A Chance Encounter

A Chance encounter or a miracle?

Chance encounters or “miracles." Some need to see a burning bush, a voice from above, indeed it is about listening to the inner voice, the inner wisdom you were born with, understanding when a prayer is answered. I’m living proof chance encounters result in life-altering events and relationships. This maybe frequent in number yet rarely recognized, is this by luck or blessing from God. The result is equally impressive, I suggest to you a miracle. May I start with a story? I use stories to illustrate my points.


A widow woman living out her life as a Christian dedicated to her church family, and alone. Nothing wrong with being alone, unless you desire to be with someone. She serves the church in every role and function; She prays daily for a special someone in her life. Serving God and her church faithfully until her death. Entering Heaven, she is greeted with open arms by an angel at the entrance to heaven. Asking if speaking to God is allowed. “Yes,” says the angel. She speaks. “God, I served you faithfully my entire life, my only selfish prayer is to meet someone special to live out my life. Why, why would you not grant this one request?”


A gentle voice says. “I heard your prayers.” She interrupts saying, “I met no one.” The voice remains gentle. “Do you recall the postman leaving a rose every Valentine’s Day, every Easter. Mr. Wilson who sat with you most Sunday’s until such time he met someone who spoke to him. The repairman sent to repair your washing machine, remembering he found nothing wrong, he remained at your house for hours drinking coffee until leaving for another appointment. You never ask his name, if he would like to return for coffee sometime.”


Standing in silence, “I had no idea!” The angel takes her by the hand, walking her through the pearly gates explaining. “you see God grants miracles every day many, overlooked, neglected, ignored. Sometimes not in an expected form, timing not good, timing is not convenient, maybe too good to be true, so the miracle, the granting of their own prayer is missed. Thank you for your dedicated service to others, welcome to heaven where this is all behind you.”


The difference in a chance encounter and a long-term friendship/relationship, “miracle” is a thin line. I promised God while in prison I will talk to anyone about anything if given the opportunity. Answering every question involving past and present events with honesty, sharing the lessons acquired through life. Taking every phone, answering every email. Some calls might be solicitations, some emails, online contacts become weird, I halt the communication, these are few, simply stated most are rewarding. In Second Chance class we learn everyone interprets chance encounters differently. You must have the conversation, for the magic or chemistry, if good move forward with what is, bad it is an experience you learn from. When the opportunity presents itself, I speak to people, animals, particularly dogs, the audience is a gift. I’m uplifted by the interaction, my books, talks, and speeches open opportunities.  My imprisonment closed a few doors, opened hundreds of opportunities having communications never possible.


Missed opportunities or “miracles”? You have the feeling, this voice inside of you. Do you speak to this person or not, give homeless person money when you never do, open the door for someone, smiling saying good morning?


Final story: An elderly woman living in my neighborhood, was a recluse. The children in the area said she was a witch. Walking home from school, her front door open, seeing her looking out the door. My inside voice, says “speak to her.” I do, telling her the stories the kids tell, she laughs uncontrollably. Then asks, “do you have no fear of a witch?” Thinking for a moment, “never met one not sure.” She laughs asking, “would you like sweet tea.” Smiling “yes.” We talk for hours on her front porch and many times later. She becomes a sounding board as I grow, I mow her lawn ending with a cold Coke Cola and a talk. She was a miracle in my life and I am a better person for having her to share my childhood issues with. 


The stories in my books, people who shape and assist in my career, my political hobbies, my successes, lifting me up in my failures, all relationships granted by God. Gina who taught the Second Chance class in work release, now a lifelong friend, a young man serving a long sentence nickname G-Money, chance encounters shaping my ever-evolving life. Listen to the voice, speak to those you wish to talk to. Recently losing my long-time pet, Titus. Frequently speaking to, interacting with dog’s, meeting those who care for them, resulting in conversation sometime leading to a discussion, you never know. Not smart enough to know God’s plan. Recently had a chance encounter with Oscar, a beautiful and sweet dog who touched my heart. The experience opening my eyes, reminding me, all is possible when you listen to your inner wisdom, the inside voice we like to ignore. God works in mysterious ways and in God’s time. Not strange, maybe foreign to you, slow down and listen to the inner voice, the possibilities are endless, more awaits you than you could ever know.


