Hi, I'm Alan and thanks for visiting - So what's it all about? I'm the author of 4 books, with the most recent one 'FANTASTIC' reaching No 2 in the best seller charts. I believe that whatever you do, whether its in work or life, just being 'good' is simply not enough anymore. Good is the new 'nice'! I don't want to be a good parent, husband, friend - I want to be a fantastic one. In business it's not even about 'want' - you NEED to BE Fantastic to stand out from the crowd today.

PS. The reason I always put 'BE' in caps is because that's the secret - people are setting goals to be Fantastic, dreaming of it every day, writing it down, planning it - even sending it out to the universe - but the key to it all is ACTION! Don't just talk Fantastic, BE Fantastic!!


One of the first steps of your journey to BEing Fantastic is something I call the Positive Attitude Myth.

We all know that a positive attitude is important - of course, it is and I'm certainly not suggesting any different. However, I feel there is a myth peddled that 'all you need' is a positive attitude, belief, goals/focus etc. Put it out into the universe and it will come back etc. I'm not pouring cold water over these ideas - I love it all and have seen evidence myself of how it works. 

However, it seems to me that so many of the books and speakers in these areas seem to miss the critical 'fantastic' factor - ACTION!

Set your goals, be positive, believe, put it out into the universe etc. But don't just then sit there waiting for it to happen!! It simply doesn't work like that - every inspirational story I have ever listened to is always about action - positive action with a belief that it will work and that the universe will give you what you want - but action nonetheless.

I fear for a generation growing up being inspired to want wonderful things and truly believing that they can have them, but not taking the action to get the results they want and therefore ending up disheartened and losing their belief because it's not happening.

'The Positive Attitude Myth' - It's a myth that 'all' you have to do is be positive - you have to take action too if you want to BE Fantastic!

Choose something - anything - to start taking action on TODAY that will start moving you towards BEing Fantastic - stop thinking it and start doing it!! Have Fun!

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Life is all about decisions. Think about it, we make decisions all day, every day - and those decisions shape our lives - what we do, how we eat, who we spend time with, how we work and play etc. 

So what shapes those decisions - our focus, our priorities, our beliefs.

But what if those are wrong - what if our beliefs aren’t true, what if we are setting the wrong priorities and are focused in the wrong direction?

Then we are making a decision based on the wrong information - which can only lead to poor decisions - but hold on - didn’t we just agree that our life is all about the decisions we make!!

Let me give you an example of in my life which I know many people share.

My parents lived through World War 2 and hated any waste of food which created a deep-rooted belief in me that food shouldn’t be wasted. 

Now I can use that as an excuse as to why I feel the need to decide to eat whatever is in front of me regardless of whether I’m hungry or not (buffets are dangerous ground for me!!) or I can choose to learn to make a different decision and to stop eating when I’m no longer hungry.

I could continue with a decision that I’m not confident, or a poor communicator or that I hate Mondays etc., or I choose to make different decisions that will help me to achieve what I desire, have better relationships or perform better at work.

It’s up to me - I can decide to be an OK Me or a Fantastic ME - each small decision I make influences my life. 

Powerful change comes from making lots of small decisions - small steps - not one big ‘resolution’ type of decision. 

It’s time to take control of the decisions we make. 
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Whether you like it or not we live in a world of change.

What that means for some of us is that we need to develop change strategies - I've talked about this for years and when this video popped up this week I knew it had to be my Video of the Week - it's only a short one, but it's spot on.

We all understand the need to train and develop ourselves - so why not train yourself for the biggest challenge we face in life today - change!

When you are constantly making small changes you are re-programming your brain for change, so that when the big ones crop up in life - which they will - you are better equipped to handle it.

If you spend your life with routines that never change then when life interrupts, it's a major freak out!  However if you are constantly introducing new stuff into your life then you will be better prepared.

So I am always telling people to get into a habit of making some sort of small change every day, or every week. It might just be trying a food you wouldn't normally eat, or listening to music that you don't normally. Why not try a different route to work tomorrow, just leave a little earlier if that's needed.

Try it - you never know you might like it! And if you don't - at least you can say you've tried it!!

So... then I saw this Ted Talk video from Matt Cutts who works for Google- loved it - short and simple (just 3 and half minutes), in the same vein as what I've been teaching for years, but with a twist - a 30 day challenge. What a great idea to build into your life - I love it - it's like establishing a ritual (which most people want or need), but one that encourages change. It's almost a paradox.

Check out the video here in my Flipboard magazine, and decide what your first 30 day challenge is. By the way - he is so right when he says that the smaller stuff sticks - his sugar story is spot on haha!

