Bobbie Staten has always had a reputation for being a talker and for being funny.
“My mother kept all my report cards and every teacher always wrote, ‘Bobbie talks too much.’ — Not if it’s what you are going to do for a living.
“In high school I was voted wittiest. My daddy had a real quick wit and I think I inherited my sense of humor from him.”
She realized she was a humorist when talking about a wellness clinic she helped open at a hospital where she was working. It had been her idea and she pushed it through, so was given the job of selling it to the community. To sell it she started speaking to Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.
“It was hard. You get maybe 10 to 15 minutes to talk and they’re not really paying attention since they’re trying to have lunch and get back to work. I didn’t like being ignored. So, to get their attention I asked if any of them — and it was all men — knew what was the leading cause of death in 45-year-old men. That got their attention. Somebody said heart attack. I told them the leading cause of death in 45-year-old men is 25-year-old women.”
The men in that meeting then paid attention to what Staten was saying.
She said about a year within that breakthrough — realizing humor was going to save her, she was speaking so often she decided it was time to leave her medical career behind.
Bill Cosby and Will Rogers are the two humorists she admires most.
Staten has been a motivational speaker since 1986. She did hundreds of speaking engagements every year for many years, but has since cut back to 20 or 30 a year. Away from the podium and off stage, she likes staying at home — a farmhouse that is more than a century old — with her six dogs on a small acreage and watching television in her pajamas.
When she does speak, she wants her audience to leave happy. “I want them to see the good in life and to be kind to one another,” she said.
Staten said she is where she wants to be in her career. She has written a few books, but does not plan to write any more.
“What I do is physical. I put my whole body into it. That sort of humor doesn’t translate well to the written word,” she explained.
The program she plans to present at the Women’s Wellness Forum she calls, “Batteries Not Included.” “The theme is we have to make our own happiness,” she said.
Staten is a veteran certified speaking professional (CSP) and humorist. Her motivational speaking techniques are funny and encouraging. She uses a weave of down home, North Carolina humor and communicates her message to let go of stress, and choose what you allow “in your circle” of influence. She believes we each can choose to live our life with a smile and a purpose, or drag through each day like it was day one of a 30-year sentence.
Staten believes each individual is responsible for bringing joy, happiness and success into their home lives and their work environment.
“There isn’t much you can’t do once you figure out what it is that you want,” said Staten.
She also believes that life really isn’t all that hard and she enjoys helping others “figure things out” — whether it is how to increase morale, boost profits, reduce turnover, prepare for change. She works with individuals and organizations to redirect momentum to get the job done.
Staten’s background prior to speaking was in nursing. She holds both a bachelor’s of nursing and a master’s of public health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
From her life experiences, she said she has learned that many people are in pain, both physically and emotionally. This pain is based on fear of change, of loss of security, trouble with relationships, parenting, health and work. She believes that laughter lets out little “Puffs of Pain.”
Her message reflects a universal theme as old as time, yet fresh and relevant for today’s hectic lifestyle. When you have your health, family and priorities balanced, life just seems to fall into place. For the few times when it doesn’t — laugh! Learn to use laughter to let out little puffs of pain.
Staten’s topics are a result of her personal battle with life, health and finding happiness. For years she felt unfulfilled, working in positions that didn’t especially match her talents or natural tendencies. She was unhappy and it showed. She talks of turning life around; having the courage to take responsibility for finding one’s own happiness.
Once a chronic dieter and an ex-two-pack-a-day smoker, she understands how hard it is to make lifestyle changes. However, firsthand knowledge provides her with a special insight that helps audiences find the courage to take the plunge. Her health philosophy is based on each individual’s responsibility for self-care, guided by — but not controlled by — health care professionals.