I’m sure you have all heard the phrase, don’t sweat the small stuff. That expression was highlighted in Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuffand It’s All Small Stuff. In it he tells you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life. I’d like to counter that statement with another axiom I’m pretty sure you have heard as well. “Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

I once heard that it may have been Napoleon who first said, “Good things come in small packages,” or maybe it someone in the jewelry industry?” Whoever coined that phrase had the wisdom to realize that small things can make a big difference.

This is the theory behind The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller. The Tipping Point explains how social epidemics, the spreading ideas, messages, behaviors, and products can function like viruses, they start small and grow gradually until they reach a critical mass (the tipping point) and explode.

Years ago, I read “Wooden on Leadership.”  It was about John Wooden, one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time.  He coached U.C.L.A. to ten NCAA titles, seven consecutive titles, from 1967 through 1973. You know what the first practice consisted of for Coach Wooden? When he brought the players in, they didn’t go through drills, they didn’t run sprints, they didn’t practice free throws or passing. Their very first practice consisted of sitting down and learning how to put their socks on correctly. Wooden firmly believed that blisters on the players feet would be a deterrent to the player’s performance on the court, so learning how to properly put your socks and shoes on were an important part of a team’s success. Coach Wooden believed that when the small things are done right, it makes a big difference.

What is some of the small stuff you should be sweating as a leader?

*Plan your next day the night before. A key success habit of an effective leader is to schedule their next day the night before. Of course, there will be things that come up over the span of the day that will need your attention but by planning ahead you can hit the ground running the next day.

*Start each day with a grateful heart. Before anything else, acknowledge that it is the day that the Lord has made so rejoice and be glad in it. Offer prayers for others and ask God to help you take small steps in fulfilling your God given purpose that day.

*Make balanced health a habit. Effective leaders make it their habit to take care of themselves in four areas: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Incorporate into each day a small step in each. Every morning I stretch and do some light exercise to get my heart pumping. I take vitamins and supplements to support my immune system. I make my bed every morning, believing that it is important to start each day with a small task that is easily completed. I also read something inspiring each morning like an uplifting scripture verse to get my mind and spirit moving in a positive direction.

Small things done habitually each day can help build a balanced, productive and purposeful life.