My Flipboard BEFantastic magazine is here - just click the link below x

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I'm a big fan of Rita Ora, and not just because she's gorgeous ;)

I've seen a few interviews and always been impressed by her attitude - she understands so clearly that talent alone is not enough - you have to make it happen and then make sure you keep on growing.

Excellence is a journey remember, not a destination!!

This is a video from the brilliant Evan Carmichael who has an amazing You Tube channel. He takes  online content about people and then creates top 10 secrets of success videos about loads of different people. So here is the Rita Ora one.

Every day I make sure that I learn for at least 15 minutes a day. I use a lot of video to do this, it's part of my morning ritual - there is nothing better than starting the day with words of wisdom or inspiration from someone. I saw this yesterday and knew straight away it had to be my video of the week.

Enjoy x

It's here in my Flipboard magazine...    BE Fantastic Magazine

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Here we go folks - this weeks video!

I love this guy - Tim Urban - his blog is great, check it out.

Really funny but interesting look into why we procrastinate and then finishing with a great insight. Procrastination hurts us when there is no deadline! And so many of the big things we need or want to do have no deadline - or do they!!

Enjoy and please leave a comment if you are enjoying my video of the week series xx

It's in my Flipboard magazine here...


PS. have you booked your place on this years Business Summit - we are looking in depth at what needs to change in the salon industry to attract and keep bright creative young people. The ticking time bomb as I call it - if we don't do something soon we will have some huge problems in the future!

Have a look here:


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It's a few minutes longer than my 15 minutes of learning a day, but it's worth it! Retired Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech is spot on!!

Check it out here in my BE Fantastic magazine

Big AL's Video Of The Week - 19/10/17
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I watch so many videos every week simply because as some of you know I have a discipline in my life where I learn for a minimum of 15 minutes revery day. I've done this for 35 years now and of course today it's so much easier, with the amount ofgreat content that is literally in the palm of your hand. So.. I've decided to post my favourite video I've watched each week, What do you think, let me know if you like the idea.

So here we are - the first of Big Al's Video of the Week posts!

However, please note the 'language' alert!!


I love Gary Vaynerchuck, how he thinks and most of all because the evidence is right there of it being authentic - you can see it working with the success he has literally carved out for himself - he is one of the people out there who understands how this new world works - HOWEVER, if you are sensitive to 'language' it's probably not for you :)  Everyone else - enjoy!! The video of the week will always be posted on my BE Fantastic magazine - have a look here...

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I love Jo Malone - I read her biography this year, very brave and clever lady. Thought you might like this quick article about her marketing beliefs which I've just added to my Flipboard Magazine - BE Fantastic!

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In 2012 I spent a wonderful few days staying with the amazing Vivienne Mackinder at her lovely home in the Hamptons, New York. We were doing some filming for her brilliant online channel - Hair Designer TV as well as spending some great evenings putting the world - and in particular the salon world - to rights!

On one of these evenings we were joined by Nicholas French and his lovely wife Carole for dinner. Nicholas is such a talented hairdresser with an amazing history. His father was Freddie French - often referred to as the first celebrity hairdresser - if you want to know more about Nick and his father this is a great article here: Nicholas French - Hair Artist Supreme

So there we were the Brits in New York - it was fab engaging with icons such as Vivienne and Nick although slightly sad as I sat there thinking that here are two such inspirational British hairdressers who have conquered America, but would not be known to so many younger hairdressers back home :(

Vivienne has won the North American hairdresser of the year 7 times, plus been awarded the lifetime achievement honour, whilst Nick - amongst his many awards - has won the North American Avant Garde award 4 times, been invited to perform at the Alternative Hair Show in London 10 times as well as being one of the top celebrity stylists in America with a client list to die for!

So there I was enjoying the food, wine and conversation when all of a sudden Vivienne jumps up and says - we mustn't waste this moment! Before we knew it she had set up the cameras in her studio around the work table and we were having an impromptu round table!!

It was 5 years ago - you can tell I knew I was going over to be filmed (crash diet haha) and it's strange to hear me talking about Angelo Seminara as the new boy on the block :) but anyway, I thought you might like to see it - please also check out Vivienne's site whilst you are there - it's a wonderfully creative resource and here is a link to the Nicholas French site: nicholasfrench.com

Have fun - hope you enjoy it x

The video is here:
An evening with Vivienne Mackinder, Nicholas French and Alan Austin-Smith

PS - It's better in full screen mode!

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Just posted this story in my BE Fantastic magazine

10 Highly Successful People on the Times They Got Rejected 

Have seen so many of these over the years, Walt Disney, Colonel Sanders, The Beatles etc. Great to see some new ones here - remember what Thomas Edison said; "What you call failure I call success - I was successful at finding out it didn't work that way!!"

Check it out here: BEFantasticMagazine 

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