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Expert Series: Living in Your Top 1%: Five Questions to Live Your Best Life
By Alissa Finerman

“It isn’t hard to be good from time to time. What’s tough is being good every day.”

– Willie Mays, baseball player

If a friend handed you a first class plane ticket to anywhere in the world, would you be clear on where you wanted to go? This is effectively what happens on a daily basis. Each day we are faced with a series of choices. Will we hit snooze, work out in the morning, meet a friend for lunch, or stay late and put in the extra effort on a project? We can choose a mediocre path and settle for the status quo, getting to work just in time for a meeting, or make small shifts in our mindset and take the time to prepare, think ahead, and be ready. Opportunity awaits those who are willing to take the next step forward. It’s a process, not magic.

Living in your top 1% is the practice of using all of your strengths, talents, and assets to live your best life possible. It is about reaching your personal best without comparing yourself to others. Living with this philosophy includes taking the words “can’t,” “should,” and “impossible” out of your vocabulary and believing that you can create your reality. It is not dependent on your age, title, education, or size of your bank account. Top 1% moments are defined by the feelings of fulfillment, excitement, and joy that come from the experience of reaching for your best, rather than the accomplishments alone.

As you move forward and strive to have your best year yet, it is essential that you take the time to reflect on these five key questions to prevent leaving any of your potential on the table:

1. Am I excited to start my day?

This is a simple but important question that every potential top 1%er needs to ask. Recently, I conducted a small research study and learned that less than 20% of people are excited to start their day more than “some of the time.” These are astounding figures. In my interview series, which can be found on my blog, the theme that consistently emerges is that the people who are excited by their day are passionate about what they do. We all deserve to enjoy some part of our day. Sometimes it’s a simple shift in our mindset that helps us approach a challenging situation at work or home differently. Focus on having at least one moment in your day that excites you and then build from there.

2. Are “shoulds” occupying my life?

“Should” is perhaps one of the most overused words. It lets us off the hook by referring to an event or situation that could be. We all have “shoulds” in our life: I should get in shape, I should spend more time with my family, or I should have a corporate job. Here’s what I think: who cares about what we “should” do? When you focus on “shoulds,” you divert your precious time and energy away from ideas that could actually propel you forward and enhance your life. Focus on what you want to do and you will see dramatically different results in your life.

3. What role do goals play in my life?

It’s impossible to be a true top 1%er and reach your greatest potential without having goals and a vision to move forward. Would you go on a road trip without directions? Some of us might but the majority would not. Top 1%ers set specific and meaningful goals that provide a sense of purpose and heighten overall self-esteem and life satisfaction. If the word “goal” is too daunting, then substitute a more appealing word, such as purpose or aim. Having goals is the best way to increase your chances of a desired outcome occurring. You can refer to the four checkpoints below to make sure you are on the right path with your goals:

Is my goal vague or specific? For example, building your business or getting in shape is too vague a goal. You could increase revenues by 15%, get ten new clients or open a new location. Be specific and go after something important to you and you will see your results change.

Why is the goal important to me? Pursue goals that add meaning to your life rather than what someone else wants you to achieve.

Am I ready to commit to my goal on good and challenging days? Your motivation will go up and down during the goal setting process so it’s critical that you have a goal that truly excites you.

Is the goal a top tier priority? We all have many priorities in our life but only so much can fit into our schedule. Double-check to make sure that your goal is both important and a priority in your life.

4. Do I prefer talking about doing something or actually taking action? 

Talk is cheap and it’s easy. It’s much more courageous to say you are going to do something and then follow up your words with action. That is commendable and it’s one of the core characteristics of top 1%ers. Some people will spend the majority of their time talking about all the things they don’t like about their job or how much they want to get in shape, while others will take small steps to make their vision a reality. It’s a simple but powerful shift in how you live your life. Top 1%ers see past roadblocks and take action. The best way to get started into action is to be honest with yourself, accept where you are, and take a small step forward.

5. Does a specific weakness get in the way of my top 1% performance?

The research clearly suggests that you get a bigger bang for your buck by identifying and using your strengths on a daily basis. This is essential and you will definitely reach higher levels by focusing on what you do well, rather than what you do wrong. That being said, every top 1%er needs to be aware enough to realize if a specific weakness is preventing him or her from moving to the next level. For example, you can be a very successful business owner without having a gift for numbers because you can outsource this role to an accountant or assistant. Alternatively, if the success of your business is dependent upon you speaking in public, and this is one of your insecurities or weaknesses, then it will have to be addressed. However, if you are not a good swimmer and have no interest in learning to scuba dive, then it’s not essential to invest time and energy to improve your swimming. The simple rule, if something gets in the way of your top 1% performance it needs to be improved, if not, save your energy. To learn more about your strengths visit, www.authentichappiness.com and take the VIA survey of character strengths assessment (it’s free).

Alissa Finnerman Bio:

Alissa Finerman is an author, speaker and motivational coach. She loves to help clients achieve their goals and experience top 1% moments. She is known for her clarity, energy, and ability to redefine your potential. She bridges her experiences as a professional tennis player, Wall Street professional, and motivational coach to inspire others to take that small step forward. She works with individual clients and speaks to corporations about goal setting and reaching your potential.

Alissa holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her coach training from New York University.

Alissa lives in Santa Monica, California.

Website:            www.alissafinerman.com
Facebook:         www.facebook.com/alissafinermantop1
Twitter:              www.twitter.com/alissafinerman
Email:                alissa@finermanliving.com

Here is the link to her new book now available on Amazon –  Living in Your Top 1%.

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