The Path to Cash: The Door Opening Strategy with Caryn Kopp

In this episode, we had the privilege of hosting Caryn Kopp, a seasoned expert in sales messaging and business development. Caryn’s extensive experience has made her a master of opening doors to new business opportunities, and her insights are invaluable for anyone looking to enhance their sales strategies.

  • Discover the Power of Value: Caryn emphasizes the importance of focusing on the value your product or service offers rather than just highlighting differentiation from competitors. Learn how to craft compelling messaging that resonates with prospects.
  • Unveil the Right Prospects: Targeting the right prospects is critical. Caryn discusses effective methods to identify and engage prospects who are more likely to convert, saving time and effort.
  • Overcome Objections with Confidence: Caryn shares proven techniques for anticipating objections and crafting responses that address prospects’ concerns. Gain insights into handling objections to move prospects closer to a sale.

Tune in to this episode to gain insights into refining your sales messaging, identifying prospects, and handling objections with finesse. Unlock Caryn’s expertise and take your sales strategies to new heights.

Whether you’re a business owner, a sales professional, or anyone interested in mastering the art of sales messaging, this episode is a must-listen. Elevate your sales game by understanding the value-centric approach, prospect targeting, and objection handling strategies shared by Caryn Kopp. Don’t miss out—listen to the full episode now to transform your sales approach.

Connect with Caryn Kopp!




Watch the episode here


00:00:00 Chief door opener shares strategies.

00:07:55 “Sales messaging is powerful”

00:15:27 Hiring experienced openers is crucial.

00:19:27 Right target, right message.

00:26:51 Right target, right message.

00:30:56 Sales success requires effective execution.

00:35:01 Referrals and email require careful execution.

00:41:10 Identify ready-to-buy prospects efficiently.

00:48:09 Know your why for success.

Listen to the podcast here

Unveiling the Art of Sales Messaging and Prospecting: Insights from Expert Caryn Kopp

Are you seeking to elevate your sales strategies and open doors to new business opportunities? Look no further than the latest podcast episode featuring Caryn Kopp, a seasoned expert in sales messaging and business development. With years of experience under her belt, Caryn shares her invaluable insights, shedding light on the art of crafting compelling sales messages, identifying the right prospects, and overcoming objections with finesse.


The Power of Value-Centric Messaging


In the podcast episode, Caryn Kopp emphasizes a paradigm shift in sales messaging—focusing on value over differentiation. While many businesses aim to highlight what makes them different from competitors, Caryn highlights the importance of communicating the value a product or service offers to the prospect. By resonating with the prospect’s needs and demonstrating how your offering can bring tangible benefits, you create a compelling reason for them to engage further.


Targeting the Right Prospects: A Game-Changer


One of the major takeaways from the episode is the significance of targeting the right prospects. Caryn delves into effective methods to identify prospects who are more likely to convert, saving valuable time and resources. By understanding your ideal customer profile, leveraging trigger events, and aligning with prospects who are ready to make a decision, you increase the efficiency of your sales efforts.


Mastering Objection Handling: A Strategic Approach


Objections are a common stumbling block in the sales process. Caryn equips listeners with strategies to anticipate objections and provide thoughtful responses that address prospects’ concerns. By proactively addressing objections, you build trust and credibility, nudging prospects closer to a favorable decision. Caryn’s insights guide listeners on turning objections into opportunities for meaningful conversations.


Why Caryn Kopp’s Expertise Matters


Caryn Kopp’s wealth of experience and expertise in the realm of sales messaging and business development make her a pivotal figure in the industry. Her insights have helped numerous businesses refine their sales approaches and establish fruitful connections with prospects. Caryn’s deep understanding of the nuances of value-centric messaging, prospect targeting, and objection handling has proven instrumental in driving successful sales outcomes.


Don’t Miss Out: Elevate Your Sales Game


Whether you’re a business owner, a sales professional, or someone keen on mastering the art of effective sales strategies, this podcast episode is a treasure trove of insights. Caryn Kopp’s practical advice and actionable tips offer listeners the tools they need to revolutionize their sales messaging, approach prospecting strategically, and navigate objections seamlessly. By tuning in to this episode, you’ll gain access to the expertise that can take your sales strategies to new heights.


Caryn Kopp’s expertise shines through in this enlightening podcast episode, where she shares her secrets to success in the world of sales messaging and business development. From crafting value-centric messages to honing in on the right prospects and skillfully addressing objections, Caryn’s insights are transformative. Embrace the opportunity to learn from a true industry expert and unlock the potential to drive meaningful connections and successful sales outcomes. Listen to the full episode now to embark on your journey toward sales excellence.

Discover your WHY.os now for 50% off! Click here to purchase today or visit to learn more!

If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using. Thank you so much for being here. I will see you in the next episode.


About Caryn Kopp

Her Door Opener Service has helped thousands of business leaders and sales people secure initial meetings with executives in almost every major company including P&G, Pfizer, GE, Merck, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Kraft, Target, CBS and more.
Caryn Kopp has been dubbed the Chief Door Opener because she gets her clients “in the door” with their prospects. Many business leaders and sellers say that when they’re in front of the right decision makers they close the sale most of the time, but they just can’t get in front of enough of the right prospects. Caryn’s team of senior business developers known as Kopp Door Openers find the right opportunities and secure initial meetings for their clients.
As a best selling author, nationally recognized speaker, and an expert in Business Development, Caryn can be seen in Inc., Fortune Magazine, Forbes and Newsweek and has been interviewed on The Wall Street Journal Morning Radio Show. Caryn is also the Sales Messaging Coach for the Scaling Up Coaches Worldwide. She is the author of The Path to the Cash!® The Words You NEED To Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections, a Go-To Book for getting in the door with prospects.
Caryn earned her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and her undergraduate degree from Babson College. She has held board positions for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), National Speakers’ Association (NSA) and Enterprising Women Magazine. Caryn is also a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO). Caryn has also received leadership awards including the Enterprising Women of the Year and the Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

Contribute Podcast WHY

The Persuasion Paradox: How to Get People to Say Yes Before You Ask

Watch the episode here

00:00:09 Persuasion is about pre-suasion.
00:08:35 Use an effective opener for persuasion.
00:17:02 Small changes can have big impacts.
00:26:00 Small bigs make a difference.
00:34:08 Use ethical persuasion techniques effectively.
00:42:24 Think well of others.

Listen to the podcast here

Dr. Robert Cialdini, a renowned expert in the field of influence and persuasion, is the guest in this episode. With extensive research and expertise, Dr. Cialdini has authored books and developed principles that provide valuable insights into understanding human behavior and how to ethically influence others.
Three major things you will learn by listening to this episode:
  • Differentiating influence from persuasion: Understand the psychological aspects of influence and how to create a favorable state of mind in your audience before delivering your message.
  • The power of small actions and cues: Discover how something as simple as a smile or the shape of a smile can significantly impact people’s decisions and preferences.
  • The importance of ethical application: Learn how to apply the principles of influence in an ethical manner to build long-term trust and loyalty.
To gain valuable knowledge from Dr. Cialdini and delve into the art of influence, listen to this episode now!

Connect with Dr. Robert Cialdini!


Unleashing the Power of Ethical Influence: Insights from Dr. Robert Cialdini

Discover the art of ethical influence and the fascinating world of human behavior in this captivating podcast episode featuring Dr. Robert Cialdini. As a distinguished expert in influence and persuasion, Dr. Cialdini shares his extensive knowledge, providing invaluable insights to help you master the art of persuasion. Whether you’re a business professional, marketer, or simply looking to enhance your communication skills, this episode is a game-changer.

Unveiling the Guest

Dr. Robert Cialdini, the renowned authority on influence, brings his unrivaled expertise to the forefront of this episode. With a plethora of groundbreaking research and best-selling books to his name, Dr. Cialdini is a trusted source for understanding the psychological factors that shape decision-making. His contributions have made a significant impact on professionals across diverse industries.

Unleashing the Secrets to Ethical Influence

Explore the essential elements that differentiate influence from persuasion, and how they play a vital role in achieving successful outcomes. Dr. Cialdini delves deep into the psychology behind effective messaging, teaching you how to prepare your audience to be more receptive to your requests. Gain a thorough understanding of the principles that underpin persuasive communication, enabling you to ethically influence others.

Harnessing the Power of Subtle Cues

Discover the surprising impact of small actions and non-verbal cues on decision-making processes. Dr. Cialdini shares intriguing studies that highlight the significance of a smile and its shape in shaping preferences and choices. Uncover the potential of leveraging these subtle cues to create lasting impressions and drive desired outcomes.

Ethical Application for Long-Term Success

Ethics and integrity form the foundation of ethical influence. Dr. Cialdini emphasizes the importance of maintaining trust and authenticity when applying persuasive techniques. By aligning ethical practices with the principles of influence, you can build long-term relationships, foster loyalty, and achieve sustainable success in your personal and professional endeavors.

Why You Should Tune In

Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity to gain invaluable insights from Dr. Cialdini, a true authority in the realm of influence. Unlock the secrets to mastering ethical persuasion, establish stronger connections, and drive favorable outcomes. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a passionate learner, this episode will equip you with actionable strategies to make a lasting impact.

Don’t wait any longer! Immerse yourself in the realm of ethical influence by listening to this transformative episode now.

About Dr. Robert Cialdini


Robert Cialdini, a thought leader in the fields of influence and persuasion, has spent his career publishing scientific research on what causes people to say “Yes” to requests. The results of his research, his ensuing articles, and his New York Times bestselling books have led to his election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

His 7 Principles of Persuasion have become a cornerstone for any organization serious about increasing its influence
significantly, while doing so ethically.

As a keynote speaker, Dr. Cialdini is renowned for his ability
to translate the science of influence through valuable and
indelible stories that lend themselves to long-term business

His books, including his New York Times Bestselling Influence and Pre-Suasion, have sold more than seven-million copies in 44 languages. As a result, he is frequently regarded as
“The Godfather of Influence”.

Contribute Podcast WHY

The Art of Influence: Small Things That Make a Big Difference with Godfather of Influence, Dr. Robert Cialdini

Watch the episode here

[00:00:13] The Seven Principles of Influence.
[00:06:01] Next in line effect.
[00:08:50] Power of Persuasion.
[00:13:13] Communication strategies for groups.
[00:21:17] The power of “because”.
[00:26:33] The definition of influence.
[00:28:39] Rule for reciprocity.
[00:33:55] Give something to clients first.
[00:39:29] Principles of Persuasion.
[00:43:28] Influence and Consistency.
[00:49:18] Social Proof and Usability.

Listen to the podcast here


Dr. Robert Cialdini is a renowned expert on influence and persuasion. With his extensive research and expertise, he has become a leading authority in understanding the psychology behind human behavior and decision-making. His work has helped businesses and individuals unlock the power of persuasion to achieve greater success.

Tune in and learn from the master himself!

  1. The seven universal principles of influence: Discover the key principles that significantly increase the likelihood of getting a positive response in any persuasive message, such as reciprocation, liking, authority, social proof, scarcity, commitment consistency, and unity.
  2. The power of giving first: Learn how providing value, benefits, and positive attitude to others can create a sense of reciprocity and increase the chances of them saying yes to your requests.
  3. Strategies for effective persuasion: Gain insights into practical techniques like finding genuine similarities, giving compliments, leveraging authority and social proof, highlighting scarcity, and promoting commitment and consistency to enhance your persuasive messaging.

Listen to this episode to delve deeper into the fascinating world of influence and persuasion, and learn how to apply these principles to improve your copywriting, SEO, and marketing strategies. Gain valuable insights from Dr. Robert Cialdini, an expert in the field, and unlock the potential to achieve better results in your business endeavors.

Connect with Dr. Robert Cialdini!


Unleashing the Power of Persuasion: Insights from Dr. Robert Cialdini

In the world of influence and persuasion, few names carry as much weight as Dr. Robert Cialdini. As a renowned expert in the field, Dr. Cialdini has dedicated his career to unraveling the secrets behind human behavior and decision-making. In a recent episode of the Beyond Your WHY Podcast, hosted by Dr. Gary Sanchez, Dr. Cialdini shared valuable insights into the art of persuasion and the seven universal principles of influence. Join us as we delve into the highlights of this episode, exploring the importance of Dr. Cialdini’s work and discovering how you can leverage his expertise to enhance your copywriting and SEO strategies.

Understanding the Seven Universal Principles of Influence

Dr. Cialdini’s extensive research has identified seven universal principles of influence: reciprocation, liking, authority, social proof, scarcity, commitment consistency, and unity. By grasping these principles and integrating them into your messaging, you can significantly increase the likelihood of eliciting a positive response from your target audience.

The Power of Reciprocity: Giving First

One of the major takeaways from the episode is the importance of giving value, benefits, and positive attitude before making a request. Dr. Cialdini emphasizes that by going above and beyond for your audience or customers, you create a sense of reciprocity, leading them to feel obligated to reciprocate your actions.

Strategies for Effective Persuasion

Dr. Cialdini provides actionable strategies for effective persuasion. He highlights the significance of finding genuine similarities and offering genuine compliments to build rapport with your audience. Leveraging authority and social proof can help reduce uncertainty, as people tend to follow the recommendations of experts and the actions of their peers. Additionally, highlighting scarcity and promoting commitment consistency can further enhance the persuasive impact of your message.

The Importance of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Work

Dr. Cialdini’s research and expertise in influence and persuasion have revolutionized our understanding of human behavior. His work has not only influenced the field of psychology but has also made a significant impact on marketing, sales, and business strategies worldwide. Through his groundbreaking book “Influence,” Dr. Cialdini has become a trusted authority, guiding businesses and individuals toward more effective communication and persuasion techniques.

