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“There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

- Nelson Mandela

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”

- Aristotle

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

- Lao-Tse

“Living in your top 1% starts by shifting your mindset to say ‘I can.’”

- Alissa Finerman

Alissa Finerman talks with Possibiliteas about the Creative Process

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

Bring out the Leader in You

March 24th, 2012 // Leadership // No Comments

Are you ready to step into the CEO role for your life?

A theme that continues to emerge this week with my clients is LEADERSHIP. Whether you run a business, your life, or your family, there is a need for leadership in your life. The question is what type of leader are YOU? And would someone want to be on your team?

Defining your leadership style is essential to move into YOUR Top 1%.

One of my clients is taking over a non-profit organization, another runs a residential real estate firm, one is building her jewelry business and brand, another is an investment advisor, and still another is a mom and CEO of her family. Some people manage themselves and others manage a team (yes, kids are part of your team just like employees).

I encourage you to consider the following questions to help build your personal leadership style:

How would you define your leadership style?
Are you laid back or a micro manager? Do you support and have time to listen and mentor the people on your team or are you always stressed out and too busy? Do you encourage people on your team to take chances or to stay within the dotted lines?

Would you want to be on your team?
Switch roles for a moment and think if you would want to work for yourself.

How effective is your leadership style?
Are you getting the results you want and want if anything needs to shift? When was the last time you asked for feedback?

Do you clearly communicate your vision and goals?
This is a tricky one because you need to have a vision and goal to be able to communicate them. Often, ineffective leaders are not clear about where they want to go so it is challenging to share a clear path forward. Clarity in this area is critical.

What does it cost you not to step up and be a great leader?
This is one of my favorite questions because you have to consider how you are holding yourself, your team, or your organization back by not being your best as a leader. What does it cost you in morale, energy, productivity, $$’s, time, and even peace of mind?

Top 1% Bottom Line: Defining your leadership style and practicing it is a ritual that can help you have a breakthrough year both in your personal and professional life. All you need is the desire to learn and grow.

About Alissa
Alissa Finerman, is a Business/Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of the book, “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals” which is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more please visit, AlissaFinerman.com and Facebook.com/AlissaFinermantop1.com. She is doing a live workshop in Santa Monica, April 21st. To learn more and sign-up, please visit her website.

Breakthrough To Your Top 1%

March 8th, 2012 // Success // No Comments

“Ask what you want, WHY you want it, and HOW you are going to get it.”
- Anthony Robbins

And set a GOAL! By now I hope you know I’m a big fan of setting goals. The YOU INC. blueprint from Ritual One of my book, Living in Your Top 1%, is what I use with my clients to help them set goals in each area of their life. This tool is highly effective to assess where you are and where u want to go.

Living in Your Top 1% is a process, not magic.

WHY GOALS?
Goals are the best way I know to turn yourself into a dream maker from a day dreamer (see 5 Strategies for Success to achieve your Goals).

When you take a vacation you think about two things for starters:

1. Where you want to go? (warm vs. cold, beach vs. skiing, domestic vs. international etc) +
2. When you want to go?

The same two questions apply in your goal-setting process:
1. Where do you want to go? (write a book vs. change jobs)
AND
2. By when? (this year or in five years)

If you have no idea where you want to go for your vacation, you probably won’t go anywhere. The fact is most people take more time to plan their one week vacation then they do to plan their goals for the year. This sounds ridiculous but it’s true.

This post is going to push you one step further with your goals. Read on only if you want to move into your Top 1%

BREAKTHROUGH GOALS
Another powerful tactic I love is to set a breakthrough goal. This is a goal that would catapult you to the next level in your career, finances, brand, confidence, or knowledge etc. Breakthrough goals take you into your Top 1% and present a world of possibilities. They make your eyes light up and put a huge smile on your face. They provide a spark of energy and excitement.

Let’s take a moment and dream about what would be thrilling to achieve this year…

Will this be the year you become a bestselling author, complete your masters degree, start your own profitable business, move from NYC to LA (yes, go for it!), be on Good Morning America, say goodbye to a toxic relationship, work with ten Fortune 500 companies, be the keynote speaker for a conference inspiring women around the world, be on the cover of Forbes for developing a product that changes lives, or finally be debt free?

Breakthrough goals are empowering!
They are game changers!
They are a little crazy!
They are possible!
They are available to all!
And most importantly, they HAPPEN!

TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: It doesn’t cost you anything more to set a BREAKTHROUGH GOAL. We were meant to dream and think about what’s possible for you to Live in Your Top 1%. The real question is what does it cost you NOT to set a Breakthrough goal? Can you afford THAT?

