Hustle Unlimited

Hosted ByDonald Thompson

Donald Thompson, serial entrepreneur, mentor, and diversity-in-the-workplace trailblazer, chose Earfluence to amplify his influence for more speaking opportunities, business development initiatives, and networking with established leaders.

How to Crush 2020: Setting Your Goals and Making Them Happen

Today is part one of our 5-part series, How to Crush 2020.

For you, did you get the results you wanted in 2019? If you did, how do you get more?  If you didn’t, what happened? How do you make it better?

On this series, we’re sharing things that have worked in amazing way and things that have been fantastic failures.

Part one, Goal Setting.
Hustle Unlimited features Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and hustler himself, Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provided by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Hustle Unlimited is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, visit @EarfluenceMedia on any social media platform.

Donald Thompson: So the backdrop for today is we’re going into a new year and it’s a time for reflection.

It’s a time where people are thinking about the new year. They’re thinking about what happened this past year. Did they get the results that they wanted? And if they did, how did they get more? And if they didn’t like, well, what happened. How can I make it better? And what we want to do is share some of the things I’ve seen over now 25 plus years in business, working with hundreds, if not thousands of different companies and people, things that have worked in amazing way and things that have been fantastic failures.

I mean, total fucking train wrecks, right? And how to keep people out of the train wrecks and a little bit closer to their own personal success.

We also do need to make a disclaimer like everything that I say are the thoughts of Donald A. Thompson Jr. They are not the thoughts of Walk West.

They’re not the thoughts of any of the other companies I’m affiliated with. These are exclusively my thoughts. Occasionally I may drop a few words that we’ll decide to bleep out or not, but I won’t do it cause I like to cuss but sometimes for emphasis, right.

With that , I think we can just jump in and get started.

Jason Gillikin: Welcome to the Hustle Unlimited Podcast. I’m Jason Gillikin CEO at Earfluence, and I’ll be your host today as my guest is your usual host, CEO at Walk West Donald Thompson. Today’s episode is goal setting for 2020 and we’re all looking to set goals because 2019 may have been great, may not have been great, but we need to set some goals for 2020.

Don. What’s going on?

Donald Thompson: A lot of everything, man, I’m telling you, life’s amazing. and I couldn’t be more excited.

Jason Gillikin: So our listeners are thinking about 2019 and setting goals for 2020. Why are setting goals important?

Donald Thompson: Do you want to get what you want or do you want to talk about getting? If you knew that writing down your goals, that 40% of the people that write down their goals actually achieve them.

So therefore, if you don’t write down your goals, you’ve lowered your chance of achieving them. So then why wouldn’t you slow down and write them down? There’s another metric that 80% of people that achieve their goals write down their goals and have an accountability relationship with a mentor or a trusted friend that they share their progress with.

So now let’s just take that very simple thing and think about athletes, high octane leaders in business, musicians, people that are singers, they all have coaches. They all have somebody that they’re accountable to so that they can practice in an expert way. So that somebody is monitoring their progress.

So that excellence is something that they’re always chasing versus status quo. And so in terms of goal setting for 2020 let’s, everything today we’re going to talk about are things that are pretty basic but highly impactful that you can do tomorrow if you choose to. And those are the things that always motivated me when I would hear from somebody that was teaching or mentoring me or coaching me was something that I could easily understand, that I could implement the next day, and that would significantly increase my odds of being better. And that got me really excited. And so step one is a blank sheet of paper and writing down the things that you want personally and professionally, so that then you can build out a game plan from there.

And then here’s the thing, when we write things down and then tell other people about them, it raises our commitment. Again, another simple construct.

Nobody wants to be embarrassed. Everybody wants recognition, applause, accolades. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. So that means if you’re serious about something and you write down, and then you tell your key friends that I’m going to lose 20 pounds. If you’re a good friend of mine and then you see me six months later and I’m eating a second cheesecake, you’re going to remind me as a friend, whether it’s ribbing or coaching or whatever, like, Hey, Don, my man.

You had said like, January, where are you going to lose 20 pounds? How exactly does that align with the second piece of cheesecake. And so, you know, you create that accountability in that function, in a friendly way, but a powerful way so that you can meet those goals.

