1704 – Unlocking Unshakable Confidence: Mastering the Art of Decision Making with Paul Epstein

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Chief Impact Officer of PurposePoint, Paul Epstein.

Paul Epstein, the author of the book “Better Decisions Faster,” emphasizes that life and business are essentially a series of decisions and actions. Drawing from his experience as a sports executive and working with elite performers, he underscores the importance of being decisive and confident in making decisions. According to Paul, indecision is the worst possible decision, leading to inaction and missed opportunities.

One of the key insights Paul shared is that highly successful individuals are comfortable with imperfect action. They focus on the process rather than solely on the outcomes. This approach, Paul believes, is a formula for building and sustaining unshakable confidence. He introduces the “head heart hands equation,” which emphasizes the significance of purpose and how it drives sustained high performance.

Leadership comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in maintaining high standards and integrity. Paul explains that confidence is built by consistently acting on one's values. He encourages individuals to identify their core values and act upon them consistently. He believes this is the key to building and sustaining confidence over time.

Paul introduces an interesting analogy, comparing confidence to a dimmer switch. He explains that confident individuals approach each day with the mindset of improving their confidence level, incrementally increasing it. This gradual adjustment of confidence levels resembles how a dimmer switch works.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance of better decision-making in business and life
  • The role of decisiveness and taking action in achieving success and happiness
  • The concept of imperfect action and focusing on the process
  • The “head heart hands equation” for building unshakable confidence
  • The significance of purpose in driving high performance
  • Maintaining high standards and integrity as a leader
  • Sustaining confidence over time
  • Balancing consensus and decisive action
  • The importance of confidence in organizations and its impact on various aspects

About Paul Epstein:

Paul Epstein boasts an impressive 15-year career in professional sports management, having worked with several NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office. He has achieved remarkable milestones, including breaking premium revenue records in Super Bowl history, inaugurating a billion-dollar stadium, and establishing the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy, earning him the nickname “Why Coach.”

Paul is a renowned sports executive and an award-winning keynote speaker, recognized by SUCCESS Magazine as a top thought leader. His influence extends to leadership development and culture transformation programs for prominent organizations like Amazon, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dallas Cowboys.

Paul’s expertise has been featured in major media outlets such as ESPN, NBC, Fox Business, and USA Today. Additionally, he is an accomplished author, having penned the bestseller “The Power of Playing Offense” and is set to release his second book, “Better Decisions Faster,” in 2023.

About PurposePoint:

PurposePoint is a collective of inspirational thought leaders, authors, speakers, coaches, and consultants who foster purpose-driven initiatives. This diverse team collaborates to ignite a sense of purpose, inspire individuals, and create a positive global impact.

Their approach emphasizes aligning actions with meaningful intentions, encouraging people to find purpose in their lives and work. By leveraging their expertise and insights, PurposePoint strives to empower others, fostering a sense of direction and fulfillment.

Through their combined efforts, this team emphasizes the transformative power of purpose for personal growth and making a difference on a broader scale.

With a shared commitment to creating positive change, PurposePoint is a beacon of inspiration, guiding individuals and organizations toward a more purposeful existence.

Tweetable Moments:

12:37 – “Head and heart on board, green light, do it every time. Red light, no head, no heart, that's a slow, slow death and that's a silent killer.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Check out Paul Epstein New Book “Make Decisions Faster” at

Take the Confidence Quiz to know how confident you are at

Want to learn more? Check out PurposePoint website at

Check out PurposePoint on LinkedIn at

Check out PurposePoint on Instagram at

Check out Paul Epstein on LinkedIn at

Check out Paul Epstein on Facebook at 

Check out Paul Epstein on Twitter at 

Check out Paul Epstein on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Paul Epstein. Paul, you are an award winning leadership and sales speaker, best selling author, the founder of the Win Monday community, and you're the author of the new book Better Decisions Faster. Also, I should mention not your first book, but this one's just hitting the shelves right now.

