Cracking the code to success, wealth, and health with Dr. Jolley

The mind-money connection

Success is not one-size-fits-all—but your success starts with your mindset.

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Brian Ford (00:05):

Welcome to "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian," a podcast to help you crush your money goals and boost your mindset along the way. I'm Brian Ford and I've made a career out of helping people achieve financial wellness. As always, I'm joined by Bright Dickson, my go-to gal for all things positive psychology.

Bright Dickson (00:24):

Aw, thanks, Brian. Today is a special day because we're also joined by special guest Dr. Willie Jolley. Dr. Jolley is the bestselling author, speaker, singer, and host of the "Wealthy Ways" SiriusXM show and podcast. Welcome to the show, Doc.

Dr. Willie Jolley (00:39):

Hey, thank you Bright and Brian for inviting me to be a part of this incredible podcast. I'm so excited to be with you. And as I always start on my SiriusXM show or on my daily radio show on Radio One stations, people around the country and around the world know me for this: I have only just a minute. Only 60 seconds in it. It's forced upon me. I can't refuse it. I didn't seek it. I didn't choose it, but it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it. Give account if I abuse it. Oh, it's just a tiny little minute, but our eternities are wrapped up in it. So I'm thankful and grateful for this minute, this moment, this opportunity to be on with Bright and Brian with the Money and Mindset podcast. And I'm so grateful to be a friend of this incredible company called Truist. Hey, when you start with care, you build a different kind of bank. Am I right about it? Somebody! Thank y'all for having me.

Brian Ford (01:37):

Hey. Holy smokes, Dr. Jolley. I don't know if I can stay seated after that. I'm pretty amped up. I love it.

Dr. Willie Jolley (01:46):

Thank you.

Brian Ford (01:47):

Thank you for being on our show. You've interviewed some really notable people about their journey to success. I mean, good folks like General Colin Powell, Damon John from "Shark Tank," just to name a few. So I am looking forward to this discussion. Bright, what about you?

Bright Dickson (02:01):

Yeah, me too Brian. Dr. Jolley, I'm so interested in hearing from you about what you've learned about how mindset and values can influence your journey with money and your journey in your life too. I'm so excited.

Dr. Willie Jolley (02:14):

Well, I'm really looking forward to sharing all that with you and your listeners. This is going to be a great time together, so let's get it on.

Brian Ford (02:24):

Hey, right on. Hey, before we get into it though, we are inviting all of our listeners to submit a question or an episode idea. So email us at Send us a note there. We'd love to hear your ideas. OK, Bright, Dr. Jolley, you ready to rock and roll?

Bright Dickson (02:44):

Let's do it.

Dr. Willie Jolley (02:45):

Let's rock and roll. You got it.

Brian Ford (02:54):

All right, Dr. Jolley. So as we mentioned in the intro, you've interviewed so many wonderful people to discover their journey to success, whether it's in business or with money or personally. With all these interviews and experience, what are the most important elements of success?

Dr. Willie Jolley (03:10):

Oh, that's a great, great question. First of all, I have interviewed some of the best and the brightest, whether it is a General Colin Powell or Damon John or Les Brown, or either Gladys Knight or John Maxwell, I've had so many great, great people. And one of the things that they all talk about, the consistent item that is important and critical for success is mindset. And so that's why I want to applaud you all for having this money and mindset, because mindset is the key. Look, I say it often in my speeches, if you took somebody and said, well, I'm looking for the secret, the key to open the padlock to success. And for many years I was that person. I was searching, going to seminars, reading books, trying to find that key, that single key that would unlock the padlock to big success.

Dr. Willie Jolley (04:05):

Here's what I found out. It's not a padlock. It's not a single key. It's a combination lock. And the combination lock always starts with one digit, or, you know, a combination, you'll start with one and then you go to the right two times and you go to the left three times and go back to the right one time. Well, the combination for success always starts with mindset, your attitude, your thinking. And once you get that first, then you're on your way to success. Now, what happens though, some people say, oh, well, I don't really need to focus on my mindset. I can work on my skillset first. I might be a, let's give an example is a professional athlete. I can shoot the ball. I can run the ball. I can hit the ball. I can run fast. I'll focus first on my skillset and I'll get the mindset later.

