The Power of Playing Offense by Paul Epstein

Interview with Paul Epstein: The Power of Playing Offense

How does your purpose inspire you to be the leader you want to follow? How can “playing offense” transform you from a manager into a leader, a dreamer into a doer, and your defensive decisions into offensive power plays?

In his new book The Power of Playing Offense: A Leader’s Playbook for Personal and Team Transformation, Paul Epstein shares the connection between purpose and action and describes the five pillars he believes enables leaders to create positive impact: Live with Championship Purpose, Be the Storm Chaser, Salute the Long Snapper, Embody Gold Jacket Culture, and Leave It Better Than You Found It.

In today’s post I’m thrilled to offer you not only my interview with Paul, but also an opportunity to win signed copies of both of our books!

Interview with Paul Epstein: The Power of Playing OffenseBook: The Power of Playing Offense

Paul and I met in 2017 when he was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We met up for a coffee to explore collaboration together — at the time he was a trainer and consultant for Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute —  and it was clear that we were aligned not only in our high energy but also our shared passion about living with purpose and intention.

Over the following two years, Paul generously accepted my invitation to lead two different leadership development sessions for the local Consortium that I run in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

In both sessions, I was inspired by Paul’s approach to leadership and coaching — honed through years of working in professional sports and leadership consulting —  and his clear, inspirational “why” message grounded in purpose and action.

I’m thrilled for the release his new bestselling book The Power of Playing Offense and for the opportunity to share our recent conversation together with you.

Without further ado, check out our interview!

See below for a list of the questions and time stamps if you wish to jump to specific topics.

Here are my 6 questions to Paul– watch the video for the answers!

  1. Writing a book in the best of times is a massive undertaking, and even more so in a pandemic. What inspired you to write this book? – 1:14
  2. Discovering one’s “why” often is a journey. How do you describe your why? And what is one step that someone can take to get more clear on their own why? – 3:58
  3. Your framework of the 5 pillars of playing offense — Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading the Future — resonates with me. What have you observed in the place most leaders get stuck in moving towards the next level? – 7:02
  4. You have a ton of great resources and information in the book and on your website. What is one of your top recommendations for people to “start playing offense” on Monday morning? – 10:06
  5. What has been one of your biggest growth opportunities personally as a leader or coach? – 12:20
  6. What was something that you unexpected that you learned through the process of writing the book? – 15:08
  7. What is a question that you haven’t been asked about the book — either here or in other interviews — that you would like to address? What is the question and what is your response? – 17:52

Some highlighted quotes from the interview:

4:35 “Playing offense means to me is somebody that lives with purpose. Somebody that has intent in every single one of their actions they step into each day with clarity and conviction because they are being true to their purpose.” 

8:28 “Think of the greatest leader that you’ve ever had in any walk of life — it can be in business or it can be a parent, a coach, a teacher…. Why did you just think of them? How did they show up every day? How did they act, behave, make decisions? …  My definition of a leader is that it’s a trainable set of behaviors. As you think of that one leader that has impacted you the most … how do show up every day with those same behaviors?”

12:31 “My biggest growth opportunity was having the courage and the vulnerability to admit that I sold out at one point because I prioritized corporate goals over people…. In my heart cared but my actions didn’t display it.”

Congratulations to the winners of the book giveaway, The Power of Playing Offense & Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn, that Paul and I ran in June 2, 2021.

Even though the giveaway has passed, you can still get your copies of the books: Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn by Katie Anderson and The Power of Playing Offense by Paul Epstein.

Be Part of My Chain of Learning

If you enjoyed this post and want to continue your learning journey with me, sign up for my periodic newsletter below where you’ll be the first to know about new articles on leadership, coaching, and continuous improvement, more author interviews and giveaways, and other opportunities to deepen your learning.

If you are already a subscriber, thank you!

Get The Latest Updates

Join my Chain of Learning®!

Register below for my newsletter and be the first to know about new articles, podcast episodes, and other inspiration to deepen your learning and leadership impact.

Let's grow our Chain of Learning -- together!

Related Posts



Get my free guide 3 Tips to Break The Telling Habit & learn how to ask better questions with intention.

3 Tips to Break the Telling Habit

Take my FREE Change Katalyst™ self-assessment now!

Sign up today to get a free copy of the Take my FREE Change Katalyst™ self-assessment.

Get your own copy of the 4-Box Problem-Solving Tool

Sign up today to get a free copy of the 4-box problem-solving tool.

Download My Plan-Do-Check-Adjust Framework

I want the "Leading to Learn: People Centered Practices to Develop a Culture of Learning" webinar slides!

In addition to the webinar slides, you will also be signed up for Katie’s periodic newsletter, which you can opt out of at any time.

Get the Create a Life Tapestry Art Project Instructions

Enter your email to get access to the life tapestry instructions.

How to Ask Effective Questions

All newsletter subscribers get a copy of Isao Yoshino’s tips on “How to Ask Effective Questions” from our joint session on asking effective questions. Sign up here!

Download Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn Book Sample

Dive into Isao Yoshino’s Letter to the Reader and learn from his first mistake at Toyota. By sharing your information, you will also be subscribed to Katie’s periodic newsletter to be the first to know about new articles, events, and other learning experiences!

Download a PDF of the article "If You Think Lean is Inherently Japanese, Think Again"

Sign up below and receive a PDF of the article I wrote for Planet Lean “If You Think Lean is Inherently Japanese, Think Again”!

Get Personal Improvement A3 Coaching Tips!

Develop your coaching skills to develop others. Download the Personal Improvement A3 Coaching guide!

Start living and leading with intention today!

Do you want improve yourself as a leader, coach or learner? Getting started with an intentional practice of daily reflection can accelerate your learning. Enter your email address below to download the Daily Reflection Template.

Isao Yoshino’s Leadership Credo

Sign up here and get your copy of Isao Yoshino’s leadership credo!

Learning to Lead Leading to Learn Book

Top 10 Toyota Leadership Lessons

Receive a PDF of the first top 10 leadership lessons and insights that I learned from Mr. Isao Yoshino, a leader at Toyota for over 40 years. These lessons and more inspired us to create the bestselling book “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn.”

Learning to Lead Leading to Learn Book

Access the Book Bonus Resources

Get the downloadable bonus material and additional resources referenced throughout the book. By sharing your information, you will receive access to all the bonus resources — as well as new resources as they become available.