August 26th, 2013 // Living in Your Top 1% // No Comments
Every entrepreneur fills multiple roles in running his or her company — one day you’re raising money, the next day you’re head of sales or creative director, and the next day you’re speaking at a conference or doing much needed admin work. The challenge is prioritizing the most important parts of the business rather than the day alone.
My coaching clients all have multiple projects on their to-do list whether they work solo or oversee a team. Stephen Covey offers a wonderful piece of advice in this quote, “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Many people look at their schedule and then decide what are the top priorities. I encourage my clients to figure out what your top priorities are first, and then design your schedule. Otherwise key personal or professional priorities, such as carving out 90 minutes to focus on your marketing strategy, prepare a presentation, workout or spend time with family or friends, may get left off the schedule.
What Are YOUR Key Priorities?
You will find your priorities shift depending on the different phases of your business and life. Often, what’s important to you last year will change from what’s essential to you today or in the next three years. Here are three factors to consider as you identify your top priorities.
1. Bottom line: Do your top priorities align with your bottom line?
Each entrepreneur has to decide what drives his or her bottom line. How do you define your bottom line? Depending on your answer you will set different priorities. What’s most important for your business now — is it gaining visibility, hiring the right team, shifting or developing your marketing strategy, contributing to your community, doing research on a product or securing another major account? Your priorities will shift as your business grows and matures so you need to continually revise your priorities.
Right now there is a global initiative happening to redefine success and the bottom line of companies. It’s called the The B Team and is a not-for-profit co-founded by Richard Branson to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Its mission is to deliver a ‘Plan B’ that puts people and planet alongside profit since the original Plan A — where companies are driven by profits alone — is no longer acceptable.
2. Time Frame: What’s your key short-term and long-term project goal?
Our priorities will also shift depending on the time period we are focusing on. Often we have competing projects, which require company resources, that happen in different time periods. It’s possible you may have to focus on hiring employees today while finding office space solutions for the longer term. You’ll have to figure out what part of each short and long-term project needs to get done today so you can continue to grow your business. Again, this is not easy but these decisions will ultimately have to align with your bottom line.
3. Follow Your Heart: What’s your heart telling you?
Often we make decisions based on what we think we should be doing which makes it difficult to hear what our heart is saying. As you move away from all the shoulds and what others think you should be doing, you step into a new world of possibilities.
There will always be external and internal pressures that arise and try to derail you. For example, one of my clients who lives on the East Coach wants to buy a business on the West Coast and relocate but she’s in a relationship and her partner does not want to move. She’s conflicted because she feels she should start a family but her heart is encouraging her to be fulfilled in her career right now. Another client feels he should take a consulting project for the money but in his heart knows the project is disorganized and it’s not the right company. Both clients are following their heart. When you make heart-based decisions and follow your truth, you have greater clarity to take action (yes, the impact of the decisions may still be difficult).
Your heart will offer answers. Your work will be to decide what you are willing to do and what feels authentic.
Top 1% Bottom Line
Being an entrepreneur requires that you wear multiple hats. You have to understand the needs of various projects and continually evaluate your opportunities. As you grow your business, have the courage to listen to your heart and honor your priorities so they are aligned with a bottom line that hopefully makes a positive impact on our world. The choice is yours.
Alissa is a business/life coach, speaker, and author of Living in Your Top 1%.
April 1st, 2013 // Inspiration, Living in Your Top 1% // No Comments
“No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage.”
What if your mindset believed uncomfortable was the new comfortable? Would you make different choices and take different actions in your career, finances, and relationships?
Being in uncharted territory is a simple and often unsettling signal that you are on the right track. This is when opportunities emerge in your life and you move to another level. The playing field shifts, and it’s powerful, scary, and expansive. Welcome these moments!
Uncharted territory in your life is not good or bad, it just is. Yes, it may rattle your foundation, and you may be tempted to pullback, say you can’t do it, or bail completely. But these are exactly the conditions that set you up for massive growth, joy, and new experiences in your life.
