Success Story #1: Lenda Murray
8-Time Ms. Olympia On Being In The Right Place And The Importance Of Networking.
I have often talked in my seminars and to people individually about the importance of being in the right place at the right time, if you want a career, particularly in the entertainment industry, but this also does apply to the fitness industry. I always say that if you want fame, fortune, and to make a name for yourself, and you live in Iowa, and want to stay there, please find another line of work.
Another of the most important skills to have in order to make a name for yourself, is the ability to network. In order to network, it helps greatly to be in the right place to do so. I met Lenda Murray in 1989 when she won the overall of the NPC Jr. Nationals, and I knew then that she would be a great champion, and be a force in the fitness industry. She would go on to win more Ms. Olympia titles than anyone else in history!
She had grown up in the Midwest, and was living in the South, while competing and winning those titles, and even while she had taken a break between winning her first 6 titles and winning the last 2 titles. Of her break between titles 6, 7 and 8, she felt like she needed to "step outside of bodybuilding to appreciate what she had" and she then had fresh motivation to go out and win those last 2 titles.
While preparing to win those titles, she had owned and operated a gym in Virginia Beach, and although she really enjoyed helping people reach their fitness goals, she knew that her calling was not as a gym owner. She needed a bigger platform to get her message out.
Lenda felt that it was important at that time to live where her support system was, and to be in a place where there would be less distractions. Once her competitive career was over, she knew that she needed to be in a place where better opportunities were available.
Lenda knew that if she moved to Los Angeles, that she would be in the "Mecca" of the fitness industry, and that she would have the added bonus of being in a place where she could take advantage of opportunities in the entertainment industry. As a result of being a champion bodybuilder, Lenda had spent some time in Los Angeles, where she did modeling assignments for the magazines.
According to Lenda, she liked the fact that people in Los Angeles "think outside the box." They have a unique perspective, and a fresh outlook on things. Los Angeles really offers a very different culture, and offered her a fresh start towards a new direction for her life path.
Los Angeles, along with New York City, are the media capitals of the United States. This is important if fame and fortune are in your future.
Even though she is retired from competing in bodybuilding, she is still very much involved in the fitness industry. She has a lot of things to say about the industry, and sound advice for women who want to compete in bodybuilding, fitness, or figure. She feels that preparation is a key to success, in the fitness industry, or in life.
You have to be able to train smart, more than hard, and one of her absolute keys is to be realistic about your goals. She relayed a story about a woman who wanted her feedback about competing in figure. As soon as Lenda assessed this woman's attributes, it became obvious to her that the woman should be competing in bodybuilding rather than figure.
I could totally relate to what she was telling this woman, because I have experienced this a few times myself. You have to work with what you have. Lenda is available for one-on-one consultations via e-mail, at: MsOlympia8@yahoo.com.
Lenda also operates a special boot camp in Los Angeles, for women who want to look good to compete in fitness and figure, but also for women who just want to get into the best shape of their lives to achieve their own personal fitness goals.
She is also working on a few very exciting projects that are in the works, including a book. Living in Los Angeles, she has the ideal climate to operate her boot camp, and the year round warm weather also means that you wear less clothing, which motivates you to look good all the time. Lenda has always put a lot of thought and effort into her fitness career, and now as much as ever, she is looking for new challenges.
Networking is defined as an exchange of ideas and services amongst individuals, groups, or organizations. As I have stated before, who you know is far more important than what you know - especially in the world of the entertainment and media industries.
It can be fun, but it can also be somewhat scary if you are shy or lacking in confidence. Some people are better at it than others. It is a skill that can be learned and improved with some practice.
One attribute that Lenda has always had is a special warmth and charisma. It was very obvious to me from the first time I spent any time with her. Since Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, there are great networking opportunities that come up every day.
For example, a bodybuilding friend went into a Starbucks for her morning coffee and legendary actor Al Pacino was there. He struck up a conversation with her and they chatted for a while. This could turn into an opportunity down the road. There are celebrities all around Los Angeles, and it's easy to meet them. As a result of Lenda's stature in the fitness industry, and her personal charm, she gets invited to, and goes to parties quite often.
As a result of one of these networking parties, she earned a part as a police officer in the film "Barbershop".
Do you think that Lenda would have had these same networking opportunities if she still lived in Virginia Beach? Lenda mentioned that she now understands how important it is to take advantage of as many opportunities as you possibly can.
I can tell you also that networking is a skill that you get better at the more you do it. I will address networking in much greater detail in a future column. Let me give you another life lesson nugget: You never know when you are going to meet a person who will totally change your life!
Lenda Murray may have retired from competitive bodybuilding, with a rock-solid place in the sport's history, but she has a long career ahead of her as a leader in the fitness industry, and she is just getting started in her quest to change the world to a healthier and better place.
She is not necessarily looking to become a film or television star, but she will unquestionably make her presence felt, and is well on her way to fame and fortune, through fitness, the media, and the entertainment industries. It's also very important now to have very strong fitness role models to slow down or end the obesity/diabetes/cancer epidemic. I can't think of a better role model than 8-time Ms. Olympia, Lenda Murray!
Photos courtesy of Robert Reiff. Used with permission.
Stay tuned next month for "Creating an Image for Yourself and Keeping your Goals Realistic."