Dr. Willie Jolley (04:56):

Well, let's look at what happens then if you focus on skillset before mindset. We know that on every draft day in the National Football League or National Basketball League, someone is going to be drafted in the first round. They're going to become instant millionaires. And I always applaud them. I stand up and I shout because these young athletic folks have become millionaires. Here's the problem. Statistics show that five years after retirement, over 70% of professional athletes are broke. Why is that? Because they focused on their skillset before they focused on their mindset. Mindset is always first. Scripture even teaches us that wisdom is the primary thing. Thinking is the primary thing. So that is the key, most important element of all success is your mindset.

Bright Dickson (05:49):

Dr. Jolley. I love that. And I particularly love that analogy of the combination lock. I've kind of never thought about it like that before, but I love that. And Dr. Jolley, as you're saying that, it makes me think, it's sort of one thing to keep a positive mindset when things are going good, and it's another thing to keep that mindset when you're up against a challenge or an obstacle or a bad time. So, Dr. Jolley, when you talk to folks, how can we use that positivity, that positive mindset to really help us overcome the setbacks that we're probably inevitably going to face?

Dr. Willie Jolley (06:24):

Absolutely. Well most people who know me, know I wrote a book that became a global bestseller called "A Setback Is a Setup for a Comeback." Many of the preachers, Joel Osteen and Bishop T.D. Jakes and so many others have used it. And many people think they wrote the book, but I wrote the book, and for many years I was on tour with Les Brown and Damon John and so many other great speakers with part of the Get Motivated Tour, primarily because we were in the midst of setbacks in our society, setbacks in our environment. Well, the same is true today. In business or life, you're going to have setbacks, but a setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback, but it depends on your attitude. It depends on your mindset, your possibility thinking, and on your positive perspective. Many people will not know me or the fact that I was a singer before I became a speaker.

Dr. Willie Jolley (07:22):

I was a nightclub singer. I was a jingle singer. Sang jingles for Pizza Hut, making it great and things like that. And I sang at nightclubs. One night I went in the nightclub, the club owner said, we've made a change. We love your band. We love your entertainment, but we found something cheaper that's going around the country that's filling up nightclubs. We bought a karaoke machine. I said, but what about my bills? And I learned that night that no one cares about your bills but you and the people you owe. I was devastated. How am I going to make this work? I got a family. I didn't know what to do, but somebody blessed me, Bright and Brian, with a gift. They gave me a motivational cassette tape. Y'all might be old enough to remember cassette tapes. And on that cassette tape—

Brian Ford (08:07):

Oh yeah.

Dr. Willie Jolley (08:09):

—Was a guy named Charlie Tremendous Jones, one of the great iconic early motivational speakers in the motivation industry. And Charlie Jones had a famous speech or famous quote that said, "In five years, you'll be the same person you are today except for two things: the people you meet who inspire you and the books you read that empower you." And I started reading positive motivational books. I started going to seminars and meeting people like Anita Cobain and other great speakers and possibility thinkers. And as a result of that, I took a job with the Washington, D.C., public school system, looking for an opportunity that had never presented itself before. Well, as part of my job as a drug and violence prevention coordinator for the Washington, D.C., public school system, I had to start giving little speeches to kids about staying away from drugs and staying away from violence. It was during that time I discovered the opportunity that I had an ability to communicate with young people with words.

Dr. Willie Jolley (09:14):

And because I had been an entertainer, I could captivate them and keep them engaged with my entertainment. And before long it exploded. I soon had to quit my job, go on to start giving speeches in front of the little kids. The teachers would say, Hey, can you come to my teacher's group? Someone in the teacher's group would say, can you come to my church? Someone in the church would say, can you come to my company? And things started happening. Then Les Brown, the great motivational speaker, heard me speak. He said he was looking for an opening act for his Music and Motivation tour. And I was unique because I could speak and sing. And he said, we needed an opening act who could do both. That allowed me to be on tour with Les brown, Billy Preston, the great organist, Gladys Knight, and a number of others.