I am blessed to interact with, those who read my blogs, my books, hear my speeches, sales meetings or an email, text or private message. We are in each other’s life for a reason, not the season. Ask yourself, open your heart and mind to the “miracles” happening around you. Listen, hear what you do not hear, see what you do not see. The wisdom, inner voice, given to you at birth by God, guiding you to receive all good is your destiny, yes use this inner wisdom to avoid the bad, I have listened and not listened. Listening, using the gifts is easier, opening doors, making opportunities possible. Stand beside me, see the path paved with diamonds and gold. You are gifted, you are special. A quote from my last blog, “Living every day as if the one chance encounter with one person will make or break the life in front of us.” In this illustration, will you see the miracles, the chance encounter or forever question what might have been? Know what an honor and privilege to share my stories with you, reach out anytime when touched to do so.



Michael’s Latest book “The Young Man and the Sea” out this summer on Amazon and at MichaelHolley.com.



A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilled Sailor


This statement is true literally, philosophically and fundamentally. Told this early in life as I trained to be both a ship’s captain and a pilot, repeated many times by many people since that time. You train your whole career for one incident. The one occurrence in life or command, a decision making or breaking in an instant, lives are at risk. Do it right everyone lives do it wrong, who knows. The more rigorous the training, the more automatic or natural the solution.


Just think if we trained for life in general with this same veracity. Living every day as if the one chance encounter with one person will make or break the life in front of us. Maybe not in a life or death situation, simply being at the right place the right time for a person in need. Making the one moment better. This can be accomplished as a manager, supervisor, teacher, trainer, First Responder, and most importantly as a fellow human being. You might be doing what you do, be where you are for this one moment, do not pass it up. Be prepared to help improve, change or save a life a soul, create a smile if called upon to do so and when opportunity presents itself. The rougher your encounters at sea, in the trenches, the more likely you are to help and share in a less dramatic, yet equally important moment. Enjoy the calm seas, learn from the rough seas, always be prepared to teach, help and share when called upon. This is what leaders do routinely and daily without consciously thinking of the effort!


Have a great day! Be a positive impact on your life first and then someone else’s. As they say before flight “put the oxygen mask on yourself first then help others.”


This is a Michael Holley one-minute tip. Intended to make your life, career and most importantly someone else’s a little better! If you want to smile on the inside, make someone else smile on the outside.



Recruit, Hire, Train and Retain GenY/Millennials


Companies ask, “why are we unable to retain, GenY/Millennials.” The reasons are infinite; however, let us discuss some of the simplest to correct. To begin; managers, HR departments, and the overall culture of organizations seeking to retain GenY/Millennials need to change or evolve. In an increasingly tight job market, we must recruit not hire. Finding this definition online: “Recruiting is the act of attracting, engaging, assessing, and onboarding talent for work.” I have highlighted the words attracting, engaging and assessing. This is the missing directive in companies attempting to “hire” GenY/Millennials.


Having interviewed over 200 GenY/Millennials exiting sales positions in the retail franchise automotive industry during the first year of employment. My research is unscientific, painting a picture of something erroneous in the hiring and onboarding process. Hearing the commitments, “I was lied to”, “the schedule is way different than I was told”, “they are uncompromising”, “lack of explanation of the sales process.”  In this short article I point out the very simplistic of observations or issues. I give you the cliff note version.


Number one reason for leaving in the first year. Manager/Supervisor/Boss


Number two reason for leaving in the first year. Lack of flexibility in job


Number three reason for leaving in the first year. Hours (not necessarily the number)


Number four reason for leaving in the first year. Pay or Pay Plan


Number five reason for leaving in the first year. Personal reason’s i.e. home issues, children, school


First a disclaimer.  Many statements, commitments and exit interviews, often given in reluctance and haste. Categorizing to the best of my communication skills with a younger generation.


My interpretations while based on these interviews are blended with 35 years of hiring, terminating and accepting resignations of good people.  A few suggestions for solving the above problems sprinkled with a few simple explanations. Number 1 is difficult to correct, companies need to pay closer attention to these issues, never release based on one manager's opinion. Unless you have reoccurring complaints on the same manager or supervisor or some type of harassment complaint companies are unwilling to change middle or upper management, I suggest additional training in retaining people. Number five is difficult to control, this answer is often given when the real answer is not, this is my gut feeling on several interviews. I.e. Home issues possibly a combination of the other reasons causing the problems at home, with children, and so on.


Two, Three and Four; directly related to the hiring, training and retaining processes, better training, improved communications, with a more technology-based, more rigorous process during all phases of the total method of hiring is required.


