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Play It Full, With Kapil Kulshreshtha

Playing it full means that we step out of the fear and into the limitless potential of our lives and careers. In this episode, Kapil Kulshreshtha, founder of Scintillate Coaching and TEDx speaker, discusses how mid-career professionals can step into a life of extraordinary wins. Kapil shares his journey from running multi-million dollar deals as a director for major corporations to creating unstoppable wins for his clients and quitting it all. With fans across sixteen countries, Kapil has found a way to help others find joy and purpose in their careers. Join us as we dive into Kapil's insights on how to play it full in your career and life.


Check out the full series of "Career Sessions, Career Lessons" podcasts here or visit A full written transcript of this episode is also available at


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Play It Full, With Kapil Kulshreshtha

Founder Of Scintillate Coaching And TEDx Speaker

In this episode, my guest is Kapil Kulshreshtha. As a game-changer coach, TEDx speaker, founder of Scintillate Coaching, and author of Play It Full, Kapil helps mid-career professionals step into a life of extraordinary wins. In his corporate life, Kapil ran multi-million dollar deals as a director for Cognizant, Microsoft, and other firms for over 22 years.

Following an epiphany, he quit it all to create a life of impact and a career of generating unstoppable wins for his clients. He runs a multimillion-dollar business and has fans across sixteen countries because of how he enables them to find joy and purpose in their careers. He was educated in India and now resides with his family in Sydney, Australia. Kapil, welcome. It's great to have you on the show.

Thank you so much, J.R. I'm excited to be here.

Let's start with your moment of epiphany. What led up to that moment and how did things suddenly fall into place for you then?

I hope that at this point in time, your audience does not start saying, "It's not worth listening to this guy because he had so many failures," but that's where it started. The whole thing about the corporate world when I was there, there were elements that I love, as everybody else, and the elements that I had to bear. The ratio of that was lopsided. The stuff that I did not enjoy was way too much.

There are some takeaways from my corporate life, but essentially, this question that I kept on asking me myself was, "Is this all there is to my corporate life? Is this my identity?" When I would go out and meet with some of the people that I don't know, the only thing I was the Director at Cognizant who's basically in this senior level role and managing this business. That became my identity. It's something that I used to be frightened and it started getting to me.

Eventually, it led to a point where I was fat, upset about every single part of my life, and my relationships were like, "Sure. Let's go and meet people and talk to them," but there was no depth in anything. I was pretending. Everything was wrong. I was still getting rewarded. I was still getting my money, my bonus, and everything. Ultimately, I had to do something. It's a journey after that, but I can get into specifics.

What you described is what a lot of people feel. It’s that sense of the good-to-bad ratio, not being what they want it to be, the over-identification of themselves being who they are professionally, and not the other things in their life. I hear that a lot from people that I talk to. I'm sure you hear it a lot from the people that you're working with now in your coaching practice too.

All the time. In fact, one very precise thing that I discovered about myself was that it's like this motivational thing that you hear which is, "If there's a fish climbing a tree, it's going to fail," and that is what I felt. I felt very out of place. I felt there was something inside me that was made of something bigger and better. I just didn't know what it was.

This feeling was growing for a very long time. The years that I spent in that space, especially in the last five years of my corporate journey where I got a whole lot of rewards. I got bonuses, was promoted, and found a $100 million deal at one of the large companies in Australia. Everything should have added to a very successful mindset of a successful person and somebody proud of himself. On the contrary, it basically became bad. I left my job, started this journey, failed a bit, and eventually brought it to seven-figure practice. It's quite a journey.

When you left your job, did you know that you wanted to get into helping people with their careers? Was there a discovery phase where you had to figure things out?

Thankfully, I knew what I wanted. I did have a coach. I worked with a coach to understand what is it that I could do, and I had some options. I found that all the options I had were thrown away because what we did was understood, "Why is it that I have success in the corporate world?" At 41, I was a director at Cognizant, which is pretty cool. In a $16-billion company, if you're a director, you're one of the founding members of this large company in Australia. These things add up, but then when I looked at it, it was that identity crisis about, "Is this all it's going to be?" There are a lot of stories around it as to how I turned it around, but I knew my direction fortunately.