Jason Gillikin: I had a salad for lunch. So do the goals need to be specific,  or  can they be vague?

What I mean is, what if we say. I want to hire five new employees for 2020. That’s a very specific goal. Another way of saying it is I want to grow the team in 2020.

Donald Thompson: The more specific you can be, the tighter your game plan can be that aligns with how to actually get those goals.

One of the challenges that people have, and it’s a great question, is fuzzy goals because when you don’t know what you want, you’ll say yes to anything. Because I know what I’m trying to achieve at Walk West, because I understand what I’m trying to achieve in the companies within my portfolio, companies that I’ve invested in or that I’m on the board with, I know when somebody calls me that’s outside of helping those companies, I can easily say, no thank you. Because right now I’m not making an investments in a highly technical IT centric companies.  Because there’s no interrelation to them. So, because I know my goals, I know what to say no to.

I play competitive racquetball, have fun doing that. And you know, I win some. And this last weekend I took some lumps. I did not do great at the last tournament I was at. But why? Well, I got fatigued in the third set, which is a tiebreaker. Now the other player played better than me.

They should have won, all good. Nothing but respect for the guy that beat me. I’m super, it’s all good. My personal accountability leaving that court is how much better could I have played if I wasn’t tired in the moments that counted? So that means this morning I had to get up and I had to run two miles.

For me, that’s a lot and I’m still tonight going to play my normal racquetball training. So I’m going to have to for the next 30 days, going into the next tournament, up my commitment level to be in shape so that I can play at a high level every moment that I’m out there. I have to take personal accountability.

I have to change my behavior, and because my goal is to be in the top 10 or the top 15, I have to change certain behaviors to make that so, and it’s nobody’s responsibility but my own. So back to your question, the specificity of what you want will allow you to build a game plan that allows directly what you want.

There is a construct that’s out there called SMART goals and it’s very simple. You’ve probably heard it before, but not done it. The goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, results based. And time-bound. And when you have those SMART goals in place, it’s going to raise your ability to actually hit and achieve those goals.

Jason Gillikin: So when you’re going through the year and looking at these goals, how often are you adjusting them? How often are you looking back? You know, once you start to evaluate that.

Donald Thompson: So one of the things with things that I’m highly intense about, is you want to look at and read your goals every day. You want to sear them into your psyche of what you’re trying to do and accomplish. And the reasons you want to look at them every day, quite frankly, is because some days are better than others. Some days you got to go to work and chase your goals. You just had a fight with your wife, your partner, some days chasing your goals, and you had a tough day at work.

You didn’t make a sale you were supposed to make a business deal, didn’t go through, just whatever. And so a lot of times it’s easy to stay focused when things are going well. It’s harder to stay focused when you’re dealing with the ups and downs of life that we all are pushing through. And that’s one of the big reasons people don’t achieve their goals is simple things push them off track. And they lose sight of what they committed to, you know, on January 1st and all that good stuff. And everybody’s super excited about the new year.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. My wife hired a business coach in 2019 and her advice was to put goals on the mirror, so write it down on the mirror in the bathroom. Every single day she physically reads those goals, and it gives her that North Star to focus on.

Donald Thompson: The absolute clarity and accountability is important. And the other thing that I would say is you’ve got to share those goals with trusted friends. And here’s what I mean by trusted friends. Everybody’s that’s on Facebook is not your friend. So pushing out goals to 500 people, a thousand people or whatever. That’s not really what I mean. It’s people that are totally 1000% cheering for you, but also will help you stay accountable. And that should be that close circle of friends or mentors or different things. And that will help you along that goal.

My thing is,I have a handful of people that have mentored me over the years that are still very active in my life. And so each year I’ll tell them what I’m going to do. And I talked to them about what I’m going to do because I never want to let these people down.

And so it creates a certain amount of positive pressure, but I don’t tell people I’m not sure that are for me. I don’t talk to naysayers about my goals and my dreams and my vision. That’s intensely personal.  I don’t want to open myself up to the feedback of the mediocre.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. I don’t know if I wanna share this, but what are your goals for 2020?

Donald Thompson: I’ll share a couple, but not go into a lot of detail only for the same reason that I described, but one is I need to lose about 25 pounds, to really get to the next level in some of the athletic things that I’m trying to do. And so that’s one of my hardcore goals. The second goal, and this is super, I’m super excited about this,  there’s a certification I want to get, which is a certified diversity executive, which is a pretty intense program for executives that want to get very serious about diversity and inclusion.

