The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Best-selling author, latest, A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback, (2014)

Motivational speaker for Ford,Walmart, Verizon

Named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by Toastmasters International

Host of Willie Jolley Wealthy Ways Radio Show on SiriusXM & WHUR-FM

Inducted into Speaker Hall of Fame

Award Winning Singer

Doctorate of Ministry from the California Graduate School of Theology

Masters degree in Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary

B.A. in Psychology  and Sociology from The American University

Married to Dee

Guest Bio

Willie Jolley: Turning Setbacks into Comebacks SETBACKS
After graduating from college, Willie had a great desire to inspire people so he decided to go to theological seminary. It was only after he graduated with a master’s degree in theology that he realized he did not feel called to preach. Instead, he pursued his other passion – entertaining. In 1989, he became a jingle singer and nightclub performer at the Newsroom Café in Washington D.C. After performing two shows to sold out audiences Willie received a call from the owner. Willie was devastated to learn the owner had decided to downsize to cut costs. A karaoke machine would replace his performances.  He says, “It was a setback…yet it was also the start of a marvelous comeback.”

Willie took a job at a junior college as a counselor. His job was to talk to students who were not doing well academically and convince them to stay in school. This is where Willie started learning about the power of motivation. He was then offered a job with the Washington, D.C. Public Schools as a drug prevention coordinator. Willie started speaking and found that people seemed to be inspired and motivated. He received invitations to speak at association meetings, churches, and ultimately major corporations. Willie used his public platform to pursue his mission of empowering and encouraging people to rise above their circumstances and maximize their God given potential.

Ford Motors called him in 2006 when they were on the brink of bankruptcy. Ford needed 25,000 employees to accept a buyout, but very few people were accepting the buyout. Willie was called upon to motivate the employees and move them to action. He went on a speaking tour to their factories and offices with a goal of converting 25,000 employees to take the buyout. By the end of his tour, 38,000 employees accepted the buyout. In 2009, Ford was the only one of the big three auto makers to reject a government bailout and go on to billion dollar profits.

Willie says everyone experiences setbacks. The key to long-term success is not talent or ability but the way you view and handle setbacks and adversity. When writing his latest book, Willie recalls how he was almost to the end of his first draft when his computer crashed. Although he wanted to panic Willie remained calm. After several attempts to recover the data Willie’s prayers were answered when he found an old disk that had almost his entire book. “We must learn to see adversity as strength developers and setbacks as comeback creatures,” shares Willie.

God sometimes uses challenging experiences to get our attention. After Willie got fired from his nightclub job he started working with the school system. He received a letter from the Gospel Music Association inviting him to perform at the Annual New Artist Showcase. Willie thought this could be his big break and maybe he would get a recording contract. “I walked into the ballroom that night with a serious attitude. I was cocky and arrogant,” recalls Willie. He says he went up on the stage to impress the audience, when he should have gone on stage to inspire the audience. As a singer, Willie was use to audiences giving him a standing ovation after his performances. This night they didn’t even clap. He was humiliated. Willie went back to his hotel and cried out to God, “What do you want?” The answer came back clear as a bell, “Inspire others!” Do not try to impress them, but rather inspire them. He felt the Lord tell he was going to speak to millions of people, write books, do television and TV. He also felt like God told him to go home and quit his job. The next day he walked into the office of his good paying government job and announced he was going to quit and become a full-time speaker. Some laughed and said he was a fool for leaving his job to follow a dream. In the few years since leaving that job, Willie has spoken to over a million people in America and abroad. He has a syndicated radio and television show. He has written bestselling books and appeared on the stage with some of the greatest speakers and entertainers in the world. Willie says it all started by failing…having a setback. “God got my attention and turned my life around by using a setback,” shares Willie.

“The minute you make a decision, take action, move toward your vision and do so with great desire, you will change your life. You will start turning your setbacks into comebacks,” shares Willie. His formula for turning setbacks into comebacks is called the VDAD formula: Vision (a big dream), Decision (a willingness to make tough decisions), Action (definitive action on the dream), and Desire (the commitment to keep going until you reach your goal). He says no matter what the setback you may face his formula combined with the steps below will help you make a comeback:

  • Success is a choice. When you have a setback, there are a couple of critical choices you must make. The first choice is your perspective, how you see the setbacks; the second is how you respond to the setback.
  • Attitude is a choice. It is a decision. Develop a positive attitude so you can think and act in a positive way.
  • Make a commitment. Refuse to stop until you achieve your goal.
  • Have faith. To turn your problems around, you must have faith, faith in a God who will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. If you are willing to look for it and learn from it.

Willie serves on the ministry team at his church in Glen Arden, Maryland. During a recent alter call Willie got in position to pray for a man who was at the altar. Another member of the ministry team indicated they would pray for him instead. At first, Willie admits he was offended and struggled with his attitude. What Willie didn’t know was that he had someone else for him to pray for …the next person who stepped up to the altar for prayer was a fourteen year old boy. Willie told the boy about Jesus and walked him through the prayer of salvation. Yet Willie knew this boy would need more…he realized this boy needed to be discipled. The boy and his mom were homeless and moved from place to place frequently. Willie wished he could help disciple this boy, but how could he? Then Willie and the boy discovered something only God could have orchestrated. The boy’s grandmother whom he stayed with on occasion lived 50 yards from Willie in his neighborhood. Willie would be able to help nurture this boy in his walk with the Lord.  “I am always amazed at what God does in my life, but not surprised,” shares Willie.

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