I came into this life with an addiction for adventure and experience, the primary source of this desire was a need to feel alive. This resulted in my involvement with organised crime and a constant thirst for power and adrenaline, I figured if I was capable of “making it” on the streets, then that street wisdom was going to be the catalyst for an incredible life journey. I guess I figured right. 

My journey into the heart of Melbourne's underworld allowed me to observe repeating emotional patterns that plague men and when I say men I include myself. During my time as a debt collector and stand over man I began to realise the severity of the underlying problem males seemed to underestimate, suppressing their emotional content. 

My own battles with drug, alcohol and sex addiction resulted in me living a Spartan existence stripped bare of all material necessities and struggling to provide myself with food. Life becomes very simple when you are sleeping on the floor of your apartment without bedding and there is no food in the house.  How did I get out? By believing it was possible.

Through famine and solitude, I found peace and with peace comes clarity. I was able to find my emotional truth without distraction. Self-belief is the most powerful component of healing. I used the opportunity life presented me with to re-evaluate and de-construct my existence and everything I thought was my reality. On my own, I found the belief and solace I needed for redemption.

Once I had taken the time to gain the clarity and awareness I required to focus my energy correctly, the natural flow of the universe started working for me. I met my life partner and we have five beautiful children and together we created and ran a successful business named The Harding Group which afforded us all the materialistic pleasure we thought made us happy.

Creation is simple if you believe in yourself or hold a degree in street wisdom. Even though we had everything we desired, we weren't happy. I no longer believed in material gain and my wife and I instinctively knew we needed to sell that business and focus all our momentum into giving back to the community. Life afforded me a second chance, so now it was my turn to repay that favour.

Now I use my life experiences to work with males of all ages to help them re-discover the undeniable power of the human spirit. My wife and I have created Hard Cuddles; a process that creates awareness around self-belief, emotional transformation and personal growth with the direct focus revolving around one on one mentoring, into the wild retreats, public speaking and men’s workshops.

If I, James “the hammer” Harding was able to claw my way back to the light, then it is possible for any human being. I have chosen to spend the rest of my life representing an ideology that self-belief is the foundation of creation. Life allowed me the ability to communicate with awareness and intuition. My message: Truth is the only currency that matters and vulnerability is power. 

Happiness and health equals abundance and self-belief is the boundless energy that binds it all together. There is nothing external in this world, it all begins with you. Everybody has the strength and power to embody love and kindness, it’s just that sometimes our focus shifts to what we are doing wrong rather than all the things we are doing right. My role is to reframe that style of thinking. 




  • Walking the Kokoda trail; raising awareness for the Cure for Life Foundation.

  • Organiser of a fundraising event for the Cure for Life Foundation.

  • Walking the South Coast Trek in Tasmania; raising funds and awareness for the LifeChanger Foundation

  • Published author HARD CUDDLES

  • Creator and Managing Director of the Harding Group: waste and recycling, garden maintenance and landscaping, property maintenance and development (2011-2017)

  • Diploma in Counselling

  • Volunteer at The Salvation Army (2017-2018)

  • Volunteer at The Pantry 5000 (2017-current)

  • Player Welfare Manager, Bonbeach Football Club (2017-current)

  • Founding Partner of Hard Cuddles (2017-current)

  • Community-based Public and Keynote Speaking (2017- current)

  • Guest Speaker; ALP - Sri Lankan Business Leaders of Victoria Forum, 2014-2016


  • Into the Wild Wilderness Retreats

  • One on one consultation sessions

  • Men’s circles

  • Public and Keynote speaking

  • Individual wellness programming

  • Emotional transformation

  • Personal development

  • Meditation

  • Self-belief and awareness routines

  • Motivation coach

  • Speech design