And so I’m going to a class in Indianapolis. I’ve got this 500 page workbook I’ve got to go through. I’ve got a project I’ve got to complete. And so one of my big goals for 2020 is getting that CDE certification, because in two years, I’ll tell you another goal is I don’t see myself running a company in two years.

Still certainly want to be involved in Walk West, different things, but I’m grooming leaders that I can outgrow this job. That people can grow into what I’m doing day to day. But two years from now when I turn 50 is what I want to spend time doing more teaching and training and mentoring. And so the chief diversity executive is one of the certifications that I’m going to need to further that goal.

So one is personal and it’s physical. Second one is more career oriented. that is not just the next year goal, but really I’ve got, I’m 48 now, so by the time I’m 50, I want to be doing more speaking and different things like that. And then the third thing, I’m on my second marriage, second and final marriage.

And so I want that to work and be amazing. And so my goal is to be an amazing husband in 2020, and Jackie has a list of things I need to do to achieve that. So I’ll, I’ll keep that personal, but she does have the list. And it doesn’t matter if I fully agree with that list or not. She is the keeper of that list.

But those are three things, both personal and business that I’m looking at that I would, that I would share with everybody right here.

Jason Gillikin: So as people are looking for their goals, looking at their goals in 2020, are there any books that you can recommend that will help them achieve those goals?

Donald Thompson: So there’s a lot of different books on goal setting and different things that people can do. But, there’s one called The One Thing, and it’s by Keller The One Thing. One of the challenges with goal achievement is people are trying to do too many things at a high level. And when you’re looking at building your goals and you’re looking at achieving something that is meaningful, it’s going to take a certain area of focus. And this is where multitasking, this is where being over-scheduled, this is where being overstressed about all these different things you’re trying to do and accomplish, keep you from doing any one or two things at a level of excellence.

And so this book is very good about a time blocking concept that I think of. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, if you are a single mom, if you are a couple with four kids, if you’ve just got a busy life. How do you continue to make progress with being a great husband, father, partner, all that good stuff, raising your kids, but also making time to chase something new?

And you’ve got to be really intentional about the time you spend on that one thing, and this book talks about the power of concentration. It talks about the power of eliminating distractions, setting goals, and attaining those goals by creating a group of people that can support you in those versus a group of people that are pulling you down and creating negative energy.

If you think about the energy required to win in the business marketplace, and then you think about the drain that it takes when you have the negative association with people that are not for you in order to achieve goals at a high level, you also gotta think about people you need to spend more time with and people need to spend less time with.

Because one of the detractors of high goal achievement is loser friends, is people that have no ambition. People that you’re hanging out because it’s socially normal that you should. You go to the same church, your kids go to the same school, the same neighborhood or whatever, but like they’re always negative about everything.

But you hang around them because it’s the polite thing to do. No, it’s not. The thing about listening to me in any way is like I have a handful of key friends, a lot of associates, but I have a responsibility to the people that I love and care for to win in the marketplace.

And that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy having fun. I don’t enjoy going to the game and different things and hanging out at the bar or whatever that people do. But I work first and then I can play at a higher level. I work hard so that when I do take off, I can do it at a cooler level. I’m very restrictive about who I spend quality time with, who I share my goals and dreams with, and I’m looking to hang out with more winners. I’m looking to hang out with people that stretch me, that are doing things that are amazing, whether it’s in academia, whether it is in healthcare, whether it’s in the legal profession, whether it’s entrepreneurs. It doesn’t really matter. I just respect people that are dream chasers. And that’s who I spend the most time with.

And that then fuels my dream by cheering for their success, by being a part of their support system, if you will.

The other thing is when you’re setting goals, you should have some that are absolutely doable.

So if you stick to the plan, you can hit the goal. But you also need to have some stretch goals. You don’t really know what you’re capable of unless your goals are big or a  little bit bigger than you can see, and that’s why your association with dreamers is really important because they’re going to agree with you that you can do more than you’ve done in the past.

