Damien McDonnell attended the first ever Smácht session in the Castle Oaks House Hotel on February 22nd 2011.

He wasn’t your typical Smácht profile in that he didn’t own a business but rather was on his first day of work as a salesperson at a company called Polar Ice Tech.

Times were tougher economically then than at any other period in people’s memory. Businesses were closing by the new time and the aim of even the finest businesses in Smácht was simply to survive the recession.

Damien only took three words from that session. 

Conceive. Believe. Achieve.

And the following month he rocked in to the next Smácht session with the fully conceived idea of buying the business. Reilly and the rest of the group nearly throttled him for having such ludicrously visionary thoughts during the worst recession since the ‘Great Depression.’

So when last week, ‘The Sunday Times’ featured Damien McDonnell, CEO of Polar Ice Tech, in the ‘How I Made It’ section, Reilly was seriously proud.

So much so, that he decided to cut the article out of ‘The Times’ and insert it into an old family photo frame. This way he could hang it up in his office and share Damien’s story as an example to other business owners.

The problem was that he didn’t have a scissors to cut the article out of the paper. And he didn’t have any glue to affix the photo to the old one. And he didn’t have a drill to insert a screw into the wall.

But, if nothing else, Reilly is an optimist and he had a go irrespective. And although the article was lopsided in the frame, and there was a crack both in the frame and in the wall from where he’d hammered a screw into it, the framed article evoked a lovely warm feeling of pride right down to his core.

That feeling lasted unabated until Wifey arrived back from minding Finn and surveyed the carnage. To say she went ballistic would have been an understatement.

Magann was summoned for instantly and proceeded to take up where Wifey left off.

‘The trouble with you Reilly is that you just don’t understand the importance of having the right tools.

Opening up his stool box he proceeded to extricate the ubiquitous tools of his trade

‘Imagine for a moment me arriving to do a job without my hammer; my saw; my drill; my spirit-level; my measuring tape; and my screwdriver. With those six simple tools I can solve almost any building problem.

‘That’s the problem with you business people. You’re trying to run businesses without any tools. Show me some tools you use in business.

Reilly scanned once again the article on Damien’s success and summarised for Magann.

‘Here are three simple tools that Damien used to help his business grow and flourish.’

1. A Good Book.

Damien’s thinking was changed utterly by the book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. Pat McDonagh, founder of Supermacs, and indeed owner of The Castle Oaks House Hotel, told Reilly once that it’s the only business book you’ll ever need.

A book is nothing more than a conversation with someone who has specialised knowledge and insights into a subject. 

And always remember that you’re only ever one conversation away from a life changing experience.

And never forget that the book you don’t read won’t help you.

2. A Good Mastermind Group.

A common denominator of all the successful people Hill interviewed for the book was that they were part of a master mind alliance. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone called their master mind alliance ‘The Vagabonds’ and systematically met to clarify their goals; get ideas on how they could be progressed; and hold each other accountable.

In the book Hill said that when two people get together and work on a problem or towards a goal, a third mind was created called the ‘Master Mind.’ To him, it was a separate force in the conversation and had an energetic/spiritual connotation.

It’s interesting that Damien has remained part of the same master mind group since 2011. Together, and individually, they have shot the lights out in their respective businesses and personal lives.

Together, they help each other conceive, believe and achieve.

3. A Good Attitude.

To Reilly, Damien always looked and sounded like Ronan O’Gara.

Both are driven; disciplined; doggedly determined; and super successful.

To read the article in The Sunday Times please go to…


‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’

—Napoleon Hill. ‘Think and Grow Rich.’


  1. What books are you currently reading?
  2. Who are the five or six people you are most influenced by?
  3. How would someone you know closely describe your attitude?


On November 21st next Reilly is beginning a new Smácht mastermind group just like Damien joined all those years ago. It will be personally facilitated by Reilly for the first six months and it is hoped that the group will continue to work together thereafter. It will meet online twice monthly. There are eight places available and five have already signed up. If you’re interested please email Pádraic today on to discuss.


Thank you for reading this post.

If you’re interested in learning more about me or working with me, here are some ways I can help.

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Pádraic Ó Máille

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