Take Charge of Change and Get Ready to Launch
Into All-New Levels of Performance and Well-Being
Whether life threw you a curveball, or you feel stuck in patterns that don’t feel good,
there’s a smart, healthy, and rational way forward.
I see it all the time: professionals who have checked off the traditional boxes of success, but still feel lousy somehow. They have a good career, comfortable home and nice things, financial security, and perhaps even a family. Yet, what they feel on the inside doesn’t match how it looks on the outside. Something is missing.
They’ve been reaching for things all their lives, sometimes not even knowing why. Then they wake up one day, or every day for a decade, wondering “is this all there is?”
They feel compelled to keep going, and they also feel empty, lonely, and stuck. They see problems in their productivity at work, relationships, the way they treat themselves, and more.
So they read self-help books and try everything else they can think of, but nothing works. They beat themselves up for not being able to figure it out and fix it.
At its worst, it’s exhausting and demoralizing. They worry that they’ll have to resign themselves to a mostly gray existence with fleeting moments of color.
But what if it were possible to feel energized, confident, and happy in all areas of life? And keep that deep sense of well-being even when you’re thrown a curveball in your day-to-day life? What if you could do it without neglecting your career or sacrificing your success, but while also performing better at work?
Imagine freeing up all the energy you spend worrying about the future or feeling bad about yourself. What if you could propel yourself forward with it, toward things that really matter to you?
Picture yourself taking action unapologetically, with ease and authority, when faced with opportunities, challenges, and judgment, because you trust yourself at the controls of your life.
The truth is that there is a way to start on this path right now. How can I be so sure? Well, because I’ve seen that shift take place over and over again with my clients. And because it happened for me, too . . .
. . . It just took me 20 years to figure out how to do it.
I’m Jim Hjort, and I’m an executive and personal development coach. I also happen to be a licensed psychotherapist and a certified mindfulness meditation instructor.
I’m successful at my work and I love my life.
There was a time I was afraid I’d never be able to say that second part. That’s because, years ago, I used to be like the person I described up above—like a lot of the coaching clients I work with now.
In fact, I was worse off than many of my clients. But what I had looked pretty good!
You see, my college education, and passion, was in psychology and sociology. But I went down a different road for a while, and became an executive in real estate finance.
I excelled at it, but it wasn’t a good fit for me. No part of my life was, really. I had friends, but they were superficial friendships, and I felt lonely.
When I found time for romance, my relationships were tumultuous and stressful.
I swung between extremes. I’d be a health nut for a while, then indulge and let myself go.
I had hobbies, but precious little time to pursue them.
Work was where I felt in control. It served as a source of validation sometimes, and an escape other times. I liked the thrill of closing deals, and there were material rewards, too.
I made it to a pretty high level in that career. By the end of it I had a comfortable lifestyle, with luxury vehicles, fine dining, and VIP travel. I worked in a gleaming office with a window overlooking San Francisco Bay. It seemed enviable from the outside looking in.
But, strangely, I felt like I was stuck on the inside looking out.
I had this nagging sense that the life I really wanted was out there somewhere—somewhere out that window. Life felt like a grind much of the time. I was unhappy and unfulfilled. There were times in those years that it felt pretty bleak, like I was wasting my life.
Those feelings don’t come with an owner’s manual.
So, early on, I set off on a mission to figure things out and feel better. I started practicing mindfulness meditation—over 20 years ago, now—and that helped a lot. Then I started reading whenever I wasn’t working. I read psychology, neurobiology, sociology, self-help, philosophy—you name it.
I took what I learned and made changes to my life, and paid attention to what worked and what didn’t. Over the years, I felt better and better.
I learned healthier ways of relating to people, and developed new, meaningful friendships. I felt more at ease and in control of my life, so I started making better decisions. I stopped bouncing between extremes.
Through this process, I also re-awakened to my passion for helping people. I started moonlighting: private equity guy by day, crisis-line-for-older-adults operator by night. That’s not a common combination, let me tell you!
Eventually, I realized that I wanted—needed, really—to dedicate myself to helping others full-time. So, I made a terrifying decision. I walked away from the finance career I’d worked so hard to build and went to graduate school.
It's also the best decision I’ve ever made.
Taking that leap of faith—in myself—was one way I got the outside of my life to match what was real and true for me on the inside. I'd had enough of just making the best of things. Now, I exercise my unique talents in a way I never could in my old life, and I help lots of people, to boot. It's a win-win.