A lot of times people that know you really well only see you by things you haven’t done verus seeing you through the eyes and the lens of what you can become, and those are very, very different feelings when you’re working with people. One of the challenges that I have as a business leader, and I had to augment this a little bit, is I see excellence in everyone and I have this crazy notion that people want to operate in an excellent way.

And so I teach and coach and work with people in that fashion. That’s not true. Some people just want to do their gig, get their money, go home, go hang out on the weekends. And it’s all good cause that’s their goal. Because their goal is not to be an amazing employee, own their own business, get promoted.

Their goal is to work, do good enough, get off work and go build cars. Their goal is to go to work, do a good job, go to the mountains every weekend. So you have to make sure that when you’re running a company that you’re hiring people that have goal alignment with you, and it won’t be everybody in the building. But that’s your core people want to chase and take that hill with you. That part of what they want to do for their family is to do something that is so productive that it creates enough financial value, that they can have more choices in their life. And so they’re willing to create some personal sacrifice, some sleepless nights because they know that the outcome is going to be worth it for their family.

And so you’ve got to know where people’s goals are so that you can help them and support them. And as I’ve learned to set goals and achieve them, one of the things that people will always ask me is what if I’ve not been good at sticking to goals before? I set them, I get momentum, and then I’m kinda easy to get off track.

That’s a common problem that, that we all have. It’s kind of the gym membership paradigm, right? Gym memberships sell two to three times capacity in the gym from January to February. But then the gyms are never full, come April. Right. They literally, it’s in their plan to sell three times as many memberships as they actually have space because they know that people are going to put that on the automated debit card or check draft or whatever and life’s going to hit and they’re not going to show up.

And for us, in terms of keeping that positive progress to your goals, it is number one, write them down. And number two, it’s gotta be something that’s emotional to you. It can’t just be money. And this is really important. For most of us, it can’t just be money. It’s not for me. Some people are like, Don you’re money motivated, and sometimes I’ll even say I’m motivated by the money or whatever.

It’s just not true. I’m motivated by the choices that income and money and financial success can do. I’m motivated by being able to write a check for my daughter’s college tuition. My daughters’ college tuition. I’m motivated by being able to pay cash for any kind of car that I want so that I have enough money that I can drive a nice vehicle, but I’m not owned by anybody. Most people that I’ve worked with or that work for me have bigger houses and nicer cars than I do. That’s not my goal anymore. My goal is choice. That I don’t have to work today if I don’t want to. That’s my choice.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve got a 10,000 square foot house and company card membership. The financial choices that I’ve made and what I wanted to do with the money that I earned afforded me choices so that I can create opportunities for my kids, my loved ones, and that’s awesome to me that I can write a $25,000 check whenever I want.

If I see a small business that’s starting or an entrepreneur or something like that, I have that choice. I don’t have to do it, but I can if I want to. And for me that was such a powerful thing in terms of motivation. So you have to tie your goals to what emotionally motivates you. To me, it’s having  the choice that if my granny needs a new roof, I can write a check and make sure my granny has a new roof.

For me, money is to take care of people that I love.

For you, who’s listening to this podcast, you have to write down goals and then you have to attach those goals to the emotional element of achieving those goals. This is super important. Who do you want to be proud of you?

And so we’re able to get off course of our goals when they’re just linked to a financial objective or kind of a recognition objective.

I want to be a vice president. We’re more likely to meet those goals when it’s tied to something we want to do for our kids. For our spouse. For a mom or dad. For a grandmother, for a nonprofit organization that you give to, but you’d like to give tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of $50 a month if you could.

It is a goal for me to be financially able so that I can enable other people. Now I’m talking about my goals a little bit on this podcast, not because my goals are so important to you that’s listening. It’s so that you will link what you want to things that are emotional to you so that when adversity hits you, the adversity cannot be bigger than the dream you have.

This is the reason why people quit. This is why people don’t persevere, this is why people don’t make it. Because adversity that hits them is bigger than the dreams and goals they have. If the dreams and goals are bigger, then the adversity is just something to work through. If you allow the adversity be bigger than it will overtake you, and that becomes the dominant focus in your life.

My dreams, by and large, have been bigger than the diversity that’s hit me. And everybody goes through valleys in their life. Everybody. Everybody hits times in their personal life that aren’t going great. Everybody hits time going on when their marriage is not great, when their kids aren’t perfect, where everybody you love is not as healthy as you’d like.