Josh (00:01:20) - Kindle, hardcover, and audible. Thank you for advocating for my fellow audiobook nerds. It is a delight to have you, Paul. Thank you so much for joining us. Fired up to be here, Josh. Well, I'm so interested in learning about this concept about better decision making. I think that some of us can really struggle with that. We get that analysis paralysis. We don't want to make mistakes. Right. And that fear of making mistakes, at least I can speak for myself sometimes leaves us with not taking action. And certainly I think if we look at the traits and qualities of great leaders, boy, do they sound decisive in what they do. What's going on there? Yeah, well, you just nailed it. I believe business and.

Paul (00:02:06) - Life are simply a game of decisions and actions, and whether to act or not is a decision in and of itself. So to me, the lowest common denominator, and I say this as a 15 year pro sports executive, I spent 15 years in the boardrooms, billion dollar campaigns, NFL, NBA leadership roles in two Super Bowl.

Paul (00:02:24) - So I have been around the highest performers and highest flyers and highest achievers in the world. And I've noticed that at the most critical fork in the road of business in life and in their case, on the playing field. They stepped into those forks in the road with unshakable confidence. And this book and the message is really a formula for how you can build and sustain that unshakable confidence. And I believe that it is simply a game of one decision and one action at a time. Because to your point, Josh, decision fatigue is real. Decision overwhelm is real, paralysis is real. And then also you call this out. The worst possible decision of them all is indecision. When we do nothing metaphorically in the sports world, we call it when you stay on the sidelines, some folks don't even get in the stadium, they don't even get in the arena. And so I've been studying and obsessing with what separates elite performers and elite leaders from the rest of the pack elite business owners and founders from the rest of the pack.

Paul (00:03:30) - And I have found that there are a couple of traits. One is highly, highly decisive and also when they make decisions, there is an incredible sense of comfort. With imperfect action. They don't need to focus as much on the outcomes. It's swinging the bat. It's focusing on the actions and the repetition and then learning, growing, evolving, iterating. Those are the things that as I unpack this journey of better decisions faster, and I've got a whole equation called the head heart, hands equation, we can totally go there if you want, but ultimately I have just been studying. How do some people crush it at decision making, and others are so paralyzed where they don't even make the decision a decision. They literally just stay on the sidelines and they never play this game of life that you and I are playing right now.

Josh (00:04:33) - Well, before we get on, continue this conversation and I have a lot to ask you. Yeah, it's. Would you mind just sharing a little bit more about your background? Because I think that that's incredibly relevant.

Josh (00:04:42) - You mentioned, you know, your experience of working with professional athletes and in that world, but that's, I think, incredibly relevant to what we're talking about today.

Paul (00:04:51) - 100%. And I'm approaching this conversation from the trenches. I know we're talking to a massive leadership and business ownership community and tribe of like minded, light hearted people. And I think that we all chase this thing of high performance and success and growth and achievement. And then we realize at a certain point of escalating and climbing ladders that there's a different game that we always seek, and that is happiness and fulfillment and purpose and impact and contribution. And for a lot of the leaders out there, it's the legacy that we're going to leave behind and how we're going to be remembered. But I know that all of this is true because when you are in the NFL and NBA and there is no shortage of a gifts, talents, passions, abilities, skills, you're literally talking the top 0.1% in the world at what they do. But yet there's inconsistent performance.

Paul (00:05:44) - And I realize that confidence and confidence gaps are the through line. And when you think about the top 0.1% not consistently showing up at their best, just like a CEO, are we showing up at our best every single day? A founder? Are we showing up at our best every single day? And when you're surrounded by that, you start to get immersed. You start to learn what not only separates the elite from the pack, but how they do it in the unseen hours. And that's where this concept of decisions and actions came up, because I believe that one of the most powerful decisions we can make is how we show up in the unseen hours. It's who we are when the doors are closed. It's what we do when nobody's watching. And we all know that that's a definition of leadership. But yet, if we were to audit ourselves, we're not always proud of the way that we show up. And so that's where I make it very behavioral. When I talk leadership, when I talk high performance, I ask people to think of the greatest leader that they've ever been around and what did they do? And I get it down to a behavioral level, and you start to hear things like listening and care and compassion, and they challenged and they walk the walk and they walk the talk and all of these things.

