TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose


You can have a purpose based on any hat you wear. You can find it at home, at work, in your friendships, in your relationships, in your community, and even at your church. Whoever it is that you’re associated and congregate with, there is purpose potential in that equation. Go and find your why and let your purpose be your lifestyle.

Join Dr. Santor Nishizaki as he talks to Paul Epstein about his new bestselling book The Power of Playing Offense and how to find your why. Paul has spent nearly 15 years as a pro sports executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams. He is now a keynote speaker, bestselling author, and podcast host of Playmakers: ON PURPOSE.

Discover what it takes to be a leader these days. Learn how to not over-rely on technology and focus on the human relationships. And, know that the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Listen to this episode to find your why and your purpose.

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Meaningful Living And Finding Your Purpose Pt. 2 With Paul Epstein

In the last episode, we have Dr. Bronk talking about the science of purpose. In this episode, we are going to talk to Paul Epstein, who helps other people find their purpose and why. Paul Epstein has spent many years as a Pro Sports Executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency and the NFL league office. He has transformed numerous NBA teams from the absolute bottom in the league revenue to top-two in financial performance.

He has broken every premium revenue metric in Super Bowl history as an NFL sales leader. He has also opened a billion-dollar stadium, helped save the New Orleans NBA franchise and founded the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy where he became known as the Why coach. To amplify this impact, Paul has installed his leadership and high-performance playbook with Fortune 500 leaders, founders and CEOs, MBAs and professional athletes.

As a global keynote speaker, number one bestselling author of The Power of Playing Offense and host of the Playmakers: On Purpose Podcast, Paul explores how living and working with a focus on leadership, culture and purpose can transform organizations and individuals anywhere to unleash their full potential.

When he is not on stage, he is putting his insights to daily practice serving as Chief Impact Officer for PurposePoint, which is the host of the world’s largest purpose summit and the Chief Purpose Advisor for the WHY Institute, the world’s fastest way to discover your purpose on a mission to inspire leaders and lives to meet the unique challenges of our era. Thank you so much for joining. Here’s what Paul has to say.

Paul, how are you doing?

Fantastic, Santor. How are you doing?

I am doing great. Thank you so much for joining me on the show. I have a copy of The Power of Playing Offense. I believe it is autographed by you.

It is a great-looking book.

It is very nice. It has a lot of pictures on it.

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All credit to the publisher. Anything that looks pretty, I have nothing to do with but thankfully, some of my blueprint and the fingerprints are on the inside. Thanks so much for showing that off and firing up the conversation.

Paul, as I start with every interview, I would love to hear your story. What makes you who you are?

It is a long backstory. I will give you the quick and dirty. I am LA born and raised. A cool part about my childhood was because of my mom being a proud Mexican descent so every other weekend, we would go down to Ensenada, which for those not familiar, is an hour below San Diego. From LA, it is a four-hour drive South. Every other weekend, we are always cruising down the big holidays. You want to talk about a prospective builder or a character builder, a cool way of thinking about the world differently versus in this nice bubble that we have here in LA and the US.

People always ask me why I am so obsessed with the topic, whether it is leadership, culture or purpose. I am so fascinated by the people’s side of life. I owe a lot of credit organically to what I was exposed to as a child because it was there in Mexico that I saw a lot of different things. Here are a couple of examples. Most people think of candles as ambiance or they think of the smell. What if that was how you heated your house because there was no central heat? Another example is we have a 30-minute window with warm water in the house. My grandpa is fighting with a water heater outside and there are fifteen of us. We all got to get a shower in less than 30 minutes.

It is a lesson of efficiency and more importantly, Santor, this is a prime way of understanding that when you asked me to reflect on that chapter, happiness, smiles, bear hugs, tacos and tequila for the adults, all these positive stuff in what others would describe as a very disadvantaged circumstance. I double click on that and then I will go through the fast past of the rest of the journey because I disassociate this thing called external happiness from anything material, any trophy in the trophy chest, where you went to school, the brand of your first company or your LinkedIn profile.

TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: As the “Why Coach” inside the San Francisco 49ers front office, one question kept Epstein up at night: Who is coaching the coaches? He noticed a crucial gap in the development of leaders: they were expected to lead others before they learned to lead themselves.”


