LIVING IN YOUR TOP 1% INTERVIEW SERIES
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 every two weeks.
This week’s guest is Jennifer Pastiloff. Her story is one of inspiration, courage, and passion and shows that it is possible to change paths and do what you love. She is an ambassador for Lululemon, founder of GameYoga.org, and a master yoga teacher who leads workshops all over the world. She is one of my favorite yoga teachers and sources of inspiration. She shows that it is definitely possible to re-write your story.
* Since we did this interview, Jen has appeared on Good Morning America, been invited as a VIP guest to Oprah’s Life Class in NYC, and has interviewed some movers and shakers on her site including the best-selling author and spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer and Christy Turlington, founder of Every Mother Counts.
Alissa Finerman 1. What’s the most important strength you possess that allows you to be successful in your role?
Jennifer Pastiloff: Compassion. I have been nicknamed the ” Connector” and I believe it’s my compassion for others which has led me to this role of teacher/connector. I also have a sense of humor. I laugh at myself a lot. It is KEY in my teachings. I have a rule in my classes that I live by as well: “If you fall, you must laugh.” I also live by the question, “How may I serve?” A big thing I believe in is picking others up and helping others shine their light. “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ( Marianne Williamson)
2. What inspired you to change careers and become a yoga teacher?
JP: Honestly, I was severely depressed and yoga saved my life, so to speak. People who knew me suggested because of my personality and my love for yoga that I might enjoy teaching. I was not interested at all until I taught my first class. Then, I knew I had found my bliss.
3. What motivates you on a daily basis to keep going?
JP: Seeing the breakthroughs my students keep having, mostly off the mat! Also, seeing that I have true power in manifesting what I want in my life and wanting to share that endlessly with people, especially those that are stuck, as I was, for years and years.
4. What role do goals play in your life? Tell us a few words about your goal setting process.
JP: Goals are a fairly new idea to me. Until recently I did everything impulsively and on a whim. Now, I create vision boards and from there set goals based on 1, 5, and 10 yr increments in the areas of Health, Career, and Personal Growth. I am also very compassionate towards myself so if a goal doesn’t come to fruition, I do not beat myself up, but rather re-evaluate and relax. I spent way too many years beating myself up and, frankly, that never got me the results I wanted.
5. What’s the toughest challenge(s) you successfully overcame?
JP: I overcame a major eating disorder (anorexia) and I also have a major hearing problem (I wear a hearing aid) so that is something I still deal with on a daily basis.
6. What are some of your most meaningful accomplishments?
JP: 1) Leaving my job of 13 years as a waitress to become a successful yoga teacher in Los Angeles, leading sold out workshops all over the world, and being an ambassador for Lululemon
2) Creating GameYoga.org which gives free yoga to kids with special needs after my nephew was diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome
3) Getting picked as one of ten young poets in the Nation to get a writing fellowship at Bucknell University for the summer while I was at NYU (Stadler Center for Poetry)
4) Creating Manifestation Yoga and helping people manifest what they truly want in their lives
5) Having the charity I started, GameYoga.org, be featured in the Huffington Post
7. What do the top performers/students do differently to excel?
JP: Walk the talk. I teach certain principles and I believe that people who excel live by these principles: thinking FROM the end, not about it; letting go of what is no longer serving them; visualizing what they want and acting AS IF; following through and committing to their own word; and being specific in what they ask for! And most importantly, being honest with oneself.
The “Living in YOUR Top 1%” interview series is presented by Alissa Finerman, an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook