About Top 20

Mission: Since 2000, Top 20 Training has been empowering youth and adults to make a positive difference in the quality of their lives, relationships and experiences. The founders of Top 20 believe in the potential of each human being. Our training and materials provide easily understood and immediately applicable concepts that help individuals, families, teams and organizations develop their potential.

What is Top 20 Training?

Top 20 Training is a small company making a big difference. Its mission is to help people develop their potential by providing highly effective training and materials as part of a unique character development and emotional intelligence program. It provides students, teachers and parents with a common language, easily understood concepts and practical tools for dealing with everyday situations and problems.

Top 20’s primary goal is to revolutionize education in America by helping students become more engaged in school and providing teachers with a new way of seeing themselves as relevant educators in the 21st century.

Top 20 awakens in people their inside power (how they think and see) and develops their outside power (how and what they communicate) in order to create more satisfying results and a more enjoyable journey through life. It helps people of all ages be more aware of choices they have every day to make a positive difference in their relationships and experiences.

Who are the trainers?

Paul Bernabei, Tom Cody, Kevin Brennan and Willow Sweeney have trained over 500,000 teachers and have combined over 75 years of teaching, counseling and coaching. They have worked with schools, businesses, churches and organizations throughout the United States.

Origins of the “Top 20” name

An Italian named Vilfredo Pareto originated the 80-20 Rule. He noticed that 20% of the people in Italy owned 80% of the land. When we met Michael Cole, he translated this concept in a different way for us. In most situations where there is a group doing an activity, some will just naturally succeed more than others. For instance, 20% of the players on a soccer team score 80% of the goals. We used to say, “You can become a Top 20,” like it was some sort of fraternity. We’ve really gone away from that thinking. We have come to realize that each person can be a Top 20 and a Bottom 80 every day. However, when we are in the Top 20 mode, we are being more effective and experiencing more success. That’s when we tend to make things happen in a positive way. When we are in Bottom 80 mode, we are ineffective and our thinking is unclear, it is not working in our best interest. The only good things that come our way when we’re in Bottom 80 mode is mostly by chance.  Consequently, when we use this Top 20 and Bottom 80 language, we are not comparing ourselves to other people. It’s simply a way of our understanding these two dimensions about ourselves: a Top 20 dimension and a Bottom 80 dimension.

So Top 20 training is named after the idea that there is a part of us that can be awakened and tapped into more often once we become aware of it. With this awareness, we can spend more of our day in the Top 20 mode. When we slip into the Bottom 80 mode, we learn to recognize its happening and jump back to Top 20 mode. We quickly realize it’s a much better life in Top 20 mode. That’s why we call it Top 20 Training.

There is a misconception that Top 20 is a thing that you become and then you’re that way forever. It’s not like that at all. I still have days where I’m for sure Bottom 80. I just know it now and can stop myself from making mistakes before they happen.

On any given day a person can be both a Top 20 and a Bottom 80. But when I’m in Top 20 mode, I’m a stronger teacher, counselor, husband, neighbor, father, or whatever. And when I’m in bottom 80, I’m probably more harmful than helpful.

Top 20 material is for everyone and for all ages.

It’s for A students and D students. It’s for parents and grandparents. A woman in South St. Paul called me up after reading the Top 20 Teens book and said her future was better after she read the book. She was 96 years old and lived in a rest home. Now that’s cool. We’ve also had brilliant statements made by K through 5th graders in our training where they are obviously very capable of understanding that there are two kinds of modes, 20 or 80. So it crosses gender lines, it crosses age lines, it crosses academic ability lines. Top 20 is a training for everybody. It’s for master teachers, it’s for rookie teachers, it’s for administrators. It’s for any human being that walks on this planet because it’s awareness which leads to more success, happiness and prosperity. And there’s nobody that doesn’t want that.