, I noticed how much more time I had than when we lived in the States. There wasn’t a play group or kids story time or even TV in a language that I could understand. There was just me and my family and a lot of down time. Maybe too much. Clinically speaking, there were multiple times that year I met criteria for depression. Depression is hard to explain to people who have never experienced it. For me, I had all the stuff that was supposed to make me happy but I felt a nagging emptiness inside.
So I decided to take a look at my life and where I was headed. I used the nature and the solitude that surrounded me as a type of therapy. I started to jog on the trails through the woods that connected one town to another. I began fasting and meditating. I read over a dozen books by mystics who had consciously chosen to retreat from the world. Demons buried inside ourselves rarely surface when our lives are occupied by all the things that don’t matter.
Germany became my spiritual desert. But that is another story.
When we returned to Hickory in 1999, I knew I couldn’t go back to all my previous distractions. I didn’t want to run away from the world but I did want to retain the lessons and the peace I had found. And I wanted to share my experience with others struggling to find meaning in a world that often seems meaningless. So I talked to Mike about selling our spacious lot in a nice neighborhood with restrictions, and I started to look for a new home with acreage. By the end of summer, we became the owners of a small but cozy house and some neglected land. Sitting 700 feet down a gravel drive and hidden behind a field of brush, both the house and the land were sadly needing love and attention.
Almost 20 years have gone by and much has changed. Those little kids we took to Germany are now grown up.
And after rock picking, weed pulling and many other forms of old fashioned hard work, a peaceful 25-acre retreat that we call Mystic Ridge exists on the property. Situated on the outskirts of Hickory, North Carolina, it is a home, a farm and a private retreat that serves as a model of a purposeful way to live.
Today, I continue my journey. And I encourage you to as well by remembering who you are and why you are here. My take away message is simple: If you find yourself weary and looking for something more, take the time to slow down and look where you’re going. Inside yourself lies the answers.
Columnist & Author
Dr. Katie Fisher
Dean of Students Lenoir-Rhyne University
CEO Catawba County Chamber of Commerce
Director YMCA Foundation Center
President, APICS- Foothills Chapter