Paul (00:06:55) - And it's awareness in the NFL and NBA, it was always about awareness. Awareness of who I am, awareness of where I'm going. Awareness of why I want to go there. Awareness of who I'm going to do it for. What's my reason to be in this fight? And that's where this whole kind of purpose centered transformation for me as an NFL and executive turned now. Keynote speaker. When I'm inspiring audiences all over the world, I say, look, you can perform all you want, but if you truly want to sustain it and if you want to enjoy the ride, then purpose has to be a massive part of it. And the older that our companies and teams and organizations and cultures get, we have what we call mission drift. We drift away from that purpose. When you ask why some NFL players last for 20 years and they're kicking butt and taking names, and then others fizzle out in three years. The gap is purpose.

Josh (00:07:50) - You would mention something briefly there about kind of definition of leadership and, you know, being that leader and being intentional at all times.

Josh (00:07:58) - And I wonder, though, if that sometimes might create a little bit of a negative pressure. And I think most of your high performing leaders are going to very high standards for themselves. And I can speak for myself that sometimes I might have the temptation. I don't, not as much anymore. Like I feel like I'm at peace right with, you know, let's say, you know, you know, I ended up watching like, I have a TV show that I'm watching. And could I have been more productive during that time? Yeah. But you know what? Took several hours and, you know, downtime. And then I start to then judge myself if my is my eye off the prize of my, you know, my thinking, my off the ball kind of thing. And I don't know that that's not necessarily what you're saying. Right. It's can you talk more about that? You know, being in integrity at all times, what that looks like, what that means.

Paul (00:08:46) - Yeah. And this all ties back to confidence.

Paul (00:08:48) - So I'm going to land the plane exactly where you started it. And the formula I'll share this. And then I'll explain a process on. This is what I coach to professional athletes and CEOs and all of the high performers out there. But it's not just performance, it's performance with purpose. And here is the formula. Confidence equals values, times action. I'll repeat that. Confidence equals values times action. The multiplication is how consistently you do it. So show me a person that consistently acts on their values. I will show you a person with unshakable confidence. So when you asked, am I even keeled? Am I fully plugged in to what I'm doing? Am I burning myself out? All of the real challenges that are in the face, and the minds and the hearts of leaders every single day. It's not just taking action. It's action that is meaningful to you. Your values are the most important things in your life. They are who you are. They are your identity. They are your core.

Paul (00:09:51) - And you figure out your values by finding the themes, for better or worse, that have shown up in your life. Give me the highs, give me the lows. Give me the crisis. Give me the tragedy. Give me the ecstasy. Give me everything. And I unpack that. This is the work that I'm doing all the time with leaders. I'm helping them figure out who they are at their core. I'm helping them figure out what they stand for. And then I align who I am with what I stand for, with how I show up. And formulaic. It's confidence equals values, times action. And when you can consistently act on your values, you don't burn out because there's a purpose there. You don't get stuck or lost or fatigued because acting on your values is energizing. It's energizing. Right? You don't worry about what other people think or negative noise in the market, or you don't play small because it's a bad economy, because all that you're doing is taking action that's consistent with who you are at your core.

Paul (00:10:59) - And that's why I love this formula of confidence equals values, times action. And I'll leave you with this thought too when you're around so many confident people. You start to realize how they sustain it. In sports terms, the hard part is not winning a game or winning a season or winning a championship. It's repeating as a champion, it's staying there. And so what I have seen from the most confident people is they don't consider confidence a light switch where it's either on or off. It's a dimmer switch. They realize that every single day it can be a plus one plus two plus three. Something bad happens. You might go negative four, but it's not on to off. So they control their mindset and they step into every day with more confidence because they're saying, okay, I'm an 82. How do I scrap to get to an 85? How do I get to an 88? How do I get to an 89? How do I get to it? That's how dimmer switches work. And that's one of the psychology principles that we train to.

Paul (00:12:04) - A lot of elite athletes and CEOs is treat your confidence like a dimmer switch, not a light switch.

Josh (00:12:10) - I bet you're going to use another sports analogy here am I.

Paul (00:12:13) - Am I? I don't know. Yep.

Josh (00:12:16) - I'm talking to the right guy. But I'm curious about this desire for consensus versus I'm going to take action in this moment. And even if it feels like I'm taking a little bit, I'm acting maybe a little bit unilaterally or kind of just stepping up to like, listen, I'm going to make a decision for the team right here. Can you talk about that balance.

