Personal and Professional Development Blog

This website contains more than 200 lessons about how to achieve personal and professional success. These articles, written by Todd Smith, an entrepreneur for the last 30 years, reveal that it is indeed the little things that can influence every part of our lives and make all the difference. Todd has achieved the top 1% of 1% of the people in his chosen fields. He invites you to peruse the list below to find articles that appeal to you.

The Fundamentals of Eye Contact

Eye contact is a non-verbal communication that can have profound influence on your social and professional interactions. In general, eye contact demonstrates interest and confidence. But it’s not that simple. When is your gaze considered too long? How do you make eye contact when you are speaking with more than one person? If someone doesn’t make eye contact with you, what conclusions do you draw about that person?

Looking at people and meeting their eyes is vital to your professional success. Let’s consider several situations that demand effective eye contact.

Speaking with One Person

When you are involved in a conversation with one person, there will be opportunities for you to talk and others for you to listen….read more

15 Ways to Increase Your Value and Influence at Work

Bored woman at the end of the day

Put yourself in the position of the owner of your business or the leader of your organization. What qualities would you look for in the employee whom you would advance within your management structure? If you had to lay people off, what type of person would you release? What type would you keep?

Now put yourself in the position of the employee. How would your employer rate your services? The fact is it’s the “little things” you do and don’t do that have a direct impact on your raises, promotions, and influence within an organization. The way you are viewed will not only impact your success at your current place of employment, but it will also affect the recommendations and references that follow you if you leave.

Here are 15 “little things” that will increase your value to your employer and make you stand out as a person who takes pride in your job…read more

15 Tips to Keep From Getting Sick

As we move into prime flu season, I want to share with you what I do to stay well. A key part of my success and happiness is that I seldom get sick and I believe it is because of the little things I do that keep me feeling good. When you understand how viruses and germs are spread, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy.

Here are 15 tips to help you feel good, look good, and stay well. As you will see, it’s all about playing the odds and reducing your risks.

1. Wash your hands frequently. Since your hands are the main carriers of viruses and germs, make it a habit to wash them often, especially EVERY time you use the restroom.

2. Carry anti-bacteria hand cleaner in your car, briefcase, or purse. This is the best way to sanitize your hands when water and soap are not available…read more

The Importance of Being On Time

Have you noticed that tardiness is on the rise? People are chronically late for work; for their child’s teacher conference or athletic contest; or even for parties and celebrations. As the old saying goes, “they will even be late for their own funeral.” Yet, punctuality is one of the key ways that we can positively brand ourselves.

Today we will explore why it is so important to be on time for all of your scheduled events. Whatever your appointment may be—a phone call, a business meeting, or a dinner engagement—you should always strive to be on time….read more

Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

Worried businessman

This is lesson #48 from my book Little Things Matter, 100 Ways to Improve Your Life Today.

If you are like most people you probably spend more time worrying than you should. Worrying about job security, project deadlines, health, shrinking budgets, rising taxes, the housing market, world poverty, our children’s safety, even the weather. Some things we can control, others we clearly cannot. The key to maintaining a positive attitude in life is to know the difference.

I heard years ago that 92 percent of the things people worry about are beyond their control…read more

The Growing Importance of Soft Skills

Business people discussing.

We are living in an era of constant change. Because businesses are becoming less dictatorial and more social, the understanding and value of soft skills to an organization are growing daily.

In Top 10 Soft Skills to Master, I touched on a couple reasons why soft skills are important, but those were just the tip of the iceberg. The more I look at the distinguishing traits of people who are advancing their careers, the more convinced I am that soft skills are more important today than ever before.

Soft Skills versus Hard Skills

“Soft skills” is a term relating to a collection of personal, positive attributes and competencies that enhance your relationships, job performance, and value to the market…. read more

11 Ways to Increase Your Discipline

While having lunch with a friend last week, he told me how impressed he was with one of the speakers at a conference he recently attended. Sabriye Tenberken became gradually visually impaired and eventually completely blind by the age of thirteen.

Ms. Tenberken overcame her handicap and went on to achieve great success. During her speech, she said, “If you are going to be successful, your goal must be bigger than your greatest obstacle.” Wow, how true! Think about it… more

To Earn Respect You Must Show Respect

I recently posed this question on the Facebook Little Things Matter fan page:

“What are the things you notice about people that make you respect them?”

Reading the responses was interesting and when I compared the fans’ comments to my list, one common theme stood out. Everyone agrees that you earn respect by showing respect. Said another way, if you take the time to demonstrate respect for people, they will show you respect.

Think about it, when people show you respect, how does it make you feel about them? On the other hand when people DON’T show you respect, how do you feel about them?….read more

The Power of Showing Your Appreciation

William James, well-known psychologist and philosopher, said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.” If we are honest with ourselves, we all want and need to feel valued for who we are and recognized for our contributions and accomplishments. It’s important for us to know that we have made a difference in someone’s life.

If a person takes the time to express their heart-felt appreciation for something we have done, it boosts our spirit, passion, and purpose. It builds our self-confidence, self-esteem and our entire self-image. It gives us energy and motivation to work harder and do more….read more

The Secret to Becoming an Effective Leader

After taking the last year off from my writing, I’m back! I am going to commit to writing at least one new article a month sharing some of the most important lessons I am learning on my journey!

One of the things I enjoyed this past year was observing the attributes of men and women who are admired leaders—at home, in the work place, and in the community. I have also watched the wannabe leaders and have seen quite a contrast between the two groups… read more

What’s Your Brand?

Have you ever stopped to think that everything you do or neglect to do affects a person’s impression of you? It is true that the way people view you impacts every aspect of your life—from your career to your personal relationships. Nothing is exempt. In today’s lesson you will learn that the little things you do and say form an indelible imprint.

Just as products carry a brand, people also carry a brand. Branding is how the world sees you; the impression you make on others; the values you stand for; the qualities that mold your personality; the characteristics that make you stand out from the crowd.

Evaluating Others

How important is the brand we wear? Think about these simple questions….read more

The Duplication Effect of Leadership

Whether or not you hold the formal title of “leader,” there are people around you looking for someone from whom to take their cues in any number of situations. By the end of this post, you’ll realize that your role in leading others is much more significant than you currently believe.

We have all heard about the importance of leading by example, but the benefits are more than meet the eye. Albert Einstein spoke to this: “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”

Who Set the Best Example?

Imagine a company where employees are expected to be at their desks by 8 a.m., yet their manager often strolls in around 8:15 a.m. It doesn’t take long for the staff to follow suit, regardless of the official start time…read more