Where a job situation doesn’t work out the way that you want, and it is in those valleys that determine winner or loser. And we talk about goals. Ultimately, winners get what they want. Losers whine about what winners have. This is just what’s up. Nobody’s making you listen to this. But winners talk different. And winners look at adversity as something that they’re going to overcome and it’s not going to get in the way of what they’re meant and destined to have. Losers listen to people that doubt their goals and dreams.

One of the biggest things is occurring right now in terms of goal setting for 2020 and everybody knows this run to election cycle. 2016 this is pretty cool. 2016 I think Walk West was maybe about a million dollars in revenue. And I remember in 2016 during the election and talking with Brian Onorio, our founder and Brian was the CEO at the time.

He since spun out and he’s running a company called Proposa that is an amazing and a great technology, and he’s doing some phenomenal work. but Brian and I were talking, we’re talking about the election, and I said, we gotta turn this noise off. And both of us like to talk about politics and different things because none of it matters to whether or not Walk West grows.

None of it. What matters is what we do,thepeople, we hire the clients we serve, the growth that we deserve, and 2020s coming again, and a lot of people are going to get distracted thinking that any of these politicians give a shit about them. And it’s going to screw you up with your own personal momentum because you’re going to get into Facebook debates with people.

You’re going to be over-meming stuff. You’re going to be getting in holiday rifts with your family. You’re going to be getting mad about this thing you see on TV or not. Trump did this or not, and and lo and behold, five to 10 hours a week of your time’s going to be wrapped up in some nonsense that you can’t even control.

When you could be putting out five or 10 hours a week in chasing your dream. Cause that’s what I’m doing. 2016 to now Walk West is seven times bigger than it was in 2016

I’m not interested in things I can’t control. Am I going to vote? Absolutely. Am I a Republican? No. Am I Democrat? No, I’m just not for this dude we got. Cause I don’t think he good people. That’s it. So I hope I get some kind of better alternative. That’s my only political statement on that. But do not let this 2020 election get you all hyped up for people that don’t care.

It’s like reality TV shows like the Real Housewives, same. It’s not better than that. It’s this is same. And we’re a reality TV country and we got a reality TV president. That’s what we did. Trump didn’t do nothing to us. We did that. We created an environment where that was important, but what it’s doing is keeping people off the goal for them and their family.

And so where are you are four years from now in 2024, don’t let this election cycle steal your dream because you’re out there, rah, rah, rahing at rallies for people that don’t give two shits about you making it. And that’s just real talk from DT. Don’t care if you don’t like it, cause you know what? It don’t matter if you agree with it.

It don’t matter if you appreciate it, check with me in four years and I’m going to be better off than I was right now. And that’s just what’s up. Because goal achievement is about knowing what to listen to and what to tune out of. And just because everybody in the media is talking about something don’t mean it should matter to you.

Because you still got a mortgage to pay, kids to feed, college tuition coming up. You better get focused on what you and your family need. Cause them other people, man, that’s all jaw jackin. They ain’t doing nothing to really help the everyday person get what they want. It’s a total facade. Total hypocrisy.

That’s my political moment.

Jason Gillikin: It’s still about goals.

Donald Thompson: It’s still about goals. We’re talking about goals, right? Yeah. Cause I’m on the topic.

Jason Gillikin: I think it’s really good because it’s the, don’t get distracted.

Donald Thompson: Don’t get distracted.

Jason Gillikin: All right, let’s wrap this up. So, that was goal setting for 2020 with Donald Thompson. Where can people go to find more information about you Donald?

Donald Thompson: LinkedIn and are two great places. And I’m super excited about interacting with more folks. And a lot of the email lately has been different podcast questions.

People want to answer different themes and I’m really excited about that, right? Cause we’re building a community that’s small now, but growing of folks that really just want to get together to grow together. Right, and that’s really all we’re trying to do.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, of course. Well, thanks for listening everybody and for more information on Walk West, you can go to as well, but definitely go to  and

If you liked this podcast, give us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on Earfluence, go to Thanks for listening everybody, and we’ll see you next time on Hustle Unlimited.

Full Transcript