I and my coach worked together to find out that there are two things that are on top of my list in terms of what got me all the success. My relationship with people as I would have a very large team with 600-plus people. People will go on a death march for me when I would ask them. I genuinely care. I had these words that I love and the connection in the corporate world, which was not a typical IT service language. The second thing is I am good with numbers. Those are the two things that got me success. That's the reason why we chose, "This is it. I'm going to make my life about adding the highest amount of value to people."

It sounds like you found something which gives you a great sense of purpose. What does it feel like for you now relative to being in your corporate roles felt like before? What are the big differences?

A lot of people are asking this question, "How does it feel like?" I don't want to say that people should quit their job if they love them. Ninety percent of my clients do not quit their job. For instance, people fall in love with what you do. Played it full across all aspects of your life. You can eat your cake and still have it. In corporate life, I was on top of my game 5% of the time, and 95% of the time, I was being dragged along with that persona that I had created. Here, it's the other way around. I'm on high energy most of the time. I don't have bad days, but I have bad moments. The challenge is not over.

I used to be a migraine patient for the last five years of my corporate journey. I had lost that massive promotion where I had put everything at stake. In the last six years, I've had zero migraines. Every single part of my life is in place. I'm healthier at 50. I just turned 50. I do not feel like 50. I don't believe in any part of me that I need to reverse this. I've got an amazing relationship with my partner. My girls are doing great. I completely love the world that I'm in. It keeps me alive all the time. This energy would not have been possible back then. All of these are because I knew what I want and where I wanted to go. That was the single biggest thing.

That is huge and it's not something that a lot of people ever discover for themselves, which is unfortunate. It's part of the reason why I started doing this to help people get to the better place that works for them, which is different for everybody. You made reference to playing it fully. Talk about the book and its overall message that you and your wife, Shilpa wrote.

The whole Play It Full philosophy was born because I do not think I played it full ever. One of my fare in life was that I will push my daughters to be the best, do this, and do that, and if they turned around and said, "Did you do it ever?" It would have been a bad thing. That's how the philosophy got evolved and that entire thing was the message. A few years back, we realized that we need to let it out to people, so we wrote this book. The core of this book is straightforward and it's just one simple thing, which is every single human being is born to be tall, healthy, and wealthy in mind, spirit, and body.

That's the whole thing. You can have it all. We don't have to balance it out. If you have a balance and you're sitting on a seesaw, it's very boring. It has to move up and down. People talk a lot about, "I want a work-life balance." They don't even know what it means. People say, "I want to retire at 45 and smoke pipes." Sometimes I wish they don't get what they're saying because it'll be very boring.

I'm reading this book called The Alchemist. It's a very famous book. I've got a pledge that in 52 weeks, I'll read 52 books. I make detailed notes about each of the books and publish them. That's what I've been doing. I'm a big reader. I finish 2 to 3 books a week, but this time it's very different because I'm making notes.

In this book, there is this story that Alchemist says. If you want to find this girl and get married and you'll probably do, but if you want to find the treasure, you won't do that. You'll marry her. In year one, you'll be very happy and become a councilman. People will love, appreciate, and support you. Everything will be great. In year two, you'll start thinking about the treasure that you were on a search for, but then you'll feel guilty about it, but it'll start showing in your behavior.

In year three, your wife will think there's something wrong. Your work will start to go down because you're too focused on the treasure and feel guilty about it. In year four, your work will go down. You'll have an argument with your wife. In year five, you will give up and surrender, and probably die. Something like that. People can replace the wife with something else. People can replace the treasure with something else. People can replace the number of years with something else and that's the story we all have been creating. I did it for 40 years of my life.

A lot of people hesitate to, "Play It Full." Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they play it safe or small. For a lot of people that work. They'll go through their whole lives and their threshold of what makes them happy and satisfied. It is maybe lower than yours or mine. I need to have a higher focus on achievement in my professional life. There are people like that as well. It's interesting how many people want to play it bigger than they're playing it but doesn't have the courage or conviction.

I agree with that. Somehow, we have this tendency to think, "I'm going to live forever," and it can always be corrected and done. We want to first build what others have done and then maybe look at it.

