Twenty years ago Sylvie Neylon was beckoned to the headquarters of the cleaning company he worked for.

He assumed it was to advise him as facilities manager that he would have to let some key people go as business was poor.

Instead he was let go himself.

It was a conversation that would change his life.

He had a young family to look after and a son who had serious health issues at the time.

Rivers of sweat seeped from him as he tried to make sense of the implications.

His next conversation would also change his life.

He rang one of his most important and astute customers to get feedback on a vague idea he had in his mind.

The customer graciously agreed to meet him that evening in his home in Dublin.

Sylvie bought a new clean white shirt in a Dunnes Stores outlet and proceeded to Jimmy Sheehans home.

Three hours later he departed for Eyrecourt with a tiny order from the Galway Clinic.

The next day he set up his new business with three people.

Reilly was being interviewed by Bobby Kerr on ‘Down to Business’ from the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe and as Wifey and he were driving in past Garbally College it occurred to him to ring Sylvie.

‘Any news from around Ballinasloe Sylvie?’

‘I’m out in the garden Reilly enjoying the sun. I sold the business on Wednesday.’

Neylon’s Facility Management now employ 1500 people in the Ballinasloe / Loughrea area and turn over €56 million euro per annum. 


  • You’ve heard it said time and again in this blog but you’re only ever one conversation away from a life changing conversation.
  • And the best way still to have life’s changing conversations is face to face.
  • And it’s the conversations you have in times of deep trouble that really define us.
  • Sylvie took the most decisive action he could immediately following the worst conversation of his life. He rang his most important customer and made him a proposition. Guys like Sylvie don’t hang about feeling sorry for themselves.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help, advice or business.
  • And when you do show up, look and act the part. 
  • And ask for Divine Inspiration. Sylvie often starts a sales meeting with a very special prayer called ‘The Meeting Prayer.’ 


‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’

— Martin Luther King


  1. What life changing conversations did you have last week?
  2. What propositions will you make this week?


Reilly is excited to announce that a new book called SMACHT – The Discipline Of Success will be launched by Margaret Cox at the Big Leaders Summit on May 14th next. Quite apart from being able to read 52 of the greatest Life O’Reilly stories in the one place you can get to listen to David McWilliams and Keith Finnegan share some brilliant tips and strategies on business. 

It’s free, but you do have to register now


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