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4 Keys to an Impact-Driven Life

Is life about destination? Or journey?

Success? Or significance?

Achievement? Or fulfillment?

Paycheck? Or purpose?

Take a moment to process your thoughts on these decisions...

Welcome back.

The truth is, I had it backwards for most of my life. I prioritized the former and it got me climbing a never-ending ladder, that eventually I was no longer inspired to climb—wondering why I was even doing it—questioning the meaning of it all. Picking up trophies, accolades, and increasing paychecks along the way, then realizing with every milestone of success, the goalposts keep moving further and further away.

The truth is, you are never done. There is no finish line. You’ve never “made it.”

We are motivated to acquire, achieve, and are always left wanting more. UNTIL you realize the real game that we are all playing—if we prioritize impact.

A game of journey.

A game of significance.

A game of fulfillment (and happiness).

A game of purpose.

When you can crack this code, life can take off. Every day can be energizing. Every day can unleash your impact by making four intentional decisions, of which you are about to immerse yourself in.

I’ll lead with an example from my life, then reframe to apply it to your life—so we can all take action.

Is life about destination? Or journey?

Very recently I became a bestselling author. Crazy to even write those words. I never thought it was possible. But now that its reality, I can tell you that the moment was spectacular, the roses smelled great, the champagne was sweet, and then within days I landed on my feet, back to the same blocking and tackling as before, realizing the biggest work was ahead. If being a bestseller was a destination, the story would be complete, and I’d be left restless, only to become obsessed with “what’s next” (likely in an unhealthy way) to become a two-time bestseller, and so on. When does it ever end? But when it’s about journey, I am empowered to believe that the true impact (the benefits of becoming a bestseller) is ahead. With the overarching mission of The Power of Playing Offense being to impact one million people, I’m fired up to say, we’re just getting started!

Apply this principle to your life: think of a destination you are striving toward and excited about. Now, reframe the destination to be about the journey. A lifelong pursuit. A quest. Where there is no finish line. It is solely about impacting others, with exciting milestones along the way that energize and fulfill you. Process these milestones, along with the timing for each step. Now share it with somebody you’re close to (and will hold you accountable) so they can cheer you along for the journey, to serve as your partner in impact.

Success? Or significance?

Success comes in many forms. Promotions, titles, greater responsibilities, more money, a shiny trophy. For me, it was my fast-track rise through the sports business leadership ranks. As great as it was, after years of climbing, I was awakened through a candid performance review that I was no longer putting people first, which was my calling card in my early years. I sold out for success and career growth—and forgot what really matters. People. Success is serving yourself. Significance is serving others. Chase significance, not success. I know MANY people that are successful and don’t feel significance. I don’t know a single person that feels significance and is not successful.

Apply this principle to your life: ask yourself the following question, “Who am I serving?” Is this thing that I’m after solely to serve me? Or does it benefit and create impact for others? Am I making a difference toward something bigger than myself? If so, you are on a path toward significance. Now pull out a notepad and write whose life you would like to impact most? Jot down how you can make a positive difference for them, personally or professionally. WHY is this so important to you? Remember this ‘Why’ as it will be the purpose to keep you committed to creating this impact for somebody near and dear to you. Lastly, write down the first micro-action you can take. Plan it now and execute this action in the next 30 days.

Achievement? Or fulfillment?

Tony Robbins once said, “success without fulfillment is failure.” I couldn’t agree more. Ultimately, are you fulfilled each day? Are you happy? Are you inspired to step into what you do because you believe deeply in why you do it? In my case, I humbly achieved levels of success that many would admire, but it wasn’t until I focused on doing things every day that energized me, sparked my curiosity, ignited my passion, and eventually found what fulfills me—that I finally FELT ALIVE.

Apply this principle to your life: think of what (or who) ENERGIZES and EXCITES you. Things you do, things you watch, things you listen to, people you engage with. Every morning, look at your calendar and ask yourself what am I doing today that excites me? I self-audit this every day led by a guiding principle that I’ll never go back-to-back days without excitement. If you run into this scenario where for back-to-back mornings, nothing excites you - DON’T get out of your journaling chair until you put something on the calendar that does excite you. This ensures a consistent dose of positive energy in your life, that can eventually lead to longer lasting fulfillment. When you are fulfilled, achievement (and happiness) will follow.

Paycheck? Or purpose?

I used to take jobs based on money. Then I realized that after surpassing an amount of money to cover basic needs, there was no greater correlation to happiness or fulfillment. The reality is I just adjusted our lifestyle for the increased pay. More things, nicer places, not necessarily a bigger smile or warmer internal feeling. Purpose has unleashed my true impact. My ‘Why’ is to inspire purpose in others so they can play offense in life. I now speak and write about playing offense every day, because this is what I was called to do.

Apply this principle to your life: if your life responsibilities (family, bills, etc.) were taken care of, would you do what you do for free? If not, think hard about what you would do for free (assuming your life and finances were in good order). You literally have a blank canvas of opportunity. Is there something you can do now (on the side) in the evenings, on weekends, in your spare time, that will get you closer to that goal or vision? [CK4] The pandemic has made us all think long and hard about what we do and how we want to spend the rest of our lives. NOW would be the perfect time to create purposeful progress and momentum toward that plan. What is one commitment you can make in the next 60 days (i.e. an online workshop, coffee with a coach, a four-hour window to practice a passionate hobby, a self-retreat to unwind and write a new business plan) as a first step? It is time to take control of your future.

And now we come back to these four forks in the road. With IMPACT as the goal…

Is life about destination? Or journey?

Success? Or significance?

Achievement? Or fulfillment?

Paycheck? Or purpose?

The decision is yours.

But if you seek impact, the four principles are clear.

Attack each day with a spirit of journey, significance, fulfillment, and purpose—and you’ll find opportunities for impact come in abundance.

I look forward to meeting you at the 50.

Your Partner in Impact,


Paul Epstein is a bestselling author, leadership coach, keynote speaker, podcast host, and Founder of Purpose Labs, after leading business teams in the NFL and NBA for 15 years.

To connect directly, email

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