Dr. Willie Jolley

Dr. Willie Jolley, who is one of the “outstanding five speakers in the world,” speaks to local professionals about creating an “attitude of excellence” during an afternoon session at George Daily Auditorium. Jolley also spoke to students and an evening crowd.

OSKALOOSA — An endless slew of superlatives could describe Dr. Willey Jolley as he captivated, motivated, entertained, inspired and motivated members of the Oskaloosa business community.

Jolley, who speaks about creating an “attitude of excellence,” has been named one of the five outstanding speakers in the world by Toastmasters International.

Oskaloosa Comunity School District Board of Directors Member said he had been looking through some old newspapers recently.

“I came across a photo from a newspaper and it was a photo of Typhoon Hester on Freedom Hill, DaNang, Vietnam, Oct. 23, 1971,” he said. “Forty-eight years ago, I was on that hill that day, and the eye of the typhoon went right through our base camp overlooking the DaNang river. That day changed my life. And today, we have a typhoon with us. And I believe he is that powerful.”

Jolley bounded across the George Daily Auditorium stage enthusiastically and got the afternoon crowd –comprised mostly of business professionals – fired up and, as he said, “on a path toward a good year and a good decade.”

Sprinkled with relatable personal stories from his path to success as well as his setbacks, Jolley encouraged his audience to look within themselves and keep moving forward

Mentors and Mistakes

There are two ways to get to any goal, Jolley said: mentors and mistakes.

“Both will get you there,” he said. “One just gets you there with less headaches, heartaches and knots upside the head. Mentors are the shortcut to success. When you want to be successful, get a mentor.”


Jolley recounted an experience at an airport in Japan. He said the employees treated him like he was a VIP, and he noticed that all travelers were made to feel special in the same way as himself.

“I learned a valuable lesson that day,” he said. “When I get to do what I do, whether it’s five people, 50 people, 500 people or 5,000 people – and I would suggest when you get to do what you do – you should never see it as work. You should see it as service. Because service is the rent we pay for our space on this earth.”

Attitude of excellence

Jolley talked about the difference between attitude and aptitude.

“Is it attitude or is it aptitude that gets you success,” he said. “Well, both are important. But you’ve got to understand which one.”

For many years, Jolley said, he looked around, wanting success.

“So I went to seminars trying to find a key to unlock the padlock to success. Do you know what I found? Here’s what I found out: it’s a combination lock,” he said. “Not only must you know the digits, but they must be in the right sequence or it will not open. So it always starts with attitude. Mindset. Your thinking. And then you add aptitude. Your skillset, what you do.”

What happens when one works the other way around: with skillset and then mindset.

“What happens then? Well, we see that most profoundly in professional athletics. Every year on draft day, NBA, NFL, you get some young guy who is very talented, who signs a contract and becomes an instant millionaire,” he said. “Here’s the problem. Five years after retirement, over 70 percent of professional athletes are broke. Why? Because they worked on a skillset before they worked on a mindset.”

Jolley encouraged working on thinking before working on skills.

“They’re both important. So I want to encourage you to start working on your mindset,” he said. “How do you work on your mindset? It’s what you read, what you listen to, what you put in. Your input determines your output.”

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

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