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The Power of Small

Never neglect the little things.

Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think; it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities.

You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.

—Og Mandino

Small, seemingly insignificant acts are powerful agents of change and growth. Contrary to the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” small actions do add up, say Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, authors of The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference. In fact, small actions can change careers, relationships, well-being and the impact people have on the world.

⇒  ADD VALUE.

Before you start your day, think about how you can do your job better than anyone else, learn something new, or improve your skills and performance. Repeat the process daily and you will reap rewards.

⇒  TAKE ONE EXTRA MINUTE.

Read your speech, report, quarterly budget or business correspondence once again. You may be glad you did.

⇒  TEACH, DON’T PREACH.

With a team member who is struggling, share a story or two of mistakes you made along the way in your career and what you learned from them.

⇒  BE 4 AGAIN.

Ask small questions. Don’t be afraid to ask why and why not. If you admire someone’s success, be nosy about why they achieved it. Ask for the specific steps they took and how they reached their goals.

⇒  ENLIST A FRIENDLY CRITIC.

Have a business partner give you the hard answers to some tough questions. Do I give off any negative vibes? Do I have any signature phrases, gestures or tics?

⇒  OFFER TO DO SOMETHING EXTRA REGULARLY.

It can be as modest as giving your spouse a break by offering to walk the dog or helping a coworker get a rush project to FedEx. The effects can last longer than you think.

⇒  MAKE A HUMAN CONNECTION.

Whether it’s chatting with the bank teller, the woman behind you in the movie line or the person at the coffee counter, small talk is a lost art, especially when everyone is communicating by BlackBerry or Facebook. Small personal exchanges can brighten the day, help change your perspective, even spark a business deal or great love story.

⇒  MAKE SMALL IMPRESSIONS.

Look for ways to insert a positive impression, no matter how small, into every encounter. Pay a compliment, bring extra treats to the dog park, hold the elevator for the straggler in the lobby, or keep and share an extra umbrella in your office.

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