Paul (00:12:37) - 1%, 100%. And by the way, fun fact no sports analogy. You ready for this game?

Josh (00:12:43) - Bring it okay.

Paul (00:12:44) - All right I mentioned what I call the head hard hands equation earlier. And I think that this can really help unpack what you just said. So the equation is head plus heart equals hands. I'll define each h right now. Head is your mindset. Heart is your authenticity. And hands are the actions that you either take or don't take.

Paul (00:13:05) - So when deciding whether to take action because the equation is head plus heart equals hands. So there's two check points when deciding whether to take action head and heart. Head check in. Do I think it's a good idea? Hard check. And do I feel it's a good idea? And like a very familiar signal? Everybody listening to this as we're driving around every single day, we pull up to a traffic signal and it's one of three colors green, yellow, red. And that color signals exactly what you should do. And the head heart hands equation operates in the same way when your head and heart are on board, it is a green light to take action. When neither is on board. It's a red light. Either don't do it or stop doing it. Yellow light is when one of the two either head or heart is on board. So when you ask me, should a leader? Should an individual? Should a performer take action? It's only when it's a green light, because a long term life of reds where we're subconsciously running those, that's how we end up.

Paul (00:14:11) - Burned out, stuck. Lost. Fatigued. Unfulfilled. Unhappy. That's not running one red light. That means you've been running red lights for months or years. And you ask yourself, how did I get here? And that's the danger of red lights, yellows, where we solve for the gap. They're very different. Because here's one thing I know to be true about yellows. Josh is only one of the two. Your head or your heart is going to change over time. Your heart doesn't change day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. Your heart knows what it wants and what it is. It's up to us on whether we listen to our heart and we act on our heart but head, there's a lot of things we could do to overcome self limiting beliefs. Sometimes there's an executive coach, sometimes it's speaking to our partner, sometimes it's therapy, sometimes it is just taking those micro actions day to day to build our confidence, like a dimmer switch so that we can overcome some of those self-limiting beliefs.

Paul (00:15:07) - But regardless, there's ways to shift your mind, your head from a yellow to a green, but your heart's not going to change. So for all the leaders out there, when you're deciding your question was about taking consensus or doing something different, bottom line head and heart on board. Green light. Do it every time. Red light, no head, no heart. That's a slow, slow death. And that's a silent killer. Yellows when only your head is on board. Like a lot of CEOs out there, we're talking to your top performer. I've managed countless sales folks on Billion dollar NFL and campaign. So opening new venues, the whole thing. And you know what happens with a lot of top performers? They sell a lot of widgets and sometimes they're toxic in the locker room. They are toxic. That is a yellow light. And that yellow is more deadly than a red because they linger and you bleed out over time. At least a red, you snap your fingers. It's done a bad yellow where you keep the person because of their production, but they're bad for the people to their left and right.

Paul (00:16:09) - Um, that is deadly. So we need to act on those yellows before we bleed out. But the opposite yellow where only our heart is on board. That's an empowering one that my message is to stay in the fight when your heart is on board, and you just need to untangle some of the pollution from the neck up, that is a decision that you want to stay in the fight because your heart is going to stay green. Your hedges needs to join for the party.

Josh (00:16:38) - What you've been sharing, Paul, is from your book, new book. It's called Better Decisions Faster Unshakable confidence when you need it most. What is the transformation that you would hope that would take place? Again, I want to get this mans as many leaders as possible, but what would you imagine that transformation that would take place in the reader when they take action on the the content in this book?

Paul (00:17:02) - It's a lot of what I just unpacked from vision meeting action. And what I mean by that is when I describe what a green light, yellow light, and red light are.

Paul (00:17:13) - The obvious for everybody listening in is. Of course, I want a business and a life of more green lights where my head and heart are fully on board. Now that I'm aware, I'm going to stop running reds because I see the dangers in that. And this is the playbook for how to navigate the messy middle of yellow. Because I'm talking to every single leader and business professional out there listening in right now, 80% of your life is going to be yellow lights. It starts as a yellow. And then it's how we respond, how we react to those yellows. Are we staying in the fight when our heart is on board? Are we trying to work through our self limiting beliefs? Are we starting to step into the most critical forks in the road with greater clarity, confidence, conviction, and courage? Those are the types of transformations that we're going to need to navigate and conquer that messy middle of yellow. Because to me, greens and reds are solely about awareness. Once you're aware of what a green light is, of course you want more of it.