Dr. Willie Jolley (09:57):

Because of Les and Gladys, they introduced me to radio people. I got a little radio show. It got popular, got syndicated. And then it led to SiriusXM where I now have the number one self-help show in the country. And then to Radio One where I have my daily syndicated feature, "Wake Up and Win With Dr. Willie Jolley." That led to a book publisher calling one day and saying, "I've been listening to you on the radio. I like your ideas. Have you ever thought about writing a book?" I said, no, I never thought about it. He said, let me make you an offer. I said, I just thought about it. When my first book came out, called "It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life," became a national bestseller. Then, "A Setback Is a Setup for a Comeback" came out, became a global bestseller. Then, "Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks," global bestseller and "Attitude of Excellence," bestseller.

Dr. Willie Jolley (10:44):

And now my new book, "Make Love, Make Money, Make It Last," my marriage book that I wrote with my wife, is a popular bestselling marriage book. And then in 1999, I was called by Toastmasters International. They said you've just been named one of the outstanding five speakers in the world for this year. I said, what? Former winners include Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher. I said, what? I said, you sure you got the right person? My name is Willie Jolley. Willie Jolley from Washington, D.C.? I said, yeah, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Willie Jolley (11:14):

They said the one who wrote the book "A Setback Is a Setup for a Comeback"? I said, yeah. They said, you're the one. And I said, but you must be mistaken. Those are big dogs. I'm a little dog. I speak to school kids and the churches. I even speak at people's family reunions. And they said something I'll never forget. They said, let me tell you something. Little dog keep yapping loud enough and strong enough, big dogs start to hear about you. Moral of the story is that if you have a positive attitude and you have a setback, you can turn that setback into an incredible comeback.

Brian Ford (11:44):

I like that, Dr. Jolley. It's fascinating how what you talk about has worked in your own life, which is pretty neat. I mean, look, I never thought karaoke could be a setback, but you know man, now I know different.

Brian Ford (12:00):

I like when karaoke put you out of business, and then you said, you know what? You said, I know that my attitude matters. I know that my mindset matters, but you did more than that. It's more than just putting on a happy face when things are going rough, although that does help. But you said, all right. It's about the people I know. It's about networking. And it's about the knowledge that I have in my head. So if in a couple years from now, I know a few more people and if I know some more stuff, good stuff, good things will happen. I like that.

Brian Ford (12:32):

Well, I like where this is going. So, we've covered a little bit about the ingredients for success and the importance of mindset. We've talked about how that's all well and good, but when setbacks hit us, we need to almost double down on that. Well, look. In our next segment, we're going to chat with Dr. Jolley about why values really matter to living the life you want. Stay with us.

Brian Ford (12:52):

All right, Dr. Jolley. So, when I teach people about personal finance, I often say that a big part of being happy with money is identifying your values or what matters most to you in life, and then planning your finances around what you value. So Dr. Jolley, how can living according to our values help us live a more fulfilled life?

Dr. Willie Jolley (13:21):

I believe that your life is determined by your values. Your values will determine your actions, your actions will determine your habits, and your habits will determine your destiny, but it starts with your thinking and your values. Your values are how you govern your life. What are you willing to do? And what are you not willing to do? And so there're some things that I have made as my priorities and my values are consistent. One is that I always put God first in my life. That's number one. And I'm grateful for all that God has blessed me with, with life and strength. I'm grateful for every day I wake up. So, I give God glory for that. Now, God first, then my family second. At the end of your life, nobody's going to want to say, is your money still here with you around your bedside as you're transitioning out of this life to the next?

Dr. Willie Jolley (14:12):

No, no, you're going to want to know if your family's there, if possible. You want to know what kind of time you spent with your family. What are the great vivid memories that you established with your family? And so you got to have values clear. So God first, family second. And then I'm very focused on my friends and the network of people who I hang out with, who I call my inner circle. The people who I am looking out for them, they're looking out for me. Who are you going to call in the midnight hour when things go poorly and things might have an impact on your life or when you have a health challenge that money won't fix? Because I always say that if money can fix it, it's not really a problem. You just got to get more money. And then business after all of that. So God, family, friends, close inner circle friends, and then business.

Dr. Willie Jolley (14:58):

And I keep those in right priority. And then I always take a day off per week for family. Every week, I have a day off for family. It's my family day and I don't go in my office. I don't get on the grid. I get off the grid. It's my family time, because those are the most important times and things that are in my life. So I want to go back one more thing too. You mentioned earlier about mindset and you said something, Brian, I thought was profound and I want to make sure people heard it. That it's not just being happy-go-lucky. It's not just having a smile on your face. You got to put some action to it. You have to take some relationship building because wealth has a number of different byproducts.