The Beyond Your WHY Podcast episode featuring Dr. Robert Cialdini offers invaluable insights into the power of persuasion. By implementing the seven universal principles of influence and incorporating the strategies shared by Dr. Cialdini, you can enhance your ability to engage and persuade your target audience effectively. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn from one of the foremost authorities on influence and persuasion. Unlock the secrets of persuasion, elevate your copywriting and SEO efforts, and start achieving remarkable results in your communications. Tune in to the episode today and unleash the power of persuasion in your endeavors.

About Dr. Robert Cialdini


Robert Cialdini, a thought leader in the fields of influence and persuasion, has spent his career publishing scientific research on what causes people to say “Yes” to requests. The results of his research, his ensuing articles, and his New York Times bestselling books have led to his election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

His 7 Principles of Persuasion have become a cornerstone for any organization serious about increasing its influence
significantly, while doing so ethically.

As a keynote speaker, Dr. Cialdini is renowned for his ability
to translate the science of influence through valuable and
indelible stories that lend themselves to long-term business

His books, including his New York Times Bestselling Influence and Pre-Suasion, have sold more than seven-million copies in 44 languages. As a result, he is frequently regarded as
“The Godfather of Influence”.


Coach Elevation And The WHY Of Better Way With Mitch Russo

BYW S4 34 | Coach Elevation


Do you want to take your coaching program to the next level? Mitch Russo joins us again with his latest book, Coach Elevation: The Step-by-Step Guide to Elevating Coaching Sessions To Improve Results, Elevate Your Brand and Create Prosperity. Mitch is responsible for the SaaS platform, designed to manage your entire coaching company as a single or group of coaches. In this episode, he chats with Dr. Gary Sanchez about how you can use these tools to elevate and improve your program. Beyond that, the two also discuss Mitch’s WHY of Better Way and the importance of understanding your purpose before pursuing any venture. Tune in for more meaningful lessons and practical insights.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Coach Elevation And The WHY Of Better Way With Mitch Russo

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why in a better way, to find a better way in sharing. If this is your WHY, then you are the ultimate innovator. You are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it. You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?” You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto. I’m often pleased but never satisfied.

You are excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at always taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another with the ultimate goal of improving something. In this episode, I’ve got a great guess for you. I’ve had Mitch on before and the last time we talked, he was in the process of making some cool software and writing a book and so I thought it would be perfect for our audience. Here is Mitch’s bio.

Mitch Russo started a software company in his garage, sold it for eight figures, then went on to build a company to over $25 million with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes, nominated twice for Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur of the Year. Mitch’s book, Power Tribes: How Certification Can Explode Your Business, helps readers create new business divisions using high-performance certification programs. His software for coaches,, fills a void in the coaching software marketplace by helping coaches make their clients more productive with goal tracking and accountability. Mitch’s newest book, Coach Elevation, blueprints his process for helping clients find their true purpose and connect that to their true mission, which accelerates progress in both business and life. Mitch, welcome back to the show.

Thank you, Gary. It’s great to be back. I love continued conversations.

The last time we left off, you’d already done a whole heck of a lot of stuff, and we could go on and on about your bio, which we did last time. Since then, you’ve now launched a software program. You’ve written another book. Dive in. Which one would you like to talk about first?

I’ll talk about the origin and why I decided to create this software product. What was happening is after my Power Tribes book came out in 2018, my life got very busy. I started building a lot of certification programs. People read the book. They got excited about building their own and I started creating more programs for people, which is always fun to do. What started to also happen is that my coaching business started to grow. What I found is that it was time for me to put my big boy pants on and buy some software that manages a coaching business.

I basically went around and I did surveys to see what products were out there. I tried five different products, each with big promises. I found them to be woefully inadequate for my needs. I’m sure they’re good products in every other way but for my needs, which was basically easy to learn, easy to use, low cost but still very powerful around goal setting and accountability tracking. A lot of my success with my clients comes from holding them accountable.

Instead of saying, “Accountability could be easy. Let’s ask them how they’re doing.” That’s not accountability. We get very granular. In fact, we set numeric goals with every client, usually up to six. We track those goals sometimes every day. We put them into a dashboard and then we create graphs and chart to show people the progress they’re making. In fact, this became so popular that we extended the software and created a portal for our clients to log in, enter their own data and see their own graphics and charts so they could see what was going on all at once.

I started this project in 2019. It came to life with its very first version in 2021. Since then, it’s had two major revisions. In the last revision, I started to realize that I was using a process. Almost unconsciously, I’ve been using the same process for the last five or six years. I’ve refined it since I discovered the WHY Discovery. The WHY Discovery, for me, was the missing component to make this whole thing work.

It started to become such a big part of what I did with the client that I decided to explain everything in a book. I wrote a new book. It’s called Coach Elevation. The book itself is a blueprint about how to successfully run a coaching session with the purpose of discovering a client’s true purpose, connecting that through their WHY Discovery to their true mission. Now, what does this do? What this does is it changes the nature of the engagement.

BYW S4 34 | Coach Elevation
Coach Elevation: The Step-by-Step Guide to Elevating Coaching Sessions To Improve Results, Elevate Your Brand and Create Prosperity


Number one, it emotionally opens a person very quickly. I did the first session with a new certification client. She broke into tears 25-30 minutes into the session because, for the first time, she felt what her true mission was. Later, as we took this a little bit further and she told me what her why was because I had her take the discovery before. Now all of a sudden, it was very clear what her entire business was dedicated to doing. Before that, it was an enterprise. Now it is a life mission. It changes everything. She’ll move faster, work harder, be more successful and be more motivated to finally get that done. That’s what I’ve been up to, Gary.

Let’s go back for a minute. When you say your coaching business took off, who do you coach? Who’s your ideal coaching client? What clients are you talking about?

With certification, I coach SaaS companies. I coach training companies and other coaching companies as well. The whole idea is they have intellectual property that they are able to create a transformation in others. The thing is that if you could show someone else how to create that same transformation, then in effect, what you’re doing is you’re creating a scalable license model that will allow somebody to take this information, teach it to others and help them get clients and hare in the upside or the revenue that comes from those clients. We certify them in that process.

What that means is that when I work with the certification client, what I’m doing is I start with the process I described earlier, which makes everything go much easier. At that point, we’re building a business plan around the idea that we’re going to have a certified coach or a certified consultant network. From there, we build out the marketing system for that, then the sales system for that. We start to create the infrastructure on how we bring through students, if you will, into the system, into the pilot. We call it a pilot, the very first one.

We train them and we get them to be successful. We work with them one on one. We even engage with them while they’re working with clients to make sure that that first batch of graduates has business success and rapidly. The reason we do that is because what we want to do is we want to take those testimonials and we want to bring the next group through. That’s how we do it. It’s the early adopter rule. The tip of the triangle, tip of the pyramid. The early adopters go first and then once they get results and those results can be shown to others, now everybody wants to do it. That’s the theory behind the way we do this.

Your ideal client will be a coach or coach organization that has a process that they want to help other coaches use to better serve their clients.

Right, but there’s a wrinkle here. The wrinkle is what we want to do is we want to create a recurring revenue model on several levels. Before, you could buy coach certification from one of many very smart famous coaches and you’ll pay anywhere from $5,000 to $18,000 for that certification. What you generally get is a beautiful 8×10 certificate that’s suitable for framing right behind you on your Zoom window but generates no money.

Here’s what we know about coaches. We know coaches love to coach. They’re smart people, empathetic people, but they’re lousy salespeople. They’re sometimes not very good at marketing themselves. They may be good at helping others market, but they’re not very good at marketing themselves. We take over. When I say we, I mean the company that I’m consulting with. We build a marketing and selling system for the people that they certify. Now, what does that do? Number one, it puts enough revenue in their pocket, so we’re usually delivering between a 6X and 12X ROI on what they paid for certification year after year. That’s one stream of recurring revenue.

We know coaches love to coach. They're smart people, they're empathetic people, but they're lousy sales people. Click To Tweet

How do you build a marketing and selling system? What does that look like? Give us an example of something what that would be like.

Let’s take the average company and we’ll use your company, for example. Let’s say that you have a database of email addresses and names. Let’s say a percentage of those people are actual customers who paid you money. I’m going to guess it’s somewhere hovering between 5% and 8% of your database has paid you money, which means somewhere between 95% and 92% of those folks have not paid you money. Nonetheless, they seem to be resistive to all your charms and all your wonderful emails and all your videos.

What do we have? We have people who know you, who probably like you and even trust you but they still haven’t made a decision to work with you. Now what we do is we train people to do what you do, to duplicate your transformation, the ability that you have to transform another human being or particularly a corporation in this case. Once we teach them how to do that, we then build a business model that says, “We’re going to share our prospects with you. We’re going to put that inside of a CRM system and we’re going to give you access to that CRM system. In fact, we’re even going to create all the emails for you. All you got to do is sit down every morning and basically run the system with the new leads that you received.”

If you do this, then the system will start to make offers to the prospects, but a better offer than before. Here’s what the better offer looks like. Bob, you probably remember when Gary offered you the WHY Discovery and you loved it. You thought it was great, but for some reason, you didn’t pull the trigger. I am a WHY Discovery coach. My job is to make sure that when you take your WHY Discovery, I work with you one-on-one for free to see and make sure that you implement this into your life and get everything that we intended when we created this amazing tool.

If you like, we can offer you a small discount or we could set you up with a free call after you take the discovery. We could explore how this can benefit you, build your business, and grow your relationships in ways you never thought possible. That’s better than the offer you made over the past several years. Why? It’s because a live coach is willing to do this for free. Why would the coach be willing to do that for free? I think it’s an obvious answer. They’re looking to build relationships. They want to start working with people they haven’t worked with before so that they can help them in their lives.

Our statistics show that about 25% of the people who get a free or a few free coaching sessions will then go on to buy coaching because they found it to be so valuable that they don’t want to give up their coach. If that coach has any form of a personality at all and has a lot more to offer than what was offered for free, there’s a good chance that business relationships can go on for many years. It can involve the base company too. Meaning they can involve you are the WHY Institute and why? There are so many other things WHY Institute offers.

That coach can also have those as part of what they offer so they can get a commission. That’s another recurring revenue stream on whatever they sell their coaching client. They can earn money on the coaching itself and they can even share that money with the company because the company gets to set this up. The third thing is that in 2023, we bring them into a big room called the Symposium and we do a three-day rah-rah event and we reveal some new tools and get them all excited.

When they go out for the next 90 days, you’re going to see a huge bump in revenue coming from new sales and they pay for that as well. All of these recurring revenue streams start to stack up. By the end of the third year, you’re typically dealing with several million dollars of profits from a certification program if it’s done right and if it’s done with the proper scale. That is what my book is about. That is what I consult on.

That is why I needed software to help me make sure that when somebody engages with me. I’ll be honest, Gary, it’s not cheap. When someone engages with me, I have to make sure that they get the ROI on what they paid me. The only way I can do that is if I hold them accountable. I don’t mean casual accountability. As I said earlier, I want numeric accountability. I want to know how many prospects came in this week. I want to know what they did specifically to cause that and can we duplicate that next week? That’s what my goal is. That’s the software I could not find. That’s why I had to build it.

You went out, tried out five or so different other software looking for what you needed to be able to get that accountability. It didn’t exist, said, “I’m going to make my own something that I would do as I’ve done myself. It’s a better way thing.” For those people that are reading that are trying to do something similar. How the heck did you go do it yourself? What was that like for you?

For me, it’s something I always do. Gary, you’re the same way. I start things all the time and I get excited about things. My challenge sometimes is staying focused long enough to see it through to fruition. When I started this project, it was back in 2019 and I had a serviceable beta about a year later. At that point, I showed it to some people. I gave away a few seats for them to try. The enthusiasm was so dramatic that I was motivated to keep going.

I started by building a great team. That was step one for me. I needed a great team in order to create the product. I already knew the right people and I was able to put this team together. I put this team together for the long haul. This wasn’t like a contract job you pick up on or something. This was a real team that I knew I would be able to stay with or they would be able to stay with me over the long run and bring this product to fruition and so far, we’re our third year together. We’re doing great.

The team is incredibly brilliant. Part of what I offer is I want them to participate. I build participation and for them as well. What that does is it energizes them to want to do better. My job at this point is to use my network organically to market the product first while improving it. It took months to get it to the point where it is now. As it improves, as it gets better, I use my organic network to do that. We’re about to launch a fairly sizable paid ad program because now I think we have traction at this point. It’s time to start taking advantage of that. You don’t want to let that slip away when you hit that inflection point.

Tell everybody again the name of the software and what it does differently than everybody else.

The name of the product is called I was trying to be cool like the cool kids. I said, “That’s why I picked the IO extension.” You could also go to if you forget the IO thing. There are two URLs. Either one works and takes you to the same place. When I looked at all the other products, what I discovered is I started by watching hours of training videos.

I don’t think of myself as having a super long attention span doing things I don’t like. I have a good attention span doing things I love, but when it comes to things I don’t like, not so much. I was sitting there trying to s slug through these videos and I couldn’t handle it. I hated it. Here I am trying to figure this out and I finally power up the software after studying videos for two or three days. I load my client list.

The first thing it did, which was super embarrassing and difficult for me, was it started sending emails to my clients without me authorizing that. Immediately, I completely shut the thing down. I said, “This got to go. I can’t deal with this.” I tried another one. The other one I tried was what I would call a kitchen sink product. It had every possible imaginable component that someday you ever might want. It was like $395 a month to use, which I thought was outrageous. Even though I could afford it, that’s not the problem. I also now realize that I’m going to have to learn all of this stuff that I probably won’t need or want. I put that one aside.