By April 2013, I'd proven in a variety of settings that my coaching approach worked, and wanted to expand my reach. I wanted to help more people discover the same sense of alignment, ease, and empowerment that I have, but in a way that is real, true, and makes sense for them. That's when I began training and coaching people.
I've now helped hundreds of people achieve everything from minor life adjustments to whole-life transformation.
I’ve worked with people experiencing homelessness, and CEOs with multiple homes. I've coached doctors, actors, lawyers, retired folks, reality TV stars, salespeople, screenwriters, therapists . . . you name it.
Nowadays I’m the advisor for others that I wish I’d had all those years ago—and it feels amazing.
Now I have what I always wanted . . . and it’s the stuff you can’t see.
I’ve had a chapter published in a textbook, been quoted in publications like Fast Company and Self, and appeared on morning television shows. But that isn’t what “does it” for me.
I have the best job in the world, for me, because I get to watch people transform into the best possible versions of themselves, from the front row. It’s the greatest show on earth.
But I don’t only have fulfilling work. Gratifying relationships fill my life. I have a healthy sense of self-interest balanced with deep compassion for others. I experience ease and confidence in my day-to-day life. I’m clear about who I am, what I want to do, and how to do it, in all areas of life.
Doing it all by yourself: the choice that can keep you stuck.
Back when I felt stuck and unfulfilled, I believed that I could figure out how to make the changes I wanted on my own. I know lots of people feel that way: I’m smart, so if I try hard enough, I can do it.
I try to help do-it-yourselfers with the content I host on my website. But, man, the DIY approach is a tough one. That’s because knowing what to do in general is not the same thing as applying that knowledge to your life and acting on it.
Now, given enough time and energy, I bet you could figure it out. I mean, I did. But then again, it took 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears. And then going to graduate school.
An effort like that is quite an undertaking. Along the way, it’s very tempting to call it quits. To resign yourself to playing the hand you’re holding, instead of continuing to take new cards.
Even if you do keep plowing ahead, there are two problems with the DIY approach that I didn’t understand years ago:
1. It's very hard to see into your own blind spots—hence their name!
2. It's very hard to see fresh possibilities at all with your existing set of eyeballs.
Expert guidance helps with those problems, plus makes the process more efficient and painless. That makes it easier to stay committed and get results.
Top performers in every field—from athletes, to businesspeople, to actors—use coaches to help them bring out their best. It’s not a crutch, it’s performance enhancement.
The decision to have a coach raises another big question, though: to whom do you turn? Do you call one of those self-help gurus? You know, the ones who promise easy, one-size-fits-all, instant happiness and success?
(Hint: They’re preying on your feelings of unfulfillment.)
The people who end up being my clients are bright, thoughtful people who see through those claims. They know that they could benefit from guidance, but they’re far from clueless. In fact, they’re crystal clear that they want:
A coach who respects and makes use of their intelligence. Meaning that metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and motivational-speaker platitudes aren’t going to cut it. They want things that work, make sense, and are psychologically sound.
Their individuality acknowledged. They don't want to be pressured into someone else’s idea of the right way to live or the right decisions to make.
To keep or improve their productivity and success at work, without it being a joyless grind.
To start feeling better now, and not spend years talking about their past, only to stay stuck in the same place.
To achieve the positive change they’re craving and keep it. They've gotten their hopes up before, only to have their gains evaporate a few weeks or months later. They’re done with the yo-yo approach.
Build the life that fits you just right, from the inside out.
Well, it so happens that my coaching approach is personalized, systematic, and logical. It's based on science, not fluff. It's present- and future-oriented, to get you started in the right direction, right now.
It taps into your innate insight and abilities, in all areas of life. These are things you already have but aren't paying full attention to, and using. So your gains are real and built to last, not evaporate.
"I have always struggled with feeling like I wasn't doing enough, not shooting high enough, not being true enough to my values. Through Jim's coaching, I've made phenomenal progress in pushing through my self-made obstacles and building new habits. I have been able to really articulate clear goals, align my trajectory to meet them efficiently, and most importantly, do so in a way that makes me happier, less stressed, and more satisfied."