Don’t get me wrong. Those things can be good but I often will find that there is not necessarily an exact correlation between who you are, what you stand for, how you show up and all of those peripheral things in life. As I fast forward, I spent all my childhood and early days in LA. I went to USC for Business Sales Marketing. I ended up working for a Fortune 10 company there.

A year after I graduated was when I broke into sports. I had this magical what turned out to be a fifteen-year journey in the NBA and NFL, climbing up from an entry-level to an executive level, packing stadiums and arenas and 7-figure deals to 9-figure campaigns. You name it. It was a total kid in a candy store journey but I owe a lot of credit to those earliest days for who I am still.

Paul, we have talked before quite a few times. I remember you telling me that you worked for the Clippers when they were not good. I have some Clipper friends that are Clipper fans. I am trying to be nice to those diehard Clippers fans. Some people do not even know there is another team in Los Angeles called the LA Clippers years ago. That is what you started with.

The year that I started as an entry-level seller, ESPN called us the worst brand in sports. Sports Illustrated doubles down and says, “You are the worst franchise in sports history.”

That is tough. You just graduated college and trying to succeed.

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I started in a class of twelve people. We got hired on the same day. I was the only one to make it to the second month on the job. You had a lot of super fans who wanted to break in and sales was the widest door. Let me crack in at whatever opportunity I can get but they did not do their homework about, “Do I love sales?” Trust me, when you get rejected 99.9% of the time, that is a good day because that means you got one yes out of all those horrific cold calls for a product like I was describing. I did not do it for the brand or because I was a fan. I did it because I believed in the vision of what it was building toward.

I will admit this, Santor. I did not have this perspective at the time until I mentor a lot of folks that are breaking in whether in sports or any other industry. Let’s use soda as an example. Coca-Cola is the market leader, then Pepsi and there is a massive gap to numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. If you were to commit to that industry, everybody says, “I want to go work for Coke or maybe Pepsi,” that did not exist for me.

I did not work for the Lakers. I worked for the Clippers. When you put it in that sense and you cut your teeth, not on the market leader but as the underdog and you got to get scrappy, gritty and fight and earn every single thing you get, nothing is handed to you. The phone does not ring. That is like in life. In poker, life deals you a hand. You cannot say, “Excuse me, dealer. Can I have a new hand?”

Sometimes, things happen like a pandemic or you lose somebody. I lost my dad at nineteen. There is something medical that is going on. Maybe you lose a job or you have got an a-hole boss but you did not sign up for that. That is the poker dealer dealing you a hand in life. It is how you react and respond. That is why I get so passionate about this subject. I did not know that working for a non-market leader was a positive early in my career but it turned out to be that way.

Paul, you are a keynote speaker and a bestselling author. You started your company in January of 2020, your keynote speaking business. A couple of months later, something did happen in the world. You pushed in all your chips. We talked and have been friends since before then. Can you talk about that for the readers? What did you do? You pushed, went all in and then the pandemic happened. There is no more keynote speaking events or maybe there were but virtual, whatever that looked like back then. You are speaking to thousands of people. Can you tell us about your mindset there?

TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: Paul authored the critically lauded and #1 bestselling leadership playbook, The Power of Playing Offense.


I will talk about the first six months of 2020 and also share a quick piece on what led up to that. If you are reading this, let’s say you have a day job and are collecting a check every two weeks. That was my entire career from the time I graduated college until the end of 2019. I do not mind dating myself. I graduated in ’04. It was many years of reliable, steady and consistent income increasing year over year because of production, performance, promotions and all that great stuff. I went all in.

I made the decision middle of ’19 that I wanted to be a keynote speaker. I was fully committed to the thought leadership space. I realized that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it on my terms. I did not want to plug into some bigger machine. I was not ready at an earlier chapter of my career to become an entrepreneur but at this time, I knew I was so I went in.

In January of 2020, you start to do all your business development, which frankly, had started months in advance of that. The calendar gets filled and populated. From keynote speeches to training workshops, to deeper change consulting work and to me trying to institute purpose into people, teams and organizations. Every week, there are wins. For two and a half months, it was awesome.