This idea relates to my clients in many different ways: the small business owner working to expand his/her business and brand, the manager working through a transition in his/her career, an author-to-be writing her first book, young parents sending their first child to school, or all of us working through a new relationship, whether it’s personal or with a business partner.
Personally, when I look back on some of the “uncomfortable” moments in my life which have turned into “wins,”I was completely in new territory and didn’t know what would happen: leaving my finance job and changing careers (Would I find a career I enjoy? Yes.), moving to California (Would I make friends and build a new community? Yes.), writing my first book (Would I write an inspiring book that helped people? Yes.), or doing my first Half-Ironman (Would I be able to swim 1.2 miles, then bike 56, and run 13.1? Yes.). I continue to work on building a community that inspires me and growing my business. It’s never easy, but it’s always possible when you give yourself a chance and step forward.
The bottom line is if you’re growing and doing something new, you will be in uncharted waters. That’s just how it works. Staying in your comfort zone is always an option, but that gets a bit boring after a while.
Alissa’s Bio: Alissa is a Business/Life Coach, speaker, and author of Living in Your Top 1%. She works with entrepreneurs, business owners, and companies to help them strategize and develop key goals. She has an MBA from the Wharton School. Join her on Facebook and visit her website to learn more.
January 6th, 2013 // Inspiration, Living in Your Top 1% // No Comments
* This blog was featured on Positively Positive.
Often, when people look back on their year, they are tempted to think about all the things that went wrong. The relationships that didn’t work out, the projects that didn’t happen, the clients you didn’t get, the trips you didn’t take, and the weight you didn’t lose. While this method is tempting only because we’ve done it before, I’d like to suggest a new approach—CELEBRATE YOUR WINS. Yes, focus on what went well!
I encourage you to think of at least three “wins” that made you feel good about yourself and what you accomplished this year and why each one is important (this is also helpful to do with your family, kids, partner, best friend, or team at work). Wins are about moving to your next level, feeling fulfilled, and showing yourself you CAN do it. Wins do not have to be about finishing first, making more money, or being better than someone else. Wins give you confidence, hope, and energy.
A win shifts the lens you use to view the world from im-possible to possible.
Sometimes, wins are small, such as going to sleep before midnight, or bigger, such as changing jobs. And what may be small to one person may be big for another. We each have different needs and values so there’s no need to judge. One client successfully scheduled a yoga retreat for 2013 that will help her expand her business. One of my wins was recording my first audio book for Living in YOUR Top 1%. The audio is one more data point that I CAN move outside my comfort zone and figure out how to do something with limited prior knowledge. Understanding the “why” is important because the next time you tell yourself, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t know how,” that excuse is no longer valid because your win proves otherwise.
If you are absolutely convinced that nothing went well this year (and I respectfully challenge you), then take a pause and ask yourself what you learned from the experience or what you can do differently next time. Perhaps you were in a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling, but hopefully you gained clarity on your non-negotiables and what’s important to you in a partner. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to these lessons.
Identifying a win helps you see the greater possibilities for your life. You will realize if you have “wins” in one area such as your career, you can have “wins” in other areas such as healthy living or finances. You’ll notice that the areas where you experience wins are often because you make them a priority and invest your time. Think about the process you used to enjoy a win (i.e. did you research options, overcome obstacles, ask for something, have a mentor, etc.) and then condition yourself to use these same rituals in other areas of your life.
As we move into the New Year, use your wins to lead you into an upward spiral to remind yourself of what’s possible.
Alissa is a Business/Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and author of Living in Your Top 1% (also available on the Kindle and as an audio book). To learn more about coaching with Alissa or having her speak to your team or company, please visit her website. Join Alissa on Facebook and Twitter.
November 6th, 2012 // Living in Your Top 1% // No Comments
Here’s a novel idea….
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED!
Sounds like a simple enough idea to ask. When kids are hungry they ask for food. When kids are thirsty they ask for something to drink. Somewhere between being a kid and becoming an adult, we forget that we have the ability to ask for what we want. And just to clarify, I’m not encouraging you to be greedy and ask for unnecessary things, I’m encouraging you to think about what’s important to you and why and then go for it.
