I Worked With a Life + Work Coach for 6 Months & This is What Happened

This is a blog post months in the making and I am so excited to finally hit publish on it! I’ve mentioned Tami Hackbarth, my life + work coach, on Instagram and in passing here on the blog a few times. We worked together for about 6 months and continue to keep in touch, so I thought it was time for me to share what the experience was like and how I benefitted from it. The insight and guidance that I gleaned during this time was immeasurably wonderful and has really helped to propel me into better directions with my career, my life, and my self-care rituals. If you’re at all curious about what the process was like, what I learned (with specific examples), and more… well, keep reading!

My Experience of Working with a Life + Work Coach for 6 Months

Tami’s tagline is “I help women get their time and energy back so they can go after their big life goals” and she’s not bullshitting. She’s a straightforward, no holds barred person who has literally called me on my nonsense and then helped me realize that I’m answering my own questions. Keep in mind that Tami is the only coach I’ve ever worked with, so my experience could be totally different from yours. But, long story short, I really believe that every woman should take the opportunity to work with a coach.

The structure of our sessions

I’m definitely someone who functions well with structure. I loathe chaos. So I opted to virtually meet with Tami twice a month and set up the appointments so they were roughly the same day and time each month. We met with a virtual phone call, no video, which is awesome because some days I just didn’t feel like getting dressed. Also, I liked this format because I tend to read into people’s facial expressions (and too much at times), so removing that possibility was great. Each call was recorded and then the recording was sent to me afterwards so that I could revisit it. I haven’t done this yet, but it’s nice to know that the option exists.

Tami started each of our sessions with a few questions that were the same each time. My favorite of them, though, is “What are you celebrating?” That could mean anything… like, I am celebrating signing a big, exciting contract. Or something like I am celebrating that I got out of bed today and showered, even though my depression really didn’t want me to. When I think back on our sessions, this discussion always helped me to frame what I wanted to talk about that day.

This is not therapy

Tami was really clear from the start: our coaching sessions are not therapy. Instead, her role was to help me realize that taking better care of myself meant I could actually live the life I wanted to live. Tami calls it 100% Guilt-Free Self-Care. I called it realizing that if I can’t take care of myself properly, how the hell am I going to take care of my business, my household, my marriage, my pets, and more????

Getting real about what self-care actually means

For the longest time, I thought my self-care ritual was to just take a day off and loaf on the coach, watching garbage on the TV and not answering the phone. Then I’d get back on the hamster wheel the next day and skip breakfast and lunch and work 14 hours straight and then crash. And then do that again the next day and the next day and the next until I took another day to loaf on the coach.


In working with my life + work coach, I actually have smaller, daily rituals in place that help me to function like a REAL PERSON and feel GOOD. Here’s a good example: I wake up at 7:30 am most days, but I don’t open my laptop or check my phone until 8:30. I take that hour every morning to slowly drink my coffee, actually make breakfast, maybe listen to music, maybe walk the dogs… it doesn’t matter what I do. It just matters that I eat and take a moment to start my day off with some peace. I’ve found that my energy levels are much-improved and that I don’t crash in the afternoons nearly as much as I used to.

Tami also helped me let go of the guilt I felt toward exercise. Instead, now it’s re-framed into knowing that I simply need to move my body. For me, that means daily walks with the dogs and a standing desk mixed in with working out (when I’m finally cleared by my doctor to workout again). I used to feel immense amounts of guilt because I wasn’t running or at spin class or killing myself with cardio on a daily basis. Now I just focus on making sure that I take time to move my body each day.

Realizing goals

When I first started working with Tami, I was at my wit’s end. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but had tons of ideas swirling around in my head. It felt like I could potentially do a LOT and was comparing myself to other people who were also doing a lot (but also they have teams of people). I was literally beating myself up over it AND making myself sick by trying to keep up. In working with a coach, I was able to prioritize the new projects I wanted to undertake. A good example of this is that I launched The Jojotastic School of Social Media.

I will admit it: I’m still working on my self-care rituals and maintaining consistency in them. But after 6 months with Tami, I feel like I have way more of an awareness of what my mind and body both need in order to feel their best — and therefore to build my business into something even better.

If you have any questions about what it was like to work with Tami or coaching in general, let me know! I am happy to try to answer and really believe in the power of this experience.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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