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Personal Development
January 9, 2024

Create Your Comeback

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A health pandemic, economic collapse and social upheaval at home. Terrible events around the world. It’s been a traumatic couple of years for us all—maybe especially for those who are younger, who have never experienced anything like all this before.
If that includes you, hear this encouragement from someone who has been around the block a time or two. You can come through this. I’m not going to pretend everything will work out as you may have chosen, but it can work out for your good in ways you might never have expected. But you have a part to play in that happening.
When I got replaced by a karaoke machine years ago, it seemed like the end of the world. There I was, a popular resident nightclub performer with several well-received CD releases when the people who owned the venue decided to ditch me for the new singalong machines that reduced their overheads.
But that unexpected change opened up a new door for me. I discovered that not only could I sing, but I could talk too. As a motivational speaker and author, I have had the opportunity to impact countless thousands of lives over the past 30-plus years. Here is some of what I have learned along the way about overcoming setbacks.
It’s your choice.
No, you don’t get to decide what happens to you, but it is in your hands what you will do about it. How you respond. You can’t wish away inflation, but you can put your energies into how to handle it. Make a decision to be grateful. Start each day by focusing on all the things that you have to be grateful for, because whatever you focus on longest always becomes strongest in your mind.
Don’t panic.
The word “panic” comes from the Greek one meaning to choke. And when you panic, you choke off the oxygen to your brain that helps you think clearly. So, take a deep breath. When the Stock Market crashed in 1929, some people panicked to the point of suicide. But you know what? In time, the market came back stronger than ever. And the same is true for whatever crisis you might be facing right now. I believe that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste; you should use it to your benefit. As I titled one of my books, A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback.
Go 3-D.
I like to give people three Ds to live by each day. First, dare to dream. Don’t let that setback snuff out your hopes. If you had a magic wand, what would you use it for? Write that down.
Next, decide. “Decision” comes from the Greek word for cutting. To make an incision, you cut in and to make a decision, you must cut off. What do you need to cut out of your life to realize your dream? Maybe it’s some of the people you hang around with: If your circle consists of 10 losers, you’re going to be No. 11!
Finally, do something; take action! Actually, do three things every day toward your goal. They don’t have to be big. Small things done consistently are better than big things every once in a while. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Ask someone for help.
And above all, have hope. Hope in the future gives you power in the present. Believing you have a better future will give you the power you need to endure and make the most of the present.

Dr. Willie Jolley ( has been named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” and “Motivational & Inspirational Speaker of The Year” by Toastmasters International. A podcaster and regular TV and radio guest, he is also a bestselling author.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of WayMaker Journal.