Middle of March 2020 hits. This pandemic thing is not foreign. It is in the US. We are not comfortable gathering. Conference canceled. All of a sudden, what was set to be the most, not only financially lucrative year of my life but more important than that, most fulfilling, inspiring and purpose-centered was sitting right in front of me. This was a dream come true. It was materializing.

When all of those opportunities were taken away, seemingly overnight, I am not going to lie. I am hard-wired and I default to optimism and an ultra-sense of positivity but this was the toughest pill to swallow ever because I went all in. This was my baby. When you start your company and due to some world circumstance that you had no control or influence of, it seems like somebody squashed all of that positive energy that you poured into it. I am happy to share that answer because, for a lot of other folks, it might have taken them perhaps longer but for me, it was a couple of weeks of processing and going into a dark hole.

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I was not so positive. My wife and best friends had to hear it. I will not say that I had a victim mentality. I was not asking, “Why me?” I was asking, “Why now?” That is what I had to process but fast forward, that was March of 2020. After I dusted myself off, in April 2020, I looked at the rest of the calendar year and new live events may not be a thing. I asked myself, “What was on my mid to long-term horizon that I would not have got to but now I can? Which of those things am I most excited about?” The number one thing that rose to the top of the list was, “I am going to write a book.”

I started writing The Power of Playing Offense in April of 2020. I was finished by June of 2020. Within 90 days, I wrote what turned out to be a 375-page book. Santor, here we are years after that point. I do not know if that book is written had it not been for a global pandemic. You want to talk about a silver lining and playing offense at a time when the world was playing defense. I am very proud of being able to share that story.

Paul, it went on to become a bestselling book on Amazon. It is an amazing story. I remember us talking and a lot is happening to me at that time. When we finally caught up, you are like, “I already finished it. We are in the editing process.” I am like, “What? That is amazing.” That is why I wanted to bring you on to talk about purpose. As you are writing your first book and leading your first sales team working in the NFL and NBA, did you ever have to deal with imposter syndrome? What did that look like?

If not me personally, it is all around me all the time. It is very pervasive when you think about companies, teams, cultures, life in general and imposter syndrome. I almost reframe and reposition it sometimes to the whole, “Fake it until you make it.” I hear that all the time, even me coming up whether as a thought leader. “Before you write your first book, you are in this new author space.” Also, as a speaker, for anybody reading and you are an artist, in the music industry, in accounting, a lawyer, a software designer or an engineer. You always start somewhere. Here is what is interesting about starting anything new in life. You are going to suck at the beginning. I mean that from a loving place.

We all suck at everything. The first time you drove a car, were you a great driver? You were not. What is going to be different because you want to play music or want to be a finance guy or gal? Whatever it is that you are into, there is a starting point. I worked with professional athletes. I still do in a different coaching capacity. Do you think they were great the first time they stepped on the field or the quarter, the ice? No, but they made it their purpose, gift and calling. They lean in and did the hard work in the unseen hours. Getting back to your point about the imposter syndrome, we always think about feeling like we have to be perfect. I believe that one of the keys to life is imperfect action.

TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: Paul left the boardrooms of major sports leagues to begin sharing his message of purpose, activating your WHY, and Playing Offense in life and work around the globe.


Are you going to be gritty enough to take imperfect action? This is easier said than done. How much on a scale of 1 to 100 do you care what other people think? That is a massive contributor to what leads to imposter syndrome. Santor, my number used to be very high. I do not know if it was ever 100 out of 100 but it was high. I am close to zero now. I do not care.

Not because other people do not matter. They do. Not because I do not want other people around me to love me, recognize me and give me a lot of praise. It feels good but you know what I would love more than that praise? I would love to live on my terms, tap into my authenticity, live my purpose, make an impact and contribute in ways that are meaningful to me. Not because mom and dad, wife or boss said so.

They are all important but they are not going to step into your shoes. Only you know what it is like to live in your life. If you are going to live on other people’s terms, good luck. You are not going to end up winning that game because it is not your life versus asking yourself what you want and questions like, “If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?” When you think something is impossible, brush that to the side and say, “What would it take if I knew I was going to move forward?” You map it out. To me, that is an awesome mindset shift on how to overcome imposter syndrome.