I tried one of these other very low-cost ones that were even cheaper than what we were offering our product for. We only sell it for $29.97 per month. I found products that were cheaper than that. When I powered them up and started to use them, what I noticed was that they were what I would call lead magnets. You would start using it and as soon as you got the three clients, it would want to hit you up another $30 or $40 a month. When you got the seven clients, it wanted another $20 or $30 a month. I realized from the beginning that we needed to create a model that was unlimited clients.

Anybody who signs up for $29.97 a month, if they’re a coach, they get unlimited clients. We don’t work along those lines. We have optional added functionality that costs extra if you need it. If you don’t need it, you don’t pay for it. The bottom line is you don’t need it if you’re a coach. If you’re coaching clients one on one, then everything you need is right there. What we believe is the distinctive and discerning factor is the fact that it’s easy to use.

BYW S4 34 | Coach Elevation
Coach Elevation: If you’re a coach, if you’re coaching clients one on one, then everything you need is right on


It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to learn the system, number one. Number two, once you start using it, it contains everything. All of your homework information is in there. All your notes and your Zoom links are there. All of your Q&A with clients is there. The client portal, which is an extension of the software, allows your clients to log in and get their own homework.

Answer their own accountability questions, fill in their goals and stats and even ask their coach questions, which I found to be powerful. Why? It’s because otherwise, it would go through email. If I wait for the weekend, I’m coming home to 300 or 400 emails and might lose an important question from a client. I don’t want that to happen. We built an internal communication system right into the software that has worked well for my clients.

The ultimate goal here is to have an amazing client interaction and experience accountability. Keep it all in one place so that you, as the coach because there are a lot of coaches that read this. The coach can perform at the highest level.

Yes, we’re elevating the session. We’re taking what used to be sometimes a relatively scrappy session. Even though the coach might be amazing, they have a notepad open here. They have a spreadsheet open there. If they use spreadsheets, they have another browser open for something else or maybe they’re trying to figure out how to get their next appointment from another browser window. Who knows? Another popup of sorts.

What we tried to do is we tried to put everything into one browser window so that the coach can focus only on their client during their session and take casual notes while they’re talking. At the same time, as soon as the session is over, they get to touch up those notes. Maybe make them more attractive with underlying and numbering and bullet points. Whatever they want. When they’re done, they click send homework now, save the session and they’re done until the next week or the next time they meet with that client.

Sounds like a better way.

I think you’re right.

If you’re reading and you know that Mitch’s why is to find a better way, then you know what he’s come up with has to be better. If something’s not better, Mitch, can you talk about it?

I sure can.

If someone wants you to sell a product for them and it’s not better than what’s already there. Are you able to talk about it? Do you want to sell something like that?

I don’t. It doesn’t interest me at all. That’s part of what I went through when I was doing my own exploration into trying to find a coaching tool for my own business. I couldn’t stand using inferior products, no matter how much they cost. Even if it was free, I couldn’t deal with it because I knew it was not good enough. As you said in the intro, I needed at least good enough and I wanted better.

It’s not that you set out to say, “I’ve got to make some software. I’ve got to go spend the next three years figuring out how to do this.” That probably was not high on your list, but when you can’t find it and know you can make it better, it’s almost like you’re compelled to do that.

Yes. Now, this might be a form of mental illness, Gary. I admit to that, but yet, here I am. I get obsessed with stuff once I realize I’m on the right path and I see it working. That’s what I saw with this very early framework of a first edition. I saw it working. I immediately noticed I was saving about sixteen minutes per session. I’m doing two or three sessions per day, four days a week and I’m doing admin during what I would call my peak cognitive period of the day. If I’m sitting here doing $10 an hour work during $1,000 an hour time, I know I’m getting an ROI right away, even if no one else ever wanted to use my product. I know I was getting an ROI.

What was the motivation to write the book?

What started to happen years ago, I stumbled across this process. In the middle of one session, in particular, I started asking a series of questions that appeared to change the person’s viewpoint very quickly. It appeared to get them past the casual nonsense and go right to the heart of the matter that we were trying to figure out or discuss. I made a note of those questions. This next session I had, I said, “What the heck? I might pull those questions out and try it again,” and then I did.

What I noticed is that I had more or less the same result. What I noticed is that was a huge improvement in the ability to cut through the wasted time and non-essential information and get right to the heart of the matter. This started to happen more until I started to refine the process over time. A few years ago when we worked together and you uncovered my WHY for me in a van on the way to a hotel room or to somebody’s house. It was like a mule kick in the head for me. It was such a major shift in the way I now saw things.

I started to use the process even before you had your wide discovery itself. I started to use the process to help people identify where they were in terms of their why. Now what I was able to do was, once I understood or at least zeroed in. Maybe if it wasn’t exact, I could figure out a little bit better who they are, given their WHY. I was then able to couple that with the true purpose discovery process that I had built.

Now, at this point, we were then going to look at the business completely differently. Instead of this business being a way to make money, we now saw the business as a way to fulfill a lifelong true purpose and mission. This changes everything. On either end of the stick, sometimes, Gary, we throw the business away and start over. Other times we go into the business that it’s not ideal and we change the attitudes around what we’re doing. Maybe some of the functional activities of what we’re doing and that aligns it with our true purpose.

Once you do this, it makes everything smoother, faster and I would say, more profitable. Everything works better once people are aligned. When I worked with one organization, I did this with the CEO. He said, “You got to do this now with my team.” We did each one of them separately. They all did the WHY Discovery. They all got their results then when we aligned the group, it was hard to believe the results would happen.

It took a couple of weeks to get everything done. Once the group was aligned, there was harmony. There were no more fights, no more disagreements. Everybody realized what the goals were and the true purpose was of the entire company. Now, as you and I have talked about before, a company needs a code of ethics. It needs culture. In order to create that culture, we must basically know the why and the how of the CEO.

A company needs a code of ethics. It needs a culture. In order to create that culture, we must basically know the why and the how of the CEO. Click To Tweet

We need to know the CEO because the CEO started the company. Let’s call that person the founder. If we know what the CEO’s mission and values, goals and why are, that’s when we can align the team to that. Once that alignment is done, now everything works like a well-oiled machine and allows us to get a lot more done.

How do you contrast why versus purpose?

I’m going to tell you the secret that is not a secret at all. It’s right in the book. Everybody’s true purpose is basically the same. The true purpose of most individuals is to help others. Now there may be people who say, “That’s not my purpose.” If we did the discovery process, you’d find that it is. The reason I say that is because it’s the way we’re built. It’s the human structure. The way the human mind is created is that it generates the highest level of serotonin from helping other people.

When we help others, the greatest high you could ever achieve comes from that feeling. At the highest levels of helping others, there is no better feeling. Money cannot buy a better feeling than that. If we know that in advance, what good is it? It’s no good at all. Do you know why? It’s because we didn’t emotionally connect with it. The goal of the book and the goal of the process is to connect you to this true purpose, which is to help others.

I don’t tell people in advance when I start working with them. By the way, before we get started, let me tell you a true purpose. It’s more important that they go through this process of finding it in themselves. Once they find it in themselves and they go, “Yes.” As I said, this woman broke down in tears. She’s a lifelong entrepreneur. She’s had four businesses. The reason that she became so emotional was because this was the first time. She says, “I’ve done this for 4,000 people. I’ve never done it on myself or something like it.”

She had a different process, but the whole point was that, now that she finally gets this, it truly connected who she was as having a true purpose to her mission. Which, in her case, was to help others through her. I would call her mechanism. Everybody has a mechanism for how they do this. We may have the same true purpose, but we don’t have the same mechanism. You do it your way, I do it my way, but the goal is the same.

BYW S4 34 | Coach Elevation
Coach Elevation: We may have the same true purpose, but we don’t have the same mechanism. You do it your way, I do it my way. But the goal is the same.


When you were to compare why versus purpose, how do you see them as being different?

Why is the component of how you get the realization of your true purpose. Whereas your true purpose is something that you must emotionally connect to first. Feel that it is real and is real to you, as real as anything else and then we use the WHY Discovery to uncover the most powerful mechanism and process that you could have to find the true mission of yourself or your company.

I love it. In your book, you outline the process for helping coaches become more successful. It’s more about coaches, hosting or working with clients. Is that more what it’s about?

It is. The book is written for coaches to work with their clients. No matter what type of clients they have, whether they’re meditation clients, business clients, it doesn’t matter. If you go through the process in the book and align your client before you start using your mechanism with them to get them to have the realization or transformation that you want them to have. They will get there faster, it will be more powerful and they will be more successful because they’re aligned, but they can’t get there truthfully.

This was the missing piece. As I said, the missing piece was the WHY Discovery. Once I got the WHY Discovery and I embedded that into this process. Now finding A, the personal mechanism every person is what their why is. That’s what my mechanism is to find a better way. It’s languaged a little differently, but without it, I can’t get to their true mission effectively.

It shortcuts everything, doesn’t it?

It does.

What’s the fun part?

What it comes down to is this, when you have an emotional experience. You connect it to something that you care deeply about, then that is something you never forget like the woman that I worked with and all the people I’ve done this with over the years. They will never forget the moment when they uncovered what their true purpose was to them and to who they were. That’s the part that makes all the difference in the world. As I said, I could tell you, “Your true purpose is you like to help people. That’s your true purpose.” It doesn’t do anything. You got to discover it.

When you have an emotional experience and you connect it to something that you care deeply about, then that is something you never forget. Click To Tweet

Is true purpose different than purpose? Here are the reasons I’m asking you because, on the show, I’ve had some guests that their lifelong study is purpose. They have companies like PurposePoint and different organizations like that. When I ask them the same question I asked you, the answer that they give is interesting, which is similar but different. Maybe it is the same. I’m not quite sure but what they’ll say is that your purpose is where you live your WHY, how you choose the action that you choose to use your why to deliver.

They’re right, except the difference is that your action changes. Under that definition, my purpose can change every few years. “My purpose is to build and sell a software company for $10 million. My purpose is to build a company with Tony Robbins and sell it for $25 million.” In other words, I can have purposes all throughout my life, but the true underlying purpose is the same from the beginning of time to the end.

BYW S4 34 | Coach Elevation
Coach Elevation: You can have purposes all throughout your life, but the underlying true purpose is the same from the beginning of time to the end.


Perfect. That’s the distinction I wanted to make because that’s what they would say as well, which is, “You have multiple purposes. You have a purpose as a parent. Purpose as a business owner.” There’s more than one purpose, but then you are talking about your true purpose, which is overarching. Everything falls under this.

As I said, and not to repeat myself over and over again but knowing someone telling you, “Everybody’s true purpose is the same. It’s to help others,” means nothing. It doesn’t help at all. It has no meaning to most people because most people will say, “That’s not my true purpose. I know that I,” but if I took them through this process, which only takes 20 to 30 minutes to do and they connect with it, it changes everything.

It’s to be a self-discovery, say, “That is it.”

That’s right. I don’t lead them to it. Sometimes, I’m sitting there like, “You’re so close. If I give you two words, you’ll get there.” I never led them to it because that would be stealing the power of the process from them.

I love that. Mitch, if there are people that are reading now and want to learn more about what you’re doing, follow what you’re doing and connect with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

To connect with me directly, they can go to All of my properties, if you will, are on that particular page. If they’d like the book, Gary, is it okay if I give your audience the book for free?

Yes. That would be great.

They can go to and get a free copy of this book. They could download a PDF of the book or they can go on Amazon. They could get it on their Kindle or if they want a hard copy like I have, they can buy it on Amazon as well.

That book is specifically for coaches that are looking for a process to help move their clients forward faster.

They use this process and it will help transform their entire business. Here’s why and this is what I teach in my program. Once you help somebody at a higher level, then what’s going to happen is your results will improve. If your results improve, you’re going to get better, stronger, more emotional testimonials. If you’re getting better, stronger emotional testimonials like you’ve never had before, you’re going to raise your prices. Once you raise your prices, you’re going to start attracting a higher-level client who’s going to pay you what you’re worth for the work that you’re doing. That’s what the book is about. It’s that entire sequence of processes that gets someone to that point.

Mitch, what’s next for you? Building the software company, is that the biggest thing on the horizon for you now?

By popular request, I’ve started a coaching cohort to take people through the process and help elevate them. My coaching cohort is starting up. It’s relatively low cost. It’s designed. It’s a short program. It’s an eight-week program. I’m going to take coaches and I’m going to elevate them. I’m going to get them to the point where they can duplicate what I do throughout my process.

Now, what I described is the first hour, a half hour or so, of my process. Honestly, it’s fantastic, but there’s so much more. What I teach in this cohort is I take them through the entire process, which you’ve seen some of with the mind mapping and with the structuring of the entire sequence of what happens after an engagement starts. That’s where the power of an organization is and that’s what I teach.

It’s funny. I’ll end it with this. I ran into somebody who knows Mitch, a mutual friend. The way that they described you cracked me up, which was, “Mitch and I had dinner one evening about something. We talked about this project that we wanted to create. That night, Mitch stayed up all night, designed it, built it, and had it ready the next day. If Mitch says he is going to do something, he’s going to do something.” That’s who you’ll get if you guys end up working with Mitch in some capacity. Mitch, thank you so much for being here. It’s great to catch up again. I’m going to follow what you’re doing. I’m excited for what you got in the horizon.

Thank you, Gary. It was a pleasure. As always, you and I have a long runway ahead of us as well, with so many great things that we can both do together.

Thanks, Mitch.

You got it. Thank you, Gary.


Important Links


About Mitch Russo

BYW S4 34 | Coach ElevationMitch Russo started a software company in his garage, sold it for 8 figures and then went on to build a company to over $25M with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes. Nominated twice for Inc Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year.
Mitch’s book: Power Tribes – How Certification Can Explode Your Business helps readers create new business divisions using high performance certification programs.
His software for coaches; fills a void in the coaching software marketplace by helping coaches make their clients more productive with goal tracking and accountability. Mitch’s newest book: Coach Elevation blueprints his process for helping clients find their true purpose and connect that to their true mission which accelerates progress in both business and life.


