What is the book you’ve given most as a gift?
As CEO of the biggest mattress manufacturer in Ireland, it won’t come as any surprise that the book I have gifted more than any other is called “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, PhD. “A neuroscientist shows how a good night’s shut-eye can make us cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier and ward off cancer” The Guardian.
What purchase of €100 or less has impacted mostly in your life?
Like many, I have taken up year-round sea swimming since the start of the pandemic – it took me two years to finally buy the gloves, cap, and boots – total transformation!
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
Working for a major corporation that spun out the division I worked for in the crazed belief that it would massively enrich a golden circle ultimately drove me to self-employment and control of my own destiny.
Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?
Two favourite quotes of all time; “If you can keep your head when all around are losing theirs, it’s quite possible you haven’t grasped the severity of the situation” and “The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing to the misery of not being exploited”.
What are the best investments you’ve ever made?
The best investment you will ever make, by a country mile, is investing in yourself.
What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
Jumping in the freezing Irish Sea in pitch darkness at 6.40am every Friday morning certainly has to rank as an unusual habit, if not borderline lunacy!
What new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
As referenced above, I have become a devotee of the value of sleep, but as luck would have it, my newfound enthusiasm for sleep has regrettably coincided with the ageing process that sees me jolt wide awake shortly after dawn; regardless of the time I go to bed!!
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student?
Perhaps not surprisingly, I am a major advocate of encouraging young people to go the entrepreneurial route – hence I have always said that there are two times in your life when you should consider going into business for yourself; when you are 21 with zero understanding of the risks ahead of you or when you are 35, have accumulated 15 years experience of the working environment and eagerly kept an eye out for “your” opportunity.
What have you become better at saying no to in the last five years?
I fall into the category of pleaser/diplomat. And I definitely have got better at saying No. However, I have an insatiable curiosity, so I find it very hard not to meet somebody and really love connecting people/opportunities regardless of the pressures it puts upon me.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
When I feel overwhelmed, I go to sleep for a short while, and when I re-engage, I am way more productive, and everything is clearer. When I am unfocused, I stay unfocused until the deadline allows no more prevarication, and I have to throw myself into a flurry of activity to get the job done!