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Louis Carr: The 8 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself So Your Goals Have Greater Impact

Louis Carr, BET Media President

Louis Carr, BET Media President

From The President Of Black Entertainment Television Media, Louis Carr

Published on August 18, 2020 by Don Yaeger.


Louis Carr is responsible for more advertising dollars targeting African-American consumers than any other professional or company in history, and he has put those dollars to good use— he has led an incredible 21 straight years of advertising revenue growth.

How did he do that? Competing against himself.

Louis learned this lesson running high school track in Chicago and used his goal-setting model as a four-year scholarship athlete on Drake University’s track team. He shared how those lessons from sports shaped his professional leadership in Episode 2 of Don Yaeger’s Corporate Competitor Podcast.

As a teenager, Louis scribbled out a series of numbers on a sticky note – he was dissecting his team’s 4×400 meter relay time.

We have a shot of breaking a national record, he thought.

It was 1973 and Boys’ High School in New York held the record — 3:20.1. Louis wrote 3:19.5 on a piece of paper and taped it to his locker. He looked at his goal every day.

When Louis started the conversation with his teammates at Lane Technical High School, they thought he was crazy. Then he had the conversation with his coach, who also thought Louis might be shooting for the impossible. Coach McCall said, “Louis, you guys are good, but that’s another level.”

They practiced with the cross-country team, leaned into weights, and as they got into the season, lo and behold, the time started coming down. At a local meet, they ran 3:21, and Louis will admit, he was playing around on the anchor leg. “That is the moment it sunk in,” he said, “We really have a shot at this.”

A few weeks later, Louis’ team faced the toughest competition in the city. Even four decades later, he recalls facing Philips High School’s Eddie Hatch— it’s funny how competition sharpens your memory of details.

“It was a packed-out stand,” Louis said, “That moment taught me the power of goal-setting, focus, and discipline. It taught me to believe in myself like nobody else.”

That day as the anchor leg, Louis crossed the finish line, looked up, and guess what he saw?

3:19.5 – what he wrote on that piece of paper.

Kevin Newell, Dennis Kern, Timothy Klien and Loouis Carr made up the national record breaking mile relay team.

Kevin Newell, Dennis Kern, Timothy Klien and Louis Carr made up the national record breaking mile relay team.

Today, Louis does not wear shorts so short, but he does use the same strategies leading his team at Black Entertainment Television. In his conversation with Don Yaeger he shared these 8 questions we can ask after we set our goals, to ensure they have great impact:

  1. How am I showing up that will motivate people, not only internally but externally?
  2. How am I helping my teammates grow?
  3. How am I helping others be greater as a person, have I made someone’s day recently?
  4. What am I doing for my local community, for the world?
  5. What am I doing to help the next round of leaders in this company?
  6. What am I doing for the next generation of aspiring leaders as a whole?
  7. Who coaches me? Who examines at me from the outside-in?
  8. What am I learning FROM the young people in my office (not just giving to them)?

I am going to guess you are not seeking to set a national relay record – but you are pursuing greatness. So it is time to believe in yourself…and set goals worthy of your chase!


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About Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, 11-time New York Times best-selling author, leadership expert and executive coach.

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