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!!
Alan Austin-Smith


Change whether you like it or not

Here is a fact no one can dispute – we live in a rapidly changing world that shows no sign of slowing down – in fact, all the indicators point to an ever-increasing speed of change.

It’s happening whether you like it or not. I do understand and share some of the concerns many people have about this, however – there is nothing we can do to stop it. Therefore we had better start to work out how to operate in this environment.

We have to be creative, and if you think you are not a creative person, then you had better start learning – quickly, because it’s the only future I can see. Individuals and companies have to have the ability to react to change fast, to have innovative and creative solutions as well as be creatively leading the field.

This isn’t just about the work place – relationships are changing, parenting is changing – everything about the way we live our lives is changing – we all have to learn to love change as much as we might have hated it in the past.
I call it the creative revolution.

Focus on solutions not problems. If you only see barriers then you won’t achieve anything – Is the problem that there isn’t enough money to do what you want, or that you haven’t yet come up with a more cost effective solution? It’s more ideas you need, not more money.

Listen – listen to your customers, your team, your friends, your kids – listen to everybody and everything. You need information – you need it to learn but you also need it to inspire your creativity. Your brain works with connections. One thought triggers another and so on. The more information you devour the more creative you will be as you spark off different things.

If you are in business, you must listen to your customers – become ‘buy’ focused not sales focused. Think a bit more about what people want to buy, rather than just what we want to sell them!

Be open minded, practice Naive Listening - I love that term. Listen naively – without knowledge or
experience because both those things, as valuable as they can be, will tend to give you a closed mind to new ideas.

Develop creative techniques that work for you to find solutions to what isn't working.

Engage people – you need others – this new world is not one that you can survive on your own – collaboration not competition is the key – find people to help you, people who understand and share your passion.

Take action – all the creativity in the world is worth nothing if you don’t have the courage to take action – remember the success/failure paradox – the more you fear failure the more likely you are to fail because you won’t take action.

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Alan Austin-Smith


'Catch People Doing Things Right' has always been one my favourite leadership messages. I first heard it in the best selling leadership book; The One Minute Manager.

However this article in my Flipboard magazine helped me understand it even more. The key word in that message is 'doing'!

Have a read of the article and you will see how praising results can have a negative effect and that it is the effort and work put into the achievement that we should be praising.

SO... "Catch People DOING Things Right!!"

The article is headed: Want to Be An Exceptional Leader?  Check it out here in my BE Fantastic Flipboard Magazine...

View my Flipboard Magazine.
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Alan Austin-Smith


Engage people
This is not just some ‘be nice to people’ campaign here, although as a Londoner I do sometimes love saying good morning to people on the tube, just to see their reaction! It’s just a fact that if you make people smile they will be more helpful to you in general (not always on the London Underground though!)
Coming home from work to a smile rather than a list of things you haven’t done; being genuinely interested in a teenagers’ life rather than seeing them as some sort of alien; being greeted warmly at a meeting; making a customer feel fantastic about themselves; commenting positively on a colleagues’ work – all those things and more must surely make a difference!
I feel that communication is one of – if not the – most important skills in life.
Well listening is the most important communication skill.
Which makes listening pretty important in the whole scheme of things!!
If you want to engage people, you have to start by listening to them.

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Alan Austin-Smith


I have always believed that we can all do it right! We can all be fantastic at whatever it is we want to do – the difference between the successful people and everyone else is that they do it right – they are fantastic – CONSISTENTLY.

But how? Are they sub-human – somehow different to the rest of us?

Maybe they don’t get sick, feel tired, have hangovers, relationship problems or bad moods?
Or, are they exactly they same as everyone else, having the same stuff happening in their lives as everyone else, but just dealing with it differently?

Successful people take ‘fantastic’ action consistently by performing. They understand that the world is a stage and they need to be performers on it. We all have off days, but when you understand the importance of consistency, you quickly learn to perform – to act. This is not living a lie, it’s simply making a decision to get on with it. We all have a choice – I can decide to spend the day with a hangover, or decide not to have it. I’m human like anybody and sometimes I decide to have it! But, only if it doesn’t affect me being fantastic at work or as a dad, husband or friend.

That’s when I have to ‘act’ – but the amazing thing is that when I make the decision to act better – I start to feel better!

Do people trust you?

You need people to trust you – your customers, colleagues, friends and family. Why? Because whatever you may think, you can’t do it on your own – we all need people, but to get help, support and respect from people, they need to trust you.

How do we earn that trust? By acting consistently!

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Alan Austin-Smith


Just knowing where you are going is not enough though - you have to understand why you are going there too.

You need two things to achieve the results you want - focus and desire. The desire comes from the 'why'. Another word you might use would be passion - when you are passionate at something it is easy to keep going when the going gets tough because you know why you are doing it. This applies to everything you do at work in life.