An open-door policy with someone of authority to communicate and explain issues. All new relationships require additional communication, this simple solution is a key factor. Many resigning for reasons two, three and four will be prevented with proper dialogue. Especially when the issue involves a change or whatever, the employee ’s perception of an agreement/promise. Changes to pay plans, hours, schedules, or benefits transform into a lie around the water cooler or at home, in some cases this change, or amendment is in the employees’ benefit or intended to be, I have witnessed this on several occurrences. Lack of “clearing up” under-explained rules in the hiring/training process is also a cause for problems sure to come.


Simply stated, communication with someone communicating more effectively with GenY/Millennials employees and prospects. Recruit then hire, explaining the position, requirements, rules, policies, pay, benefits, vacation, unscheduled time off with how to handle exceptions. Orientation before, during and until hiring will help, at the conclusion of the orientation the applicant is hired and onboarded.


During this time consuming labor-intensive process, become aware of the candidates fit for the applied position/organization. Better, the applicant may find the position less suitable for themselves openly second-guessing the job. This saves all concerned the pain of discovering after the hiring process is complete, causing termination. I suggest this discovery might save a few future superstars as well. When the process is complete the applicant is educated, oriented to the new position then hired the chances of success go up exponentially.


Orientation, my suggestion, is a combination of a video, workbook/employee manual, a scripted presentation or power point for the facilitator so all, everyone, learn the same information. Unlimited one on one, where feasible, question and answer session. Human nature is to not ask questions in front of perceived peers in many cases.


In closing the more time, we spend recruiting, in orientation, training before hiring, the greater chance of success. I often use a technology-based hiring process for screening to reduce incompatibilities earlier in the process. GenY/Millennials is the future of your company.


Suggestions to the GenY/Millennial applicant or new hire; Communicate with someone about issues or perceived untruths, this person might be different from a supervisor or manager. If you resign and an exit interview is requested, please grant the request; be frank, honest, and respectful, never make it personal even if you perceive this might be the case. 


 Michael R Holley is a business consultant, author, speaker and hiring guru. You may contact Michael via email at michael@michaelholley.com


You may follow or message Michael R. Holley on Facebook, LinkedIn and on Twitter.





Excerpt from my book "Pinstripe Suits to Prison Blues" Remembering 9/11/01 15 years Later


Blog Post: An excerpt from "Pinstripe Suits to Prison Blues" Remembering September 11, 2001                                                                     


      September 11, 2001, Washington, D.C. Attending the NADA/DEAC annual political conference. The National Automobile Dealers Association political action committee (DEAC) would bring together a group of dealers for briefings on current political activity and actions affecting the franchise automobile dealers as well as their respective state Dealers Associations from around the United States. We would then go to Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss current legislative affairs. The morning of September 11, 2001, while attending a legislative briefing at out conference hotel, after which I was to proceed to the capital . Where some of the Florida delegation were to meet with Florida Congressman, Adam Putnam. He was to have returned from Florida aboard Air Force One, riding back to Washington with President Bush, later in the morning.


      To say the day dramatically changed would be the understatement of the century. The  morning briefing mentioned above occurred at the convention center in the Grand Hyatt Washington, just blocks from the Capitol. There were a number of political dignitaries in attendance conducting morning briefings, scheduled to speak or meeting with their local dealer delegations. As cell phones started ringing and the word of the events in New York spread. Soon, all the political dignitaries were escorted from the building by Capitol Police, taken away by a police escort. We then received word of the jet hitting the Pentagon, some said they heard the explosion and saw the smoke. The rumors started spreading more jets were heading for the Capital, the White House, and other points in Washington D.C.


      Chaos ensued as thousands of federal employees were sent out of the various buildings all around the Capital, onto the streets of Washington D.C., many without their purses, briefcases, even shoes. My friend, Steve West, saw a staffer from his hometown and gave her money for the subway to get home; she was not wearing shoes and did not have her purse.


      A number of us started discussing how we could get out of Washington D.C. At first, we were unaware of the grounding of all aircraft and the closing of airports. A number of us started calling people we knew with airplanes to see if we could get picked up since commercial traffic was shut down. Informed by a number of pilots all airspace and all airports were closed. The hotel told us we could stay as long as we needed, obviously no one would be checking in. My wife, who was at home with our two-year-old baby and other two children, told me to get my suitcase and get out of the city "even if you have to walk." My friend from Knoxville, Tennessee, Steve West, spoke to his son, Charles West, who was in Knoxville, he rapidly started calling dealerships for a car. Somewhere around one to two o’clock, at a dealership in Washington D.C., Charles secured a vehicle, a Chevrolet Suburban. Part of the Tennessee delegation and I were able to proceed, slowly, in a gray-market taxicab to the dealership to buy the Suburban. By this time, the only things flying in and around Washington were Blackhawk helicopters and fighter jets protecting Washington D.C. We successfully picked up the Suburban and started making our way out of Washington. Departing the greater Washington D.C. area around 5 o’clock heading south west to Knoxville Tennessee. The plan was to drive with my friend and the other Tennessee dealers to Maryville, just outside of Knoxville, and stay the night. On the ride to Tennessee, at approximately 6 p.m., we saw Air Force One overhead returning to Washington with fighter escort. During the ride to Knoxville, I gave a number of interviews, via cell phone, to local newspapers, radio and TV stations in Florida as to my observations of the events I witnessed, the sheer panic as a result of events and the rumors. We arrived in the Knoxville area just after midnight.