Paul (00:18:10) - Now that you're aware of a red, stop running them. And finally, finally, thanks to this head heart hands equation, we have a playbook and a scalable process for how we can make better decisions faster with unshakable confidence. Because here's what I know, Josh, about everybody listening in. And you and I are included in this statement. Here's what I know. The average adult makes 35,000 decisions in a day. Think about that. 35. And if you're the CEO, maybe you could do that. Okay. But we make countless decisions now. Of course a lot of them are on autopilot. Thank goodness you don't want to use the head heart hands equation 35,000 times, trust me. But then there's shameless plug for another sports analogy. In sports, we have MVP's most valuable players. The equation was built for your MVPs needs your most valuable decisions. So for everyone listening in, you think of these MVPs that you have. And if you were to audit your past, think about the most critical portfolio that represents your life, your career, your business, your family, your health, your relationships.

Paul (00:19:22) - And if you were to audit the decisions that you made in the past in those areas, it pretty much is the quality of life. Show me a person that. Has high quality decisions. I will show you a person with a high quality of life and then the opposite is also true. So really, Josh, when you skim out all of this stuff that we've been talking about, everybody wants a higher quality life. We just haven't had a consistent playbook on how to get there. And so for me, this was about stepping into those critical forks in the road and saying, I'm no longer tired of making decisions because now I have more clarity and confidence at those forks in the road. I'm no longer fatigued or overwhelmed. I no longer have the paralysis. On the flip side, I actually have peace of mind. I actually am winning time back because thanks to this equation, I can make massive decisions within seconds or minutes of landing on a green, yellow or red, green and red or instant yellow.

Paul (00:20:22) - At least now I'm aware that it's a yellow. And when you can lead an organization where you attack green, you stop running red and you have healthy conversations about yellow lights. That's a culture that I would bet on, and that's why I wrote the book.

Josh (00:20:37) - Paul, in addition to your book, Better Decisions Faster, you are also a podcaster. Your podcast is called Win Monday. So do our friends that's listening in their podcast app. Just do a quick search you'll find when Monday and then at your website. Paul Epstein speaks. I see that you also speak train consulting. Can you tell just a little bit more about that? Do you, by the way, do you have a hard stop at the very we're running up? Do you have a few more minutes after our slot or we need to get you out of here?

Paul (00:21:09) - I do have something I can buy a few minutes. Okay.

Josh (00:21:12) - Just a few minutes. Okay. Just. I just wanted to have you share, like the work that you do with organizations.

Paul (00:21:17) - Yeah, absolutely. So the work that I do with organizations is how do you create a culture where confidence is the competitive advantage? Because a lot of the problems that exist in business, I've got a recruiting problem, a retention problem, an engagement problem, a leadership problem, a culture problem, a morale problem. And if we zoom out, we've got economic problems, we've got industry problems, we've got all these other problems which are the symptoms. But the root cause is a confidence gap. Because here's what I know to be true. And here's what the research says. 85% of leaders lack confidence in their teams. 76% of people lack confidence in their leaders. And then 85% of people lack confidence in the mirror. Imagine what's possible when we can close those gaps where it's not such a bloody story to tell. And so when I come into organisations, I say, well, you know why you're losing people. They don't have confidence in staying here. Oh, you know why a lot of people are jumping ship.

Paul (00:22:22) - They don't have confidence in the direction of the industry or the marketplace. And so all of these things that we think are the problem, they're simply the symptoms, the root cause are confidence gaps. So whether I'm speaking, training or consulting, I come in to close confidence gaps.

Josh (00:22:42) - I love it. Paul Epstein, you are the founder of the Win Monday community. Your new book is called Better Decisions Faster Unshakable Confidence When you need it Most. And your website is Paul Epstein Speaks. Paul, it's been a great pleasure having you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Paul (00:22:58) - Appreciate you. Josh fired up.

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