Positive Thinker: Dr. Willie Jolley, Motivational Speaker, Radio Host, Author

The acclaimed inspirational speaker reveals his heroes, his favorite foods, and how riding his bike improves his spiritual well-being.

Posted in , Jul 19, 2022

Dr. Willie Jolley; photo courtesy Willie Jolley

The hardest thing you’ve ever done Eulogize my mother; my brother, who was my only sibling; and my father-in-law, who was my personal pastor and mentor, all within 30 days in 2003. My mom died on April 11, and my brother and father-in-law died on the same day, May 6. I had to funeralize and eulogize them all. Without question, the hardest thing I have had to do.

Best advice you’ve ever gotten Advice from my mother: “When you don’t know what to do and are a crossroad, pray for wisdom!” I have learned that she was absolutely right. Godly wisdom is the power you are blessed with to get the right answer as to what you should do when you do not know what to do.

Real-life hero Wow! I have so many real-life heroes that it is hard to pick just one person. My greatest hero is easy: He is a carpenter from Galilee who changed the world by his mission and message. His name is Jesus. Another hero would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who lived out the principles of Jesus, to turn the other cheek and to share the power of love even when he knew it could cost him his life. Few people are really willing turn the other cheek and love people who are hateful to them.

In terms of the living, I have been blessed for almost two decades to have some of the greatest people on the planet on my SiriusXM show. Coach Tony Dungy, Bill Marriott, CBS sportscaster James Brown, T. D. Jakes, Gladys Knight, Bishop Marvin Winans, John Maxwell, Les Brown, Pastor Wintley Phipps, Wally “Famous” Amos, radio host Delilah.

All my guests share intimate details of the struggles they had and the great obstacles they had to overcome in order to achieve their goals. If I had pick one living real-life hero, I would have to say Les Brown, because of his willingness to give to others without expecting anything in return. I have seen him give and give and give—and have been the recipient of his giving spirit, by all the times he has talked about me in his speeches.

Song at the top of your playlist “Because He Lives.” I love that song! It was the song I sang at The Crystal Cathedral the first time I spoke there because it always blesses me. Another is “Lord, You’re Holy,” by Christian Sonic at the Family Worship Center, which was sent to me by a prayer partner, and I listen to it daily and praise Him each and every time!

Favorite Bible verse Psalm 34. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth....”

Occupation you would pursue if not your current one No such thing! I am doing what I love to do and what I was made to do. I believe “when you live your making, you will make a living and make a difference!” I cannot imagine doing anything but what I am doing or have done in preparation for what I am doing.

One thing you do daily for your spiritual well-being Ride my bicycle! And one of my greatest joys is to ride to Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., and sit by the water and read my favorite Scriptures! Awesome!!!

One question you wish an interviewer would ask “What was your biggest mistake?” And the answer is not listening to my mother as a teenager and thinking I knew more than she knew. Big mistake!

Go-to place to pray As stated earlier, Rock Creek Park by the water.

Early riser or night owl? I used to be a night owl when I was in the entertainment business, but once I decided to pursue the goal of becoming a positive messenger via speaking, writing and media, I changed my life and started going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.

Favorite comfort food Asian food—Chinese, Japanese (sushi) and Thai.

One detail about you that people would find surprising Around the house, I am very quiet. People ask my son, “What is it like when you are at home with your dad? Your dad must be talking to you all the time, huh?” And his response is, “Nope! Around the house he is very quiet.” His mom is the big talker around the house!

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