Paul, how much do you or everyone use social media?

Do you mean the top 1% of people’s life that has a filter on them?

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Yes. Would you say that that has a big impact on how people compare themselves to others? What are your thoughts on social media?

My thoughts on social media are there is a lot of good and bad in it. You need to know how to manage social media. Do not let social media manage you. That is the reality. I am not saying that is easy. Trust me, every time I scroll through Instagram, I am like, “Why am I a little sad? Why do I have a massive case of FOMO? What is going on here?” I am human. I understand what that is like but I have learned over the years to manage social media versus letting it manage me.

Think about it this way. Let’s say I was talking to Billy or Susie who is reading this. Billy or Susie, if I was to only record you in the top 1% of the things that happened to you, the most exotic vacation, the nicest steak dinner, the times you were hanging out with your best friends and everything was going perfectly or the time with a beautiful picture of scenery that looks like a postcard, that is when I captured it and then I told the rest of the world, “This is Billy and Susie,” would I be telling the whole picture? I would not. I want to respectfully challenge Billy and Susie reading this to say that we are only posting in most cases the top 1% and so is everybody else.

When you compare yourself to somebody else’s top 1%, you are going to feel let down. That is an example of social media managing you versus saying, “That is awesome that he or she is going through this experience, they are at this place, took this vacation or at this cool looking restaurant. That is fantastic for them.” Instead of that haterade coming out, it could be more like, “It has been a while since I went to my favorite restaurant.” You call your best friend and you are like, “What are you doing next weekend?” You put something on your calendar and play offense to start living on your terms and almost use social media as that fuel that makes you more excited about what you have to look forward to.

Paul, I love the haterade comment. That is a term from our Millennial youth.

TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: Paul serves as Chief Impact Officer for PurposePoint as well as Chief Purpose Advisor for the WHY Institute.


I am an old Millennial. I am on the cusp.

Moving on to the next generation which is Gen Z, they are the ones graduating college and were born approximately 1995 and later. What would you say their biggest strength is? What advice would you give to folks who are hiring them and leading them?

Anything in life, if overused can become a weakness. I will use myself as an example. I have core values. My core five, in no particular order, are courage, impact, belief, growth and authenticity. If I over-flex courage, it could lead to irresponsible decision-making but at its finest, it means I am going to burst through that fear. Courage is divorcing fear from failure or standing tallest when fear and risk are highest. That is courage at its best but you see it has a dangerous side.

All of my core value of authenticity is fantastic but do you know what my kryptonite is, Santor? It is superficiality and people that are fake. I cannot. Some people can tolerate and I cannot even tolerate it. I check out. When I am around somebody and I am like, “My gut tells me you are fake,” I shut down. That is not the best response from me.

I am riffing on a couple of my core values to prove a point that every strength, which core values are a strength but if over-index and you go too far, there can be some weaknesses that are exposed. Back to your question, technology is a massive piece. We think of younger generations overall as more tech-savvy. On the plus side, that is an opportunity for professional development and growth in different career paths. Maybe there is a fulfilling way for you to scratch that itch and make a living out of it. Your technology is infinitely higher than mine. However, how are your social skills, interpersonal skills and human-to-human skills? How are your listening, empathy, trust and compassion?

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When I got into sales and leadership and climbed the ranks to be an executive, I did not get there largely because of my tactical strengths. I got there because of my people strengths, which were my differentiator. My concern is if you over-flex and over-index on tech and we are punching buttons, instead of moving our mouths, there is a massive danger in that. I am not the old guy that is like, “Get off my lawn.” I believe it is, “Yes and.” Yes to technology and you got to kick some butt on the human-to-human stuff as well. Otherwise, it is going to be hard to thrive holistically in life.

Notice that I did not say you could not be successful at a job but there is a ceiling because eventually, you cannot be in a cave by yourself doing any job. It is going to require a team and building a culture and an organization that creates bigger missions. The younger we are, the more tapped into purpose we are and the more impact we want to create in the world, it is very difficult to create an impact on your own.

