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.

10 Verbal Communication Skills Worth Mastering

Last week I read a blog post 7 Personal Branding Predictions for 2011 by personal branding expert Dan Schawbel. One of his seven predications for 2011 was that soft skills will become more important than hard skills.

Dan said, When enough people have similar talents, and are competing for the same positions and opportunities, the real differentiator is your interpersonal skills. The way you present yourself, how you communicate with other people, whether it’s in an interview or with management at work, can make or break your personal brand. More and more people are starting to realize that the little things matter, especially in our current competitive environment.”read more

33 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Stress

Businesswoman pain

Stress is evident everywhere in our fast-paced world. It’s a mental, emotional, or physical strain caused by anxiety or overwork. We all feel stress and often suffer the results of it in some way or other.

What you are about to read can have a significant impact on the levels of stress you experience. This post is not about how to deal with stress; it’s about how to reduce and avoid it.

Most of the stress we experience can be broken down into three categories…read more

10 Ways to Make a Positive Impression When Greeting People

In yesterdays post Phone Greetings That Make a Positive Impression I shared with you some simple tips about how to make a positive impression when you greet people over the phone. Today’s lesson will focus on the strategies for making a good impression when you meet and greet people in person.

1. When you greet people in person for the first time—To make a positive first impression when meeting new people, include the following as part of your greeting: a warm smile, an introduction that includes your first and last name, a welcoming comment, direct eye contact and a firm handshake, if appropriate. I also recommend repeating the person’s name. For instance, “It’s very nice to meet you Bob.”….read more

10 Ways To Be A Good Listener

Being a good listener is one of the most important skills you can master if you want to advance your career and build meaningful relationships. When you REALLY listen, you demonstrate your interest in what is being said and you show your respect for the individual saying it. Listening is a magnetic force that draws people to us.

Have you ever talked to someone and noticed he or she wasn’t really listening to you? How did it make you feel? Unimportant? Disrespected? Insulted? Remember those feelings and work diligently to ensure that people never feel the same way when they talk to you.

In this post I will highlight 10 things I have learned throughout my career in addition to some lessons my dad taught me. My dad is the best listener I know. Everyone who meets him forms an instant bond with him and I am convinced that the number one reason for this immediate connection is his genuine and sincere interest in others. It all starts with him being a good listener… more

Becoming a Disciplined Person


Self-discipline is a pattern of behavior where you choose to do what you know you should do, rather than what you want to do. It’s the inner power that pushes you to get out of bed to exercise rather than sleeping in. It is the assertion of willpower over more basic desires and is synonymous with self-control.

It includes having the personal initiative to get started and the stamina to persevere. Being disciplined gives you the strength to withstand hardships and difficulties, whether physical, emotional or mental. It allows forgoing immediate satisfaction, in order to gain something better, but which requires effort and time…read more

Personal Accountability—A Requirement for Life Advancement

Accountability is normally viewed as being responsible—giving an explanation of your actions—to somebody for something. However, today’s lesson is not about someone holding you accountable. It’s about you holding yourself accountable.

When you take 100 percent responsibility for holding yourself accountable, your performance will improve, your relationships will flourish, your market value will soar, people’s respect for you will skyrocket, you will be a great example for others to follow, and your self-esteem will grow.

How is it that in all these areas of your life you can see such dramatic improvement? Because when you hold yourself accountable to doing the things you know you should do, you will distinguish yourself from the crowd….read more

10 Ways to Make People Feel Good

I’m excited to share today’s lesson because it captures one of life’s simple yet powerful truths. When you focus on others rather than on yourself, you make a positive difference in two lives—yours and the person with whom you interact.

When you are intentional about doing things that make others feel good, you create a special connection that accelerates new relationships and nurtures existing ones.

The Values of Making People Feel Good

Recently, I talked about habits we have that bug people and the damaging effect that can have on our reputations. However, doing things that make people feel good is quite the opposite. Not only does it brighten someone’s day, but it’s a positive reflection on you and enhances your reputation…read more

25 Unexpected Ways to Make Someone’s Day

Do you remember the last time you received an unexpected call, text or email from someone who intentionally said something complimentary to you? How did it make you feel?  Did it brighten your mood?  Did it bring a smile to your face?  What impression did this person make on you?

When I consider the different types of impressions we make on people, there are very few more powerful then when you do something unexpectedly to show people they are important to you. It could be a simple text message telling a friend how much you value the friendship or a short email to a co-worker complimenting him or her on the way he or she handled a difficult situation at the office today…read more

10 Simple Ways to Show Your Sincere Interest in Others

One of the keys, if not the most important one, to building successful relationships is your ability to show a sincere interest- both in the person and things that are important to that person. By expressing genuine interest in someone’s qualities, background, stories, hobbies, career, family, or anything else closely connected to that person, you will give them a gift- a sense of importance, well being and value.

And the law of attraction will draw people to you like a powerful magnetic force….read more

25 Tips to Staying Married 25 Years

Authors: Todd and Joy Smith, Founders of Little Things Matter

Yesterday, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We can’t believe we are old enough to have been married for 25 years. Recognizing the importance of building a successful marriage, we want to share with you our top 25 marriage tips. The following points are not listed in any specific order. It is our hope that these tips will help you enjoy a more rewarding marriage.

We recorded the podcast version of this post and we’ve added commentary that’s not included in the written post. Click here to listen to this podcast. (The audio player is below the title of the post.)

1. Marry the right person. There is only one way you will know if the person you are dating is the right person to marry and that is by spending time together. We recommend dating at least one year before getting engaged. We dated for four years before getting married. Once we got married, there were no surprises…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

49 Ways to Improve Your Email Brand

Have you ever considered that every email you send makes an impression on someone? Each impression plays a small, but important role in defining your personal brand.

Just as every product has a brand, so do each of us. We’re all branding ourselves every day, in every way—by how we sound on the phone; by our appearance; by our level of physical fitness; by how we acknowledge people, and through our email communications.

If the people you have corresponded with via email over the last 30 days were surveyed and asked to describe your personal email brand, what would the results show? Now take a minute to think about your goals and consider the person you need to become to achieve your goals…read more

Click Here to Download This Report.

130 Time Management Tips

One of the most important keys to personal and professional success lies in how you spend your time. Each day contains twenty-four hours, but how we spend those hours is what separates people who enjoy lives of happiness, fulfillment and success from those who experience lives filled with frustration, disappointment, and often failure.

When Olympic athletes train, no detail of their performance is overlooked—from computerized motion studies to the fabric of their clothing and the customization of each shoe. Mastering time management is much the same. In order to work smarter but not harder, you must examine—and be willing to make changes to—everything you do to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and performance…
read more

Click Here to Download This Report

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