John Livesay On Clarification: How To Win By Storytelling


For WHY on Clarify, it’s important for people to “get” what you’re saying. If clarification is your WHY, you’ll love to win by storytelling. Dr. Gary Sanchez welcomes John Livesay, aka “The Pitch Whisperer.” John is a sales keynote speaker, showing companies’ sales teams how to win more business using stories. A great story should be clear, concise, and compelling. The goal is to make it exciting enough that your readers don’t want to put it down. If you want to know more about effective storytelling, tune in!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here



John Livesay On Clarification: How To Win By Storytelling

We’re going to be talking about the why of clarify, to clarify or make crystal clear. If this is your why, then you seek to be fully understood at all times. Everything has to be crystal clear. It is important for you to know that people get what you’re saying, and you will use numerous methods to get a point across and make sure it’s clear.

You will use analogies and metaphors to share your views in an interesting and unique manner. You feel successful when you know that, with confidence, your message has been fully understood and received. You want to reach this place of clarity and understanding before decisions are made, and people move forward with a plan of action.

I’ve got a great guest for you. I have had him on before, but a lot has changed since then. I wanted to have him on again. His name is John Livesay, also known as, The Pitch Whisper. He is a sales keynote speaker where he shows companies’ sales teams how to turn mundane case studies into compelling case stories so they win more new business.

From John’s award-winning career at Conde Nast, he shares the lessons he learned that turned sales teams into revenue rockstars. His TEDx Talk, Be The Lifeguard of Your Own Life!, has over 1 million views. His new book, The Sale Is in the Tale, is a business fable set in Austin, Texas. It’s about a sales representative whose old ways of selling are not working anymore.

The reader accompanies that rep on his journey and learns how to use storytelling and strengthen their soft skills to improve their professional and personal relationships. He is also the host of The Successful Pitch Podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries. These interviews make him a sales keynote speaker with fresh and relevant content. John, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me back, Gary.

It’s going to be fun. What I want to do is let’s jump into your book. I want to hear about your book because it’s a fable. I also have a big interest in how you wrote a fable. Let’s talk about the fable and then let’s talk about how you wrote the fable.

It’s a story about storytelling and I have been impressed with a lot of other fables in the past all the way back to Who Moved My Cheese?, to The Go Giver and Getting Naked, but no one’s written a fable from the perspective of a salesperson being the hero or the main character. I thought, “It would be very entertaining hopefully to say what that feels like to be in those situations.”

I looked and fictionalized some of the things that had happened to me in my career and some of the things I wished had happened to me, like meeting people that could help me and learn how to be better storytellers sooner. That process was quite fascinating and surprisingly fun because instead of telling people, I wanted to show them in the story and they’re learning while they’re engaged in the story. As with any good story, if you care about the characters, you can’t wait to see what happens next. A little bit of drama and suspense, making that all come to life with them at the end having their methodologies available to use what you learned was the whole intent.

BYW S4 22 | Win By Storytelling
The Sale Is In The Tale

Take us into the story without telling us too much. Who’s the main character? What’s going on with them and what happens here?

The guy’s name is Ben. He’s in his early 30s, working at a medical tech sales company here in Austin, where I live. I sprinkled in some real-life locations. He’s hit a sales slump. He doesn’t get the promotion he was supposed to get because he lost a big sale. He doesn’t know why the old way of selling of memorizing a bunch of facts and figures is no longer working.

He gets a mentor in the form of a coworker who is a tech expert, who watches a lot of sales presentations, and she sees that the people who are winning are the ones that are telling stories. He’s a little skeptical at first. He then starts to try it out. Anything you try out, you don’t become an expert at whether it’s riding a bike, you need the training wheels on it at first, or driving a stick shift for the first time, it’s a little jerky.

We go through some of those bumps along the way, and then he starts to get more traction. There are some nice outcomes at the end that he has some choices that he didn’t have. He goes from feeling like, “I could get fired. I didn’t go to get promoted,” to, “I’ve got places wanting me inside and outside the company,” all through becoming more comfortable with storytelling.

Was that your story?

In a way, yes. I fictionalized some of it. There’s a situation in the first chapter or opening of any story that is going to grab you. It’s being on a plane with a boss who doesn’t like you, and everything that could possibly go wrong on a sales call, and then having to be on that plane ride back with the boss who didn’t like you to begin with. That part happened to me. It’s fictionalized. If you’ve been in business at all, you all had a boss that you didn’t get along with at some point in your career. Some of that definitely is true.

For the people that have not read the first time I had you on, tell them a little bit more about you, your story, how you got into storytelling, why it became important to you, why you switched directions in your career to be about storytelling and teach others to do this.

I first started my career selling multimillion-dollar mainframe computers in the tech industry. That was competing against IBM. It was all I thought were going to be numbers that were so logical people would buy based on speeds and things. It turns out it was an emotional buy that people had said, “Your equipment might be faster, even less expensive, and more reliable, but we’re still not going to buy it because if it breaks, IBM is going to point the finger at you,” and say, “It’s our fault for bringing you in, and we’ll get fired.”

Back then, it broke a lot. It was fear, uncertainty, and doubt that they were using to keep people from leaving. I thought, “There’s a lot of emotion to this sale process like in advertising,” which I majored in that I hadn’t thought was going to appeal in this level. I went and worked for an ad agency in Los Angeles, creating commercials for movies coming out on home video.

The people who are winning are the ones that are telling stories. Click To Tweet

I learned we could reposition the movie if it hadn’t done well theatrically and have it edited in a different way that made people want to rent it. That’s where I honed my storytelling skills. The third career I had was selling media or advertising for publications. Lexus would say, “We looked at 50 magazines. We’ve narrowed it down to 10. You’re each coming in for 30 minutes. Don’t talk about numbers. We’ve already analyzed that. We’re going to pick three.”

Some of the reps were like a deer in headlights. They’re like, “Don’t talk about numbers.” “What I don’t know if it’s regulation or the income of my readers, what I’m going to talk about?” I realized from my advertising agency background, whoever tells the best story of what the marketing idea is going to be is what’s going to win this sale. That led to a long fifteen-year career with some bumps along the way. I got laid off in 2008.

I had to reinvent myself. I learned how to sell digital, then got rehired back, won salesperson of the year, and that became the premise of the TED Talk of we all have to learn to be the lifeguard over our own life. No one’s going to come and rescue us like in a hurricane when you don’t evacuate. Now, I have a passion for helping people tell stories because it makes you feel much less pushy, and you become memorable. Whoever tells the best story, no matter what you’re selling, is the one that gets the sale.

What makes up a great story?

A great story should be three things. It should be clear, concise, and compelling. Let’s look at each one of those. If it’s not clear and you use a bunch of acronyms and confuse people, they’re never going to say they’re confused. They’re going to say, “No thanks.” Concise. Here’s the secret of why it needs to be concise. It’s so that someone can remember it. The meeting after the meeting that nobody ever thinks about.

If you put your empathy hat on of the buyers, they hear three different pitches from three different people. They then have a meeting after the meeting, and they go, “What do you all think?” “They all sound the same. We should buy the cheapest.” If you’re the one that told a story as concise enough for them to remember and retell, they become your brand ambassador. Finally, compelling. We buy emotionally, not logically. When you use words like struggle or overwhelmed to describe the pain point of someone, they feel something. When you tug at heartstrings, people open the purse strings.

Would you have an example of that, that we can feel?

I was working with a healthcare medical company. They were selling 4k resolution monitors for the doctors to use in a hospital. I’m talking about pixels and all the features of it. They tell this story. Dr. Peterson at a rural hospital in Minnesota, not known for cutting edge technology, decided to test this resolution monitor. Blake, the salesperson, was in the operating room in case there were any questions. In this particular surgery, the patient was overweight, which caused the surgery to be a little riskier, and because of that, the doctor hit a bleeder.

There was an audible gasp in the operating room because, to the naked eye, it was a sea of red. The doctor calmly looked up at the resolution monitor, and the subtle colors in red between oxygenated blood and non-oxygenated blood allowed him to find the source of the bleeder quickly and save the patient’s life. Turn to the rep and said, “We don’t always need a monitor like this, but when we need one, we need one.” That rep tells that story to another doctor who sees themselves in the story and says, “I don’t want to be caught in that situation without something to help back me up. I want that monitor too.” It’s a whole different way of selling the monitor versus describing the pixels.

BYW S4 22 | Win By Storytelling
Win By Storytelling: A great story should be three things: clear, concise, and compelling.


I remember, and I’ll continue to remember, “When you need one, you’ll need one.”

That’s the secret of telling a good story dialogue in the present tense so that you feel like you’re eavesdropping in on the story. You tell that story as if the doctor is having the conversation at the moment as opposed to saying, “The doctors did say to me this.” Say it as if it’s happening now.

You can use storytelling in almost anything, in selling yourself, books, products, anything.

I was on television being interviewed on how to use storytelling to ask for a raise. You paint a picture, tell a story of what you did as opposed to listing off a bunch of achievements. It’s much more memorable because our brains are wired to remember stories versus numbers. One of the things I have in my book is how it can help you in your personal life.

This happened to a client of mine. He said, “My eight-year-old daughter had said to me, ‘Daddy, tell me a bedtime story,’ and he goes, ‘I’ll read to you.’ ‘No, don’t read a book. Tell me one.’” He goes, “For a moment, I panicked, and then I remembered you had taught me the four steps to telling a story for business, so I used that structure to make up a story, and it went well.”

When you decided to write The Sale Is in The Tale, why did you pick a parable versus a book with a bunch of stories?

I had done a book with a bunch of stories before called Better Selling Through Storytelling. I thought, “Let’s take the reader on a journey,” because when you tell a story that someone sees themselves in, they want to go on the journey with you. The example of the 4k monitor, other doctors see themselves in that doctor’s situation. “That could have been me.” I thought, “If I have a whole story that people are cheering for the hero and seeing some of the frustrations and the wincing at familiar, ‘I had a boss like that,’” situations will make it a more of an emotional connection versus multiple stories.

I’m writing notes because every time we talk, I take a bunch of notes. I wrote, “That could have been me.” That’s an important part of all stories.

When you go see a wonderful movie, you’re seeing yourself as the superhero. That’s why kids love superheroes. They want to wear the costume for Halloween, “Maybe if I put on the cape, I’ll have a superpower and I won’t be my insecure self anymore.” The same thing when there are some challenges. Every good story has to have some problem and the stakes have to be somewhat high for us to care about what’s going on in the story.

How do you take somebody through figuring out their story? They contact you and say, “John, I got to be able to sell my new book,” or whatever it is, how do you take them through creating their story? Do you have a series of questions or what do you do?

When you have a passion for something, tell a story about why you're so passionate about what you're doing. Click To Tweet

There are three stories everybody needs. The first one is your own personal story of origin. “How did you get here?” I know you’ve got this wonderful story of the origin of being a successful dentist and then discovering the WHY Institute. We need to know that. We need to know that your background is based on something that worked and had this a-ha epiphany of discovering it, working here, and applying it to other places. If you’re an architect or a financial advisor, we need to know that you loved buildings from a child, or you’ve always been good at numbers since you were a kid, it’s not something you fell into and don’t care about. Why? It’s because people buy your energy.

When you have a passion for something, and you tell a story about why you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, that’s connecting the dots. Even if you work for yourself, you need a company story. “Here’s how we came up with the name. This is why we call it, Your Why Operating System because people understand an operating system for a phone or a computer. We want them to think of themselves as being programmed and realize what comes out is what’s being put in. That’s why we called it that.”

“We want to tell a story of how we responded to a pandemic and showed our values and action by volunteering.” “Suddenly, all of our employees were working from home, and their kids weren’t going to school. We said at the first Zoom meeting, ‘You can bring your kid to the Zoom call,’ to show we needed to have some empathy for what was going on as opposed to making sure your kids weren’t in the room. ‘Bring your kids to Zoom,’ instead of bringing your kids at work.”

The third is the real key, and that’s a traditional case study, which has been around for decades, and it’s very dry, typically a bunch of numbers. We turned that into a case story, which is what I gave that example of the 4k monitor. Instead of pixels, it became a case story. There’s actual structure to that story, and you can learn how to do it. The good news is you don’t have to be a gifted storyteller, like a gifted athlete or a singer. Even if you are a good storyteller, I help you refine it to get to the place where people see themselves in the story.

I’ll learn that those three different types of stories within the fable.

There’s a template at the back for everyone to start practicing the steps and filling them in.

I want to write a fable. Before we talked, I was speaking with the editor to put some final things on the book. For my next book, I want to write a fable. How did you learn to write a fable?

I read as many business fables as I could get my hands on. Sometimes using the structure of a fable is not good if you’re going to get stuck at, “Now, they’re in a meeting,” and then the meeting goes on for two chapters, and it’s regurgitating a bunch of information, and you don’t care about the characters. There’s somebody like Patrick Lencioni who wrote getting naked where I was listening to the Audible, and I couldn’t wait to hear what happened, even though I was already at my destination. I thought, “That’s a good story when I care enough to see what’s going to happen next.”

BYW S4 22 | Win By Storytelling
Better Selling Through Storytelling: The Essential Roadmap to Becoming a Revenue Rockstar

I listed all my characters. There’s a main character, and then they’re supporting characters that each need a name. You’re a very visual person. If you have your core character, your hero in the center, and then spikes like a bicycle coming off, “This is his sister.” The sister has a husband and a kid. That is not as core to Ben’s story, except for that one part, but then we need to have some sense of that relationship. His best friend is another, then his boss, and all these other things, and then a client that comes in.