It is possible but it is more difficult. It is much easier when you can scale that impact and make a bigger difference. Whether it be macro in the world or your community, inside your home or company, it takes the strength of many. If we do not have amazing human skills, people skills, relationship skills and connection skills, that is the secret sauce of what we do.

For all leaders that are leading Gen Z, it is understanding their strengths but just as important, how can we say, “If these are gaps based on a generation, how can we become a part of the solution versus the problem?” It does not help for me as a senior leader to complain about that generation. That does nobody any good. Nothing positive comes out of that mind space. I have lost before I even started versus, “What a tremendous opportunity?”

“In this case, the X generation has strength in tech but maybe I can support them because I feel I have a strength in these interpersonal skills, soft skills and foundational skills. How can I create a training program to help people level up in those areas and do it in a very respectful and empathetic way?” That would be an example of how I would lead Gen Z in that situation.

TZL 2 | Finding Your Purpose

Finding Your Purpose: When you run red lights, you’re not checking in with your head. You’re just moving forward with action. But running too many red lights will get you stuck. You need to find your green light and stop at reds.


Not even a training program, which should happen but even mentoring and coaching. That is part of leadership, also mentoring, coaching and being there for them. When we entered the workplace as Millennials, a lot of us turned it upside down. We said, “They need to adapt to us.” It’s vice versa. We need to understand and the people coming into the workplace need to understand us too. It is a two-way street. What has made me successful in my career is being able to understand some of the Baby Boomers and the Gen X-ers on what they value. A lot of it was being at your desk, even though you may perform. I was at my desk longer and took on more responsibilities. That helped propel my career a lot faster. I love that though. It is well-spoken.

Here’s a book to recommend. I do not care what generation it would apply to. For me, it is a universal one. The 5 Love Languages is a great book because it highlights speaking somebody else’s language. Everyone reading this, most people have heard of the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” There is a better rule. The Platinum Rule says, “Treat others as they want to be treated.” If all you are doing is treating people as you want to be treated, you are assuming that the same things that get you out of bed, get other people out of bed. That is fundamentally false.

However, if you speak their language and you abide by the Platinum Rule, understand what is most important to somebody else and then meet them where they are, that is the winning formula. You are going to get greater engagement, response and energy. You are going to have the ability to build a better relationship.

This was my entry-level management 101 screw-up, Santor. I did not have great relationships with my team. One of my guys called me out and said, “You broke bread with me but when was the last time you broke bread with anybody else on the team?” Santor, I thought I was managing twelve Pauls when I was an entry-level manager at the Clippers. We were suffering in our results.

The moment that I made that shift and started to meet them where they were, I started to understand their needs, goals and personal and professional motivations. That is when the game changed. I had that job for two years. We went from 28th and league revenue to 2nd in league revenue, selling the same bad product from number 28 to number 2. Why? It is because of the Platinum Rule, relationships, the power of people and I found a way to align our purpose.

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One of the things I use is the StrengthsFinder. You are familiar with that as well. What’s interesting is Gallup has StrengthsFinder’s assessment. Anyone could find that on It looks at the top things we are good at like The 5 Love Languages. It is very similar in that aspect but Gallup has this statistic. The odds of you having the same top five strengths as someone else are 1 in 33.4 million. Is that not incredible?

It shows we are all human beings, which amplifies that Platinum Rule. That has helped me be very successful in my leadership career because I led each person and spoke in their language. That cuts through a lot of the generational friction too. If you speak to them in the StrengthsFinder language or love language, that can make a huge difference.

Moving on, tell me about purpose. I know that is, “What is our why?” We had Dr. Bronk talking about the science. Tell me about the message that you bring to audiences or thousands of people and the people you impact. What is purpose? Is it this thing that we find under a rock or all of a sudden, we are on a treadmill and it hits us like a lightning bolt?

The why versus purpose conversation is something that has been keeping me up for years. Finding my why changed my life. I have never been the same since I found that at an executive leadership offsite retreat in 2016 at the San Francisco 49ers. I have never looked back. I knew something so special that happened. Santor, this is a surprise for you. I almost intentionally did not mention this before. I would love to provide all your readers with a free tool that gets them direct access to their why in under five minutes. Please, before we close out, let me go ahead and share that with everybody.

