The Toronto Star
January 24, 2021
By Star Columnist, Jessica Hunter
What follows is a remarkable, real life, success story.
While most people would be eagerly slipping into retirement after 60, Phil Sykes found himself an unemployed senior sales and marketing executive, a 30 year veteran in the Direct Selling and Network Marketing Industry, living in the basement of his daughter’s home, hoping to scrape together his share of the expenses each month.
He quips. “I was bankrupt in a basement in Barrie! … Not how I had dreamed it.”
“A failed business wiped out my retirement funds and nest-egg. The personal network went silent, the ‘help wanted’ columns were fruitless and startling reality began to set in. No income stream, debt and bills, no visible prospects… I crashed physically, emotionally and my spirit was progressively ‘numbed’.”
“I had to come to grips with the fact that I was no longer Phil Sykes, with an executive title, a corner office and a company car and endorsement. I was just ‘me’ and I had lost touch with who that is. I found the deep end of the pity-pool and spiraled to the bottom. I realized I was going in the wrong direction by looking backward. I had to choose a direction, a description and move forward every day.”
And so his quest began to re-frame his life.
Sykes had two critical requirements to a successful retrofit. “I had to be able to feel my spirit expand and renew, and I had to see tangible evidence of the resources that would allow me to give service in many forms.”
I asked Phil what he discovered to help him get out of his “woe-is-me” mindset.
“What I discovered?…” Sykes reflects, “I had to consciously change my thoughts and find a reliable way to imprint those new thoughts in my subconscious so that I could develop new habitual constructive ways of thinking and improved ways of reacting to what would have triggered negative behaviors…”
Sykes recalls how a ‘call to action’ came from a close friend to accompany him on an adventure.
“Neither of us were getting the life result we believed we should. He described a six month program of personal development. My instant reaction was ‘I can’t afford it’. Since both of us were living hand-to-mouth, money was a big concern. This program, called the Master Key Mastermind Alliance, was being offered through a unique, ‘pay-it-forward’ scholarship. Someone who had already benefited from the program had been willing to fund a scholarship so someone else could experience the benefits for themselves. It was a solid endorsement and a selfless way to help someone to help themselves and it fit the budget.”
“ The student was ready. The teacher had appeared… I took a deep breath and crossed the threshold into the unknown where I believed there would be answers to habits I had been unable to break away from. I wasn’t wrong!”
“Information, combined with challenging exercises, lead to awareness and then incremental growth… There were days of feeling like a salmon swimming upstream as old habits raised their resistance to change. But I could feel changes starting to happen, a new feeling of lightness and gratitude. Growth came sometimes in baby-steps and other times in gushing floods of clarity. Old habits yielded to new habits. New habits lead to refreshing results and even greater determination to move forward. My internal compass began to work again. Instead of wandering from day to day, I discovered that I could be what I willed to be if I was just willing to focus on the hourly, daily mental work. I started acting with purpose, increasing belief and confidence toward my own now detailed goals and objectives.”
With qualities earned from profound struggle, Sykes is a genial man. He laughs easily, tells a great story and readily compliments the good he sees in others. He describes himself as a ‘warm light’. Says Sykes, “I decided that to fulfill my life’s purpose, I needed to be approachable, generous and “warm” as opposed to a white hot, stellar personality. I am a teacher by nature and by choice. I have been blessed to spend much of my adult life teaching people who were self-driven to learning rather than just academically assigned to course material. If you come to learn, I will always honor your desire and time with the best I have to offer…”
Much has happened since September 2015.
Sykes himself became one of the most popular New York Times Best Selling Personal Growth authors and speakers in December 2018. His breakthrough book, “Freedom Within: Creating a Mind for Success” hit the stores and internet sales in July 2017. It has been praised by critics and fans alike, who love his combination of crisp clarity, hilarious real life anecdotes and deep insights. ‘Freedom Within’ rocketed him into the international spotlight.
Sykes has partnered in several successful businesses and collaborated with the a-list thought leaders in the personal growth world. In 2017, he began a webinar business offering guidance to those desiring to… “Live Your Authentic Treasured Values”. His ‘InfoMark Pros, Inc” distribute ebooks and course materials to several industry niches and has been instrumental in developing several popular software products. He also collaborates in writing and producing material for the “Music that Matters” initiative.
“When time and space stands still and you are in the creative flow, it’s a spiritual experience.”
And so the story continues… life after 60? … from bankrupt in a basement in Barrie to seven figure annual income, to reaching countless thousands of grateful fans worldwide, Sykes’ message echoes that of the great teachers of all time…”Be a light, not a judge… and, Know Thyself … to Thine Own Self Be True.”