Reilly and Siggie O’Freud – Reillys nick name for him – had a kind of a symbiotic thing going back in the 90s when Reilly worked in Dublin.  

On the last Thursday of every month they’d repair to Toners Bar in Baggot Street where Reilly would speak Irish to Siggie in order that he might be more fluent on his annual holiday in Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran islands.

And for his part, Siggie would pay for the porter.

Reilly loved that sort of symbiosis.

All joking aside, Siggie was revered as the leading psychotherapist in Dublin at the time.

When all else failed, GPs and Shrinks from around the metropolis would refer their most demanding cases to Siggie with the most efficacious results.

At the time, Reilly was beginning his career as a consultant with the Synectics Corporation and was worried if he had either the smarts or expertise to be an effective consultant.

One night he took Siggie into his confidence.

‘Siggie, to be honest with you, I’m feeling a tad of an imposter. 

‘I’m working with some really high performing and capable people and I’m asking myself who am I to be advising them? 

Siggie quaffed deep into his pint and paused for what seemed an eternity.

‘At the outset Reilly, avoid using the phrase ‘to be honest with you.’ 

‘When you do, it suggests you mightn’t always be being honest with me.

‘Tuigim Siggi.’ (Got you Siggie.)

‘Consider the big black lamp post outside the Synectics building on Fitzwilliam Square,’ says Siggie.

‘Imagine after their meetings with you that you encourage your clients to stop by the lamp post and start talking to it. Unburdening their problems of the day. Vocalising their possibilities and opportunities for tomorrow. 

‘The lamp post won’t talk back; give advice; or even sympathy.

‘It will simply be there.

‘And bit by bit, by growing the habit of talking to a lamppost, your clients will find their life is improving. They’ll be less stressed; more inspired; take more decisive actions; and get more of the right things done.

‘So Reilly, if a lamp post can do all this, who are you to doubt your impact!


  • Think ‘Win:Win’ in all your dealings. Ask ‘what’s a win for me in this situation and what’s a win for you?’
  • Avoid throwing loose language around. In the business of communications everything counts.
  • Just be there for people. Be a lamp post.  Let them be. No need to overly faff about advising or coaching or solving problems. Think big black lamp post. 
  • The exception to this rule is to give advice only when asked for it as was the case when Reilly asked for specific advice. 


‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’ 

‘If all you did was a tell a lamp post your goals for each day, they would be far more likely to happen.’

—Michael Neill. Supercoach.

’Your playing small does not serve the world.’

—Marianne Williamson.


1. Where’s your lamp post?


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