You talk a little bit in the book about the corporate bees and some of the prevailing myths that are set up. It's comparable to how you described your own situation in terms of you're living in this fog and all of a sudden, you realize that you're living in that fog. You get into what you described as a triangle of life, relationships, achievement, and health. Describe how that framework came to be. You've made reference to parts of it already in the conversation.

The way it came to be is that most of us and I know in my own life, I never exercised or went to the gym. I had a massive body shame. This part is not working out, but my career is working out. I'm taking care of my relationship. After being married for many years, you become best friends, but the lover part goes away. We start at the workplace because we're worried about the house and a little bit about our health, even if we are not doing anything about it. We also start playing it small. We look at them and say, "Maybe they're too exceptional. They're compromising on the remaining parts. I'm able to create a balance." That's how this whole thought came.

If I look at the triangle of life, the base is your physical health or energy level. How do you feel inside you? How joyful do you feel so that it comes out on the surface? It's the relationship with yourself. A lot of people that I talk to, especially people from India, tend to think that sacrifice is a massive value and that we should basically cut ourselves off and live for other people. There are a lot of other people also who are not from India who thinks like this, "I need to live for my family."

The point is that you cannot fill from an empty cup. You got to have a beautiful amazing relationship with yourself first, and then you have a relationship with your partner, your family, and then the world. People try to make it small. We can play a big help. The last part is work. It becomes 9:00 to 5:00 or a way to make money so that I can follow my passion. When I walk into an office, I want to keep my head high, be powerful, feel great, and have a sense of belongingness.

I'm not going to have good days every time. I'm not just going to make it but do well in achievement, sense of belongingness, or the amount of money I make. Everything can be made bigger. The triangle of life, instead of becoming small has to go up or bigger. If you focus on 1 or 2 aspects, it's going to be a pretty weird-looking triangle. You can have it all. That's the whole idea of a triangle of life.

That's what we do with our clients. When we work with people, they say, "Let's talk about career." We have had about 700 high-end clients. They are people from business analysts to C-Suite-level people. They could be VP at Microsoft or working for a big four or whatever. For every single person, it's always about who they are, not about what they do. Too many people are following what other people do. That's the game-changer. You have to focus on all aspects. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.

How do you help your clients do that?

We've been working on this and have worked with lots and lots of people. We have evolved this journey with us, which has a specific timeline of six weeks. We call it euphoria because that's how you feel. "I'm feeling euphoric. I'm loving my life." It's got three core principles. That's what they need to get from here to there. All the growth that people want is going to come from the transformational segment. If you divide the very famous Johari window, the first two segments are the arena and façade. They're like personal branding.

The segment which I don't know, but others know is a growth segment where teachers, trainers, and mentors come in. It's growth. The bottom segment is I don't know and you don't know that it’s a transformational segment. It's who you could become from that segment. That's one part of the journey. The second part is that you can have as big dreams as you want, but the chains that hold you back are big and deep. You do not know how deep they are.

The third premise is that change is not slow. Change is very fast. It's about the identity of who you are. People used to make fun of me, "If you put food in front of Kapil, he has to finish it off. Otherwise, the world will come to an end. He's a responsible guy so he eats it," but that same person has zero gym days and zero nutrition. I used to think I'm this big amazing guy who did it almost six years ago, but then I had times when I would beat it up. They achieved much more than I do.

When people work with us, they go through these four stages based on three principles. They go through the stage of resetting first. You have to reset and take a look at what is holding you back. They then take a look at how can they rediscover, redefine, and relaunch themselves. That is the six weeks journey that people take with us. That's what 95% of the people that we work with do. In the end, they arrive with clarity about what they want to do. They have the courage, confidence, and certainty that they'll be successful.

You do things in the six-week first that you're describing. How do you help your clients do the last step in your book? I'm skipping ahead because the last step in the book is about sustaining growth. How do you work with them in keeping the trajectory that you help them achieve in the six-week period?

CSCL 50 | Play It Full

There are two things to it. One is that the only way to make a permanent change in life is to shift your identity. That guy who kept on jumping into the holes in the ground and failing is me. How is it that I became a good coach or a Scintillate coach? It's because I changed my identity completely. A person who is never a father or a mother, when they have a baby, then they become the parent. They can have nephews, nieces, cats, and dogs, but being a father or a mother is an identity shift. That creates one level of permanency. What happens then? The habits become an automated thing. From the book, we have come a long way, but your habits should not be forced on you. It has to be automated for you. That's one thing.

