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  • Client Stories & Testimonials: Craig Nelson

  • Before:

    As he approached retirement from his position as a CEO, Craig wanted to get clarity around the next phase of his life. He wanted a plan for what he was going to do with the rest of his life, and how to approach the transition. He wanted more clarity about what gave him passion and what would give him a sense of purpose.


    After working with Curt, Craig:

    • Felt more comfortable in his own skin
    • Had a plan that left room for possibilities he didn’t yet know exist
    • Had a better understanding of what feels meaningful and how to weave those things into his life
    • Felt less rigid and more fluid
    • Felt less need for a rigid certainty
    • Had a greater trust in the flow of life
    • Felt more confident being who he is (and not what anyone else expects him to be)
    • Started treating himself with more self-compassion than he ever has
    • Experienced a greater comfort with letting curiosity and exploration guide his life


    As Craig describes it, “Curt helped me through a process that created an outcome I never could have imagined.” While he ultimately did get more clarity about how to create a meaningful, energizing post-career life, he ended up getting much more. What started out as a desire to have a plan turned into a process of personal transformation.

    He went from what he describes as living in CEO mode – needing to have a hard and fast plan, needing to have all his contingencies covered, wanting an action plan and things to achieve – to a greater trust in the organic flow of possibilities. “One of the big outcomes was relaxing into a confidence that it’s step-by-step, day-by-day, and this is going to be fun, and I really don’t need a rigid road map.”

    It was a movement from needing the perceived certainty of having the answers in place to a greater comfort with a state of curiosity and exploration.

    The shift applied to his relationship with himself, as well. As Craig describes it, “The biggest change is really in my own mind. To trust in myself, no need to prove it to anybody. I am beginning to understand the importance of having deep compassion for myself. When I reflect back on this work we’ve done together, I would say that I’m more compassionate with myself than I have been in the past. Perhaps more than I have ever been with myself.”

    That transformation has also led to feeling much more comfortable in his own skin. Rather than feeling like he needs to do something differently if someone doesn’t like who he is when he shows up authentically, he’s more likely to just celebrate the fact that he’s being himself and let go of that connection.

    Rather than a rigid plan for what he needed to do to have a meaningful post-career life, he discovered several themes that were key components to what created a sense of meaning for him. He came up with a loose plan that allowed for the ongoing possibilities to weave those themes into his day-to-day life.

    Working with Curt:

    “Curt was the perfect coach for me,” Craig says. “He displayed the right combination of patience, of listening, of throwing out ideas to consider, and of challenging me and my assumptions in a good-natured, friendly way.

    “He’ a good listener. He is also insightful, but not attached to his ideas if I didn’t like them. He’s just throwing out trial balloons to see what resonates. I also appreciated his ability to track what I’m saying and find ways of proposing an idea that complements or supports it. Even if it’s something that’s just off the wall, he shares that as well. And that opens the door to ideas and insights I would never have had otherwise.

    “He was a bit of a task master, keeping me focused and on task. At the same time, he was flexible. He stressed from the beginning that the route is not always a straight line. I could not have imagined getting where I am today from where I started.

    “Curt is an out of the box thinker. He can stay in the box if that’s where somebody needs to be. Or he can be really out of the box and entertain possibilities.”