"After a while, it’s natural to think that in order to be the best you have to be better than others. Many people define success by being in the top 1%, when in reality it’s about living in your top 1%."
Therein lies the overarching theme of Alissa Finerman’s inspiring first book, Living In Your Top 1%. There is so much emphasis today on competition with others, but Finerman argues that competing with yourself should be your top priority. Finerman, a former professional tennis player turned Wall Street professional turned life coach/speaker, knows this all too well. She left cutthroat Wall Street and moved to sunny Los Angeles to become an accredited coach, transforming not only her own life, but the lives of countless others. It was there that she finally began living a more authentic life, and making more of her dreams a reality. “What is it that makes some people reach high than others who are equipped with the same resources?” she asks at the beginning of the book. “The idea of living in your top 1% evolved from this question” (page 4). One of the ingredients is goal setting, and this is the focus of our summary.
Ditch the All or Nothing Mentality
"Choose your first step wisely because if it’s not easily achievable, it could significantly derail your best efforts. First steps should help you build confidence and make you feel like you are a little closer to your goal."
If you’re actually serious about your achieving your goals, ditch the all or nothing mentality. Finerman points out that it’s been proven that when you take on too much, you’re more inclined to give up.
Do you ever notice that in the first week of January, the gym is always packed? But as the month goes on, the line for the elliptical machine grows shorter, and those new faces all but disappear until it’s just the regulars left. That’s because those people with the New Year’s Resolutions bit off more than they could chew rather than ease into a new routine. Instead of hitting the gym maybe twice a week, they went full throttle, 5 days a week at 5.30 in the morning before a long day at the office. Tired, cranky, and with sore muscles, they’re burnt out as quickly as they began and quit.
This is analogous to all goals, not just fitness related, and resonated with me because it’s something that I’ve struggled with, whether it’s blogging or trying a gluten free diet. Start with small, manageable steps. In fact, that’s how Alissa Finerman wrote this book. “I started this book with the small step of writing one hour each day” (page 103). Once you start seeing progress, you will feel inspired to continue, bringing you that much closer to achieving the end result.
The following two GEMs will help you stay on track with your goals, and ensure that they don’t end up like those resolutions you might have made at the beginning of the year.
Prioritize Your Goals
"Setting priorities will help you stay accountable and reduce your stress levels. This will help you lay out the best path to living in your top 1%."
We all have goals in our life that we want to bring to fruition. Maybe it’s to buy a home, switching to a gluten free diet, or take a long desired trip. We may jot them down on paper, or keep them tucked away in the back of our mind. But while buying a home and eliminating gluten from your diet could be more pressing goals, that dream trip to Egypt to see the pyramids might be something to do down the line.
It’s all about prioritizing what is important to you in your life at this very moment. And different people prioritize goals differently. For instance, buying a house is more important for a growing family of three in the suburbs than it is for a 20-something single career girl in the city. That’s why it’s crucial to write down your goals and then organize them. Go through your list and rank them by tiers. Tier one goals “are the goals that are the most meaningful and have the greatest impact on [your life]. They are not necessarily the goals that help you make the most money or bring a promotion but rather the goals that either satisfy your basic survival needs or add a greater sense of fulfillment” (page 89).
This is a critical step and requires a great deal of thought. But when deciding which goals are tier one, and which are tier two and so on, just keep in mind that it’s what’s important to you right now. Understanding this will help you realize the goals that are most imperative, with the rest falling into place when the time is right.
"If you pursue too many goals at the same time that are non-harmonious, you will get frustrated when you do not achieve your desired results."
According to Alissa Finerman, prioritizing goals that are harmonious with one another is essential to making these goals a reality, as well as helping you to live in your 1%. For instance, let’s say two of your tier one goals are devoting yourself to the creation of a new business, perhaps one that includes a great deal of travel each week, and the other is a desire to increase the amount of time that you spend with your family. How will you be home to enjoy dinner with your family when you’re on the road travelling? You can’t, and these two goals will be in competition with one another, and one will have to take precedence over the other. An inability to realize this will lead to frustration and disappointment when you fall short of achieving the goal(s). As Finerman writes, “This does not mean your goal is a bad goal, it just means that the timing may be off, or that you did not take the time to carefully think about how to prioritize them” (page 85).
Finerman says that “cross-checking” your goals will help ensure that they are harmonious with one another, increasing the odds that you will be able to achieve them, and will help you to stay realistic when prioritizing your goals.
As Finerman points out to her reader, “Living in your top 1% is a continuous journey rather than a race with a start and finish” (page 11). And prioritizing your goals is only one component to living in your top 1%, just as goals are only a small part of the book, which is broken down into three sections: Assess, Create and Implement, which are broken down further into three rituals per section. What we’ve covered here in this Actionable Summary is just the tip of the iceberg. Pick up Living in Your Top 1% and discover what your top 1% looks like.