Dr. Willie Jolley (15:40):

There, of course, is financial wealth, which we all know about and we talk about, but then there's health wealth. If health is not in your top two goals, then number three don't make a difference. Number one should be health because if you're sick, you can't enjoy the wealth. So it's financial, yes. But then health, then your relationships. Your family relationships, your friend relationships, that's a part of wealth. And then it's your reputation. What kind of reputation do you have in the marketplace? And then Brian, you brought it up, it's your network, your relationship wealth. And I want y'all to write this one down, folks: Your network determines your net worth. Let me say it again. Your network, the people you know, the people you hang out with, the people you have a relationship with, will determine your net worth. So value those relationships.

Brian Ford (16:32):

You got me thinking. You just listed for us some of the things that you value most. You put God at the top of that list. Then you talked about family next. You talk about friends and so forth. And I talk to a lot of people who have similar values. Some people will say travel or maybe their pet or something, but it's not uncommon to hear their spirituality, their family, their friends, and what I try and make sure that people understand is if you want to know what's important to an individual, don't look at what they say, look at what they fund.

Dr. Willie Jolley (17:03):


Brian Ford (17:04):

Look at where they're spending their money.

Dr. Willie Jolley (17:06):

Look at their checkbook.

Brian Ford (17:08):

Yeah. So I mean, as you look at that, as you look at your values and then you look at the way that you spend your money, are those things in harmony? If they are, you're probably headed towards financial happiness. If not, there's probably some work to do. Anyways. I love that. Bright, I know you had a few things you wanted to talk to Dr. Jolley about as well.

Bright Dickson (17:25):

I'll just build off of what you said too, because what y'all are making me think about too, is the value of time, right? So just as we can tell what we value by how we spend our money, we can also tell by how we spend our time. And Dr. Jolley, I love that you focused on the relationships, because somebody said this, somebody much wiser than me, but love is just how you spend your time. And I think that's really valuable when we think about how our values play into how we spend our finite resources. Money and time. And I think it really, really matters Dr. Jolley, and I think it's so wise and useful of you to share that with our listeners about that value of relationships and how you really prioritize it.

Dr. Willie Jolley (18:05):

Ah, thank you. Thank you. And it makes a difference. And I love what you said. It really is where you spend your time is what's going to make you happy. And happiness is interesting because many people think things will make them happy. But what I'm encouraging people to understand is that it's really not just happiness, but you want joy along with your happiness, and joy is internal where happiness sometimes is external. So a new car, if you had the car of your dreams, that'd make you happy. A certain kind of house, that'd make you happy. But the joy is something that comes that's internal and could be eternal because it is something that could literally outlive you. One of the things y'all kind of made me think about is someone asked me in an interview one day, they said, what's your biggest goal?

Dr. Willie Jolley (18:55):

What's your biggest goal? And it didn't take me but a moment to think about it. I said, oh, I got that already. My biggest goal is that a hundred years from now, some type of experience will happen where a child will walk into a room and see a picture of me and my wife, and run up to that picture and kiss it a hundred years from now. They'll say thank you great, great, great, great granddaddy. Thank you great, great, great, great grandmama for what you did back years ago, a hundred years ago to make it possible for us to have a house or have a college education, to have a business that would fund those kind of activities. And I will never get to see that child, but that's my biggest goal.

Dr. Willie Jolley (19:35):

And someone wrote in a book that the great ones, they plant trees in their eighties that take 80 years to grow, but they will never sit under that tree, but they still plant them for future generations. That's what I want to encourage people to think. A hundred years from now, what do you want? What will give you joy? That's what I'm looking for.

Bright Dickson (19:57):

That's amazing, Dr. Jolley. I love that metaphor of the tree. And Dr. Jolley, as you reflect back on what we've said, is there anything else you really want our listeners to know about this relationship between their money and their mindset? Like, anything else, any other little nuggets you just want to throw our way?

Dr. Willie Jolley (20:15):

Well, I got a new book coming out and by the way, I want to give people a website where they can go get some of the free resources that we give, including some music, some books, some eBooks. Go to wjwow, W-O-W, .com. Get some free resources that we put out for the world because people are in such great need of uplift, inspiration. In these challenging times, they need help and they need hope. And that is what I want to give them, hope. Let me tell you what hope is. Hope by its definition, when you have hope in the future, it gives you power in the present. Let me say it one more time. When you got hope for something better in the future, it'll give you power in the present to keep going. So real quick, I want to give you the five money mindsets that are coming from my new book.