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About Alissa
Alissa is a life coach, speaker, and author of “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals” available on Amazon.com. 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. To learn more, please visit www.AlissaFinerman.com or www.facebook.com/alissafinermantop1.

Follow-through to Reach Your Top 1%

February 7th, 2012 // Success // 1 Comment

“You don’t kind of let go, you don’t kind of ride waves. You either ride them or you don’t.”
~ LAIRD HAMILTON

I’ve played tennis since I was four years old and competed in college at UC Berkeley, on the Professional Tennis Tour, and, most recently, on the USTA Women’s Doubles 40 Circuit. These experiences have taught me one thing that I know for sure, as Oprah likes to say….

You have to follow-through if you want results on AND off the tennis court.

When you hit a forehand and stop your swing midway, the shot will be subpar. To hit your best forehand, you need to be in position, make contact with the ball, and then follow-through. This is a simple and proven principle for success on the court and applies to life as well.

The question is…

What ideas are you going to follow-through with off the court? You either do or you don’t follow-through. There’s no middle ground!

Having great ideas and doing nothing with them is similar to talking about planning a great vacation with your 80,000 frequent flyer miles and then letting the miles expire. Sounds silly, right?

We all have lots of great ideas — some of my clients want to change jobs, start their own side business, become an entrepreneur, create passive income, or make a difference and start a foundation. Some people are daydreamers and others are dream makers. The key is to make choices that align with your values and goals so that you naturally take action on your ideas.

Creating Top 1% moments is heavily dependent on your FOLLOW-THROUGH!

Winners have great ideas + put them into action.

What priorities will you take action on to “Live in Your Top 1%” and have your best year?

TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: Think about what it costs you NOT to Follow-through on your ideas?

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
~ NAPOLEON HILL

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About Alissa:
Alissa is a Business/Life Coach, speaker, and author of the book, Living in Your Top 1%. She coaches clients individually and gives corporate workshops. You can learn more and connect with Alissa on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Got a Goal, Now What?

January 24th, 2012 // Goal Setting // No Comments

The beginning of the year is both exciting (with all the amazing things you want to manifest in your life) and overwhelming because you have so many things you want to manifest and are not sure what to do first. So congrats on setting a goal. That’s a huge step and a big win. Now the question becomes how are you going to get from where you are to where you want to go?

Goals are a starting point and they help you step up to the plate and get in the game. The only way to stay in the game is by taking continuous small steps to make progress.

Here’s a simple process to get started AND keep moving forward (key word is simple):

1. Write down all your goals, just do a download.
In an ideal world what would you accomplish this year?
- Pursue goals that genuinely excite you rather than someone else
- Ask yourself why the goal is important
- Vague Goals = Vague Results. So be specific!

2. Prioritize the goals that need to get done first
Some goals you pursue to meet basic survival needs and others can be for pure enjoyment.
- Focus on goals that are both important and a priority to you (important is not enough, you need to narrow them down)

3. Identify your top tier goal and focus
The challenge is to identify the most important goal which becomes your Top Tier Goal. These are the goals that help you live in your top 1%! You can also refer to Ritual Four in my book which focuses solely on goal setting.
- The reason we get overwhelmed is because we focus on too many things at once. Choose one goal for starters. You can bring more goals into the mix once you are rolling.

4. Breakdown your top tier goal into small steps
Small steps help to build confidence by generating a series of “wins.”
- Write down all the small steps you can take to make progress on this goal.
For example, I have a client who wants to start his own advertising company. This is a big goal that can be overwhelming. But once you break it down and look at each of the areas of the company (financing, marketing, operations, sales etc), you can start taking small steps in each area.
- Take action on your small steps.

Small Steps = Big Results!

TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: Setting a goal is a major part of creating something but it’s only the beginning. Growth occurs in the gap between saying what you want to accomplish and making it happen.

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About Alissa
Alissa is a Professional Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals”. 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. To learn more and to take the Living in Your Top 1% quiz, please visit Alissa’s website or her Facebook page.

Living in Your Top 1% Interview Series with Lori Deschene, founder of Tiny Buddha – Honor Your Values

October 31st, 2011 // Interview Series: Living in Your Top 1% // 1 Comment

The goal of the “Living in Your Top 1%” interview series is to break down the qualities of people who excel and to show that you can be successful and achieve personal greatness from any starting point in your life. The interview series looks at people from all different careers and industries. Some names will be familiar and others may not. The purpose is to understand and borrow from the “best practices” of winners to develop a roadmap to YOUR TOP 1%. We will share a new story each month.

This week’s guest is Lori Deschene, the founder of Tiny Buddha which is one of the most popular Facebook and Twitter sites with 65,000 and 230,000 devoted fans!

