About Paul

From Hippo Attack Survivor to Philanthropist, Adventurer & CEO, Paul’s Story

Paul Templer is living proof that your life can change in an instant.
Paul Templer is living proof that your life can change in an instant… and when it does, if you want to… you get to choose what’s possible and what happens next. He was born in Africa, amidst war and strife. Wanderlust struck him to travel the globe; he served with distinction in the British Army; led extreme expeditions to some of the last uncharted places left on earth and by all accounts had a rip-roaring time. Eventually, he “settled down” to lead photographic safaris back in his native homeland.

That was until March 1996—when Paul was attacked by a rogue hippo while guiding a small group of tourists down the Zambezi River. Now THAT was a bad day at the office! The attack took the life of another guide who Paul was trying to save and cost Paul his left arm.

Immediately after the attack Paul clumsily navigated the dark dysfunctional space that seemed to stretch out ahead of him; his life had been, quite literally, ripped apart.

A master storyteller, Paul drip feeds his entertaining and inspiring step-by-step journey from his run in with the grumpy hippo to modifying a paddle and learning to kayak again with one arm, so that he could lead a historic three-month long expedition from the source of the Zambezi River to where she flows into the sea – a feat which had never been done before. Then he fell in love, got married, started a family, and learned how to change a diaper with one hand.

By 2011, Paul co-authored, Success Simplified, with Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In 2012, Paul’s book, What’s Left of Me detailed the “you’ve got to be kidding me” stories color his exotically dramatic life… including his fight with that rogue hippo, that cost him his arm as the precursor to winning his life. Paul’s story has been featured on the BBC, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel, where the attack and rescue have inspired millions.

Today, Paul’s successful consulting business, affords him the opportunity to learn from and work with some of the leading “doers and thinkers” in the world of optimal human performance.

His raison-d’être though is to support and empower families navigating disability through his 501(c)(3), the Templer Foundation.

Despite a grim diagnosis after losing his arm and livelihood, Paul simply refused to be sidelined.           


Paul is a member of the National Speaker's Association and the Global Speakers Federation
Paul’s experiences taught him that – Change Happens – and when it does, he gets to choose what’s possible and what happens next… provided he utilizes the lessons the hippo has taught him:  

  1. Stop! When you feel yourself getting stressed, stop what you’re doing and calm yourself down.
  2. Shut up! Stop talking… both your outside voice and the jabbering that’s going on inside your head.
  3. Show up! Ask yourself, “If I was to show up as the very best version of me right now… what would that look like?  How would I be?  What would I do?
  4. Just do the next right thing! The one’s simple.  You don’t have to – and probably couldn’t even if you wanted to – solve all your problems at once.  So just do the next right thing.  That “next right thing” that’ll move you one step closer to living the life of your dreams.

By employing his injury and recovery as visual metaphors, Paul encourages, empowers and inspires his audiences to stand up to challenges—regardless of the circumstances.

Paul invites you to embrace the mindset that “we are the sum of our choices.” We can all overcome adversity and manage unforeseen changes to create a life of achievement, happiness and success.