I remember working with the editor, and I said, “I want this woman, who’s his boss, who gets the promotion that he doesn’t get to be more like, not so much Katie Couric and more like Diane Sawyer.” I started thinking of those because we know what that is. One’s got gravitas, one’s known for morning TV, lightness.

Having those subtle descriptions of these people’s personalities totally dictates what they’re going to say in the dialogue. Are they going to be chipper and happy, “Welcome everybody to the sales meeting?” That’s a Katie Couric version of that. Are they going to be more like Diane Sawyer, “Hello, everyone, let’s get to business?” What I imagine Diane Sawyer like at a meeting. Hopefully, that’s helpful for you.

Step one was figuring out the story, what you wanted to do, and the meaning of the story. Step two is listing your characters and then figuring out what you want the personality or this character is like someone you know, so you can stick them in that place. You’d know what kinds of things they might say, how they might handle stress, pressure, or whatever.

I recorded my book on Audible. That was an interesting challenge because there were multiple characters, and I had to subtly change my voice, so the listeners would know who was speaking. There’s an eight-year-old in there. That was a little challenging, but it was fun too.

How many characters are in your book?

There are about seven main characters and maybe another ten secondary characters.

How long did it take you to write the fable?

It was about a year process. I had the concept. For me, the challenge was who’s going to be the mentor that makes sense organically because every hero’s journey needs a mentor. There’s a book called The Energy Bus. That guy’s car broke down for two weeks, and the mentor in that was the bus driver. I needed to figure out what was going to happen or who it was going to be. I tried a different couple of ideas, and it’s not working. I had an ending that wasn’t working. I had to rethink that. It’s not like you go, “I got an idea.” As a sales keynote speaker, you keep refining it. When something gels together, it’s usually not your first effort.

Be resilient and get back up after life knocks you down. Click To Tweet

That was good to know for the audience and for me because not working and rewrite is okay. It’s not going to come out of your pen onto paper perfect the first time. Not even close.

No. You need to keep digging deeper. “Is this a cliché thing? I don’t want to say anything to the cliché. I want to come up with something that’s ever been done before.” One of the things that are rewarding as an author and as a speaker is when you say something or write something that people start using right away. In this case, I realized that all of us, whether we’re in sales or not, and my premise is that everyone is in sales, will get rejected, frustrated, and disappointed. “How do we get out of that? Do we stay stuck in it?”

I created this thing called the 555 Method, where you zoom out like you’re the movie director of your own life, and you say, “Will this bother me in five minutes? Somebody cut me off in traffic. Will it bother me in five hours from now?” Hopefully, not. “How about five days from now? If I keep talking about it, then yes.” It’s our ability to be resilient and get back up after life knocks us down.

When something hard happened, like when my father died, I was so sad. I wish I’d had this tool because I thought, “If I could go and see five weeks, five months, or five years from now,” I’d say, “You’re going to still miss him, but you promise you will not be this sad five years from now.” I love hearing from people going, “Something happened, I 555 it, and I’d let it go much faster than I ever would have before. Thank you.” That’s why we do what we do.

Is the 555 is part of the fable?


When is the John Livesay Fable Course coming out?

I’ve seen a course on storytelling that incorporates a lot of it already. As with anything, things keep evolving, and there are new tools and ideas. A lot of the current course involves some group coaching with me, where I add all the new things that I’ve learned from the fable into that.

When is the John Livesay How to Write a Fable Course coming out?

BYW S4 22 | Win By Storytelling
Win By Storytelling: We remember things that have a great opening and closing.


I don’t know that I’m an expert on that.

You’ve done it once because you’re way farther ahead than I am, and our readers would love to write a fable. Fables stick with you longer.

Yes, stories in general. It goes to different parts of our brain.

Is it a different part of the brain that has a better memory, or how does that work?

We remember things that have a great opening and a great closing. As a storytelling keynote speaker, you need to have that. That’s why movies live and die by a great opening and a great closing, and maybe something in the middle of the movie, but the majority of what you remember is a great opening that grabbed you, like the James Bond movies or this amazing closing where you didn’t think they were going to ever go together or you had me at hello or whatever that is.

That concept of a story being more memorable than a fact or a figure, it’s all about our brain going, “I felt something with that, and I’m tying that feeling to a memory,” as opposed to 30% faster. “Do I need to remember that? Is it going to save my life? Did I feel anything about that?” No, it’s like, “That’s nice to have. I’ll make more money or whatever.” It’s not nearly as memorable as a story that lands with you. If you see yourself in that story, then it’s immersed in your whole DNA.

You want to create a story that the majority of people will remember. Is that the thinking? Is it, “I want this story to hit the most amount of people, or do I want this story to connect with my ideal client?” What is the thinking that goes on when you decide which story to tell?

There are two things. I heard Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed about Eat, Pray, Love. She said, “I wrote that book for my best friend who could not go on the trip with me.” She had one person in mind, but because it was so universal in its appeal, hundreds of people could relate to that journey. When you tell a story, and you want to think of your brain, like a jukebox or a playlist, depending on your age, instead of songs coming out, different stories come out.

The ideal scenario is, “I have 5 to 10 stories in my head and if I’m talking to you as a former dentist, and I have a story about somebody else who used to be a dentist, and now as an entrepreneur, that’s the perfect story to tell you to you.” That’s what makes that customized. If you tell that story to someone that they see themselves in, and there are a lot of similarities, then they’re involved. We can’t have the same story to talk to everybody who’s a potential buyer. We need multiple stories for the different types of avatars that are out there.

The whole goal of storytelling is to make it compelling enough that your readers don't want to put it down. Click To Tweet

Do you have a list of stories that you know or tell? How many stories do you have?

I have about 40.

I’m trying to walk our readers through how they might go about becoming better storytellers. First, you got to have the story. You got to have your menu of stories.

You need a structure of what makes a good story, and then you’ve got one good one, and you’re like, “Now, I’ve got one that I know works, and why it works. I can duplicate that system.” I know you’re the master at scaling something once it’s proven. Once you understand the four steps to a great story, you go, “I’ve got one.” Don’t overwhelm yourself, and try to get 40. Just say, “I have three types of buyers that buy 80% of what I’m selling.”

I was working with a healthcare company in San Antonio. They offer dementia and assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s. They said, “We have three kinds of people that come to us. Somebody’s moving from out of state. Someone who has been living with an adult child and the adult child can’t take care of them anymore or someone who is at a different facility, and it wasn’t working out, and they need a new place.” Now, we know three different scenarios, and you can have three different stories ready to go that will cover you 80% of the time.

You almost have a plug-and-play type thing. “I know the scenario and story. Let’s go.”

You start telling the story. You remind me of another client. His name is Larry. They’re off and running.

Does every story have a memorable moment and saying? How do you create that?

The four parts of it are the exposition, who, what, where, when, so you paint the picture to pull them in, describing the problem in detail, the solution, and the secret is the resolution. Imagine if The Wizard of Oz stopped when Dorothy got in the balloon to go back to the end. No, there’s that scene where she’s at home. There’s no place like home. You were there and all this appreciation stuff. When you have a story that hits all four of those things, you know you’ve got a good structure going. The memorable parts come when you get sophisticated using Neuro-Linguistic Programming. If I say to you, “The car door slammed,” how do you experience that?

BYW S4 22 | Win By Storytelling
Win By Storytelling: We need multiple stories for the different types of avatars out there.


The last time, I felt somebody slam the car door.

Did you hear, feel, or see it?

I heard it.

From Neuro-Linguistic Programming, you’re an audio person. That means you say things like, “Does that ring a bell?” Your car’s sound system is probably upgraded. Things like that are important to you. Somebody else might be kinesthetic in feeling. They feel the car door slam. They talk about, “My gut doesn’t tell me this is the right thing to do.” They’ll say, “Does this feel like something you want to do?”

“Does that sound like the journey you’d like to go down?” That’s an auditory question. If you’re visual, like I am, you usually love photography. You say, “Do you see how the future could be together?” You speak in those terms. As a salesperson or communicator, it’s our job to try and hit all three. Other people can shift, but if you hit all three when you’re communicating, people don’t have to shift from their preference of how they experience the world.

Back to this, Alzheimer’s dementia situation. They said, “A patient came in, and she was so depressed. She had her head on the table.” I said, “That’s the beginning of a good story. Let’s amplify it.” We gave her a name and described it. “When Pat, who was 75, came to us six months ago, she was so depressed that we would hear a slight thud as her head hit the table. Imagine how depressed Pat had to feel to not even to want to look up and see what was going on around her.”

We’ve pulled all three of those sensations into a short little description of that person in the exposition. Now, we’re often running about what they did to help Pat feel better. That slight thud, as opposed to the visual of the head on the table, makes all the difference in the world of how you experience the story.

Let’s go back to your fable. What does the rhythm or graph look like in a fable? Is it an up and down five times or is it one up and down? What does that look like?

I was inspired by what’s known in the startup world as the trough of despair that’s mirrored in the hero’s journey. You get all excited, you’ve got this new idea for something, hit some obstacles, get depressed, and feel like, “No one else has ever been like this. What am I going to do? Am I going to reinvent myself? What’s going on?” You need some mentor or sherpa to come and get you out of that funk. It’s not a linear line out that you still have challenges and things, but you’re on your way up out of that trough of despair.

Sometimes in storytelling, you start at the trough of despair instead of giving a lot of exposition upfront. Click To Tweet

Sometimes people still get off the train at that place.

Sometimes in storytelling, you start at the trough of despair as opposed to giving a lot of exposition upfront. I tried to make mine like a James Bond movie where you’re in action right away. You’re like, “This poor guy. It’s going to be this horrible experience. He got a bad boss. He lost a sale. What’s going to happen to him?” As the story goes on and you start to hear more about his past and how he got there. That was a creative choice I made.

How many pages is the fable?

It’s three hours to listen to. It’s not long. I purposely made it like that. It is 160 pages.

You could read it in a day.

A couple of hours. That’s the whole goal. It’s compelling enough that you don’t want to put it down.

If people are reading and they’re saying, “I need to get ahold of John. I want to work with him. I want to learn to tell a better story. I want to sell the stories. I want to be a better storyteller. I want to get a fable. I got to connect with them,” what’s the best way for people to connect with you?

Go to my website, If you can’t remember my name or the book name, google The Pitch Whisperer, and all my content show up. I have a free gift for everybody, which is if you text the word PITCH to 66866. You enter your email in. I’ll send you a free chapter of the book, and that should be enough to entice you to want to read what happens next.

John, thank you so much for being here again. We got even deeper than we did last time. I’m glad we got to learn more about the fable and dive back into storytelling because I learned a ton that I don’t think we went through last time. Thank you for sharing all that.

My pleasure, Gary. It’s great being back. Thanks for having me.

I can’t wait to follow you.


Important Links


About John Livesay

BYW S4 22 | Win By StorytellingJohn Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, is a sales keynote speaker where he shows companies’ sales teams how to turn mundane case studies into compelling case stories so they win more new business. From John’s award-winning career at Conde Nast, he shares the lessons he learned that turns sales teams into revenue rock stars. His TEDx talk: Be The Lifeguard of Your Own Life has over 1,000,000 views.

Clients love working with John because of his ongoing support after his talk which includes implementing the storytelling skills from his best-selling book Better Selling Through Storytelling and online course “Revenue Rockstar Mastery.”

His new book, The Sale Is in the Tale, is a business fable set in Austin, TX, is about a sales representative whose old ways of selling are not working anymore. The reader accompanies the rep on his journey and learns how to use storytelling and strengthen their soft skills to improve their professional and personal relationships.

He is also the host of “The Successful Pitch” podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries. These interviews make him a sales keynote speaker with fresh and relevant content.


When You Focus On Your Purpose, Amazing Things Happen With Paul Epstein

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose

Not knowing who you are will hinder your growth. But when you focus on your purpose, amazing things start to happen. Paul Epstein is the bestselling author of The Power of Playing Offense and the Chief Impact Officer of PurposePoint. A consultancy company focusing on leadership and culture development. Join in the conversation as Paul shares with Dr. Gary Sanchez how knowing his WHY of Contribute brings out the best in him. He believes that the most powerful things you can learn about yourself are who you are and who you’re being. When you identify your core values, something special happens, and you know your life will be different. Tune in!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

When You Focus On Your Purpose, Amazing Things Happen With Paul Epstein

We go beyond talking about your why, helping you discover and live your why. If you are a regular reader, you know that in every episode, we talk about 1 of the 9 whys, and we bring on somebody with that why. You can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we are going to be talking about the Why of Contribute.

If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You do not necessarily want to be the face of the cause but you love to contribute in a meaningful way. You love to support others and relish the success that contributes to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories.

You are off and behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations. I have got a great guest for you. His name is Paul Epstein.

Paul believes there are two types of people in this world, those who play defense and those who play offense. These insights are around purpose, performance, and impact were gathered over a fifteen-year run as a professional sports executive, where Paul successfully steered business teams that executed billion-dollar NFL campaigns, broke Super Bowl revenue records, and generated league-leading sales results for seller dweller NBA clubs.

Paul’s proudest moment was when he was internally known as the Why Coach at the San Francisco 49ers, coaching others to find their why and act on it. Paul has curated the most actionable ways into leader’s playbooks of how he and his team produced this impact in these hypercompetitive environments. He calls it playing offense.

He is the Chief Impact Officer for PurposePoint and the Chief Purpose Advisor for the WHY Institute. Paul is a proud father of PJ, married his best friend on the field of Levi’s Stadium, and has a slight obsession with bacon, just do not make it too crispy. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Epstein. Thanks for being here.

I’m fired up to be here. If you have any bacon, it is going to be an even better conversation.

Tell me about that. I can’t bypass that one. What is the story with the bacon?