We can ask for what we want in all areas of our life. We can ask in our career, relationships, and financially. By asking with compassion for what we want we increase the likelihood to live our truth. You may need time for yourself, sleep, honesty in a relationship, respect, more or less responsibility at work, or a day off to highlight a few themes. And sometimes what you need, such as space in a relationship, may not be what the other person wants and that’s ok. It’s important to honor yourself and your needs.
Perhaps you don’t know what you want.
Perhaps you are scared to ask.
Perhaps you wouldn’t know what to do if you actually got what you asked for.
Amazing things happen when you ask. One client, who was seriously considering leaving her job, was able to put a four-day work week into place by masterfully conveying to her boss why this would be good for her, the company, and her team. Her boss agreed and my client now works a four-day work week and enjoys her job again. Prior to this shift, my client was frustrated with her job and not happy in her role.
Now, here’s the tricky part…just because you know what you want, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Once you figure out a four-day work week is appealing (and I’m sure everyone loves this one), you need to think about why this makes sense for your employer, what type of conversation you need to have with your manager, how will it impact people on your team, and what rituals need to shift in your daily work schedule to make this possible. Often, you may find yourself making excuses for why something is not possible (as my client did when I introduced the idea). As you learn to stop this conversation in your head and re-train yourself to focus on what you want and why it needs to happen, you will cross the line from im-possible to possible. And if it doesn’t happen this month, that’s ok. Keep rolling forward because it could happen the next month.
I know one thing for sure — it’s ok to ask for what you want. And if you don’t ask, I can guarantee one thing — nothing will change. The next time you’re not sure what to do:
ASK with compassion
ASK with clarity
ASK with confidence
Top 1% Bottom Line: Sometimes an idea sounds entirely unrealistic until you ASK. This process of shifting your mindset to what’s possible opens up new possibilities in all areas of your life.
Alissa is a Business & Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals.” She coaches with individuals and organizations to help them think bigger, redefine what’s possible, and get results. She traded in a Wall Street career so she could give back and inspire others to do what they love and raise the bar in their life. She has appeared on national radio stations including CBS, and Clear Channel Radio and has worked with Neutrogena, Milken Institute, Prostate Cancer Foundation, LA Business Journal, NBC Universal, Pepperdine Law and Business School, and Step Up Women’s Network. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more and to take the Living in Your Top 1% quiz, please connect with Alissa on her Website, Facebook and Twitter. Check out her Audio book on Amazon.
September 27th, 2012 // Living in Your Top 1% // 1 Comment
Rituals –> Success –> Living in YOUR Top 1%
Living in your top 1% (aka personal success) is a continuous journey rather than a race with a start and finish. You celebrate wins along the way and always seek out ways to improve, expand your thinking, and take on new challenges. True top 1%ers always looks for ways to raise their game and ask, “Am I living up to my greatest potential?”
Living in YOUR top 1% embraces nine important rituals (I elaborate on each ritual in my book, Living in Your Top 1%). I am sharing these rituals to help you move through various transitions in your life. Feel free to add as many rituals as you need to be your best. It’s important to know that your top 1% level is dynamic and constantly evolving.
1. BE THE CEO OF YOU INC.
Assess YOU INC. on a continuous basis
2. EMBRACE A CAN-DO MINDSET
Add the words “I can” to every challenge
3. EXCEL WITH YOUR STRENGTHS
Identify and use your key strengths
4. GO FOR THE GOAL
Set goals annually and take one small step each day
5. THINK WITHOUT OBSTACLES
Visualize the ideal outcome
6. LIVE IN YOUR STRETCH ZONE
Move outside your comfort zone
7. DRINK A CUP OF RESILIENCE
Rise up in the face of challenges
8. PRACTICE THE THREE Cs: CHOICE, COMMITMENT, AND CONSISTENCY
Match your words and actions with your goals
9. BRING BALANCE INTO YOUR LIFE
Make conscious decisions
Top 1% Bottom line: Success is not defined by what society or others think is right for you but by what makes you feel fulfilled and adds meaning to your life. It’s time to explore your top 1% and develop your personal set of rituals!
