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Jolly to Motivate: The Willie Jolley Story

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2017 | 11:17 AMKimberly Goodall
Jolley shares smiles and hugs with president and CEO of Sagicor Group, Richard Byles (right), at Sagicor’s Blast Off.
Willie Jolley is excited to inspire and motivate the employees of Sagicor Group.

Willie Jolley has the natural ability to inspire. His warm smile, influential voice and genuine persona welcome you to his world of turning setbacks into comebacks. Knowing it all too well, the humorous motivational speaker, author and entertainer is all about motivating others to live their best lives and use their disappointments as a chance for future growth.


Growing up in Washington, DC, Jolley struggled with his desire for music and ministry, contemplating which career he should pursue. Later, he followed his dream and became an award-winning jazz singer who found great pleasure in performing at a nightclub. Little did he know that his unbelievable talent was going to be replaced by a karaoke machine.

After many struggles, Jolley took a job with the Washington public school system as a drug prevention coordinator, which required him to give speeches to children about staying away from drugs. In doing this, Jolley found his true desire and realised that he was born to inspire and effect change.

"I desire to inspire people. I want people to live their best lives, I want them to do all they were born to do, all that God made them to be, and to succeed at the highest level. I believe you should live full and die empty. Live life so marvellously that even the undertaker is sad to see us go," Jolley expressed.


Jolley went on to share that like the Good Samaritan spoken of in the Bible, who was not a minister in the 'regular sense' but ministered, he sees himself as same.

"I see myself as somebody who is not ordained, or a pastor, but ministers to people and encourages them that whatever they are going through that they can get through it. A setback is a setup for a comeback, and that they can turn their setbacks into comebacks and 'greenbacks'," he continued.

When asked how he manages disappointments, Jolley was proud to share that on his tough days and in moments of disappointments, he takes a nap and wake up the next morning, ready to be back in the fight. He then shows his phone screen that has a picture of Muhammad Ali that reminds him to get back in the fight every day.

In addition to his talent to speak and motivate, Jolley holds a Doctorate of Ministry degree in Faith Driven Achievement from the California Graduate School of Theology, a master's degree in theology from Wesley Theological seminary, and a bachelor's in psychology and sociology from The American University. He is also known for his several international bestselling books, including It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks, An Attitude of Excellence, and his latest, Make Love, Make Money, Make it Last: 10 Steps For Shaping A Great Marriage that he wrote with his wife, Dee.

"Life is a fight for territory. When you stop fighting for what you want, what you don't want automatically takes over. So, if you're going to live your dreams you got to know that life is a fight for territory."