They say you always remember your ‘firsts.’

Your first day at school; your first date; your first day in a new job.

Although many years ago, Reilly will never forget his first business training gig.

He’d succeeded in getting 25 of the good and the great of Limericks business community to attend a training course in the Ryan Ardhu Hotel on the Ennis Road in Limerick.

To say it was a career gamechanger was maybe over egging it but it sure felt like it at the time. 

Do a great job and profitable business would follow. Do anything less than a great job and it was ‘Good Night Irene.’ 

As Feargal Quinn would remind him many years later. ‘Reilly, customers only ever remember two things: great service and bad service. There’s no point being good.’

Reilly was so apprehensive about the gig that he overnighted in the hotel in order that he’d be at his best. 

He was wide awake early in the morning and rang his only direct relation at the time for a bit of moral support.

‘What are you doing ringing me at this time of the night,’ says his Mother, clearly annoyed. ‘I’m only just after falling asleep. This better be important.’

‘I’m ringing from a hotel in Limerick.’

‘What are you doing in Limerick?

‘I’m giving a course.’

‘You. Giving a course! To who?

‘Business people Ma. Some of the most important and influential people in the Mid-West. 

If she’d been half-sleep when he rang she was fully awake now.

‘What are you giving the course on?

‘Time management Ma.’

‘You! Giving a talk on time management, of all things! 

‘Sure the dogs on our street know you’ll be late for your own funeral. And have you seen the state of your bedroom? Hopefully the course is a quick one?

‘The course is from 9am to 1pm.’

‘Four hours! Sure what’ll you fill the time with? And what happens if you forget your lines? And what happens if they get up and walk out on you? 

‘Them important and influential business people are busy people and won’t tolerate any old gibberish.’

Reilly knew it was rude but he put the phone down.

Strangely his mothers worst fears for him forced him to ask four  questions he’s been asking ever since when faced with scary situations.

  1. What am I worried about?
  2. What’s the worst that can happen?
  3. Can I handle that?
  4. What can I do about it?


He was worried that the event mightn’t go as well as he’d hoped and planned for.


The worst that could happen was that his mothers worst fears might be realised and that the audience might well get up and walk out.


He thought to himself that even if this happened, nobody would die, and he’d learn from it and get back up and do one better somewhere else.


He remembered a time in his teenage years when his cousin and himself would be jumping off the cliffs in Rougey in Bundoran into the waves far below. They’d be terrified and ecstatic in equal measure. And as they’d be struggling with the decision to jump or not, his cousin would roar. 

‘Reilly, hold your nose and jump.’ And they always did. And most of the times, they felt ecstatic afterwards.

And that’s exactly what Reilly did. 

And the workshop was a great success. 

All the way from Limerick to Galway Reilly dithered over his dilemma. He could choose to let the experience of that morning pass. Or he could choose to have an uncomfortable conversation. 

He decided on the módh díreach (direct) approach.

‘Ma, I’m never going to call you before a work gig again.’

And of course, unsurprisingly, she went ballistic.

‘Well that’s galánta isn’t it. My only son is never going to speak to me again.’

And Reilly never, ever, ever did ring her prior to a gig that required his full focus and energy. 

And equally, he never, ever, ever did a gig when he didn’t call her afterwards. And whether the gig went swimmingly or belly up it didn’t matter at that stage. They could have a chat without any drama. 

Reilly has been telling that story publicly ever since and he always ends with the question.

‘Why did someone, as positive and caring as my mother, have as negative an impact on her only child?

People are generally kind and they say that she was worried about Reilly and that she was trying to protect him. Nonsense.

Although Reilly had been performing on stages since he was a nipper the reality was that Reillys mother had never performed publicly in her life. To her it was utterly outside of her comfort zone. 

When she heard that Reilly would be performing in front of a group of ‘important and influential business people’ she instantly put herself in that situation and experienced immediate and extreme fear and terror.

Unfortunately, fear and terror can project as prolifically as a phone can connect two people speaking across the Atlantic. 

You mightn’t see them (the sound and fear waves) but you sure as Hell can feel them. 


  • Sometimes, those closest to you, and who love you and care about you the most, can inadvertently have a negative impact on your energy levels.
  • When you show up for important events it behoves you to do so at your best. This requires astutely managing the energy level in ‘your room.’
  • ‘The room’ refers to a brilliant book called ‘Who’s In Your Room’ by Stewart Emery, Ivan Misner and Doug Hardy. In it they encourage you to imagine your life as occurring in just one room. All the people you ever met are in that room. And they can’t leave. 
  • Your strategy therefore is threefold. Firstly, there will be people in that room that you would profit from SEVERING your association with forever. These you will banish to the outermost corner of the room where they will be prevented from influencing you again. Secondly, there will be people, like Reillys mother, that you will profit from LIMITING your association with, depending on the event you are showing up for at the time. Thirdly, there will be people you’d profit from EXPANDING your association with by bringing them closer to you in the room.
  • Motivate yourself. Don’t rely on others to do so. They may not be around, or in good form, when you really need them. 
  • Customers only ever remember two things: great service and bad service. Nobody remembers good service.
  • Hold your nose and jump off a cliff at least once a day. 


‘The quality of your life depends on who’s in your room.’

—From the book ‘Who’s In Your Room?’

‘You are the average of the five people you are most influenced by.’

—Jim Rohn.

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.’

—Tim Ferriss. 


  1. Who will you banish to the corner of your room and thereby minimise their future impact on you?
  2. Who will you actively bring in and out of your room to match the situation that is currently playing out?
  3. Who will you bring closer to you in order to maximise their impact?


Reilly couldn’t have been prouder to bring four people back to the front of his ‘Room’ in the Castleoaks Hotel on Friday last. 

Patricia O’Donnell, John Webb O’Rourke, Pádraig Smith and Damien McDonnell were on the very first SMACHT session in that hotel on February 22nd 2011. 

They continue to practice SMACHT and their business and personal lives are thriving. Damien, as you may recall, was The Sunday Times business person of the week back in November.

Their message to us all was.

‘Don’t rely on others to save you. They may not be around, or in good form, when you really need them. Take 100% responsibility for your own life.’

A new SMACHT cohort begins on Tuesday week, April 2nd. There are two places left. If you feel your business has hit a plateau it may well mean that you could profit from changing some of the people ‘In Your Room.’ SMACHT is a business mastermind for growth-minded business people. It has helped hundreds of Irish businesses to go from good to great. If you’ve been hanging about waiting on others to save you, and it hasn’t yet happened, then email The Other Reilly, Pádraic Ó Máille, on now. 

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