SYRACUSE — A message of needing to fail before succeeding and being in uncomfortable situations before something awesome can happen were among the messages conveyed in the first presentation of Chautauqua-Wawasee’s two day conference “You’re Not Alone: Battling stigmas and overcoming obstacles.”
Bobby Bones presented 50 minutes of comedy performance and motivational talk at Oakwood Event Center, Friday evening, Oct. 19. Over 200 people came to hear Bones share his story of the adversities in his life.
Bones, who has written two books about his life, was born in a little town in Arkansas to a mother who had just turned 16 and became an addict. She died at the age of 40 from drug and alcohol abuse.
“I’m the youngest member of the Radio Hall of Fame,” the 38-year-old said as he relayed his story of getting into the radio business. “I was told 36 times I was not good enough and I learned from each one,” he stated. He told of being turned down from one station because he didn’t have the experience and the voice for radio. Going across the street to another station, he asked for a job at the station. “I learned from the failure … within two weeks I was running the countdown on the weekend show.”
Bones noted success is about not being afraid to be in uncomfortable places. “I’m not good at anything, but getting in,” he said.
Talking about his childhood, he noted his biological father left them when he was four. “To survive you had to do what you had to do. I was a food stamp kid, a welfare kid.” He stated after the death of his mother, he felt sorry for himself for a lot of years. Now he sees those experiences as strength and places to grow stronger and he is able to talk to people about it.
He noted being embarrassed about his mother’s struggle, and his experience with her struggles and when he wrote Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book,” he wondered if people would be sympathetic for him, but people empathized with him.
He spoke of his efforts to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because of the help he received from others while he was hospitalized with a ruptured spleen and other organ issues. “I help because I was helped. I want to give back … people helped me.”
He also related how his football coach would daily say “Every day is a good day,” and it wasn’t until he was 25 that he finally got what he meant. “When you wake up you want to strive to be a better person … be healthy … put it out there and it comes true … surround yourself with positive ideas and people. The decisions you make daily are affected by the environment you put yourself in.
“I started by being unconformable and learning … work through problems at difficult times … awesome things only happen if you put yourself in uncomfortable situations,” he said.
The conference will continue Saturday morning featuring Becky Savage, 525 Foundation and Kelly Thompson, Whitewater Community Services. Originally advertised as being in the Oakwood Event Center, the second part of the conference has been moved to the Hilltop Banquet Center at Oakwood Resort. The event begins at 8 a.m. and includes a continental breakfast. It will conclude at noon. Tickets for Saturday mornings conference will be available at the door for $20 per person.