There’s a moment. One where you wake up for work, look at yourself in the mirror, and think, “how the hell did I get here?”
We want you to introduce you to someone.
For the record, Nella Barkley is not a life coach. She’ll tell you that before you can even finish asking the question. And she’s not a psychotherapist, either. Though they may solve the same problems as Nella, she approaches them in a very different way.
Because Nella is a strategic management consultant.
Nella is used to explaining her job. Over thirty-five years ago, it didn’t even exist. She found herself in a room with multinational corporations’ Senior Executives, experts in their fields but who, for whatever reason, were stuck with severe indecision in their own lives. Nella saw a need. She researched if anyone had already established good, strategic management planning to personal decision making. No one had. So, she herself asked that pivotal question. The one that puts her in a pool with people like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney: Why don’t I create it?
“It’s a very structured, step-by-step process,” Nella says. “We don’t do it for you, but we give you the tools to do it for yourself.”
And the process works. Nella and her team at Crystal-Barkley have coached thousands of people, and currently help around 1,800 all over the world, with ages ranging from 20 to 70. Columbia University conducted a research project on Crystal-Barkley clients—both past and present—and more than 89% said they were living the kinds of lives they wanted.
The people who seek out her process have two things in common: 1) They’re smart enough to know they want to make the best possible use of their lives and 2) they’re directionless.
Most people play a lot of roles in their one given life: CFO, father, community leader, beer drinker. But it all needs to come together in some cohesive way to create direction. For Nella, a sense of direction is most important. Her specialized process gives her clients choices. “We help people create choices consistent with their direction,” says Nella. “It’s very important to have choices. If you don’t, you’re a slave to the only alternative you see.”
Nella models what it looks like to love what you do. It’s her life’s work to help others strategize to find a career that excites them.
“When you find what you’re passionate about doing, you’ll experience an enormous surge of energy.” Nella says. “I’d like individuals to feel assured that you can earn well and live a satisfying life. A lot of people don’t believe it’s possible. You have to believe it’s possible and go get it.”
When you ask her what could possibly be next, she laughs. “That’s a question I ask myself all the time.” Ultimately, she will institutionalize her method so it can live on without her.
But don’t expect her to retire any time soon.
Words by: Jessica Kenny
Photography by: Mark Stetler
Hair and makeup by: Stella Nova Flagship