Second, we also have a mastermind which is for a year. People are able to participate and partner with us. We have ways in which we keep that energy level high and help them navigate some of the things. Once people have the transformation, we get them into the growth segment where we act as mentors and help them continue to live that way.

At the end of the day, everybody has to find their own path. Just saying, "I transformed," is not sufficient. You got to act and be like that. Once that happens, it's a lot simpler than it sounds. I can never gain weight ever in my life now. The gym has become a part of my life. I can make somebody who wants to quit drinking and smoking in one and a half years sessions never smoke and drink again because their identity will become attached to that new. Once we let go, we take these chains off.

That notion of breaking habits, creating new habits, and making the new habits part of your identity, James Clear talked about that in his book. That's part of the popularity of that book. When you think about it that way, it's so straightforward. It's hard to do and practice.

If a book could know the answers to all the questions, everybody who reads a book will be a superstar. That's not what we see around us. A mountain of wealth is hiding under the level of inaction. It's the implementers who get the day. That's what it's about.

Going back to the beginning of the process, you talked about the importance of self-awareness. How do you help your clients build that self-awareness, whether it's in the framework of the Johari window or whatever you use?

When people work with us, 95% of them get into this six-week journey. All of the weeks are about self-awareness because it's a transformation from within. You find the chains that hold you back first. A few weeks back, I was listening to David Goggins. He shared his journey and wrote the first book. He said, "At the end of the first book, you start to make me feel as if I'm some human with a cape like Superman and all of it. I wanted to break that perspective and let them see that I'm very human. I go to a dark place every time I talk about these things.”

His biggest thing is his mom. He said, "When my mom got over that very bad abusive marriage, she became a dean of a university and vice counselor of the university. She did very well for herself. In the first book, my mom said no to the interview and said that she was not going to talk about it. In the second book, she talks about it. She's a different woman at this stage. I know you're clapping for her but you don't understand. For 40 years, she stayed stuck there."

The whole idea is that we all have pain in us and gained experiences. I used to be a developer. When you write a piece of code, you are automatically writing a defect as well. You don't know it. That's why defects are there. That's why you cannot have defect-free software. The only way to have defect-free software is to not write a piece of code. As we are writing this code of life, we cannot help but have books. We will write some things. We'll start believing them so much that somebody will come and show us a mirror and we'll look right past it. That's why we stay stuck because we never look in the mirror.

Self-awareness is not about meditation, motivation, or reading a book. It's about the journey within. You're being very brutally honest with yourself and taking massive action about it. We can see people in their three-week period smiling and stress goes away. We've seen it hundreds of times and it's amazing to see what happens when you let go.

Self-awareness is not about meditation, motivation, or reading a book. It's about the journey within. Click To Tweet

 Do you put people through your program in cohorts or do you do it as individuals?

My business coach keeps telling me, "You guys are crazy. You should not do this," but we do this. It's a cohort with one-to-one, content, and homework. It's everything that you can think about. We give an infinite amount of time during this journey to our clients. A lot of shift happens in those conversations. I could make a simple stupid statement and that person goes, "What did you say?" They start talking to other people and expressing themselves. Suddenly, there's one person who makes one point somewhere, and boom.

I want to give you an amazing example of what happened that made me say, "This is what happens to all of us." We were coming from one city to another city in India. We had a small taxi because we couldn't get a big one. It had lots of luggage. My wife was next to me. It's only the two of us and there is luggage everywhere. She was sleeping and her leg was poking my backside but I didn't want to wake her up. I tolerated it and after a while, I forgot about it. She's sleeping for about an hour past and I wouldn't even notice the pain because I become numb to it. She then moved and that part became free. Suddenly, I felt free and the weight went down.

A lot of us have this tightness around our chest. That tightness is an indication that you need to let go of something. You're walking into offices with that tightness. We're talking to our boss, partners, and our family with that tightness. We're going gym with that tightness. We're constantly comparing ourselves with other people. That tightness is not outside, it's inside. When you find it and let it go, it's just magical.

