I’ve heard it said that “small hinges swing big doors.” And I think that’s true—that there truly are small changes you can make that can lead to big results.
In over 30 years of trying to lead my family well and build an organization around putting family first, I’ve learned the power of small changes. While I haven’t always gotten this perfect, here are 5 small changes that lead to big results.
1. Look for places to add value.
When you know how you can add value, you’re more likely to use your time wisely. So learn to look for where you can make a difference. Maybe someone is going through a difficult time or there’s a disagreement at work. The point is to continually look for ways you can help. The small change of seeking out ways you can add value in other people’s lives will go far in improving your relationships. You’ll gain a broader perspective and have a better outlook knowing you are helping others.
2. Be present by cutting distractions.
There are so many distractions out there. Eliminate them (or as many of them as you can). Cutting out distractions allows you to focus on what you should be doing. For example, I’ve left my phone in another room for a time when I’ve felt overwhelmed and needed to complete a task. The small change here is to be present when you need to be. If you’re at work, focus on work. If you’re with your kids, focus on your kids. If staying focused and present is a struggle for you, remove the distractions. Small changes, big results.
3. Focus on the end game.
You have to know your destination before you start heading toward it. You can’t arrive if you don’t know where you’re going. Your end game can be tweaked or changed as you go, but it’s crucial not just to write down your goals but also to set up a system to remember them. If you only write them down, you’ll eventually forget them. Set up a time to meet with yourself daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually—whatever it takes to keep your goals in front of your mind.
4. Seek feedback.
Simply inviting others into your life and asking them where you can improve does wonders for improving yourself. Over the years, I’ve found that taking initiative and asking others for feedback has made a big impact on my life. When’s the last time you asked someone for feedback? Be open and interested in others’ feedback and in how it can help you. By asking for feedback, I’ve learned to see myself for who I really am and improve. Seeking feedback has helped me be a more effective leader.
5. Add self-discipline.
Small changes that lead to big results don’t have to be dramatic. Starting your day by making your bed, for example, can change everything. Admiral William H. McRaven says, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
What small change have you made in your life that yielded big results? Share in a comment below.