I had some early childhood holidays down in Mexico. My mom is a proud Mexican descent, so we would normally cruise down there and spend some time with the grand folks. For my fourth Christmas, I’ve got a box. When they handed it to me, it was shaking and I see a little black wet nose coming out of it. In there are two puppies.

As a youngster, you think this is a normal Christmas. You get animals. You get pets. When the time came around before my fifth Christmas, they said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want a pig.” Of course, I’ve never got the pig. They looked at me like I was crazy and that is only half true but needless to say, I have been a massive fan. As much as I’m a 49ers fan, I am a bacon fan. Those two things have stood, tried, and true.

Paul, tell everybody where you are from. Take us through your journey. You have done some amazing things at a very young age. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school? Let’s start back there.

I mentioned the roots in Mexico. That was very easy to take a four-hour drive because I’m from Los Angeles. My sports career had me visit a ton of different markets and spend years of my life outside of SoCal. The humidity, the cold, and the polar vortex, go West. We are going to come back to that because I have some fun stories about being in Angeleno in cold weather.

I will call myself the little softy there but I was born and raised in LA with my two amazing parents. I was an only child. My dad was an educator. My mom stayed at home to watch me like a hawk. She was one of those parents that were the president of the PTA, the Parent-Teacher Association. That was her way of making sure that I was doing the right thing and getting good grades.

Thank goodness because, A) Having a dad that is an educator, and B) Having a mom that I may not like at the moment but I now am a proud parent of a one-year-old, so we are very new in the journey but I get, see, feel and understand it. It took me three decades to get here. I kept my head on straight. I was an athlete throughout. Football, basketball, and baseball had my stints and I have always loved sports. I’m one of those classics go to the backyard, throw the ball with your pops kind of a guy.

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose
The Power of Playing Offense: A Leader’s Playbook for Personal and Team Transformation –

If you want to talk about childhood, my childhood was amazing. Teenagers were amazing, but then something very tragic happened. This is very important in my story because it all connects to why I do what I do and who I am even now. I went to USC. I was not ready to fly too far away from the nest. I’ve got into some amazing schools but with the parents I have, I had to apply to fifteen schools.

Imagine how many essays that are. It was at Northwestern that I had to write four. Let’s say an average is 2, so 30 essays later, I’m at USC. It was the finals of my freshman year. I’m nineteen years old and I get a call that changed my life forever. It was a call that after decades of my dad struggling through diabetes, he finally had his final day.

It was a moment where instantly you feel you went from a boy to a man. You, as an only child, look at your one-standing parent being my mom. She goes from a parent to a partner. I drive home. It is a 10 to 15-minute drive. In some ways, I still remember like it was yesterday seeing my mom. We will get to my purpose, my why, my values, and how they have changed my life throughout this conversation.

One of the ways that I have been able to pull, reflect and apply a lot of those things in my life is because it all has an origin story, and one of my core values is courage. I’ve got that value of courage because of how I saw my mom that day and the next. She breathed courage into me. The Latin definition of inspire is to breathe life into. She breathed and inspired courage, and it is never left.

I will share a story if you would like at a later point in the conversation about my dad and the way he has been able to impact my life even more after the day he passed than when he was alive. That is the early years through the college years. A couple of years later was when I broke into sports. I’m happy to go there if you would like but I will kick it back to you.

She breathed it into you. What do you mean by that? There are going to be people reading this who are having their own trauma and stuff going on. What was that like?

Oftentimes, when fear or risk is highest, you could think of it on a small level. It is a setback, hurdle or obstacle. There is another level like a global pandemic and maybe a loss that happened, whether a person, place, job, or industry. It is the loss of being able to build a community and hang out with the people you want to hang out with whenever you want, those types of things.

At the highest level, maybe there is something that is terminal on a medical front. There is something where you lose 1 of the 2 most important people in your life at an age that you are not ready to lose them. I was nineteen. I had this thought in my head that this was supposed to be the end of the world. My dad died and I’m not even twenty years. I not only saw her strength. More importantly, I felt her strength.

When I wanted to crumble, she did not let me. She is the rock star in my life, the rock in my life if you will, so when you ask the question of, “How did she breathe life into me?” it is the same way that I measure people, action. She could have told me, “Stay strong, be strong.” If I saw weakness, if she did not show up strong or say the right things but did not do the right things, I do not know how I would have processed that experience. That is what I mean. Life is about how you show up. If it is not in action, it does not count.

You were at USC. What did you major in and how did you get into the whole sports world?

I was a business guy. Interestingly, in some of the other conversations that we have had, you always talk about the way you were raised. My family always told me growing up, “This kid can talk.” I would not shut up. They said, “You are going to be a lawyer or in sales. There are only two options.” That is not exactly why I’ve got into business school but I knew that I had a passion for not only speaking but more importantly, connecting with people.

I am not the cubicle guy. I am the guy that needs to feel there is a partnership. In my playing offense terminology, I say, “Meet me at the 50.” That is when two people have the same amount of energy and level of resources that they are bringing to the table. You are meeting at the 50 as partners. The way I like to think about it is, “I’m not just going to run through the wall for you. I do not want you to run through the wall for me. Let’s lock arms and run through the wall together.”

That is my philosophy on life, business, and partnership. That is why I’ve got into sales because I saw an opportunity to do that, so I go to school. Business, sales, and marketing were the background. I did not get into sports until a year after. I worked for Philip Morris. Now they are called Altria. For those that do not know, that is the pairing company of Marlboro cigarettes amongst other brands.

I had friends that worked at the company and they recruited me. I was like, “This is pretty badass. I’m 19 to 20 years old working for a Fortune 10 company. I do not even care what the product or service is. Do you know how amazing that is on a resume? That is how we think at a certain point. I’m a summer sales intern. I end up being a recruiting ambassador, meeting those tents in the middle of campus at a career fair.

To inspire is to breathe life into others. Click To Tweet

I’m the guy representing Philip Morris under one of those tents. I’m trying to tell people to join me in this army of Philip Morris folks. It went fine at USC and it was very pleasant in LA, then they sent me to the Bay Area at a school called Berkeley. For those that know the brand of Berkeley, there are some different cats up there. By the way, my wife went there as an undergrad. I’ve got to say, “Go, Bears!” just to stay married. Let me put that out there.

I’m at a Berkeley career fair. As I’m approaching with all of my materials, I see a flock of people that is a couple of hundred feet in front of me. I’m thinking, “What is going on? Is it a protest or what is this?” I creep up and they are right in front of the Philip Morris booth. Within five minutes to the start of the career fair, I had security on both sides of me. People are holding up signs in front of me. There were two signs that I will never forget. One said, “You work for the devil.” Another one said, “You sell cancer.”

You want to talk about putting things in perspective. All of a sudden, that Fortune 10, the brand, and the resume did not matter. You’ve got to think about tribes and values that you stand for, that are attracted to, and what repels you. That moment taught me that there are many superficial reasons to do things in life. Work for the big brand or go for the supermodel but you can’t even have a conversation with them.

There are all these things or places that we engage with for reflecting back on the wrong reasons but you’ve got to go through some life experience for it. That was my Berkeley experience. This is the break into the sport, and then I will kick it back to you. For those sports fans, there is a guy named Mel Kiper. He is a college football draft guru. He is a high-energy guy like the fire, the burn, and all that good stuff.

I’m driving in my Philip Morris van and I’m graduated. It is not too far from that Berkeley Career Fair. I’m on ESPN Radio. All of a sudden, Mel comes on, “Have you ever wanted to work in sports? Have you ever dreamt of working for your favorite MLB and NBA team?” I’m speeding down the road like, “Yes.” His call to action was, “Call 1877-SMWW.” SMWW stands for Sports Management Worldwide. Eight weeks later, I graduated from an online program. The deal was if you are a good student and can turn some heads with the professors, they will plug you into their network. That was my break-in.

They said, “Where do you want to be?” I said, “LA.” They said, “We have an opportunity at the Clippers.” The Clippers, at that time, were Lakers with Kobe and Shaq. Clippers were the redheaded stepchild here from a brand perspective. When I first started with them, ESPN called us the worst brand in sports. Sports Illustrated doubled down a year later and said, “You are the worst franchise in sports history,” so I had to sell that. That is my break into sports.

What was it like working for the Clippers in those days? I remember living out in LA. It was hard to get anybody to go to a Clipper game and it is almost embarrassing to show up at a Clipper game. You do not want to go to that.

Imagine you are entertaining clients. You are trying to paint this facade that it is a sold-out arena, push urgency that they are the last seats in the house, and there are 10,000 open seats around them. You say, “Maybe they are a little late to the game.” That’s what it was like. Here is the reality and this is good advice for life and something that I learned at a very young career stage.

You’ve got to control the controllable. I know it sounds a cliché. We have all heard it but, do you actually do that? There is a very short list of things that both, you either fully control or do not control. The majority of things fall in the middle. I call it the land of influence. Most things in life are gray. You influence them. The things you do not control are things like the weather or the economy if adversity enters your life.

I already shared a few of my stories and will flip the script. What do you control? It is all within you. It is things like your mindset, actions, attitude, and energy level, my actions, my attitudes, my reactions, my energy level, and not the selfish my but the self-awareness my or the perspective my. Working at the Clippers, if you listen to all of the outside noise that is so uncontrollable, whether the media, an annoyed fan or whatever it is, you are going to lose.

I was in a twelve-person recruiting class. I was the only person to make it to the second month on the job because they only wanted the glitz and glamor of getting into sports. I was doing it because I was on a mission to sell as much of the unsellable as possible. I would argue that early in my career, I do not want to work for the market leader. I want to work for the underdog.

What was that like trying to sell the Clippers and how did you eventually sell the Clippers?

I know we will get to the why process in a bit but it is not too different where there is a why and sometimes there is a why under the why. We would always call it single-game buyers. I would call folks that came to a Clipper versus Lakers game because they are locals. You remove a lot of the barriers and objections are out. Lakers’ seats are so tough to get and they are expensive. I’m already winning some of those battles before I even pick up the phone.

I start to understand why they come to games. I know they are Laker games but why and who do you come with? What is that memory and event that you are never going to forget and how have sports been a part of your life? You like coming with your son, daughter or better half. What is the coolest event that you have ever been to? What transpired because of that moment? It’s because of that, it forged a greater relationship.

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose
Focus On Your Purpose: Think about values that attract you and you stand for.


I get very deep under the surface and into why they love the game itself, who their favorite players are, and all of these different logistics and details. I say, “What if you could be a handful of rows off the court, which does not exist with the Lakers, and you could have these amazing experiences with your family?” You hear them incremental yes. Let’s get this done. It is almost like they said yes to so many things that were important to them, they forgot that it was Clippers. I sold the NBA, family, and what I could control because I can’t control if the Clippers win games or not.

How did you learn to do that?

I will be humble when I say this. Some of this is a gift. I do know that but that is not all it is. I refuse to answer in a way that, “Some of us are gifted at whatever.” I’m humbled to say I know a lot of great performers, whether professional athletes or folks that are in the entertainment world. They did not get there overnight, and just because of their gifts.

I know for a fact spending fifteen years in sports, countless people have gifts, very few apply them. That is my fundamental belief because I was not the most talented. I believe I was talented. I am too humble to ever say I was the most talented but I had this hard hat mentality. When I say control the controllables and even when I became the sales manager a few years later, I managed the room that I once started in as an entry-level sales guy.

I always told folks when I was recruiting that my job as a hiring manager is to hire the best talent. Do not worry about whether you think you are amazing at sales. That is my judgment to make in this interview process. What I need you to do in our contract is I need three things. I need your work ethic, positivity, and coachability. That’s the lunch pill. Those are the non-negotiables. You give me those three things. I will take care of you for the rest of your career.

That is how I inspired and motivated teams to forget about the noise and the negativity of the market and start focusing on what they truly wanted and that deeper burn, that igniting of passion. I found that when you can understand what is important to other people, it is that Zig Ziglar thing. You help enough people get what they want and life tends to reward you, too.

I do not do that strategically. I do not take score or give with the expectation of getting. I just give. I’m a contributor. I always have been. I didn’t always know that because I did not take this wonderful assessment but reflecting back, that is how I inspired others and that is the same pep talk that I had to have with myself when I was on the front lines in a producing role.

You were in the Clippers for how long and what was the next step?

I was selling for about a year and change, and then I ended up managing the team. That was about a two-year run. In my two years as a Manager, the first year, we finished 28th in revenue. In the second year, we finished second in revenue. How did we do that? The Clippers won no more games in that second year than the first. When you said seller-dwelling MBA clubs when you were introducing me, this is what we are referring to.

How do you take bottom and league revenue to second next to the top? It was a partnership agreement that I figured out. Let me back up. I’m going to give tremendous credit to one of my guys. His name is Eddie. Eddie was the only person in the room that by age was older than me. Technically, he reported to me but I never viewed it that way. I believed that I learned more from Eddie than he could have ever learned from me.

He had already run his own real estate businesses. His family has given him the blessing to come in at a $7 an hour entry-level job with no other benefits and no bonus potential. He got that blessing and ended up being one of the biggest blessings in my life. Six months into that two-year run at the Clippers, Eddie and I go out for a bite. I say, “Eddie, I look around the room and I feel we have got this amazing locker room. There is such good talent. I’m so fired up but the scoreboard does not reflect that. Our sales revenue sucks. What is going on?”

He said, “Paul, what are we doing?” I said, “I do not know. We are hanging out and having lunch.” He goes, “Is it fair to say we are breaking bread?” I said, “Sure.” He hit me. He said, “When was the last time you did this with anybody else on the team?“ It was a very simple, yet profound message that I needed to hear because I basically was managing people the way I was managed, not leading because there is a difference.