I've gone through that myself where I'm shifting from one situation into another. All of a sudden, you feel this massive weight come off your back or your shoulders. It affects the look on your face, and how you walk and bearing. Back to your point about needing the mirror in front of yourself, it's pretty amazing when you get that feedback that people see it even when you maybe weren't seeing it. They see the difference between having that tightness and not having that tightness.

In fact, in my book, I did not mention that I was fired from Microsoft for performance reasons. I didn't get fired because of politics. That's what people said. "They wanted somebody else." It was because of performance. I couldn't put it. In 2020, I was in a session with fired people in a different group. I thought I need to share it and put it out there, and nobody judged me.

I'm very active on LinkedIn and have tons of followers, and I put it on social media. Nobody judged me. When we carry this burden in our head that the world is judging us, the world is not judging us. People are not judgmental. People are good. Maybe 5% of the time, somebody will try to do something with us, but we judge ourselves for the remaining 95%. The world is a great place.

Maybe 5% of the time, somebody will try to do something with us, but we judge ourselves for the remaining 95%. The world is a great place. Click To Tweet

It's rare for a person who hasn't had some setback in their career, whether it's getting laid off, getting let go for performance reasons, or whatever the case may be. The first thing with people is to say, "There's no shame in what happened to you. It happens to pretty much everybody. You reset yourself and you move on." For people going through that first time, it goes back a little bit to your point about identity. All of a sudden, their identity has been ripped from them. Whether they're worried about the financial consequences of not having work, even if it's not a near-term issue for them, they still feel that the incredible sense of loss and shame is unnecessary in the scheme of things.

I have gone through it. You have gone through it. All of us have gone through it. Only at that epiphany or when you cross the bridge that you realize that you didn't have to spend time like this. I didn't have to have so much stress in my life.

How do you get your clients to see the future? You've gone through a period of self-awareness. How do you get them to crystallize what's going to work for them?

There are two things that have to happen. You must not have any chains. That's the first initial journey. Number two is they have to build a different relationship with themselves. They have to put themselves at the center of the universe. When you put yourself in the center of the universe, there's a concern that it means, “I will become very selfish.” You remove concern because if I'm the center of my universe, you are the center of your universe. I got to respect that fully. You do that. That's the second part.

The third part is that what we do is to help people understand their inner circle, which is what we call inner circle or values. "What does this mean that I'm the center of the universe? What is core to me as a human being or a person, not as a professional?" Once you do that, you don't have the chains. You found your inner circle. It's a lot easier to get there.

A good analogy would be a rocket. Most people are trying to get off the earth. You need a half feet booster. That's required for space, but in the beginning, you need to have five of those 4x4 meter thrusters and a huge tank and go up against the friction. Once you're there, that's when it becomes easy. It becomes very easy once you've let go, got a building block in place, and found an inner circle. Your eyes open up saying, "This is what I'm going to do." You have to date dump it.

You have to understand why. You have to take small actions to make sure that it's not just an emotional mission but something that you love. I have this rule of three, if it exhilarates you, that's the thing. If it exasperates you then it might be the thing because you sometimes get angry about things that are not correct. That might be a thing. If exhaust you, it's not your thing because things that you love cannot exhaust you. It can make you angry. If it exhilarates you, go do it. Do it without money. Keep going. Do not stop.

If it exhausts you, it's not your thing because things that you love cannot exhaust you. If it exhilarates you, go do it. Click To Tweet

One of the key things in the book that you talk about is taking focused massive actions. It's the essence of playing at full. You've got somebody at this point who's got that self-awareness, figure out what's core to them, and the inner circle as you described it. How do you then get them to think about being big and bold and not just being incremental?

That's what happens in the last week of the journey. It's what I call courage week. It's a great thing to think of a big idea, "I'm going to do this." How do you become consistent with something that you think you believe you are? It's through habits. What are the habits that you put in place across this entire journey and what has stuck to you? Instead of following other people's perspectives of “You have to do this,” build your own. That's one.

