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James Swan Certified Professional Coach

With over 20 years as a small business owner, entrepreneur, award-winning author, and marketing consultant Jim brings his experience as a survivor of success and failure to the world of business Coaching and consulting.

As a Certified Professional Coach, he turned years of business experiences, personal values, and a belief in the power of transformative energy into a laser-focused professional objective; to support small and medium-sized business owners as they expand into their highest and best selves.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and music from Southwestern University and studies in Arizona State University's Architecture and Design master's degree program, he now includes Certified Coach in his educational accomplishments.

He is a past member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, serving on its Executive Board of Directors. Other commitments include PAWS/LA, which assists with the care of pets for people living with disabilities, and KidSmart, an art education foundation for inner-city youth. Currently, he lives and works from his home on the Maine coast.

Recent Content

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First Mother’s Day After Losing Her to Alzheimer’s

She is everywhere. For most of our years together, we joked about her seeming ability to transcend time and space. All-seeing, all-knowing, ever-present, and always watching…. The laughter did…

She is everywhere. …

She is everywhere. For most of our years together, we joked about her seeming ability to transcend time and space. All-seeing, all-knowing, ever-present, and always watching…. The laughter did us good and served up some of our most unguarded moments. The laughs did what dogma couldn’t. It brought humanity to the Venn diagrams of our lives. This weekend I remembered some of our laughter, even in her final days, and could not contain the stuff that needed the light of day. Some of my stuff rolled down my cheeks this weekend as the country celebrated Mother’s. I cried. Not ju…

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How the Cookie Crumbles and My Upper Limit

How the Cookie Crumbles and My Upper Limit Late last Friday evening, I stood in my kitchen desperately trying to recall when and how I had consumed an entire plate of homemade chocolate chip cookie…

How the Cookie Crumb…

How the Cookie Crumbles and My Upper Limit Late last Friday evening, I stood in my kitchen desperately trying to recall when and how I had consumed an entire plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Fragments of the evening were all that was left. Only ghostly recollections remain of snapping up two or three cookies at a time remained. I recall the occasional trip into the kitchen to clean up after dinner, brew some tea, or start the dishwasher, but the rest is a blur.  Deep in the pit of my stomach, I knew I’d been in and out of the kitchen a dozen or more times throughout the ev…

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Is It Too Late? An Old Dog, A New Vision, and Powerful Purpose.

Recently I read a statement by a prominent business coach that “Coaching saves lives.” Part of my brain said, “yea, we do,” but another part said, “Well, that’s a nice attention-grabbing t…

Recently I read a st…

Recently I read a statement by a prominent business coach that “Coaching saves lives.” Part of my brain said, “yea, we do,” but another part said, “Well, that’s a nice attention-grabbing toss-away line intended to grab attention, clicks, and likes.” He said, “More marriages break up over the lack of money than for lack of love. Business failures lead to personal ruin, destruction, addiction, depression, anxiety, suicides, and, unfortunately, far more. As good business coaches, we save marriages, families, and kids from self-destruction. We save lives!” Sobering observat…

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A Fly in This Introvert’s Ointment

Just as I was adjusting to losing a job, its income, and benefits (see last week’s email if you missed that bit of excitement), this happened. First, let me be clear; I am fortunate. I’m not ou…

Just as I was adjust…

Just as I was adjusting to losing a job, its income, and benefits (see last week’s email if you missed that bit of excitement), this happened. First, let me be clear; I am fortunate. I’m not out on the streets or sleeping on friends’ sofas (done that before). My gratitude for all I have is sky-high, and in the broadest sense, I know I will survive this challenge. But sitting at my desk, three days post-firing, reviewing and replying to job postings, I was unprepared for this. Here’s some backstory. When Covid lockdowns occurred, many of my friends joked that I no longer nee…

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Weebles Wobble & Sometimes Life Sucks

As I work to grow my private Coaching practice, my position as a Business Success and Strategy Coach for an international online marketing agency has filled an important role. Steady income, a benefit…

As I work to grow my…

As I work to grow my private Coaching practice, my position as a Business Success and Strategy Coach for an international online marketing agency has filled an important role. Steady income, a benefits package, and camaraderie with some brilliant people make this an essential part of my life. Last Wednesday was my monthly one-on-one with my team leader, a guy I greatly admire and have learned a lot from. As the Zoom screen opened, I knew something was up. Joining Dave was Julia, the firm’s COO. It took just a few seconds for Julia’s presence to be explained. “Today would be m…

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Teaching a Cat to Bark…And Other Life Goals

Have you ever taught a cat to bark? It’s a very involved process. You will spend weeks, months, and years diligently repeating your instructions to the cat, “I need you to bark.” You may …