Understand the difference between ‘what’ you do every day and ‘why’you do it.

Imagine you met me at a party and asked me what I do? I wouldn’t – but I could answer like this.
“I drive up and down motorways – sit in traffic jams, stand in queues at airport security, spend time away from my family in lonely hotel rooms that all look the same, stand in conference rooms that are often too small, too big, too warm, too cold and talk to people – some of whom don’t even want to listen to me, make phone calls, send e-mails...”

Of course you wouldn’t let me get that far – you would interrupt and say “No – what’s your job?”

“Oh, my job, sorry, you asked me what I do!”

I am very clear about what my job is – my job is to communicate to people in such a way as to motivate them to fly – to be fantastic. I love my job, but of course I don’t always love some of the things I have to do!

I really don’t enjoy queuing in airports, taking half my clothes off to get through security and then finding out that my flight has been delayed – but if that is what I have to do, to do what I love – then I can do it!

The passion comes from why you do things – not just what you do – of course we are passionate about some of the things that we do, however we all have things that we don’t enjoy doing.

Let’s face it – who can honestly say they like changing a nappy? But you will happily do it because of the reason why you do it – the happiness and comfort of your child!

If you have got to the point where you know where you are going, it's now time to start thing about why you are going there. Have Fun!
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Alan Austin-Smith


Check out my Flipboard Magazine for content I find that I think you would find interesting...

View my Flipboard Magazine.

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Alan Austin-Smith



It's that time of year when we all start thinking about the future - all the things we want to change about ourselves.We really mean it when we set those goals, so why is it so difficult to keep it going and achieve the changes we want?

It's because of the power of NOW. Of course this is a positive power - when you understand the value of the NOW, understand that it is the only time we are actually alive - living, breathing etc. then you know that it is the only time you can take any action. We learn from the past, but can take no action in it, we plan for the future but cannot yet take any action in it, it is only NOW that we can take any action.

However, there is also a negative power the NOW has. It is the power that any negative action you may be taking has - in the NOW!

The FUTURE doesn't exist yet - its weak, unclear, we can't always see it easily, yet the NOW is right here, strong and literally in your face - any negative thoughts or action you have NOW will be just as strong.

The FUTURE that you might really want is happy, healthy and wealthy however the NOW might be unhappy, unhealthy and in debt and that NOW is strong, like some cartoon muscle man character that is kicking sand in the face of your feeble FUTURE. 

The fact is that any behaviour that you want to change has probably been around awhile, it's grown strong and is an integral part of who you are right NOW. 

You wouldn't expect the wimp to get up of the beach and beat up the muscle man - it just isn't going to happen - but what if the wimp went away and started to get stronger until it was strong enough to fight back and actually win - so that the new behaviour becomes the strong NOW. 

That's how to get the changes you want - don't expect to beat the strong NOW without building up your FUTURE'S strength in small ways with small changes over a period of time until your FUTURE is strong enough to take on the old NOW and become the new NOW!

Let me give you an example: January is a really busy month in gyms but give it till March and they are back to normal because the powerful NOW that doesn't want to go to the gym has won! However starting by making a commitment to something easy, like taking a walk 3 times a week and then adding some simple exercises into the morning routine before making the walks a bit longer and then going to the gym just once a week before feeling able to go more often and over a period of time you have turned a weak future into a strong NOW!

Try this idea to start making small changes

Choose just one thing this week that you can do that would make you happier - remember it's small changes regularly - not a holiday in Barbados that would make you happy for a few weeks until the powerful NOW kicks back in - and then another that would make you healthier (one less sugar in a coffee would do it) and finally one that will make you wealthier (putting some spare change in a piggy bank is called saving - the first thing to get into the habit of to be wealthier!)

So one small change this week to be happier, healthier and wealthier - that's it - as simple as that.

Now do it again next week, and the next and the next - do it all year and you will have made 50 changes to be happier, 50 to be healthier and wealthier. Now that will be a great year!!

Have fun,

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Alan Austin-Smith


Motivation is easy - when you motivate people with things that motivate them!

Trying to motivate people with things that don’t motivate them - Yep that’s hard!!

However this rule isn’t just for when you are trying to motivate others - it also applies your self motivation. If you are trying to motivate yourself with things that don’t motivate you then you will struggle to keep the focus, energy and drive needed to achieve your goals.

Starting with motivating others, here is a great little tip to help you if you are a leader or educator.

Never ask people what motivates them - As I will explain in a moment with regard to your own motivation, people often don’t know what motivates them and they will give you the wrong answer, even if they believe it’s the right one!

They are possibly using what they think motivates them - what they think ‘should’ motivate them, or sometimes what other people feel they should be motivated by - parents, employers, teachers etc. However if that isn’t what actually motivates them then it will always be a uphill struggle.