The second is starting to operate from the core of who you are. That's your values and your strengths. What you are actually. Third, above everything is setting up standards that you have to read and standards that are very natural to you. Once people start doing that and seeing small successes, then it becomes an automatic thing for them.

Throughout the journey, people will build their success very gradually and ultimately, be in a place where it's easy, permanent, and not going to change. One of the things that Tony Robbins keeps talking about, and this is the very core of what we also help people get, is that language has the power to create a reality.

CSCL 50 | Play It Full

Play It Full: Language has the power to create a reality.


In a desert in California, there are pillars and empty spaces. Pillars are 20 centimeters wide and empty space is about 20 meters. Where do most of the accidents happen? It's on the pillar. The cars hit the pillar. The property is 20x20,000, which is ridiculous. What are the chances of it going to happen? I'm looking at the pillar and seeing nothing but the pillar. I go and crash into it. That's what we do with our language. If we focus on something, it will become real for us. I failed so many times. I ended up using negative language for myself and fall flat. I quickly got up because I know this was me focusing on the wrong path. That is the magic of the universe.

You talked a little bit about the types of people that you're helping in your coaching practice. With the pandemic, remote working, hybrid working, recession, inflation, and all the things that are going on in the world of business right now, are you sensing a change in terms of the kinds of things that people are wrestling with now relative to maybe pre-pandemic?

Pandemic created the opportunity for people to get what they wanted, the work-life balance. That was a huge shift. It also created a lot of opportunities like the Great Resignation drive which happened pretty much in the entire world. People started getting more money. They're getting more money but then they're like, "It still doesn't do anything for me." More people started looking within themselves, "What could I do?"

I've seen the shift, but there's another perspective to this. I learned this and I don't know how accurate it is, but I learned this from a client of mine who was handling a very large portfolio in the financial services industry. He said, "In a good economy, there are $37 trillion rotating every day." In a bad economy, people like me who are financially illiterate would think that it'll go down to $20 trillion. What he said was that the economy goes down by $1 trillion. I was shocked. There is still demand. People are still eating and buying food.

Another friend of mine from Darwin, Australia told me that the freight during the pandemic increased. At the time of recession, everybody is trying to be small, "I should not get up, otherwise my neck will be chopped." What people need to do is to get aggressive then. Tap into the hidden reservoir inside them, take the center stage, go out, and help their organizations. If they focus on the fear of "I might get fired," then they will manifest the reality.

If my organization is going through something, if I understand it, maybe all I need to do is to help them out with the process. I need to be playing my A-game now. They will always get noticed. I was sent to Australia immediately after the recession. It was a big company. If a company can do that, at a time of recession, send two people to a country and try to build a business there. The company wasn't a global giant back then, but it grew in Australia. When a company can do it, individuals can't do it. In times of recession, instead of taking small steps, rise up, and take more responsibility. That could be a massive game-changer. They have to believe in themselves and that they have a lot to contribute.

It's a mindset shift. I've seen it. It has worked in companies that have gone through periods of downsizing. A lot of people do play it safe. They play it to not be at the bottom of the pecking order but they stop playing to win. Pretty soon, that becomes a culture of the place. They're playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win. There's a big difference between those two.

Talk a little bit about your own journey. You mentioned two strengths that carried you through. It's the ability to build relationships and have people walk through walls for you and your strength with numbers. Are there other things that have been strengths for you? What are the areas you've had to work on developing?

Development has been going on forever. I never quite fit into the corporate world. I have a twin brother and he doesn't look like me at all. My twin brother is from the top institute in the country and I went to second-tier decent colleges. When I was growing up, there was always this healthy tension. I would always get inspired by him and do stuff. That's one of the reasons why I could study at a decent engineering college because he studied and I could see him.

There was always this thing in my mind that there's only one star in the universe, which is my brother and I can never cross him. I don't want to cross him, but it was not a conscious thought. I discovered that part that there could be multiple A places. That was one of my massive learning journeys of myself. The second thing was I was always very high energy. It was all over the place. Channeling down was something that took some of the greatest leaders that I worked with.

