When Reilly was a nipper growing up in Galway you’d never hear tell of a psychiatrist or a psychologist or a therapist or a counsellor.

There simply would have been no need for one on account of the presence and indeed qualifications of one man called Tim O’Shea.

Tim ran a barbers emporium behind Cahill’s drapery shop on Williamsgate Street in Galway and was visited upon by the good and the great of the city.

Locals will tell you that they never can recall a time when there wasn’t a queue out the door for Tim.

If he wasn’t the best barber in Galway itself he certainly was the busiest.

Many speculated as to his secret. 

Some said it was location?

The reality was however that if you found him at all you took your life in your hands navigating the rickety stairs up to the first floor salon.

Others said it must have been the signage and merchandising?

Tim wouldn’t even accede to a barbers pole outside the premises.

One bright spark speculated that Tim might have had superior hairdressing qualifications to his other 

Tim’s only concession to a corporate trapping however was a sober looking business card affixed to the corner of the mirror.

Written in the solid black font of the time, it simply said:

‘Tim O’Shea. N.H.Q.W.’

Whilst it confounded several visiting academics Tim would never be drawn on what the qualification was or where he had acquired it.

As an eight year old kid however, Tim’s success was as obvious to Reilly as the nose on your face.

People came out from Tim simply feeling better about themselves than when they entered.

No one, irrespective of age, race or status, ever entered Tim’s door without feeling better than when they’d entered.

As a kid it always intrigued Reilly to see Tim play the ‘Stars Game’.

Above the mirror were three large framed black and white photographs of from left to right: John Wayne; Elvis Presley; and George Best.

When a client was comfortably seated Tim would ask them confidentially which ‘Star’ they’d most like to look like.

Many took an age to decide yet Tim never hurried them.

What fascinated the young Reilly was that irrespective of who they said they’d like to look like, Tim always delivered the same haircut – a short back and sides. It was the only style he knew.

Even though every customer came out of Tim’s with the same haircut, the kids playing football out in Manifold’s yard could predict with absolute certainty what style they’d ordered.

Those that had a ‘John Wayne’ always emerged pretending to shoot you. Those that had an ‘Elvis’ would inevitably come out crooning ‘You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound-dog’ and those that had a ‘George Best’ would invariably try to dribble the ball around you.

Tim may not have had the most salubrious salon in town or the most dexterous fingers with a scissors and comb but he had a wonderful process to generate profitable business.

His business was built upon one qualification that isn’t always taught in University curricula.

Tim made everyone who entered his business feel important and special.


  • You don’t necessarily need the best product or service in town to flourish.
  • People only ever buy two things:- solutions to problems and good feelings. Tim delivered both in spades.
  • Dale Carnegie once counselled that the key to interpersonal success is to ‘MOFI.’ Make Others Feel Important.’ Tim O’Shea lived and died by this maxim.
  • The great Joe Coyle is on the money when he says we all act and behave like our Alter Egos. If you think you shoot like John Wayne or sing like Elvis or dribble a ball like Georgie Best you’ll most likely perform above your own standard.
  • Before doing an MBA or any other important qualification consider doing an MOFI also. 


‘I had no education. I had to use my brains.’ 

—Bill Shanley.


  1. What problem does your business solve?
  2. What good feelings does your business provide?
  3. When people meet you do they leave feeling better or worse for the experience? The answer to this question will probably be the basis for most of your results in life.


Reilly was in second comm when he heard a pompous academic espouse the importance of having a credible academic qualification.

After the lecture Reilly sauntered down town and queued up as he’d done a myriad of times before for a hair cut with Tim.

Tim had announced his imminent retirement as a result of ill health and both intuitively sensed that this might be their last haircut together.

When Tim bent down one last time to ask quietly which ‘Star’ Reilly would like to look like, Reilly held his arm firmly.

‘Tim. What exactly does N.H.Q.W. stand for?

After a long and considered pause Tim leaned down again and whispered quietly into Reillys ear.

‘No Hairdressing Qualification Whatsoever.’

Leaba i measc na naingeal agus na naoimh leat.

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