Dr. Willie Jolley (21:06):

And the book is about the difference between being rich and being wealthy. Now there are five money mindsets. The first level of thinking about money is the day-to-day thinker. That's the people who I call the indigent. Those are the people who you might see on the street corner with a cardboard box that says, Hey, give me enough money to make it through the day. Just give me some money for today. And every day they repeat that process. Then the second level is the 30-day mindset. Those are the people who live month to month. They might be on some sort of public assistance or they might be on some sort of program where they get paid once a month through some system where they only have enough money for that one month. But then you get the middle class. Now, the middle class tend to think year to year.

Dr. Willie Jolley (21:54):

Did I get a cost of living raise this year? Did I get an increase in my salary this year? And then you get the rich. Now we typically see the rich are the athletes, the entertainers, and they think decade to decade. A baseball player might get a hundred-million-dollar contract for 10 years and they are balling for 10 years. But after 10 years, what happens? I already told you that 70% of professional athletes are broke five years after retirement. So then you go, though, to the wealth mindset, that's the generation to generation to generation. That's why I wanted to bring in that hundred-year thinking, is that they are thinking of generations yet unborn. The scripture says that a good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, great-grandchildren. So my goal is to get each level of those five levels to move up one step.

Dr. Willie Jolley (22:50):

So it would be in incomprehensible or unrealistic for somebody to go from being a day to day person to a wealthy mindset. That's too big a leap, too big a jump, too big a chasm to cross. But if I could get that indigent day-to-day person just to get to the 30-day mindset, that'd be good. Because then they can start growing. And if I get that 30-day person to get to the middle class, then that'd be good. If I get the middle class people to think decade to decade, that'd be good. And if I can get the decade-to-decade people to think generationally, that will be fantastic. And if I can get the generational people, the wealthy to think uber wealthy, then I've done my job. And I'm grateful.

Brian Ford (23:31):

Yeah, that's fantastic. I was taking notes for sure. Hopefully my furious writing did not get picked up on our podcast because I genuinely was taking notes. Thank you, Dr. Jolley. Hey, that's all we've got time for today. Thanks for listening to this episode of "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian."

Bright Dickson (23:48):

Stay tuned for our next episode with Dr. Jolley, where we'll talk steps to build generational wealth and why that's so important. Dr. Jolley, thanks so much for chatting with us today.

Dr. Willie Jolley (23:58):

Hey, I sure enjoyed my time here on "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian" and I just want to leave our listeners with a little thought, follow your dream. Wherever it leads. Don't be distracted by less worthy needs. Shelter it. Nourish it. Help it to grow. Hold your dream deep, down deep, where dreams grow. Follow your dream. Pursue it with haste. Life is too precious, too fleeting, to waste. Be faithful. Be loyal, in all the day through. The dream that you follow will keep coming true. It's been a privilege and a pleasure, a treat, and a treasure, and a joy beyond measure to be on with y'all. God bless you.

Brian Ford (24:42):

And listeners, don't forget to send us any questions you have about your money or your mindset. Send us an email to

Bright Dickson (24:53):

If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe for episode alerts. Share it with someone you care about too.

Brian Ford (24:59):

Thank you for listening to this episode of "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian." We appreciate you.

Bright Dickson (25:04):

See you soon.

Speaker 4 (25:24):

This podcast is brought to you by Truist. When you start with care, you get a different kind of bank.



The journey to success isn’t linear or universal—but there are certain traits many successful people share. In this episode of “Money and Mindset,” Bright and Brian and a special guest—bestselling author, radio host, and motivational speaker Dr. Willie Jolley—discuss how your mindset, values, and network are key ingredients to living the life you want.

Tune in to discover:

  • What successful entrepreneurs, athletes, and entertainers all have in common
  • How to bounce back from a setback
  • Why your values determine your destiny 
  • Dr. Jolley’s five tips for changing how you think about money


If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe (or drop a rating or review) in your podcast app of choice! Consider sharing it with someone you care about, too.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, or mental health advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, investment, mental health professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.