Michael Fiorentino, Director of Operations, K&B Surgical Center
Beverly Hills, CA
"I came to Jim at a time when I didn't feel I was particularly struggling, but I was nearing the end of another expired relationship and had had enough of whatever pattern was keeping me stuck. A major shift occurred for me in just six sessions. No more doubting myself from the get go. No more intellectualizing ad absurdum! This has allowed me to be far more truthful with myself and others, while maintaining my compassion. For me that's the crux of authenticity: being real, being me, but with care. It's helping me to build my relationship with myself and others to a degree that I barely thought possible."
Rachel Cooke, Psychotherapist
Introducing Personal Coaching
It’s a fact that talented, capable people often feel empty, lonely, and even paralyzed—as though they’re stuck in place, in a life that doesn’t suit them.
Feelings of stagnation can set in, along with a mounting urgency to do something about it. Sometimes procrastination shows up, at work or elsewhere, which only compounds the problem.
Achieving and acquiring more—or slashing things that don’t seem to be working—might help for a while, but then the dissatisfaction returns. Before you know it, you can feel burned out or overwhelmed, or get caught in bad relationships or habits.
As a personal coaching client, you’ll step out of this cycle and step up for yourself.
You won't spend years talking about your past. Instead, you'll use a proven system to discover how to stride forward.
You'll feel driven toward the things that really matter to you—even if you aren’t sure what those are right now.
I’ll help you plan smart solutions, and provide intensive support in carrying them out. Our work will be based in science and your own experience. So, it will make sense to you logically or intuitively, or you’ll just plain see and feel it working.
I’ll help you make the changes you want as efficiently as possible, so you have the life that fits you just right—and you’re able to keep it.
Here’s what to expect when we start.
First of all, we can work in person or on Skype. My coaching approach is flexible, so sessions don’t necessarily need to be limited to one hour. But in our first two or three hours, I learn what is and isn’t working for you, and what changes you’d like to make. This gives us a solid foundation to build upon.
I’ll ask you about important moments in your life, including your triumphs and setbacks. We won’t dissect or analyze the past at length, but I’ll already be coming up with ways to use those experiences to help you shape your future.
By the end of this initial phase, I'll know quite a bit about you. You’ll already be trying some “experiments” (or homework, as some clients call it) in your life to get the ball rolling.
Next, we’ll go deeper, to begin the development of your Core Self Blueprint™. This is a very important process that I’ve refined over the years, and I’ll say more about the Blueprint in a moment.
But the process begins with the Core Self Interview™ . It’s a series of 14 special questions that reveal your core beliefs, values, and motivations in all areas of your life.
The Interview usually takes two to three hours, over one or two sessions. You’ll probably be tired by the end, and I’ll have a lot of information to analyze.
It will take me around two weeks to complete my analysis and produce your Core Self Blueprint™ . In the meantime, you’ll be doing more experiments and checking in with me by email or text.
Then, for at least the next few hours of coaching, we’ll review the Blueprint in depth and make plans for you to put to work right away.
Core Self Blueprint
The Blueprint is your unique fingerprint in the physical, psychological, social, and vocational areas of your life. It’s based on decades of solid research in psychology and the science of motivation.
It reveals things that you do and don’t want, which you may not know about, but which are influencing you all the same. It highlights neglected needs and abilities that are holding you back and causing you distress.
We can see where you might be trying to row your boat in two different directions at once. It shows us where fear is controlling your life.
We’ll return to it often, because it helps us focus our coaching for maximum results. It also gives you a new framework for healthy decision-making and action-taking. That’s important, because you'll write the next chapter of your life with each decision you make (starting today).
The Core Self Blueprint™ is so important because a mass-market formula won’t get you the results you want. The approaches you see self-help gurus touting (“Be Happy Forever with These Five Easy Steps!”) may help in the short run, if you’re lucky. But you already know how well quick fixes work in the long run.
Remember, you’re looking for a life that fits you like a made-to-measure garment, so we need your measurements.
As our work continues, the plans we’ve developed will call for more experiments to try between sessions. They may be related to goals of yours in an obvious way, but they also may not be obvious on the surface.
Experiments might involve talking with someone, writing a letter that won’t be sent, practicing mindfulness meditation while mowing the lawn, trying something new at work, or a hundred other things.
There’s a method to the madness. That method is to gently and strategically shake things up—revealing the gold at your core and allowing the dust to fall away.
You’ll have email and text access to me between sessions for real-time support, motivation, and accountability. I take pride in matching the effort my clients put into coaching.
