My Father’s Legacy Turns Out to Be My Purpose

2018 represented a year of authenticity, growth, belief, impact, and purpose – all values that are near and dear to my core and where I come from. The most fitting end to the year came from physically moving back home to Los Angeles, a place of roots, and a place that I can build a life and legacy to make those around me proud for who I am and what I represent.

My early memories of LA are largely sparked by the memory of my dad, who passed when I was 19. As an only child, this accelerated my growth to step in and immediately become a partner to my mom and continue his care for her. On his tombstone, it reads: “Beloved Husband of Stella, Father of Paul, Teacher and Friend to Many, An Inspiration to All”. My dad inspired me to be who I am today and I know he inspired countless others while serving as an educator in underprivileged communities of Los Angeles for over 30 years of his life. When I asked him why he did what he did, he said “because I can truly change lives, in some cases save lives.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I do now. He measured success, happiness, and fulfillment by the way he touched the lives of people – and left behind a legacy of impact. And now I’m inspired to carry that torch forward to spark impact throughout the city that I now call home again.

Los Angeles has been generous – from an education at USC, to a career in the professional sports industry starting at the Staples Center. Most importantly, the amazing people I’ve met along the way.

So what brings me back here?

In 2016, I found my greater purpose and started to live life through the lens of my values, making significant life decisions that aligned with these values. One value inspired a growth mindset to maximize my potential by returning to school to pursue an Executive MBA Degree at the Michigan Ross School of Business. Since beginning the program in 2017, my life has truly changed.

The culture, energy, camaraderie, stimulation, and challenge of my MBA program are all elements that I hadn’t felt in this form in quite some time. I knew that this was my tribe. The life-changing aspect of the program came from my coach. The gift and power of having a trusted partner to listen while helping me see and think differently in all areas of life is one that I can’t put a price tag on and will forever be grateful for.

These conversations led me to the illumination that I, like my dad, needed to begin to measure success by the way I touched the lives of people. No longer by industry, money or title. But by impact.

In 2018, after 12 years in the professional sports industry, this led me to my start with the BW Leadership Institute. I found my professional tribe. A tribe that viewed the world in a similar way that I did. One that believes in people, purpose, and performance – and that people and performance can live in harmony with one another. The journey thus far has been nothing less than spectacular, highlighted by partnerships with leaders at NFL teams, US Special Forces, a major airline, leading wine producer and tech teams in Silicon Valley. I have learned, challenged myself, and been challenged. Most importantly, I’ve made an impact. My 2019 goal is to continue this mission, with more confidence and clarity.

My vision is to create people-centric cultures sparked by inspirational leadership to drive organizational success and impact. Even greater, I want the way people are treated in their organizational cultures to be a lever that improves our community. This vision fuels me and allows me to live my greater purpose. It highlights my values, returns me home feeling inspired and fulfilled, and makes me eager to dive into each morning.

The cherry on top is doing this all in a city that I love, a city that I call home, and a city where my dad taught me what impact and success truly mean. The City of Angels.

As the Director of BWLI California, I welcome any connections and conversations with aligned individuals, leaders, and organizations. Feel free to email me directly at paul.epstein@bwli.com