In 2008, Lori Deschene held a full-time web content manager job that felt more like a paycheck than a purpose. Looking to inject meaning into her online activities, Lori began tweeting a daily inspirational quote through her twitter account (@tinybuddha). This simple daily dose of wisdom quickly attracted a large readership, with over 230,000 followers to date. In the fall of 2009, Lori launched tinybuddha.com as a place where individuals from all over the world could share stories and lessons about applying those ideas to everyday life.

In an overcrowded space about inspiration on the internet, Tiny Buddha has emerged as a place for people to share their thoughts and be heard. Tiny Buddha’s tagline is, “Simple wisdom for complex lives.” Lori’s first book, Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hardest Questions, comes out in January 2012.

Alissa Finerman: What’s the most important strength you possess that allows you to be successful in your role?
Lori Deschene: The strengths that help me the most with tinybuddha.com are my empathy and honesty. I launched the site because I spent a lot of my life clinging to pain, and I understood how difficult it can be to let go, empower yourself, and commit to creating happiness.

I wanted to design a space where we can all help each other by sharing the things that might make us feel vulnerable. In this way, we’d know that we are never alone, and we are all here to support each other.

My compassion is what drives me to help people; my honesty allows others to help me. And though I may be the leader of the Tiny Buddha community, this balance is what makes me first and foremost a friend.

AF: What does success mean for you?
LD: Success, for me, is maintaining a schedule that allows me abundant time with the people I love; finding a little time every day to do the things that make me feel happy and healthy; operating with integrity; honoring my values; and pushing myself to do the things I want to do, even when they might be outside my comfort zone.

AF: What motivates you on a daily basis to keep going?
LD: I keep going because I can’t imagine stopping. I love Tiny Buddha, and I love how my life has evolved because of it. I love sharing my struggles, experiences, and insights. I love the experience of working with writers to help tell their stories and hone their messages. I love the conversations that build around the posts. Lastly, I love that Tiny Buddha supports both my personal and professional growth.

AF: What role do goals play in your life? Tell us a few words about your goal setting process.
LD: I generally aim to set only one or two large goals at a time, and then I manage them with a very Type-A system of to-do lists, deadlines, and regular progress evaluations. I aim to set SMART goals—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. However, I’ve learned that the most important part of goal-setting, for me at least, is flexibility. In the past, I’ve attached to very specific plans and outcomes, and this led to stress and missed opportunities. If I can create a vision and hold it lightly, I can open up to beautiful possibilities I may not have imagined.

AF: What challenges did you have to overcome to start Tiny Buddha? Did people support or doubt your idea?
LD: I was my biggest challenge. I launched the site in the fall of 2009, more than a year after the Twitter account. At this point, there were already 50,000 people following, and they were accustomed to receiving just one daily quote. I felt hesitant to link too much on the Twitter account, and I also didn’t want to turn Tiny Buddha into something that was all about me—my blog, my stories, and my insights. I wanted it to be about us. This was what prompted me to run Tiny Buddha as a community blog. This is also why I rarely tweet more than four times a day. I believe less is more. I didn’t, at the time, have people around me who doubted my idea, but I did with my previous blog (which was about positive thinking). A man I was dating told me that people don’t care about other people as much as I think, and that they wouldn’t regularly visit a site about positivity and happiness.

Tiny Buddha presents a more balanced perspective, but the underlying messages are similar. Contrary to what he told me, I have found that people do care.

AF: What are some of your most meaningful accomplishments?
LD: One of my proudest moments was moving into the first apartment I rented on my own (without roommates). Three years prior to that, I lived in a 7’x 7’ room in a single-room-occupancy building in NYC, and I felt certain I would always be depressed, isolated, and deeply unsatisfied with myself and my life. It was the culmination of years of low-self esteem and bad decision-making, but also the start of a whole new way of thinking and being. In the following years, I didn’t really recognize all the progress I’d made until I looked around at the external change and realized the internal change that helped create it.

Another meaningful accomplishment is my first book, Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hardest Questions. I started by asking my Twitter followers a series of difficult questions including “What’s the meaning of life?” and “What does it take to be happy?” I then wrote the book around their responses, including stories from my own experience. I put my heart and soul into this book, and I can’t wait for it to come out in January 2012!

AF: What do the top performers do differently to excel?
LD: I can’t speak for others but for me, I never consider myself on top. I think that’s what helps me excel: I have no clue where I am in relation to other people. I only know where I am in relation to where I’ve been. I take each day as it comes, and do my best to learn, grow, and improve.

To learn more about tiny buddha and Lori, please visit:
Website
Facebook Page
Twitter

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About Alissa
The “Living in Your Top 1%” interview series is presented by Alissa Finerman, a Professional Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of the book, “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals” which is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more please visit, AlissaFinerman.com and Facebook.com/AlissaFinermantop1.com.

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