I’m currently reading (actually listening to) Will Smith’s autobiography and it is absolutely amazing.

Something that has really impressed me is the methodology he uses and his attitude to achieving goals.

After the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, he set a huge goal…

To become the biggest movie star in the world.

To do this, he began by studying (with his manager) the top 100 grossing movies and what made them successful.  He wanted to know what type of film to go for.

He also flew to Sydney to attend the opening of Planet Hollywood, in the full knowledge that Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger would all be there.

He interrupted their conversation and asked what it would take to be the biggest movie star in the world.

Arnold Schwarzenegger gave the answer. Read this next bit with an Arnie accent.

To be the biggest movie star in the world you have to get out of America, you have to be like a politician – kiss babies, be at every event, promote your movies and outwork everyone else.

He took this advice to heart and studied who (when it came to promotion) the hardest working actors were.

Tom Cruise outworked everyone. Will Smith contacted his publicists and found out how Tom Cruise promoted and made a commitment to work for two hours more per day than he did to promote a movie.

An average week for Will Smith looked like this:

Monday to Friday: Rehearse and record the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Friday night: Fly to Europe

Saturday and Sunday (every waking hour): Promote your latest movie, spend hours on the red carpet making sure that everyone gets an autograph. Do more interviews, be in more places, be more interesting than everybody else. He even started to put on gigs at Premiers for the people who couldn’t get in!

Sunday evening: Overnight flight back to LA.

By doing this he could double the revenue of a movie in somewhere like Spain, the UK or Japan.

The movie studios loved him as he was going the extra mile to promote their movie.

He saw it as promoting himself as a personal brand; but with $150 million of a movie studios money to do it with!

It was a massive win-win and it wasn’t long before Will Smith achieved his goal.

Are you prepared to outwork the ordinary to achieve your goal?

Because visualisation, affirmations and vision boards mean nothing without graft.

Be Brilliant!


PS I’d love to know what you think about this newsletter. Leave a message below. I’ll send a copy of my book How to Be Brilliant to our favourite comment.


  1. December 2nd 2021 by Charlie Lock

    Your newsletter ‘What Will Did’ landed in my inbox and caught my eye. Your first sentence drew me in ‘Something that has really impressed me is the methodology he uses and his attitude to achieving goals.’…. And the detail you go into about how he studies what the other top stars and producers do, then replicates and builds on this – pure gold.

    This is something i will 100% be doing in the coming days for our business, great stuff thank you! Keep it coming 🙂

  2. December 2nd 2021 by Catherine Barnicle

    Thank you so much for this inspirational communication.
    I find it extremely helpful to feel supported with my writing.
    Best wishes to you.


  3. December 2nd 2021 by Alastair

    Will Smith clearly showed a true human willingness to succeed and a “never giving up” on your goals approach that is inspirational.

    He demonstrated that by putting your own goals, visions and needs above all that you can achieve what you set out too with constant relentless work.

    This resonates so much with all aspects of life; im about to start a new job and imposter syndrome is creeping in along with a “how do i even get started?” …well I know i need to ask questions but also the right questions, observe all the time, get in the thick of it, go into the deep ocean of knowledge and skills, be patient, make notes, read and absorb said notes, learn and understand i need to learn, go on courses to up skill and i know with hard continuous work all will come right.

    Thanks again Michael, channeling my inner 17 is helping with the above!

  4. December 2nd 2021 by Steve Bell

    So true. Grit and graft are probably the key qualities for success.

  5. December 2nd 2021 by Deidre

    Thank you for sharing.

    Wow! I need to up my game and Be More Brilliant by working harder and smarter…

  6. December 2nd 2021 by Mrs Diane M Goulding

    Just goes to prove behind every ‘overnight success’ is a dream, hard work and passion!

  7. December 2nd 2021 by Laura

    I loved your last sentence…I am working so hard all the time and sometimes feel like a should spend more time on my mood boards etc. So this has just spurred me on that I just need to keep ploughing on one door in front of the other each day! Thank you!

  8. December 2nd 2021 by Jenny Ewart-Robb

    I am really inspired by your newsletter. I entirely agree – if you love your work really go for it and never give up – easy to say but it helps to receive an inspirational newsletter when you are flagging. Now – I’m on my way again – here goes – what’s to lose?! Thank you Michael.

  9. December 2nd 2021 by Su Bailey

    This was affirmation that we need to move out of our comfort zone, and into the sometimes cold and unimpressed wider world, and work on educating those who maybe don’t care or don’t know.

  10. December 2nd 2021 by Bolatito Lawal

    Thank you for sharing this Michael. The message reminded me of the fact that “if it is to be, it is up to me”. If I truly have a desired self, I should give it my all to achieve it. Study those who are already where I want and replicate what they do or out do the way they did it. This also brought to memory a saying by Albert Einstein “you have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else”. Thanks for the wake up call.

  11. December 2nd 2021 by Dan Altmire

    Michael, another great post from you.
    Will Smith acted on his vision of his Destiny. Many people have that vision but think that it will happen by some magical twist of fate. This is a rare occasion.
    Your story highlights several steps.
    1. Set a big honking goal.
    2. Visualize what that person is like.
    3. Study people who have that characteristic, meet them if possible (Sometimes they are no longer with us, but their stories live on)
    4. Find the steps that made them successful.
    5 Reverse engineer a plan to get you to the future you.
    6. WORK YOUR ASS OFF on the plan. (This probably means you will work for free, you will spend time and money to get better, you will not be able to hang with your friends at the club, etc)
    7. I will add one more, DON’T LISTEN TO THE HATERS.
    (Oh and if you n into difficulties as you will, read FLIP IT, by one Michael Heppell

  12. December 2nd 2021 by Paul Sullivan

    Where there’s a Will
    There’s a way. 🤩

  13. December 2nd 2021 by Anne Beth JORDAN

    One of the best ones today Michael

    It really touches a cord

    When I first started my business I was exactly like Will Smith.

    However along the way I burnt out

    Now I’m a tiny ember working to fan my inner flame again

  14. December 2nd 2021 by Helen (HJ)

    Motivating me is not an easy task. Your endless enthusiasm and belief in us, in me, is inspiring. Thank you.
    I’m doing it.

  15. December 3rd 2021 by Karen McCann

    My whole family just loves Will Smith. It’s probably the one thing we all have in common and there are a lot of us! Some do, genuinely admire his work ethic, some his ability to talk to anyone as if they’re his oldest friend or the most interesting person he’s met in years. Others just fancy the pants off him – and why not.
    He’s let his children run free in the world of film and celebrity, but keeps them as grounded as he is.
    This was such a lovely article to read. There’s so much angst in the world today, it’s really nice to read something with no sting in the tail. Thank you.

  16. December 3rd 2021 by Mary Masaba

    I contacted my local bookshop hoping to see if I can do story time with them once a week, with a view to sneaking in my own stories in future.

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