Have you ever taught…

Have you ever taught a cat to bark? It’s a very involved process. You will spend weeks, months, and years diligently repeating your instructions to the cat, “I need you to bark.” You may even demonstrate to your feline companion the exact sound you desire them to produce. Morning, noon, and night you will drill the cat, using various intonations for more significant impact but always returning to the primary request, “Bark.” After years of consistent, creative, and laborious effort, you feel you’ve reached the apex of training. Confident in your actions and believing w…

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Forgiveness; Not What I Had Planned

It should have been a simple event. There should have been no stress, just relaxed fun with a group I enjoy spending time with. On deck was a small (35-40 person) supper staffed by a seasoned gr…

It should have been …

It should have been a simple event. There should have been no stress, just relaxed fun with a group I enjoy spending time with. On deck was a small (35-40 person) supper staffed by a seasoned group of volunteers. Planning meetings were perfunctory; supply lists were drawn up, assignments were selected, and with one week out, everything was on track. I arrive on schedule on the event day, expecting the kitchen to be in full swing with meal prep. Instead, I realized that my right-hand person (the one writing up the lists of assignments during our planning session) had utterly dropped th…

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The Big Lie: Giving Must Hurt

What Is It About Giving As my little saga of the burst water pipe dries out, I’m happy to report much less drama. The insurance company has sent an adjuster, my contractor has promised to make ti…

What Is It About Giv…

What Is It About Giving As my little saga of the burst water pipe dries out, I’m happy to report much less drama. The insurance company has sent an adjuster, my contractor has promised to make time to stop by, and with temperatures in a normal range for February in Maine, all appear manageable. Amid my burst-pipe kerfuffle (I’ve wanted to use that word for months), I have thought over and over again how fortunate I am that this (cue the insurance company, general contractor, tradespeople…etc.) is the extent of drama in my life. Scan the headlines. The world isn’t a pretty sigh…

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My Decision-Making Super-Power is Not What You May Think

When I left you last week, I was standing in the basement of my 200-year-old house, with water falling through the floorboards after a pipe above my dining room ceiling burst.   Waves of panic, fe…

When I left you last…

When I left you last week, I was standing in the basement of my 200-year-old house, with water falling through the floorboards after a pipe above my dining room ceiling burst.   Waves of panic, fear, and anxiety rose as rapidly as the water dancing around my ankles. A decision is required, but which path I would choose was anybody’s guess. On the one hand, I could choose the well-trod path of “this shouldn’t be happening to me” or “why do things like this always happen to me.” And after decades of choosing this type of reactionary, poor-pitiful-me response to the shitshow…

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A Burst Pipe and My Big Fat Maine Decision

Earlier this week, temperatures here in Maine dropped into the negatives, with air temps landing around -20 with wind-chill dropping to -30 and beyond. My home is almost 200 years old, and while in re…

Earlier this week, t…

Earlier this week, temperatures here in Maine dropped into the negatives, with air temps landing around -20 with wind-chill dropping to -30 and beyond. My home is almost 200 years old, and while in remarkable condition, frigid temperatures require specific attention. Books, blogs, and YouTube were each tapped, and as the thermometer dropped, my checklist activated, and every precaution was made to safeguard the house, shed, and barn with their various systems. High on the list was preventing water pipes from freezing, bursting, and causing all manner of problems. Thursday night came and …

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Positive Intelligence + What Would Jimmy Carter Do? &Raquo; Karsten Wurth 0W Uta0Xz7W Unsplash 1024X683 1
Positive Intelligence + What Would Jimmy Carter Do?

An Interview That Changed His Life It was late in the 1950s, and a Navy officer, fresh out of Annapolis, was hours into an interview with the admiral who single-handedly created the world’s first…

An Interview That Ch…

An Interview That Changed His Life It was late in the 1950s, and a Navy officer, fresh out of Annapolis, was hours into an interview with the admiral who single-handedly created the world’s first nuclear Navy through sheer willpower and determination. No one worked on one of his atomic subs who had not survived one of his interviews. In response to the softball question, “How did you stand in your class at the Naval Academy?” the young officer noted, with pride, his position as 59th in his class. He realized the admiral was not impressed with rank when his follow-up question was bl…

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Could Surgery Remove My Shame?