I’m not going to claim that early in my sales career, I had amazing coaching or mentorship. I’m not knocking the guys. In the sports industry, there was a little bit of a transactional feel inside the front office. That is how it was. I’m not going to BS about it. You asked how I became a lot of it. I could probably owe 2 people like my parents and 2 others. Sometimes you need to extract life lessons and apply them to your business if you do not have all the right resources in your business roof. That is a reality of life.

Eddie woke me up. Relationships are the secret sauce of life and the currency of business. Trust is one of those things that you need to form within a team. Those sounds are so simple and fundamental but I was blind as an entry-level manager. Thanks to Eddie, I woke up. That is how you go from number 28 to number 2 in revenue. I know the people, the culture, and the leadership game. When I started to realize that that should be put ahead of goals, metrics, key performance indicators, and all this quantitative stuff, that is when the game changed.

Forget about the noise and negativity and focus on igniting your passion. Click To Tweet

Was it about the team or the culture? What made the biggest difference to take you from 28th to 2nd?

We had something called the constitution. It was a whiteboard in the room and this program of sales was called inside sales. It was designed to be 6 to 9 months. Let’s say you were hired on January 1st. That means that between July 1st and September, that is your window of getting promoted if you are a top producer. That is the environment.

Remember those three non-negotiables, work ethic, positivity, and coachability. I connected with everybody and I said, “You give me those three things. I do not care how poor your sales performance is because that’s on me. That means I did not see a lack of a gift, talent, skill or ability in the recruiting process. I will own that. You will not be fired for lack of revenue but you will lose your seats if you do not have the work ethic, positivity, and coachability, and not most of the time, all of the time. This is not a 90% Rule. It is a 100% Rule.”

I created a constitution, made it sound very formal and said, “I will hereby,” and I put the three elements of the constitution, work ethic, positivity, and coachability. I would write the dates of their 6 to 9-month window next to their name. I would sign it and have them sign it. Let’s say, Susie, I would say, “Susie, you do these three things. In this three-month window, I will not only take care of you then. I will take care of you for the rest of your life.” That is what got people.

I treated them not as an employee or even as a team member but as a family member. That family workaround in business is way too much. Ninety percent of the time, you do coaching and consulting, Gary. Do you go in and you are like, “This does not feel like a family but you all say you are a family.” It is situations like that. Some would say, “Paul, you are overcommitting yourself. Why would you ever put yourself on the line?” I’m like, “How could I not?” It is because I essentially had to become the leader that I never had.

Amazingly, you were able to do that at a young age. You were in your early twenties, right?

Yes, probably at that time mid-ish twenties.

Where did you go next? Keep us going on the journey.

I had to fly away from the nest. The way it works in sports is you either wait for your boss to leave or you’ve got to go external. For me, at this time, you are feeling yourself because you are riding some mojo and you get second in the league in the NBA. I had a lot of opportunities but the one that I ended up landing and that felt right was going out to New Orleans, from Hollywood Boulevard to Bourbon Street, if you will.

That was crazy. Mardi Gras is a real thing. What was even scarier is that it is almost 365 but it was a heck of a time. Here is what I learned in New Orleans. I’m not knocking the folks I was working with. I’m simply saying that a void in my life to that point was, I was still looking for that business leader that I would do anything for. I was still looking for the mentor that I would dedicate my life. I wanted it but I was not going to force it. You can’t force anybody’s leadership style.

I went to New Orleans because I fell in love with my fellow leaders. When I look to my left and right, I’m like, “This is thunder buddies for life. This is awesome.” What made it even more interesting was that eventually, there is a little bit of sadness and tragedy in this story too but it leads to purpose. The NBA team in New Orleans is called the Pelicans but they are called the Hornets at that time. Their Owner, Mr. Shinn, became very ill with cancer. He had to give up the operations of the team, so the late Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, comes in.

He has a group of people, which still exists in the NBA. They are called TMBO, which is Team Marketing & Business Operations. Think of them as the superwomen and supermen of the teams that get promoted to the league. They fly in with capes and fix things, whether it is your sales, marketing, game day or operation.

Whatever gaps you have, they accumulate best practices throughout the league and give you the playbook. In a case like this, because they took stewardship of the franchise, it was not giving us a playbook. They were locking arms and executing with us. If you want to talk about that void I had of working for amazing people with amazing gifts and talents, I stumbled into it by being in New Orleans at the right place at the right time.

Commissioner Stern was a little bit of a bulldog. He studied the books of the franchise and we were the worst. We were the least viable, in economic terms, franchise in the NBA. On the books, there is no team that you would rather own less for finance reasons than the Hornets. He gave us an ultimatum. “Sell 10,000 season tickets, which is the gold standard in the NBA or you are going to lose the franchise.”

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose
Focus On Your Purpose: The three non-negotiables are work ethic, positivity, coachability.

We had a buckle down. Thankfully, we had a lot of support but it was a scary proposition because if I could be real with you and everybody reading, the South is a football part of the country. Basketball was an afterthought. I can take it at the Clippers. I love you. I hate you. I can have those conversations. What I can’t do anything about is apathy.

What do you do when somebody does not care? I can’t make you care. If you do not care about basketball, how do I inspire you to join this movement that is going to save the franchise? What if you do not care about that franchise? We went back to the drawing board. We said, “If they do not care about basketball, what do they care about?”

For those that are either in New Orleans, from New Orleans or have been in New Orleans, Nolans as they say, you know that people are passionate. They have pride, whether it is the jazz, the food, the drinks, or the parades, they love themselves some knowledge. That is what they love. There is a tremendous amount of identity, whereas where I’m from, LA, there are not a lot of identities. There are a lot of transplants, a melting pot or whatever but not the best identity. Identity lives in New Orleans.

We captured that magic and said, “Let’s build a case around what it would mean if we lost the franchise and how it would be the scarlet letter on the identity of your city.” We started this campaign called “I’m In.” We pulled in all these influencers from the World’s Top Chefs and politicians, people that call New Orleans home. We said, “Host events in your home because that is authentic. Pull people into your living rooms. Invite them in and rally them to be in. If they are in, here are the benefits to the city that you care so much about.“

We made it bigger than basketball. That was my first lesson about organizational purpose. Even if you do not love the product or service, if you love the purpose, why you do what you do, and you feel you are a part of something bigger than yourself, whether as an employee or as a customer, the power of purpose is real. Thankfully, there is a happy ending to the story. We’ve got to the number without purpose. I 100% know we do not even come close.

You were there for a couple of years. Where did you go next?

I was in Sacramento Kings, and that was my quick one-year-ish stop. There was an NBA lockout. I was in charge of company culture during an NBA lockout. I do not think anything in life is impossible but that is pretty close to it because your livelihood is taken away. I can laugh about it but that was a tough chapter. My next up is New York and we will go there in a second. Remember that relationship lesson from Eddie.

In New Orleans, I befriended in a very human and authentic way, not because I wanted them to take care of me. I fell in love with that NBA crew that I referenced earlier. Some lifelong friendships organically came out of it. How did I end up in Sacramento? One of those NBA folks was helping the Kings and said, “Paul, can you come help?”

How did I end up in New York? The same guy said, “I’m with an agency, Legends, owned by Yankees and Cowboys. We are based in New York. We’ve got some clubs out. There is a little soccer, football, baseball. We would love to plugin. Do you want to join us?” “I do.” I was not following the place. I was following the people because I finally found my people. I found folks that I could align with on a deeper level, bigger than a career. I genuinely felt we synced.

That is what led me to New York. It was not that I ran away from the Sacramento adversity. We were throwing paper airplanes in an office, which for somebody that wants to contribute and make an impact, throwing paper airplanes, while it sounds fun, gets old after about a day. You want to go back and make a difference in the world. That is what took me to New York and how I’ve got into the sports consulting space. That is what led me to the NFL League Office where I ran a national sales campaign.

We ended up breaking an all-time revenue record for that game, which was a tremendous accomplishment. My heart was always in football. I loved all these pit stops in the NBA but I always wished that I could get into that granddaddy of them, the NFL. My agency had some connects at the NFL League Office. I’ve got to have strategy sessions with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It was a tremendous experience and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

You went into the NFL League. Did you end up with the 49ers?

Yes. You will notice the trend here. I say this from a very humble place but out of fifteen years, I will give you two stats and they are almost oxymorons of each other. For anybody reading, if you are a sports fan, let’s say you root for the “fill in the blank” team for fifteen years, what are the odds that they are going to make the playoffs?

You would say 1/3 of the time, 1/2 of the time or 2/3 of the time. You are not going to be it every year but you are also going to make it sometimes. I worked fifteen years in sports. The teams I worked for made it to the playoffs once, 1 out of 15 years. Here is the second step. Out of the fifteen years, we hit goal 14 out of 15 times. This is not necessarily your job on the line but more about, this is how you get rewarded, recognized and how your career grows.

If you love why you do what you do, you’ll feel you're a part of something bigger than yourself. Click To Tweet

Imagine you are consistently achieving success. We break a revenue record in the NFL. The Super Bowl was a project. It was full-time at the moment but it was a nine-month sprint. My agency was brought in. I was the point guard and the leader of that national sales campaign. There were 50 people spread throughout the country but I was the only person with boots on the ground in headquarters in 345 Park Ave.

We did the impossible and it turned a lot of heads. One of those heads was then the COO, now President of the San Francisco 49ers, Al Guido, who is a dear friend and an amazing leader. Al comes calling and says, “How would you like to come back to Cali? We are opening up Levi stadium.” Essentially, they created a role for me. They were doing well. They were on pace but they wanted to level it up. I had some relationships in common with Al. He believed in me through the people that he referenced. All of a sudden, I’ve got out of the polar vortex world and I made it back to California.

What was your position with the 49ers and what was that working for them?

It was the best job I have ever had, the best place I have ever worked, and the best leaders I have ever worked with and for. Had I not found my why? I would hope that I would still be at the 49ers. It was like a family to me. The magic question is, “Why would you ever leave a place that you describe like that?” My role was Head of Sales and Biz Dev.

Think of 70,000 people in the stadium. The sales team is responsible for putting the butts in the seats. Who calls Levi’s to eventually become Levi’s Stadium and all those corporate sponsors? Who sells all those luxury boxes and the premium hospitality? You need a sales team. There is a lot of outbound effort that needs to happen to monetize what this sport is.

Do not get me wrong. There is a lot of incoming interest as well. To close the gap, fill the place, and maximize revenue, that is where the sales team comes in. It is not because sports can’t sell themselves but if you price it aggressively, you are going to need some muscle for that. We were the muscle. My role there was to recreate what was an old revenue model of, “You have ten games and maybe we have some concerts and a soccer match here and there.”

At 365, we light up the building 20 times and the other 345 are dark, AKA you do not make money versus our president and our owner wanted to monetize it year-round. To do that, from things having restaurants on-site, to stay stadium tours year-round, to private banquet events, Facebook did a holiday party for 20,000 people in the stadium. There were weddings. One might have been mine, full disclosure. We had weddings at Levi’s Stadium. You are not going to believe this, Gary. It was her idea, not mine.

You married, right?

I did. I converted to a Raider fan. That is even better.

It is not easy.

That was my role there. It was awesome. There was a retreat in year 3 of 4 of my journey with the 49ers that eventually led to my Jerry Maguire leap from them.

It seems like being in a great spot is going to take something big for you to want to leave. What happened?

What happened is, in August 2016, there was a two-day offsite retreat that changed my life. I found my why. It was led by Simon Sinek. I know you know him and you have been very kind about your relationship with him and his team. They led the experience. This was after he had done a keynote. The message of why was permeating throughout the organization, even ahead of that.

A small group of us got offsite and tapped into our why. We all walk away with a why statement and identifying our core values. I knew that something special had happened. I did not know what was going to come and what was going to follow but I knew that life was different. Fast forward, I get back in the office. I’m radiating this extra level of energy.

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose
Focus On Your Purpose: When you identify your core values, something special happens, and you know your life will be different.

Folks are like, “What was in the punch? What did you drink at that retreat? Paul, you have already got too much juice. You are at another level. You are at a ten. We need you at a two.” That is how I shot out of a cannon back into the front office. I shared what happened at the retreat, and that was the end of that conversation.

The next day, one person that I shared it with came up to me on the side and said, “Paul, that thing you did at the retreat, do you think you could coach me through the same process?“ The next day, another person. 1, 2, 5, 10 to nearly 50 led, and all water-cooler buzz that started on the business side eventually made its way to the football side of the organization. That is how I became known as the Why Coach of the San Francisco 49ers. It was a passion project that I was paying the gift of purpose forward. I found why. It felt like a special thing and I could not contain it to keep it inside of me.

That is very much my story as well. Did you get to work with many of the players?

Toward the tail end of that 50, yes. It started almost exclusively on the business side because those are the folks who I knew best and was around with every day. It happened in the offseason but we’ve got into the season and they were around. We share a cafeteria. If you ask what the number one thing I miss about sports is, I miss the freaking 49ers player cafeteria. It is a tremendous place.

When you share a cafeteria, you are going to be sitting at the table with the who’s who of the NFL and the 49ers. You drum up some relationships. I do not say it lightly but there was a water-cooler buzz. There was, “This guy has got a little bit of the potion. This guy can get you to your why. I was probably having 2 to 3 hours of sit-downs and that is about the time it was taking me to get them from start to finish. At 6:00 AM, we were showing up, in the evenings, and on weekends. This is a side hustle.

This was not a part of the day job but what is interesting is that HR caught wind of it. I get a cryptic email that you never want from HR. They say into the head of the HR’s office. I’m like, “Is this my last day? What is going on?” It is quite the opposite. They said, “Paul, we heard through the grapevine what you are doing. We think it is phenomenal and tremendous. What are your thoughts on integrating it into the recruiting or onboarding process here at the 49ers?”