Ask them to tell you about a time when they were motivated - whether in work or life. They will tell you a story about a time when they were motivated - listen carefully as you will get some good clues as to what motivates them. Was it a team oriented story or individual, was it reward or recognition, was it competition with themselves or others etc.

Ask questions - if they tell you about achieving a target ask whether it was the financial reward they received or the achievement?

When you feel you have understood the story ask for another couple of examples and you should see some common factors emerging - it’s not fool proof and won’t work with everyone but I guarantee you will learn a lot more than just asking someone what motivates them!

Finally what about you? 

Do the same exercise on yourself - think of some times you were motivated and analyse them for yourself. But here is another great technique (which you can also use on your team) that i love. Write down 3-5 things that you believe are motivators for yourself. Now take each one in turn and vividly imagine life in the future with it.

For example, let’s say you put money down - now you obviously don’t imagine yourself destitute - just not having as much as you would desire. How does it feel - what are you thinking about? How painful is it?? You see if you are thinking - oh well, that’s a shame, but at least I’ve got my health and my kids are doing well etc etc. then it’s not really hurting - therefore it’s not a driving motivator.

Don’t confuse ‘like’ with ‘drive’. I like money, I’d like more and if you want to give me some I’ll take it thank you - however I’m not driven by it - it’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning. I ‘like’ money but I’m not ‘driven’ by it.

PS: There is nothing wrong with being driven by money - everyone is different and everyone is motivated by different things - nobody’s motivation (assuming it’s legal and not hurting anyone) is wrong - it’s just them!

All I’m saying is that in the above example you would have to say that person isn't driven - motivated - by money. It didn’t hurt enough!!

Do this with all the things that motivate you and you will find one or two that really hurt when you imagine life without them - those are your drivers - now look at how you use them to be more successful.

I’m strongly motivated by freedom - not by money - but when I use freedom to motivate myself I realise that I need a level of financial independence to achieve that freedom. If I just try to make more money it doesn’t work for me - but I’m very motivated to make money when I am focused on the freedom it gives me.

Motivation is easy when you motivate people with things that motivate them!

Are you motivating yourself and the individuals in your team with things that motivate - because if you aren’t, it’s always going to be hard!

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Alan Austin-Smith



Check out this quick little video - Many of you will have heard me despair at times at how boring and predictable the wonderful business I fell in love with as 16 year old has become - stand out from the crowd has been my clarion call for a long time now! Well I don't think anyone can say that the wonderful Sophia Hilton and her fab team are hiding in the crowd!!

Of course you need to do it in your own way - of course what Sophia is doing isn't for everyone - but the question isn't whether are you doing 'this' - it's; WHAT ARE 'YOU' DOING TO STAND OUT FROM YOUR CROWD?

#BEFantastic #alanaustinsmith #sophiahilton #notanothersalon


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Alan Austin-Smith


Sometimes we all lose the passion for what we do - I guess it's natural, only human - however it's tough to BE Fantastic when you're not passionate. 

So how do you get the passion back? 

The first step is to be clear about the difference between what you do and what your job is.

If we met at a party and you asked me what I do - I wouldn’t, but I could answer like this;  “I drive up and down motorways, fly around the world, stand in rooms that are too cold or too hot, too large or too small and talk to lots of people, I make telephone calls, write emails etc etc”

Now you wouldn’t let me get that far of course. You would interrupt me and say “No, I meant what’s your job?”.

Oh - But you asked me what I do. If you asked me what my job is, I would be able to tell you clearly and concisely, “My job is to communicate with people in such a way as to motivate them to fly!”.

It's 'WHY' I do what I do - it's why I drive up and down motorways, stand in rooms that are too cold etc., but that is not my job - it' just some of the stuff I have to do.

You see although I love my job, I don't love some of the stuff I have to do - when I have to stay away from my family, deal with traffic jams, freeze in over-air conditioned seminar rooms, take half my clothes off at airport security etc etc.

The only problem is when I start to think that stuff is my job - because when I start to focus on the the things I don't enjoy then... BANG - the passion is gone!!

So how do you get it back - shift your focus - where you put your focus is where you get your results so guess what - if you focus on the crap then you will get....CRAP!

Shift your focus to why you do what you do - I may hate some of the stuff I have to do but I LOVE seeing and hearing from people who are flying because of what I teach - I can sit in lonely hotel rooms and airports, get up at the crack of dawn to fight through the traffic etc quite happily when I love the reason I do it.

I remember a street cleaner where I live who used to dance with headphones on whilst sweeping the pavements. He was interviewed on TV and asked how he can be so happy cleaning up other peoples rubbish - "but that's not how I see my job" he replied "I love making the streets clean and safe for the people who live here - especially their children and pets!" 

It wasn't what he what was doing that made him happy, it was why he was doing it!!

Shift your focus and the passion will come back
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