My coaching method is unique and personalized for you, so it’s impossible to predict how it will unfold. It will be open-ended, and we’ll work until you’ve achieved what you want to achieve.
For most clients, coaching with me is an invigorating process that touches every aspect of their life and deepens with time. New opportunities can appear, which simply aren’t visible from where you are right now. Those can call for quite a bit of celebration, along with setting new goals and planning new strategies.
At some point, though, clients take full ownership of their new insights and tools. They feel ready to greet anything that comes with confidence and wisdom, and know exactly what to do next.
Then they transition out of the intensive phase of work. Sometimes we continue having occasional sessions for accountability and fine-tuning adjustments. Otherwise, we part ways, having shared the journey of a lifetime.
Here’s what you need to know.
I gave you a thorough description of the coaching experience because it’s important for you to know exactly what to expect from our work together. But in case you skipped the details, here are the main points:
My coaching process is a premium service. It’s customized for you and your unique—and often hidden—motivations, fears, strengths, and obstacles. This way, you move forward efficiently toward the life you want, not the life someone else wants for you.
My approach is guided by solid science and your own experience. It makes sense and produces results you can see and feel for yourself. No wishful thinking or blind faith involved.
Our work gives you solutions you can use now, which can spawn growth in unforeseen ways. We won't dissect the past for years, getting bogged down and getting nowhere.
Email and text support creates accountability and keeps coaching at the top of your mind. That's where it needs to be if you want results. Real-time guidance in using your new insights and skills supercharges your personal development.
We get clear on your deepest needs, abilities, and strengths, and then meet and exercise them. This way, you develop lasting ease, fulfillment, well-being, and productivity from the inside out. That means your results last and you keep growing and seizing new opportunities.
"Jim's natural insight, coupled with his psychological perspectives, enabled him to help me identify dimensions of my being that I couldn't see for myself. One thing that differentiates Jim from others is his ability to provide the right next step to move past places where I have become stuck in my own familiar patterns. Jim accelerated my personal development by helping me more accurately see myself and consistently working with me to identify sustainable ways to overcome my personal obstacles that used to seem insurmountable."
David Worley, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Enrollment
Iliff School of Theology
Here’s the next step.
We should talk if:
You’re tired of feeling burned out, unfulfilled, and stuck on a path that doesn’t hold meaningful promise;
You want to act confidently and consistently in ways that move you toward success and well-being, whether at work or any other area of life; and
You’re ready to do something about it, with an expert guide by your side at each step.
Before I agree to coach you, I’d like to get on the phone with you. I need to hear what you hope to get out of coaching, get a feel for you, let you get a feel for me, and answer any questions you have. I need to see if I’ll be able to help you.
But first, to keep either of us from wasting time on that call, let me ask a few questions:
Are you looking for magical results without making any effort?
Are you looking for instant change of multiple longstanding thought or behavior patterns?
Are you thinking about hiring a coach not because you want to, but because someone else wants you to?
If you answered “yes” to any of those, then I can tell you now that I am not the best choice for you, and I wish you well nevertheless. Now, here are a few more questions:
Have you already tried everything you can think of to feel, act, and live the way you want to, but to no avail?
Have you not tried much at all, because you aren’t sure where to begin and would like help with that?
Are you coachable, meaning that you’re open to suggestions and trying new things to see how they work?
Are you committed to achieving lasting, positive change, and a life that fits you like your favorite pair of jeans?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions—the more, the better—then I invite you to schedule a free, confidential, 20-minute phone consultation with me to see if we’re a good match.
Just click below and fill out the short questionnaire. Within 24 hours of receiving it, I’ll be in touch to schedule a convenient time for a phone call.
If you read this far, that means something.
This isn’t the shortest page, and in today’s era of short attention spans, it’s a lot of reading for someone to do. But you did it, and that’s important.
I spend a lot of time with people, looking at the ways they inadvertently contradict themselves. One part of them makes decisions that take them in this direction—or nowhere at all—when another part of them really wants to go in that direction.
There’s a reason for that, and it’s not a personal failing. It’s rooted in the human brain. We’ll cover that in our sessions. The point is, though, that both parts of you have a reason for being. But only one part is aligned with your long-term best interests, and the life you're after.
