Rebecca P. Murray: You’re never too old and it’s never too late to take CENTER STAGE in your own life.
In my “People Who Make a Difference” series, I speak with Rebecca P. Murray who encourages everyone to take center stage in their own life. Enjoy! ~ Michelle Tennant Nicholson
1) Can you tell us a story about what early experiences brought you to your specific career path?
My dad took me to see The Sound of Music when I was 6 years old. I gazed at the silver screen and fell in love with Julie Andrews. The story seemed so real as I was a first grader at St. Joseph’s Catholic School where I interacted with God and the nuns daily.
After the show, my dad bought the record. I listened and memorized every word. Then, I’d jump over our back fence to the hills to recreate the opening scene. I twirled and sang “The hills are alive…” to an audience of none.
Last year — not long before my 60th birthday — my mother shared that just before my grandfather died, he lamented, “I’m dying a nobody.”
This broke my heart. I recall going into a long and deep depression after losing a man who had become one of the most important people in my life, especially since losing my father at age 10. It made me wonder what it would it have taken for Grandpa to feel like he died a somebody.
❖ What dreams did he have that he never acted on?
❖ What regrets did he leave this world with regarding his own aspirations?
Most of us can list a million reasons why what we want can’t be.
As I marked the occasion of that milestone birthday, I decided to take action on an aspiration I’ve had since I was 6 years old.
· I was born to perform, and I’m not waiting a moment longer.
· I will not come to the end of my life with a lament as tragic as the one my grandpa shared before he passed.
· My very first one woman show — The Confidence Equation — came to life on September 18, 2021 at the Concrete Theater in Washington State. Stepping up to that stage to share this performance was the most exhilarating moment of my life so far.
2) Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you in your career or education?
While I coach others from behind the scenes, in February of 2021, it was my turn to take center stage. I did not know the path and was open to every possibility.
A friend recommended that I watch La La Land. It’s a movie about a young actress who produces her own one-woman show. I was so inspired that I woke up the next day with my show concept playing in my head. I contacted the owner of a local theater to share that I had a show I wanted to bring to her stage.
I kept telling myself that I needed to do this now — no matter what.
I issued a press release about the show and invited every friend, colleague, and neighbor to buy tickets. I welcomed an appreciative and brave audience of 35 who enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed performing it, despite warnings about the threats of Covid and the Delta Variant.
I got to sing ‘The hills are alive…” to a live audience.
3) Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting out on your career? What lesson did you learn from that?
At the beginning of the pandemic, I repurposed my skills and knowledge as a video producer to assist clients who were struggling with how to look and sound good online. The following month, I hosted my first-ever webinar to help people master their virtual images. To my surprise, 65 people registered as I shared tips and tricks on lighting, framing, audio etc. and some humorous surprises.
I started with a song from the musical “Singing in the Rain” called “Good Morning.” I sang with great animation and enthusiasm.
Then I noticed the chat blowing up.
“We can’t hear you!” “No sound!” “Can’t hear!”
I stopped to read, fixed the problem, then sang an encore.
Afterward, I devised a pre-production checklist that I’ve used ever since and have shared with many people so this never becomes their fate.
4) What are 5 things you would tell your younger self?
· Act on your crazy ideas and you’ll never wonder ‘what if.’
· Be your own best audience and you’ll always be entertained.
· Celebrate small bold actions that move you toward your dreams.
· Define your own wins and claim your own victories.
· Embrace your YOU-niqueness. It’s what the world needs most.
5) You are a successful person. Can you share some tips on how young people today can get ahead?
❖ Work on your voice as you would anything else.
❖ Your voice will become your superpower.
❖ It will help you stand out and give you confidence in yourself.
❖ It will enable you to speak up and contribute.
❖ Find a safe supportive place like Toastmasters International to practice speaking up as you give and receive helpful, supportive, specific feedback.
6) They say the new influencer is a #Givefluencer — how are you paying it forward with others in your life?
In December of 2020, I published a children’s book from a story I wrote when I was 10 entitled The Bird and the Hippo. It’s a simple story that tells the tale of a bird who wanted to go to Hollywood to become a star and followed another path to happiness instead. Even at 10 years old, my focus on earning my way to star power was undeniable.
In April 2021 I reached out to the Skagit Valley chapter of the Boys and Girls Club and pitched the idea of using my book as a play to engage the kids in performance.
Because of Covid, the clubs had canceled their read-aloud programs in which the older kids read to the younger kids. Using my book with a small group of kids was the kind of program they could embrace to help fill this gap.
They hand-picked 4 kids to participate, and we met weekly for rehearsals. Each week after our session, the program director would say, “My goals for these kids have been met.”
She would then tell me of some amazing transformation she witnessed in the kids during the session. The sessions culminated in producing a video of the play that was shared with all the classrooms. During week 8, I invited the local press to visit during our ‘after party.’ The kids performed the entire show for the reporter and camera person.
Since then, I’ve taught a write your book class for summer school and now am teaching improv and acting classes.
What I love most is watching kids develop communication skills that will help them stand up for themselves and move toward their dreams as I take steps to do the same for myself.
7) Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career?
Julie Andrews‘ memoir Homework gave me a window to appreciate her stories about insecurities, moments of doubt, her willingness to work hard, and do what it takes to succeed and become a multi-generational inspiration, a class act, and a role model.
8) Because of the role you play in the community, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire “good news” what would be your headline and 3 talking points?
You’re never too old and it’s never too late to take CENTER STAGE in your own life.
When you speak up, stand up, and stand out, you will be judged.
· Do it anyway. Do it with class and conviction.
· The world is waiting for you to blaze your path.
· Do it for YOU first, and you will inspire others to blaze theirs.
9) How can people connect with you?
My big dream is to welcome invitations to deliver my one-woman-show The Confidence Equation™ to inspire thousands of people to take bold leaps forward to live their dreams. Calling others forward to achieve their most exciting goals in life is the flag I wave as I take bold steps forward to live this vision myself. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Rebecca@rebeccapmurray.com https://rebeccapmurray.com/ 360 854 8518