Alissa is a Professional Business/Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of Living in Your Top 1% (now available as an audio book on Amazon and Audible). She works with individuals and organizations to help them think bigger, redefine what’s possible, and get results. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has appeared on national radio stations such as CBS and Clear Channel Radio and has worked with the Milken Institute, LA Business Journal, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Neutrogena, and NBC Universal. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and Facebook Page. Please join Alissa for 4-week online class on Living in Your Top 1%.
March 30th, 2012 // Living in Your Top 1% // No Comments
This interview was featured on the popular site Possibiliteas
Alissa Finerman is the author of Living in Your Top 1%, a book that encourages and helps readers create a personal roadmap to excel in life. Alissa is a life coach and speaker, who traded in a Wall Street career to pursue her passion: helping others bring out their greatness and making “Living in Your Top 1%” a way of life. She has appeared on national radio stations including CBS, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, and Heartbeat Radio. She is also a regular blogger for PositivelyPositive.com and Virgin.com. Alissa holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her coach certification from New York University. She is also a former professional tennis player, and was ranked #1 in the USTA National Women’s 40 Doubles in 2008, 2009, and 2011.
Define creativity. What does it mean to you? And how has it inspired your career?
For me, creativity is about innovation, thinking differently, creating space, being expansive, and going beyond what’s possible to see things in a new and different light. The amazing part is that creativity will shine its light for each of us in different and beautiful ways. I don’t consider myself an overly creative person but I’m much more creative than I used to be.
Thankfully, the need for creativity influenced me to leave a successful Wall Street career and look beyond my current career path to explore a non-corporate lifestyle. As a result, I left my finance job and moved from NYC to Santa Monica, CA and became a Business/Life Coach, author and speaker. It has inspired me to go after my dreams, take chances (i.e., writing my first book, Living in Your Top 1%) and see what’s possible outside the finance world. Creativity is about tapping into your natural strengths, opening new doors, and letting yourself shine.
How do you navigate the creative process?
Each project is always different but I do practice consistent rituals. For example, when I was writing my book, which is a creative process, I wrote every morning for 4 hours regardless of how I felt. Sometimes the result was only one sentence that I liked and other times I wrote several chapters. For me, I need to create an open space in my mind to let my thoughts flow…to do this, I may go for a run in the early am, go on a hike, take a yoga class, or read. I need to quiet my mind and clear away all the distractions (phone, email, Facebook, etc) and just focus on what I’m doing. You never know what the result is going to be. That part is exciting to me.
When I’m writing an article, I’ll create my draft and then let it sit for a day before I come back and read it again. I like having some time for my ideas to settle, think through something, and gain clarity.
I also train myself to think in terms of the ideal outcome rather than let any obstacles come into my thinking. I like to focus on the “what if” rather than the “why it’s not possible.” This mindset is powerful for me.
Describe the biggest creative obstacle you’ve faced in the past. How did you hurdle it?
Writing my first book and figuring out how to do everything from A to Z. I talked to as many people in various parts of the industry to learn as much as I could about the writing, publishing, and marketing process, best approaches and then ultimately, I had to make the decisions. There are lots of good people out there who are happy to talk to you. Sometimes you have to check your ego and ask for help.
Who is your favorite creative figure? How have they inspired your creativity?
There are so many creative geniuses, it’s hard to pick just one. I admire and gain inspiration from many people including Steve Jobs (for his amazing innovation), Alvin Ailey (amazing dance company), Roger Federer (creative genius on the tennis court), Steven Spielberg (creating some of the best films and sharing the power of story), and Ellen (talented comedian) to share a few.
If you could choose one quote as your life mantra, what would it be?
Two words that I say everyday in my mantra are love and abundance. One of my favorite quotes is,
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
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