Another thing that was great about my career was that I have always had great managers, including a guy who fired me. He's an MD of a large company in India. I interviewed him for one of the summits that I was doing. At the end of it, we both took off our t-shirts. He's a year older. I told him, "If you had given me all this information and all the things that you shared now, back in 2005 when you had to fire me, you wouldn't have to fire me." He said, "If I had not fired, you wouldn't be here." He knew he had to do that. I was messing it up.

I've had great managers. One of our best became my best mate, mentor for life, and friend for life. He stays in Melbourne. His name is Madhu. If there is anybody who works at Cognizant, they probably know that guy. He is amazing. He became that guide or torch who made me see who I was. He made me see that I'm very creative and client-focused and that the clients love me. He made me see that I'm made of a lot of love and contribution.

My twin brother is all patent guy, ten-pointer, and all that stuff compared to us. I failed so much and fell down so many times. When I look at all of those, there was a lesson I kept on getting about my life. There was always a zeal to move forward. There's always a contribution of my very core. That's the biggest learning about myself. Things will go wrong around me, but I would look at ways to contribute, though not always. I have a lot of frailties as well. Sometimes I'll mourn, but that's my raw base emotion. How can I leave something a bit better than I found it? That's the biggest driver I've got.

That is a good value to hold dear. You're a big reader and you mentioned that earlier. You've done a lot of courses and seminars over the years. You've mentioned a few books, but what books have been your biggest influences?

One is by Mr. David Goggins. He showed that the impossible is possible for normal people, which was a big eye-opener. One of my favorite books is The Magic of Thinking Big. It opened up pathways for me that I did not know possible. Also, on my top list is Vishen Lakhiani's The Code of Extraordinary Mind, which is an amazing book. I'm a big fan of Russell Brunson. I love everything that he writes. I love Brené Brown. She changed my perspective on things. Also, the Mel Robbins book, The 5 Second Rule was a huge thing because I struggled with anger issues. The guilt that comes after that is worse. The 5 Second Rule was amazing. It changed things for me and also, a book called The Pivot.

There are lots of biographies and neuroscience about how the brain works. The very first book that I reviewed is The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. I'm very big on LinkedIn, so I'm putting these summaries there. You can share the profile so people can take a look at all the content and stuff that I've done. This book is giving me a lot. Every person should read The Untethered Soul. It's an exceptionally well-done book.

CSCL 50 | Play It Full

What leaders do you admire?

A lot of people may not like it. I saw an interview a long time ago with the Dalai Lama. Somebody asked him, "Do you get angry?" The Dalai Lama gives out huge laugh. He takes a deep breath in and let it out and said, "I get so angry." It was a big shocker and I realized that he can get angry with the intake of a breath and let it out without pain. That's my inspiration. That's the one person I adore and love. For other people, the richest man on earth. I'm amazed by him. A lot of people hate him and all of it, but he's so much driven by the massively transformative purpose and I love it.

There's Peter Diamandis who is an X-Prize guy. He's so amazing. Everything he writes and the way he's bringing things together are brilliant. I am in love with Tony Robbins. A lot of people will not call him a leader. He's the best coach in the whole world, but I love him. I love Russell Brunson. These people are not industry leaders. I follow more of these people who are changing the world one thought at a time and the entrepreneurs of today. My mornings, after my me-time, are filled with stuff from them. It's remarkable.

In your gym time, what else do you do that helps you recharge your battery and keep you energized?

One of the things that I do is get up early in the morning and have some me-time. That's not something that I started way back. It's a shameful thing for a coach to say that I have many standards, and this is one of them. I lost the way out and said, "No, I'm comfortable. I get up at 8:00 AM," but one Saturday I was like, "No, I've got to get up at 5:00." The only way I'll get up at that time is if it's not forced. I started getting up at 5:00 AM and that has become a core part of my life. It happened all of a sudden. The first three hours are only for me.

I do walk, run, do meditation, do yoga, eat healthily, and listen to a book. At the end of it, I would take notes. The first three and a half hours of my time in the morning, there should be no disturbances. In the beginning, I thought it would create guilt because I'm attached to my wife in a massive way. It was like, if we are not spending time with each other, there should be guilt. Funnily enough, it did not lead to guilt. It led to a better relationship with her. That's one of the best things I'm doing right now. I have to see what it creates more of, but other than that, one of the other things that I learned not too far back is being present.