I have read that the nightmare of standing on a stage, under bright performance lights, as the curtain rises and realizing that you are stark naked is more common than people imagine. Realizing the…

I have read that the…

I have read that the nightmare of standing on a stage, under bright performance lights, as the curtain rises and realizing that you are stark naked is more common than people imagine. Realizing the shared nature of that horrible dream should ease my shame around the stupid mistakes dotting the landscape of my life. But it doesn’t.My knee-jerk reaction when the memories of screwups float to the front of my brain is to dig a hole, crawl inside, and pull the dirt in on top of me. So programmed am I to feel shame about my mistakes that this vision of self-inflicted live burial is my go-to. D…

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I Feel Fat, but I’ve Learned a Big Lesson

Adults, who have returned to their parent’s home for any length of time for any possible reason, may resonate with this little story. On the surface, it’s simple, but the current of its implicatio…

Adults, who have ret…

Adults, who have returned to their parent’s home for any length of time for any possible reason, may resonate with this little story. On the surface, it’s simple, but the current of its implications runs deep. I was a fat kid. No getting around that. Eating my feelings was my standard approach to life going back as far as I can remember. Eventually, I ballooned to over 250 lbs. In high school, this meant I was the target of endless bullying. Desperation drove me to seek help from our family doctor, and a regime was proposed, which I grasped like a person drowning clings to a life pre…

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An Overflowing Toilet, Practice, and Mental Fitness

The funeral would start in about an hour. We need to leave the house in 10 minutes. Dad, Moving toward the garage in his walker, announces that the toilet in his bathroom is overflowing. I sprint into…

The funeral would st…

The funeral would start in about an hour. We need to leave the house in 10 minutes. Dad, Moving toward the garage in his walker, announces that the toilet in his bathroom is overflowing. I sprint into action. Ten towels are needed to sop up the water sloshed onto the floor before I reach behind the tank and shut off the valve. Water spreads like syrup on pancakes, and my knees are wet from kneeling to turn off the flow. As torrential rain falls outside, the family makes its way to the cars in the garage and driveway. The stress in Dad’s voice has reached a panic level as he struggles t…

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A New Year, A Little Confusion, and some Positive Intelligence

A New Year, A Little Confusion, and Some Positive Intelligence Big questions and some confusion as the new year lifts off. It’s Monday morning, 02 January 2023, and I’m writing this before j…

A New Year, A Little…

A New Year, A Little Confusion, and Some Positive Intelligence Big questions and some confusion as the new year lifts off. It’s Monday morning, 02 January 2023, and I’m writing this before joining my family to watch the Rose Parade, something we look forward to every year. Before leaving the guest bedroom at the family home in Northern California, I took a few minutes to read a chapter in Stephen Mitchell’s new version of “Tao Te Ching,” which has become my carry-it-everywhere book these past months. I read a chapter, or sometimes, a line or two, every morning and spend the …

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Benefits of Mental Fitness

What Are the Benefits of Mental Fitness? ‍ Mental fitness is coping with stress, thinking positively, and responding effectively to challenging situations. It’s also known as emotional intel…

What Are the Benefit…

What Are the Benefits of Mental Fitness? ‍ Mental fitness is coping with stress, thinking positively, and responding effectively to challenging situations. It’s also known as emotional intelligence or Resilience. Mental fitness has many benefits. It can reduce your risk of developing depression and anxiety, improve your self-awareness and help you make better decisions. It will also make you more confident, which can positively affect other areas of your life. Here are some ways that strong mental fitness will benefit you in the long run. Better quality of life If you have high…

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5 Powerful Questions On Your Path to Success

5 Powerful Questions On Your Path to Success When you think of leadership, what comes to mind? Vision? Strategy? Plans? Leaders are those people who can take their organization and its members to t…

5 Powerful Questions…

5 Powerful Questions On Your Path to Success When you think of leadership, what comes to mind? Vision? Strategy? Plans? Leaders are those people who can take their organization and its members to the next level. They have a strategic mindset; they know where they are heading and have an in-depth understanding of how they can get there. Leaders do not emerge by chance; unique decisions and decisive actions shape them. Becoming a leader is not something that happens overnight. It’s something you become with time and effort. You can improve your leadership skills in small ways every day by l…

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The Olympics Remind Us; All Athletes are Failures

Last week I wrote a few words positioning forgiveness as a starting point in my journey from a catastrophic face-plant to a fresh, new chapter in life. And this week, in both my work with Coaching cli…

Last week I wrote a …

Last week I wrote a few words positioning forgiveness as a starting point in my journey from a catastrophic face-plant to a fresh, new chapter in life. And this week, in both my work with Coaching clients and in comments shared from readers, the topic of failure recovery has been top-of-mind. Then the Olympics kicked off, and the parade of dazzling, gold-tinged successes began marching across my monitors. Who doesn’t love a winner, right! The exciting thing about sports is that there is a pile of highly trained athletes who fail to take the top spot for every winner. The quantity of fa…

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