There might be a part of you that is afraid of change, having to make effort, or getting your hopes up, only to be disappointed. That part isn’t bad. It just wants you to take it easy on yourself right now, stick with what’s familiar, and avoid the unknown.
It’s also the part of you that has gotten you stuck and will keep you stuck if you let it.
The other part of you kept you reading. It’s had enough of feeling stuck, burned out, or unfulfilled. That part might be looking out the proverbial window, like I used to do. It knows that a life of internal ease, meaning, happiness, and productivity is there for the claiming. And now it sees a way to do that.
That part is your core self, by the way.
So, the question is, which part will you listen to now? Will you choose to keep things as they are? Even though (to paraphrase a line from The Matrix) you’ve already been down that road, and know exactly where it ends?
Or will you decide to get a map and a guide, turn the corner, and navigate to fresh, new places? Those new places will feel a lot like home when you get there.
I’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the program? How many hours per week will this require?
My personal coaching approach is customized for each individual, so there isn’t a “program” per se that everyone goes through. One-size-fits-all approaches can’t work.
That being said, for most clients, it’s good to conduct the Core Self Interview and develop the Core Self Blueprint early in the process, as described above.
It’s an eye-opening process in its own right, and it also helps us focus our work efficiently. Thereafter, the duration of the intensive phase depends upon where you want to go and, of course, where you’re starting from.
I offer three- and six-month Blueprint coaching packages, which include the development of the Core Self Blueprint and one hour of coaching per week. Some clients choose that route; many choose to work longer and/or more intensively than that.
As you might imagine, more intensive coaching tends to yield more dramatic results. But ultimately it’s your decision, and rest assured: we’ll make the absolute most of any work we do.
The most important factor in getting results is your approach to coaching. I can't stress this enough. You need to be willing to keep personal development at the forefront of your mind, make some effort, and use me as a resource between sessions.
In other words, you need to make personal development the new framework for your life. If it’s an afterthought, you'll probably get limited results, and they will definitely come more slowly.
What if it doesn’t work for me?
First of all, while you're likely to start feeling more empowered, energetic, and decisive pretty quickly, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Progress doesn’t always happen in a smooth, linear way, which can be discouraging. Also, growth and change require doing things differently, which can be disorienting.
These are natural feelings, and we'll work with them in real time in coaching.
I haven’t had a client not get results if they’re the type of client I’ve described above. And bear in mind that, if we’ve begun coaching, you are that type of client.
For me, the joy of this work lies in the success stories, so we both want the same thing. That's why we have the initial phone consultation: to make sure that we’re ready to kick butt.
What I meant was, do I have to make a big commitment for something that I don’t know will work for me?
Ah, ok. Well, for starters, you don’t have to do anything, including asking me to coach you in the first place! All decisions are yours.
When clients commit to themselves and the coaching process enough to purchase several coaching hours in advance, or a Blueprint coaching package, I honor that commitment with discounted rates. Those options are non-refundable.
For people who aren’t ready for that, I can work with them on an hourly, pay-as-you-go basis. This may be the way to go, if you’d like to get started and see how coaching feels for you.
Clients may prepay for coaching hours at a discount at any time. Blueprint coaching packages, however, are no longer available once we have begun the Core Self Interview.
Is this therapy? What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?
No. Although I am a licensed psychotherapist in California, my coaching is not psychotherapy. My coaching and therapy practices are separate, because they are different things.
There are some similarities between coaching and therapy. The most notable is that in each case, you have an ally there to support you. In both coaching and therapy, listening to the client is an important part of the job, too. But there are many more differences.
One is that psychotherapy involves diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, whereas coaching does not. (Coaching is not an alternative to therapy if you’re seeking treatment for a mental health problem. One of the things I’ll do on our consultation call is make sure that coaching is right for you in this regard.)
Another way people sometimes distinguish the two is that therapy can help people regain a level of functioning they once had, but lost. If people aren’t trying to recover from a mental health problem (in which case therapy would be the way to go), then coaching can help them achieve all-new levels of functioning.
There are many approaches to psychotherapy, but many of them are rather passive, and oriented toward working on longstanding problems related to the past. In coaching, we are mostly present- and future oriented. We develop solutions and put them into action right now. Coaching is an active, collaborative process.
Although as your coach, I am not your therapist, my having completed the education and training of a therapist means that my coaching approach is safe and sound psychologically. Most coaches lack any kind of psychological education or training.