      The following morning I arose early. Very anxious to get home to my wife, family, and employees. I drove to West Chevrolet in Alcoa, Tennessee, just south of Knoxville, picked up a vehicle and headed to Florida. While leaving town, I witnessed the strangest sight on the tarmac of Knoxville International Airport, airplanes, private jets and commercial airlines of all sizes, parked on every square inch of the tarmac and taxiways. It was obvious all were hurriedly parked during the grounding of aircraft when the airspace above closed. I proceeded south, to Lakeland Florida via I-75 driving through the heart of Atlanta; traffic was very light, no one ever says that about Atlanta traffic in the middle of a weekday. Stopping at a Cracker Barrel south of Atlanta for a quick lunch, the place was only about a third occupied. In listening to the radio on the drive home, it was very evident our lives had changed forever. I arrived in Lakeland at 6:30 p.m. There is no place like home.



To those making a lasting impression! This Blog is for YOU!


To those making a lasting impression! This Blog is for you!


Teachers and Coaches America’s greatest asset: As public schools return to their daily hectic activity. I thought I would dedicate this Blog to teachers and coaches who make a lasting impression on so many lives, with little fan fair. We remember few people from our youth outside of the family. We all remember a teacher or coach, the life lesson they took the time to share or teach. Not just academics, thoughts, ideas, inspiration and life-altering lessons. In our youth we may not appreciate the magnitude of the moment, yet it remains deep in our mind and soul. We feel the energy and personal dedication it takes to make such an impression, while too young to appreciate it.


Reflecting back on my own, less than glamorous, education. If not for those select few teachers, coaches and a guidance counselor, I would not have become the person I am. The influence, the faith and life’s counsel remain with me today. They were and are the heroes of their time, to me. Taking the time to care, listen, share and show interest in one that cared little for education. I so appreciate them now. 


In this time of self-absorbency and “me now” mentality, along with the lack of taking responsibility for the many in the spotlight today. We can have faith and confidence the majority of teachers and coaches do what they do for the love of teaching. Other professions would have been more financially rewarding. You cannot put a monetary value on making a lifetime impression.


For those in public leadership who might read this; as you spend the hours and days discussing the dollars spent, the rules, the testing, policies, brick and mortar, transportation. These items are tools in a toolbox with no craftsman to use them, without the selfless dedication of “The Teacher.”


Having many friends and my wife, who are teachers and coaches I have a unique perspective. Witnessing the rewards and heartbreaks of caring so much for those they teach. Not just seeing, feeling the care and dedication. Students experiencing what may be a foreign feeling to them in their youth,  asking “why me, why do they care for someone they barely know.” Because this is what teachers do. Impacting one student to take the correct path, to be all they were capable of being. Helping one young person see what they, at the time, do not see in themselves.


Yes, academics are important and why teachers go to work every day.  Yet it is just part of the responsibilities they have accepted when they appear in front of those pupils. Under the microscope of parents, administrations, boards, elected officials and bureaucrats. Remembering the calling is to educate and make a positive impression. Wondering who that one young person is that will look back and ask “Why me?” The one on the podium of the Olympics or a stage entering the Hall of Fame, being sworn into office, the new Doctor taking the Hippocratic Oath, the college class valedictorian, all giving credit to that special teacher, professor or coach who taught them more than just academics.


As we start a new school year, sending our children off to spend a day with teachers and coaches. Remind them, with an open mind an open heart they might be filled with more than reading, writing and mathematics.


To all who teach and coach, Thank You! Thank you for choosing a profession to be a positive influence every day. Knowing, in time, you made a difference. Molding people to be all they were intended to be!!! Why me, because you saw something I did not see in myself!


Michael R Holley is an author, speaker and business consultant. His latest book “Finding the Wisdom You Seek” is an Amazon Hottest New Release. Most importantly he is the husband of a “Teacher.”