Motivational Man: James Hester

A Balanced Life

January 2019 IssueJamesHester 0119

by Mary Hope Roseneau   
Photography by
Christian Lee

James Hester, CEO and one of several counselors at Hope Performance Systems on Hilton Head, is the perfect Motivational Man for our January theme: #FindYourBalance. Both he and his company are all about new beginnings, keeping balanced, and most of all, hope.

James was born in South America to a Peruvian educator mother and an American father, who was in the oil business. Sadly, they both passed away last year. “The worst year of my life,” James said, “but they passed on a great heritage.” Among the gifts he received from his mother: the ability to speak fluent Spanish, a thirst for learning new things, and a passion for mentoring others. From his father, James inherited the desire and drive to become an innovative businessman with big plans on the horizon.

James enlisted in the Army after graduating from college with a psychology degree. The military realized what a natural leader they had, and he was commissioned a Lieutenant. He served with the 101st division in Afghanistan and Iraq and was responsible for the safety of many immature, inexperienced 18-year- olds during wartime. That made an indelible impression on James.

After getting out of the service, he worked in several businesses, but kept thinking about counseling. Thus, he went back to graduate school and earned two master’s degrees: one in clinical mental health counseling and the other in business administration. On a dry erase board in business school, he outlined his dream to his business partner, Gabriel Baker.  

James envisioned an “integrated” health services center where people could come to receive counseling—individuals, couples, and families; child play therapy; physical training; nutrition instruction; acupuncture; see a chiropractor or an aesthetician; take yoga classes, and on and on. He sees the need for assessing the whole person across the spectrum: mental, physical, and spiritual.  At age 42, he opened his first facility on William Hilton Parkway (in November) on Hilton Head Island, and has plans for another facility opening this month near Hilton Head Hospital.  

Hope Performance Systems offers clients a free initial assessment, the goal being to identify the areas in their life where they need help, and with a counselor, choose the best way to address them. They do not offer prescription drugs, but do offer just about everything else. Their work is data driven, with specific and measurable goals. A Fit 3D machine can analyze the client from head to toe, showing a person’s skeletal alignment from every angle, body fat levels, and give an overall picture of health.  
Asked about his own life staying in balance, James sketched The Balanced Life for me on a sheet of paper (see Up Close box). If one area is neglected, James says, or is in crisis mode, the whole person will lose equilibrium, and the other areas will suffer as well. James’ specialty is suicide prevention and PTSD counseling. He sadly recalls he didn’t lose a single soldier in combat, but has heard of at least seven suicides from his unit since the soldiers returned home.
His own personal life revolves around his business – unless it’s daddy/daughter time. James has a five-year-old, and he tells his business associates not to call him when he’s with her “Unless the whole place is on fire.” Now, there’s a person who has his priorities in order!
Up Close:

Up Close:

According to James, these four areas of a person’s life must be kept balanced at all times. If one “bucket” or square is neglected, the rest will suffer. Adequate time and resources must be allocated to each of these for a person to be healthy, happy, and balanced.
James 0119 graph

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