That was the question that would not leave me alone.

As a sailor competing on behalf of Ireland at World and European Sailing Championships I was always looking for the mental edge to allow the team to win. It became a healthy obsession, questing for a system to create success. That question stayed with me through my career in advertising and then through my business as an Executive coach.

I studied those who had created great success to see what had they done. This combined with the study of ancient and timeless principles of success led me to identify 5 States that create meaningful success (the kind of success that makes you happy, healthy and wealthy).

The revelation came in the form of the elements; air, water, earth, fire and ether. Our ancestors from every race and culture understood these. Then we “threw the baby out with the bathwater”. As logic and science became the only voice, we lost our mythopoetic understanding of how to be in balance. Look at all the legends and parables of old they all speak to the story of the balance or imbalance of the elements. When the elements are in balance then success would arrive.

But people and especially businesses do not talk in esoteric or metaphoric language. So the challenge was to link these eternal qualities to modern business parlance and the 5 States were born;

So for example if you have very strong Air (logic) but very low Water (emotion), then you’ll be the smartest person in the room but no one will listen to you. Balance these two and you can help people to see clearly (air) because they have a trusted relationship (water) with you.

I wrote the 5 States of Success in 2010 and it became an #1 bestseller. You can download the Audiobook here from

From here we developed a great app;

With ether, earth and fire combining strongly in my profile (purpose, belief, action) I knew I needed to create a better way than a book or app for people to get and understand the 5 states. We worked with Esperto to develop a brilliant online assessment that allowed people to measure their own personal energy mix of the 5 States. The system now in it’s 3rd release allows individuals, team and leaders understand their mix and more importantly what strategies to employ the balance they require.

The 5 States assessments have been used by some of the world’s leading brands including; HSBC, Diageo, Tourism Ireland, Kerrygold, AIB and many others.

To build the assessment we decided to partner with Esperto Assessments, a great Dutch software development firm, for 5 main reasons;

  1. Great pricing structure
  2. Very strong track record in developing bespoke software
  3. Enterprise level quality and security
  4. Great team of people – real humans!
  5. Ambitious and enthusiastic

So if you want to know how the elements create your 5 States of Success get in touch and let us support you or your team or your business to create meaningful success.

My advice to you is building a concept, road test it, digitalise it and do it again! PM me if you need some help to do this…

I am a coach and trainer that works to inspire positive change in people, teams and organisations. I have a company Seachange Now, where I work with a wonderful team helping to unlock potential and make a difference to people, planet and profit. Let’s Talk!

Brendan Foley

Author Brendan Foley

My mission is to unlock potential by inspiring, educating and guiding people, teams and organisations towards meaningful success. I'm Managing Director of Seachange Now, a leading provider of high end transformational corporate programmes. Together with my team I focus on delivering inspiration, leadership and transformation to companies nationally and internationally. We work with senior management teams and talent in aviation, pharma, food, manufacturing, technology, banking, marketing, FMCG and telco. As a highly successful business coach and training leader, I work with my team to help business executives, teams and organisations to unlock their potential. As a multiple national champion in sailing I combine sports psychology, cutting edge business tools and my strong commercial background in marketing and advertising, to get you results. I am #1 bestselling author on with The 5 States of Success - Mercier Press 2010. Specialties: Leadership development, leadership coaching, high performance team working, stress management, success planning, state changing, business map execution, motivational speaking, and high performance mindset. I designed and created The 5 States, a hybrid psychometric / performance framework that helps people and teams to create meaningful success - the type of success that makes you healthy, wealthy and happy. This personalised report delivers key insights to individuals and teams to put them on the pathway to success. A key element in all our work is our coaching and facilitation methodology. After studying a huge number of different models of coaching and after much trial and error, I created a simple system that anyone can use to coach. It's called OWA (Outcome, Why, Action). It's powerful and can be used formally and informally to create results. If you want to talk about HOW to unlock the potential of individuals, teams or your organisation – let’s chat :-)

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