I always get asked the question because I thought about my why a lot. Mark Twain was the one I will give the credit to on this quote. “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” When I tapped into mine, I started to think about why, values, purpose and showing up each day in the spirit of those. I started to think, “How can I implement this into my decision-making, behaviors and actions?” I went through this journey and eventually was even called the Why Coach of the 49ers because I started to pay the gift of purpose forward. It became an obsession and then a calling.


It led to my eventual Jerry Maguire leap out of sports because I wanted to step further into this calling. When I think about it, my perspective on why and purpose has shifted. I used to use them interchangeably. I fundamentally think they are different and unique. I am about to explain how and why. Also, I used to think that why and purpose, we are like a North Star. It is out there and you get called into it. The challenge with that is if I am reading this and I said, “What is your why? What is your North Star?” I would venture to think based on the research and the studies that I have both done personally and that the market tells us.

Over 90% have no freaking clue. 9 people out of 10 say, “I do not know my why.” When we have messages like, “Step into your calling and go follow your North Star,” it puts people in a rough mental spot because they feel less than. They feel like, “Maybe my life does not have a purpose. I have not figured out what my passions are. Nevertheless, my purpose.” What I am on a mission to do is to democratize purpose so everyone has a seat at that table. I believe that your why is your North Star and there are a few ways to find it. A) I am about to provide a gift via an assessment. B) You could hire a coach. C) You could go to a workshop.

There are proven ways. I promise you this. Whether me or somebody else that does similar work like me, we can get you to your why quickly, one day max, maybe half-day or a couple of hours. In this case, five-minute assessment. You can find your why. I always get asked the question, “Can I have more than one why?” No. However, you can have more than one purpose because purpose after you find your why is the 365 lifestyle that follows. In other words, you can have a purpose based on any hat you wear like purpose at home, at work, in your friendships, relationships, community or church. Wherever and whoever it is that you associated and congregate with, there is purpose potential in that equation 100%.

That is my challenge and why I am writing my second book all about living your life all with a purpose versus finding your purpose. Go and find your why. Coach, assessment or workshop, you can do it but the purpose is the lifestyle and the application of your core values on a day-to-day basis. That is why I am writing the book.

I am centering around an equation of aligning your head, heart and hands. Mindset, heartset and action, all three of those things are connected. If they are not, you are going to fall further away from living on purpose versus when you can say, “Is my head and heart onboard? Greenlight, proceed with an action.” I am writing the book so that people run more green lights, seek out green lights and stop running reds.

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When you run red lights, you are not checking in with your head and heart but you are still moving forward with action. Career choice here, relationship choice there. Is running one red light going to ruin your life? No, but running reds 6 months, 12 months or 24 months down the line, all of a sudden, you’re stuck. Tell me if this sounds familiar, Santor. They’re like, “I am burned out, fatigued and thinking of resigning. I am in a bad relationship with work, my boss and my spouse. I am not happy and fulfilled.” Do you know how they got there? They were running red lights and did not even know it.

It sounds like the Great Resignation. There are too many red lights.

Our workplaces were creating red lights. People were running them consciously or subconsciously and then the pandemic hits. We look inside of ourselves and ask ourselves who we are, what we stand for, how we want to show up and what we want to represent. We realize the misalignment so we are like, “Peace out because I do not want to run red lights anymore. I want to go find a company or a tribe that I believe in because that is a green light and life is better when we run greens.”

I cannot wait to read this next book. It is exciting. Do we have an estimated arrival date? I got to ask.

It is going to be 2023 but I will be highly out there with inspiring a movement to align our heads, hearts and hands. That is going to start effective immediately.


I am with you. That is what a lot of people saw right during this pandemic. It is like, “Do I want to sit in traffic for two hours for a job I do not care about?” We are in Los Angeles so I always joke about this on this show, how much time we are going to spend looking at remote work versus in-person work or hybrid. That is another thing too. That could be a potential red light or green light, depending upon what you do.

Someone graduated college and is about to get promoted in a few years. We do not want to get that executive role right away. We want to but that is not always realistic. How can they play offense based on your book? Hopefully, everyone will get a chance to check it out because it is awesome. What advice would you give to them to play offense coming right out of college?