I’m not a list guy. I do not know if that is a top 5 or top 10 but if you could say the proudest moments in life, that has got to be close to the top. It was having that resonates deeply in a community I cared so much about, they saw the value in it, and they wanted the why to become a part of the fabric of the company.

You are at an amazing team and culture. You love everybody there. You are getting to do what you want to do, and then you leave.

Part of the challenge of finding your Why is when it inspires you, it becomes an obsession, and you almost need to follow it. Forget almost. In my case, I had to follow it. I felt called to do this work. I then started to do internal introspection. My why is the start of it. That has my North Star elements and what gets me out of bed.

The parts I was able to apply more actively in my life on Monday morning were my core values. My core values, in no particular order, are belief, growth, authenticity, impact, and courage. Those are my five core values. I started to assess how I made decisions in life. Am I being congruent with those values in my why? Am I aligned? Is how I show up connected to what I believe and to who I am? Is there alignment there? When I train this, those are the three layers of our identity from the inside out, who we are, what we stand for, and how we show up. Are those connected?

If you are not in alignment, you are not being true to your purpose and you are not living your why. When I gave myself that stress test, I realized that I was not living true to my purpose. I was doing a good job, not a great job. I had some gaps. I started to tear through the muscle. I still order to implement. I found that when you apply one value, it can help you overcome a deficiency in another area. I leveraged my value of courage to make tough decisions.

When I was afraid and knew there was a risk, I’m like, “Paul, are you a man of courage or not?” I would almost have that locker room talk with myself. When I was like, “Express courage.” It helped me make other decisions. I told myself, “Paul, think of something you said you would never do but maybe you would reconsider.”

One of those things was going back to school. The school was fine. I took high school seriously because of my folks. College was a party, I passed and did not see the need. In business and sports, you do not need the three letters, MBA. In some industries, you need it. In that one, you do not. I tore through the muscle and I committed to the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. They had a Los Angeles cohort satellite program.

It was this perfect, once a month. I had no anticipation of leaving sports at the time but here is what it led to. This is the lineage and here is how I want to connect to the audience here. When you follow your why, these inexplicable connections start to happen. You reflect back and say, “If A) Did not happen, B) Does not happen, then C) Does not happen.”

When you stay true to your purpose, amazing things happen. Click To Tweet

You do not know that if you forecast forward. You need to take action. If you are being true to your purpose and letting your why to be your operating system, in this case, that is when the amazing things happen. I went back to school. The best ROI on the school was not in the classroom. For the first time in my life, I had an executive coach.

I remembered going back to my sports days. I always wanted that leader. Sometimes it is different when they work in your industry. What if they know your boss better than you? It is a weird thing but an executive coach is an executive coach. They are neutral, unbiased, and just there to serve you, with no outside agenda. Her name was Sue Ann. I talk about her tremendously in my book, The Power of Playing Offense. She was a life changer.

Sue Ann said, “Paul, I know what you do. You are the Head of Sales for the 49ers. What do you love and hate about it? What do you tolerate?” I answered all three, and she said, “Go deeper on that love bucket.” I said, “I love the people side of the business. I love building a culture, rallying a team, motivating, inspiring, and coaching.” She said, “On a good day, what percentage of your time do you do that?” I started to slouch in my chair because I knew I would not love the answer. I plus it up.

The truth was probably 10%. I told her 20%, so I would feel better about myself. She said, “Paul, if I was to wave a wand and you become your boss, does that number 20% go up, down or sideways?” I said, “More strategy, fewer people, so down.” She said, “What about your boss’s boss?” I said, “The same.” This was the question. She said, “What are you after?”

It is so simple, Gary. There is nothing magical about the question, “What are you after?” Shame on me that I had never thought about that. My NFL boss told me, and apparently, I did not listen. He said, “In life, the easiest thing to do is to stay on the treadmill you are on.” He told me that, and it did not register but now I can connect the dots and say, “That was tremendous advice.” That is where she was bringing me.

The easy thing to do was stay on the treadmill I was on. As I realized how I felt about my day-to-day, I loved the industry and the organization. I fell out of love with what I did every day. That is the juice and the fuel. Mentally, as I processed the answer to that question, I knew I was going to leave. It took about 2 to 3 months to make the call because I had to figure out what I was going to do and where I was going to go. I knew mentally that I had to follow my calling and passion. I based it on a value, which is impact. That is my number one value by far. I asked myself, “Can I create more effect inside the walls of this industry or beyond?” When I framed it like that, it was one of the easiest decisions I ever made.

Tell everybody a little bit about PurposePoint.

That is a new partnership and a new family for me. I will give a quick backstory. I was in sports until the end of 2017. I joined the same company that helped and facilitate Simon’s team, and facilitate my why discovery at the 49ers. I joined that Leadership Institute and spent 2018 and 2019 with him. I treated it like a leadership laboratory. I was such a geek of the space, the people side of the business. I just fell in love and wanted a stress test. It is the things that I thought to be true after fifteen years in sports. Are they industry-agnostic?

It became an experiment for me. I’m coaching C-Suite at one of the top airlines and I’m coaching Navy SEALs. I’m in these environments I never would have been in had I stayed in sports. It is exercising my core values of growth and belief. How much do I believe in what I do? All of these core values are this wonderful melting pot.

I’ve got to fully express them over a two-year journey with this Leadership Institute. That took me to 2019. I started to realize this ecosystem of thought leadership. It is one that you are and it is one that I’m in. A lot of your coaches are in as well. I thought, “What if I could permanently change industries from the sports industry to the leadership development industry to the people industry? How does that feel to me?

It started to excite me more by the day. I started to think about the how. How do I execute this? I know the why behind the spirit, mission, calling, and cause. How do I want to show up and what differentiates me? I’ve got to wrestle with that. I said, “What do I do? How do I express this?” The answer and the one gap I had was my old company was not massively into keynote speaking, and I love keynote speaking. I have been doing it since I was in sports.

If there are 5,000 people I speak to and 50 ways to talk to you after, those 50 people prove to you that there is impact. They prove to you that it was the right message at the right time and they were transformed. You feel like, “What if they pay this forward?” How tremendous of a scalable impact of genuine, compassionate reasons do you have?

Keynoting was this portal for a contribution for me. That is when I bet on myself. I do not have a great crystal ball because I started my own live event/speaking company in January of 2020. It was a fantastic two and a half months but everything that has happened since March of 2020 while it was certainly not easy in the beginning, I will not sugarcoat it.

I probably am not an author if I did not have months in quarantine or would not have been a proud member of PurposePoint. The way PurposePoint came to me was when I started my own company. It almost reminds me of the WHY Institute’s mantra of getting clear and playing bigger. I thought about it like, “Is there a bigger, faster, stronger version of Purpose Labs out there?” I met them in 2021 and they became PurposePoint. I’m Chief Impact Officer. Again, that core value, my number one value is impact. I’m there to make a difference. This is a beautiful message. It is why I was so drawn to it, why I was drawn to them as people, and equally as important, their mission.

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your Purpose
Focus On Your Purpose: When you come from a place of abundance, you’re happy to help however you can.


Every company starts with a point of purpose. They invite people to join them on the journey. As the journey evolves, you start to create a process, measure performance, and eventually, calculate profits. There are a lot of Ps going on. I have seen that over time. The further away you get from that foundation, there is a drift away from that origin and purpose point. You start to care more about performance, profit, and process more than the people and the purpose. Those other three Ps are critical. They are necessary. Otherwise, there is no business to run but the order matters, and the harmony amongst all those Ps matters.

Most companies we see are over-flexing the performance, profit, and process. They are neglecting the people and the purpose. The outcome is you have this thing called a global pandemic, and voila, there is a Great Resignation. Why? It is because people fell out of touch with their why and purpose. They had a time-out forced by the world to look within themselves. I think of the Great Resignation as the Great Awakening. When I heard PurposePoint speak about this awakening, it drew me in and I decided to join a bigger, faster, and stronger tribe. That is why we are here.

I would love to finish with one last question for you because you have taken us on the journey. There’s a lot of great stuff in there, a lot of lessons you have learned, a lot of places you have been things, and things you have done. What is the best piece of advice you have ever given or gotten?

This one is going to hit close to home because it is right up the alley of what you are preaching every day. The best piece of advice that I have given is because I was not told this and it led to a lot of angst and maybe not loving the early stages of my career, even though it was very fun. It is because I was over-focused on the What.

I was solely focused on what I was doing. They would bring in trainers to try to help you how to do it but nobody ever told me to focus on why I do what I do. They never asked me questions about who I am, who I have been, and who I want to become. I was playing the doing game when there was a sequence to it. Doing is great but you must first know who you are being, who you are, and why.

Those two are the most powerful things you can know about yourself. The how, whether through a five-minute discovery or life experience, if you are passionate about something, you will figure out the how but you’ve got to first be a believer in the why, and the what you do becomes so much more of a blue ocean.

I used to think I had this singular purpose in life. If I do not do X, it puts so much pressure on you, and you feel like you have this one North Star. That is BS. I can do 20, 30 or 50 different things I should not because of bandwidth but I can. That was an empowering feeling. I’ve got my freedom back when I started to apply my why and live on purpose. That is what perspective I would share with everybody.

What is next for Paul? I know you are going to be doing some great stuff with us. We are looking forward to that. Let’s talk for a minute about that.

WHY Institute and Paul Epstein are meeting at the 50 to touch and inspire a billion lives. That is what’s next. The part I feel the most excited about is I’m in the earliest stages of writing my second book, which is called On Purpose. The big question I’m trying to tackle is, “Are you living your life on purpose or is life just happening to you?” My process, my how, and the system I will introduce in this playbook are when you can align your head to your heart to your hands, that is when you are living on purpose.

I have been ideating this thing that I’m calling the Triple H Equation, Head plus Heart equals Hands. If you are going to take action, make sure that your mindset and your heart are onboard because otherwise, you will fall out of purpose. You will still live but in six months, you wonder, “Why am I no longer fulfilled? Why do I feel stuck? Why do I not have a deeper burn?”

Maybe there is a self-limiting belief that is preventing you from taking action. That is the point. It is the green, yellow, red light philosophy. The Head is in, the heart is in, green light. If only 1 of the 2 is in, yellow light, then proceed with caution. If it is 0 for 2, your head and your heart are out, stop. That is a red light. This book is about living on purpose. The flip side is, it is to get people to stop running red lights in their life.

There is a company I’m going to introduce you to. That sparked something in me. I want to connect you with a girl named Liz Ellis because she was the CEO of a big production company, and she changed her position to Chief Heart Officer. It is right up your alley. She said, “I’m going to put somebody else as the CEO because I can find people to do the thinking or the head part. We do not have anybody to do the heart part, and that is my specialty. If we have got lots of hands and brains, we need the heart.” It is fascinating. You will love it.

That is the beauty of these types of conversations. We are all connecting and expanding our tribe. I would have never known a Chief Heart Officer if it was not for this conversation. When you are living your calling, and everything is coming from not only the heart but the head, and you are taking purposeful action, that is what life is all about.

If people want to get ahold of you, Paul, what is the best way for them to connect with you? How do they follow you and learn from you? What would be the best way to communicate with you?

The most powerful things you can know about yourself are who you are and who you’re being. Click To Tweet is the best way. That is the home of all things. As far as, not only where to find me but I’m somebody that I get intimate with the folks in my community, in the sense of it is me engaging and responding because that is a core value of mine. There is no pedestal here to me. I mean everything I have shared already but if you ask me why am I writing the second book, it is to democratize purpose because we all deserve to be in that space. Find me at Paul Epstein Speaks and shoot me a note. Follow me on LinkedIn and Instagram at @PaulEpsteinSpeaks. You can find me very easily and know that it is 100% me connecting with you to meet you at the 50.

Paul, thank you so much for being here. I loved our conversation, more listening for me, which is exactly what I wanted, so you did awesome.

Thanks, Gary. I’m fired up for the journey ahead.

It is going to be fun. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you.

It is time for our last segment, which is Guess Their Why. Since we talk sports, I want to use Aaron Rodgers. He is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He is one of the most successful. He has won MVP awards and is also very controversial. He had that whole thing around the COVID being immunized versus having the vaccine. I would love to know what do you think Aaron Rodgers’s why is?

I have a really good sense. I happened to listen to him a little bit more. He has been on different podcasts and various television shows. I believe that Aaron Rodgers’s why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. He is not somebody that wants to follow the rules and draw inside the lines. He wants to do it his way. He has his whole life. He has got his little man bun now. He didn’t talk about following traditional medicine. He wanted to do it his own way and get “immunized.”

If you have been reading the show and you love what you are reading, please give us a review on whatever platform you are using and bring this to more people. Our goal is to impact one billion people in the next five years. The show is going a long way toward doing that. I look forward to having you on the next episode. Thank you so much for reading.

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About Paul Epstein

BYW S4 17 | Focus On Your PurposePaul Epstein became the go-to fixer for NBA teams, NFL franchises, and league executive offices because he’s mastered the come-from-behind win. He recognizes that victory comes from the inside, and requires an All-In culture empowered by a growth mindset and a belief that we all have unlimited potential – when we double down on our strengths, gifts, talents, and passions.

Today, people and organizations everywhere are struggling. Maybe you’ve lost sight of the fuel that motivates, inspires, and pushes you forward— or maybe you never found it. It’s purpose, and the feeling of leading with purpose is more thrilling than you can imagine.

Maybe your lack of purpose is manifesting in terms of traditional achievement— you’ve fallen behind in sales, your culture is a mess, or your growth has stalled out. Maybe you just can’t seem to turn your vision and goals into momentum and purpose. You know the What, but you just can’t seem to find the Why.