Willie Jolley
Motivational speaker and Authr

Willie Jolley

Award Winning Speaker and Singer, Best Selling Author and host of "The Willie Jolley Motivational Minute" daily on WUSA-Channel 9 and WHUR-FM and The Willie Jolley Show, weekends on XM Radio, Channel 169.


Jump -- and grow wings

Q: At some point in your life, you probably decided to take a leap of faith and go in a direction -- professionally or personally -- that others did not expect. Like quit Goldman Sachs to be a goat farmer. Or leave a company job for your own venture. Was the move a success? Did the new direction turn out the way you thought it would?

George Burns said, "I would rather fail at some thing I love than to succeed at something I hate." I can concur with this, and I can also say that it is doubly sweet when you find success with that which you love to do!

My story is so close to this message that I believe I could be the poster child for taking risks and leaving the secure for that which you love.

My story starts when I was working for the Washington D.C. public school system as a drug prevention coordinator and making a "good" salary. It was during this time that I started speaking to children about staying away from drugs and violence and making the commitment to pursue their dreams. The more I spoke, the more the message became part of my DNA, and the more I was moved to think about actually living my dreams.

I soon started getting more invitations to speak, and some days I would speak five times per day! And with each speech, I would get more inspired by the power and potential of living my dreams. Yet, I had this "good government job," and I had a wife and two children at home who were depending on me to bring home the bread and the bacon. Yet, the more I spoke, the more I realized the yearning to live my dreams, even though it seemed crazy to leave my good job to do so.

Over time, the scenario got even more complicated because I was getting invitations to speak for other school systems. This took me away from my job with the D.C. schools. While I was not getting much money from these speaking engagements, the response from the students and teachers was like adding gasoline to a simmering fire!

I wanted to reach more people and share my message with more audiences. Finally, faced with the decision to stay with my current job and current salary, or step out on faith and live my dreams, I stepped out! On May 31 1992, I gave my resignation and stepped out on faith.

Some of my co-workers laughed at me when I told them I was leaving to become a full-time speaker. A few took me to lunch, for they said I would need every free meal I could get! Yet, I believed in my dreams and stepped out on nothing but a dream and a great faith.

It has been written that sometimes you must "jump and grow wings on the way!" Eighteen years have passed since I left that job and jumped out on faith. In those 18 years I am grateful that I have found my passion ... a passion to empower and inspire people to live their dreams.

I am grateful that in those eighteen years I have spoken to millions of people around the world, and written numerous books that have become best sellers. I am grateful to be named "One of the Outstanding Five Speakers In The World" by Toastmasters International, and in 2005 I was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame.

By Willie Jolley  |  August 2, 2010; 9:53 PM ET  | Category:  Going for it Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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So inspiring! Thanks for your story!

Posted by: jebrown8 | August 4, 2010 3:29 PM
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I am the president of a local Toastmasters club in Northern Virginia, would you ever consider being a guest speaker at one of our meetings?
We couldn't pay you though.
If interested please email me at

Posted by: wacdesigns | August 4, 2010 11:50 AM
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