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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

Life is a series of choices. Everyday, we are given the opportunity to make new choices that align with our values and goals. Our choices can range from something simple, such as getting out of bed or hitting the snooze button when your alarm rings (often not that simple), to changing jobs, starting a new business, leaving a relationship, or relocating to another city.

The bottom line is that you have the choice to share your best self with the world everyday. Jim Collins, in the book, Good to Great, artfully points out that, “greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.”

The question is: what does your personal greatness look like?

Seeing the greater possibilities for your life takes courage, honesty, and requires that you turn your ideas into action. This is where life gets challenging! What emerges is the concept of Living in Your Top 1%, my first book.

A key distinction with this phrase is to realize that living your best life is about living in YOUR top 1% rather than THE top 1%. It’s not a contest, and it’s not a comparison. Oprah, in an interview with Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, powerfully shared that it is possible for every person, whether you are a gardener, assistant, manager, mom, or CEO, to reach his or her highest potential, regardless of the starting place.

Living in your top 1% is seeing your world filled with potential and possibility. It’s about having a vision, making progress in key areas, and understanding that small shifts in mindset produce powerful shifts in behavior. It is not dependent on your age, the size of your bank account, or your education.

Top 1% moments are defined by the feelings of fulfillment, excitement, and happiness that come from the experience of reaching for your best, rather than the accomplishments alone. Living in your top 1% is about seeing the world with an “I can” and “what’s possible” mindset.

Living in your top 1% 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. Your top 1% level is dynamic and constantly evolving. 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. Here are three:

1. Be the CEO of You, Inc.

One of the best ways to lead an empowered life on a daily basis is to start with your most important asset—you. You, Inc. represents all the different areas of your life, including career, relationships, finances, healthy living, fun and creativity, and personal growth. You need to invest in and be mindful of each of these areas to present your best self on a daily basis. The key theme is that you are in the driver’s seat (not someone else). You, Inc. is the most important business you will run because it’s your life and you need to take an active role in all the decisions. This means making yourself a priority, taking responsibility for your actions, and not being afraid to say “NO” or “YES” in different situations. Before we can truly be a leader for others, we need to be a leader for our own life.

What impact could you make if you made yourself a priority on a consistent basis?

2. Live in Your Stretch Zone

The only way to experience growth is to move outside your comfort zone and into your stretch zone. There are three zones: The Comfort Zone (holds your existing habits and your mind is less stimulated), The Stretch Zone (the zone about learning and growth), and The Stress/Danger Zone (the zone where you often feel overwhelmed and lack clarity). The ideal zone is the stretch zone. This is the zone where you are taking on new challenges (e.g. taking on more responsibility at work, starting a new business, or learning a new skill), adapting, and building confidence. There will be successes and failures to fuel your learning.

What zone do you need to operate in to be your best?

3. Practice the Three Cs: Choice + Commitment + Consistency = Your Results

The power three—do you have them? Practicing two out of three will produce different results than implementing all three. If you are only committed to your workout routine on Tuesday and Thursday, you will see different results than if you are committed five days a week. The formula is simple, but putting it into practice is difficult. Your results are directly related to your ability to make consistent choices that align with your goals, stay committed to your top priorities, and consistently practice your best set of rituals. You need to own all three of the components above to produce your best. Two out of three will leave some of your potential on the table.

What area of your life could you practice greater consistency to raise your game?

Regardless of where you are in your journey, you can live by a powerful set of rituals. It’s not about what we know but rather what we practice. The quest starts by asking yourself, “What does my top 1% look like?” The next step is to turn your powerful ideas into action.

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%!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs


Alissa Finerman is a Professional Business/Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of Living in Your Top 1%. 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, Prostate Cancer Foundation, and NBC Universal. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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*Photo Credit: M0les via Compfight cc