My high energy will always translate to just do and do. I took the help of a coach. He helped me get into the being and it's amazing because that means that where I am becoming the most important thing for me in life. That is so fulfilling. People can tell you to follow A habit, B habit, or C habit, but everything that you do has to be effortless for you to stay. I'm super excited about the things I'm doing right now and how it comes out.

People can tell you to follow A habit, B habit, or C habit, but everything that you do has to be effortless for you to stay. Click To Tweet

In the beginning, when I said I'm going to write about one book a week, I thought I'll do two because I could easily read three. My best has been six books in a week. I thought I could do it. It was a vanity metric done. That's how I announced it, "It'll be cool for my LinkedIn." When I started doing it, in the second book, my mind started opening up. Suddenly, you would think you've got it but seconds later, you forgot what you are writing so you'd go back.

One book will take me normally 4 1/2 to 5 hours because I listen to it fast, but now it would take me the full 8 to 9 hours because I have to listen to it again. I'm glad that I said one book a week because I would totally fail. Suddenly, book listening is no longer about the vanity that, "I have read 600 books." It's what matters. It's such a huge thing. I would encourage everybody to take notes and read books. If it doesn't change anything, don't do anything. If you take notes, it opens up something inside you very differently. These are some of the things I'm excited about and I have to see how it turns out.

You read very differently when you do it that way. I read on an eReader. Usually, it's my phone. I highlight and it's a bit harder. It sounds like you're mostly listening to books and taking notes while you're listening. A lot of my reading is on the train to and for work. Highlighting is at least one way of paying a bit more attention to it, but it takes a lot more time to read a book that way than to read it, and you do internalize it a lot more deeply.

I'm not good at reading words. If I read words, I would sleep. It's my solid weakness. Audible works magically for me. There are some books that you can't listen to. For instance, the book Power Vs. Force. You got to read this book. You got to read it multiple times to understand it. I've read it 4 or 3 times. A lot of it goes way above my head. The day I understand the whole book, I would've become a different person.

What career lessons would you want people to take away or things you wish you had known when you were younger?

CSCL 50 | Play It Full

Play It Full: Decide what success means, commit to that success in whichever way, and take massive immediate action.


People are trying to have big goals, big ideas, or big thinking. A lot of it is success from other people's perspectives. If they can change one thing, define success for themselves, and not stop there because that will give a massive dopamine hit. Decide what success mean. The second step is to commit to that success in whichever way. Commit by having a coach and starting something like communication or conversation. The next is to take massive immediate action. All of us will have issues. We have to find them and let go or we have to find out where we're going to go, our own definition of success, what holds us back and remove it, and take an action to start moving it. That would be the thing.

I can contribute to your audience as well through two things. I'm happy to share the audio copy of my book, as well as the training that I especially created for podcasts. This is about how you gain psychological confidence and how you arrive there. It's not situational confidence, but more within you or inside you. Those are the two trainings that I would love to give to your audience.

That would be great. I will happily take that and all this comes together. Thank you for doing this. I'm glad we were finally able to make it happen. There are lots of wisdom shared. I appreciate it.

Thank you so much for letting me not be unchained and be unbridled in all of it with all my excitement. I'm glad to be here. Thank you for making time for me. I appreciate it.


It was great having Kapil on the show to discuss his own career journey, his moment of epiphany, and his work as an executive coach. If you're ready to take control of your career, visit, and if you'd like more regular insights, become a PathWise member. Basic membership is free. You can also sign up on the website for the Pathways newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks. Have a great.


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About Kapil Kulshreshtha

CSCL 50 | Play It FullKapil Kulshreshtha is a Game Changer Coach, TEDx Speaker, founder of Scintillate Coaching and author of “Play it Full." He helps mid-career professionals step into a life of extraordinary wins.

In his corporate life, Kapil ran multi-million dollar projects as a director for Cognizant, Microsoft and other firms for 22 years. And then, following an epiphany, he quit it all to create a life of impact and a career of generating unstoppable wins for his clients. Running a multi-million dollar business, Kapil has fans across 16 countries, because of how he enables them to find joy and purpose in their careers.

Kapil was educated in India and now resides with his family in Sydney, Australia.

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