Playing offense is a proactive mindset to inspire action. Remember what I said earlier about imperfect action. Sometimes that is the action required to grow and reach our potential to become the best version of ourselves. If I could give the arc of playing offense, before you lead others, you must first lead yourself. While it is a leader’s playbook, I do not position leadership as a rank, role, driven by title or authority. I would ask every reader out there to think of the greatest leader that you have ever had, whether it be a parent, a coach, a mentor or maybe somebody that is work-related. Any walk of life, personal or professional, think of that person. What did they do? Why did you think about them? How do they show up every day? What are their actions, behaviors and the way they made decisions?

You are going to think about things like, “They were great listeners. They had compassion. They were quick to build trust. I saw their passion and positive energy. They were responsible. They follow through and lead by example.” I would reverse engineer that for everyone reading. I would ask you, “The way you described that person in your mind, did any of them have to do with rank, role, title or authority?” Odds are they did not. The reality is you would follow that person you thought of to no end because before they led you, they led themselves. You were inspired by the way that they led themselves. In turn, you elected to follow them. That is how leadership works.

It is a magnetic attraction because when you lead yourself, you can then most effectively lead teams, others, companies, homes and communities. That is my message for everyone out there. How can you play offense? Start by leading yourself. Embody the behaviors, traits, qualities and values of the people you look up to the most. Hold yourself to that standard because if you do, you are leading yourself and with leading yourself, no title is required.

Paul, that is the structure of this book. This show and my book’s first section are about how to lead yourself. The second section is about how to lead others. The third one is how to lead within an organization. That could be complex as well. If you do not understand yourself and what your core values are, how can other people be expected to follow you?

It is funny you say that too because that is the five pillars of Playing Offense. The 1st two are leading self, 3rd and 4th are leading others and the 5th is leading the future. Leading self, others and the future, if any of those or all of those resonate with you, I wrote the playbook that I never had. Nobody in business taught me how to lead myself, nevertheless, very rarely lead others and certainly do not lead the future.

It was all about the present time and putting out the fire of today. I wrote this to raise awareness about how you can most effectively lead yourself because that is where it starts. True leadership is to know who you are. When your cup is full and you serve yourself, not in a selfish way but in a way where you pour energy into yourself by stepping into your zone of identity, passion, purpose and impact, when you lean hard in on those things, you have even more juice to pour into others. That is the point of life.

As we are wrapping up, can you please give us a website to check out this Why assessment? I cannot wait. That is generous of you to offer this free assessment

Anything and everything on me is at my website, I want to be very generationally aware here. If texting or the assessment is better, I still would love for you to go to the website and check everything out. There is a ton of free resources on thought leadership. Here is the phone number to text, (310) 564-7857. Text the word WHY and my team will send you a link to get access to the assessment.

Paul, thank you so much for being on the show. We are excited for 2023 looking for book number two. Have a great rest of your day.


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About Paul Epstein

Finding Your Purpose | TZL 2 Paul Epstein

Paul Epstein has spent nearly 15 years as a pro sports executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office.
He’s transformed numerous NBA teams from the absolute bottom in league revenue to top-two in financial performance. He’s broken every premium revenue metric in Super Bowl history as the NFL’s sales leader. He’s also opened a billion-dollar stadium, helped save the New Orleans NBA franchise, and founded the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy—where he became known as the “Why Coach”.
To amplify this impact, Paul has since installed his leadership and high-performance playbook with Fortune 500 leaders, Founders and CEOs, MBAs, and professional athletes.
As a global keynote speaker, #1 bestselling author of “The Power of Playing Offense”, and host of the “Playmakers: ON PURPOSE” podcast, Paul explores how living and working with a focus on leadership, culture, and purpose can transform organizations and individuals anywhere to unleash their full potential.
When he’s not on stage, he’s putting his insights to daily practice, serving as Chief Impact Officer for Purpose Point (host of the world’s largest Purpose Summit) and Chief Purpose Advisor for the Why Institute (the world’s fastest way to discover your purpose)—on a mission to inspire leaders and lives to meet the unique challenges of our era.