James Burke

A new year is a chance to take stock and make resolutions for the year ahead. For some, including many business owners, a new year can be a daunting and anxious time. An event at the Birmingham Symphony Hall at the end of January aims to motivate us and help us with a clear path forward for 2024.

Did you know that:

  • 9.2 million UK adults describe themselves as drained and desperate.
  • 16-24-year-olds suffer from loneliness more than any other age group.
  • Only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged.

The all-day Master Your Life event on Saturday, January 27th at The Birmingham Symphony Hall aims to tackle this by bringing together the excellent Sir Ranulph Fiennes and singer Ella Henderson as well as award-winning author James Burke and others to give us all tips and mechanisms to live a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024 and potentially propel our businesses forward.

A man who has been through all of the above after being thrown out of four schools, becoming homeless at 16 for 3 years and losing four loved ones to suicide is Manchester-based James Burke. The 34-year-old father of three is now a successful businessman, speaker and award-winning author. The Master Your Life event is his brainchild because he is intent on giving back after overcoming incredible adversity in his own life.


James was born into poverty on an estate in Salford. One of eight siblings, the education and social care system failed him which resulted in him sleeping rough for three years in 2006. “I felt I had nothing to live for. I felt lonely, isolated and in pain which are all feelings associated with homelessness. I didn’t know how to feel better and I began to feel suicidal. His local boxing gym became his haven and soon he was on route to becoming a pro boxer. Just months into his professional boxing career he was diagnosed with Osteoporosis. His new career was over and he sunk into a deep depression. At this time he was also dealing with grief after losing two people close to him. He was at rock bottom. However, his saviour came from an unlikely source.

“Books saved my life. I got through 350 motivational books in 5 years.” From there he got his first job at an estate agency in his local town, was promoted within 18 months to branch manager, won a prestigious award for driving the profits to their highest and then became a director of one of the UK’s largest property firms, earning a six-figure salary. This was all 5 years on from sleeping in shop doorways. Those who have seen James speak about his early life and how he managed to pull himself out of despair say his story is inspirational wherever you may be in life.

The Master Your Life day-long event will see James share his story alongside explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who will talk about his journey, resilience and his methods on how to plan for success. There will be entertainment from singer Ella Henderson and a Q + A with comedian Paul Smith. Also speaking will be former UFC champion Tom Blackledge and best-selling author Michael Heppel.

The action-packed Master Your Life Event is on Saturday 27th January from 10.00 to 19.00 at Birmingham Symphony Hall. Tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite. By using this code you can get 80% off the ticket price MYL8O