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Put Yourself Out Theser


Put Yourself Out There.

Put Yourself Out There.

Put Yourself Out There—Barbara does some self-promotion

My career in advertising was not making me happy. So in 1991, I walked away. Went freelance. Had no clients. Worried I’d starve. Stopped panicking. Worked my network. Made cold calls and mailed postcards to marketing people I’d never met at companies that made products I liked in order to sell my writing and marketing services. Some of the postcards were created by my friend Elena and fabulous. Some were created by me and ridiculous. I plastered silly stickers all over pink, purple, blue or green postcard stock and matched the images with funny taglines I’d written. Somehow, these cards attracted clients. I’ve wondered if that wasn’t because the prospects I mailed to felt sorry for me — Hmmm, nice writing, but…she needs to pay an art director to design her marketing materials. Let’s give her some work so she can afford that.” 

One day, I was browsing the racks in Barnes & Noble and saw The Secret Language of Birthdays, Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers, published 1994 by Viking Penguin. I flipped to my birthday, July 12 and read: 

July Twelfth: The Day Of The Persuasive Presence. Those born on July 12 are masters at persuasion. Not only are their arguments cogent and logical, but they have an innate sense of timing….More often, they use humor to win others over to their point of views….[and] are not only good at convincing others but also initiating action. Through their efforts, many projects get off the ground which might never have materialized. Sometimes July 12, people can be so clever as to subtly plant an idea in someone’s mind so that this person may act on it as if the idea originated with them.” 

The profile goes on to list famous people born on this day. Thoreau, Modigliani, Neruda and Buckminster Fuller are among the good guys. Julius Caesar is among the bad guys who will go unnamed. Then the profile went into gory detail on the downsides of my powers of persuasion. 

I printed the good stuff about me on the front of a folded card and my picture and contact information on the inside. The cards went out. The calls came in, and I had four new clients in about two weeks. Three profited from the good side of me. One was hardheaded and disrespectful and saw the downside of me — July 12 people cannot suffer reporting to someone they don’t admire or at least respect….it is difficult for them to accept wholesale the philosophy of a company or organization.” That client relationship didn’t last until the end of our first project together. 

To this day, I’m more than a little mystified when I read Goldschneider and Elffer’s birthday profile for me. I showed it to my brother, an astrology denier, and he said, Are you kidding? That could be anybody.” I showed it to my friend Paula, and she said, Well, you’re the good stuff, but the negative stuff is way too harsh.” Hmmm. I don’t know if either one of them is right. I saw a lot of truth in that profile, even the bad stuff, and I wonder, am I really just what’s written in the stars?

And here’s what Goldschneider and Elffers have to say about Rochelle. The Day of the Instigator. Those born on November 29 have a knack for provoking others – sometimes to thought, at other times to conflict. They like to stir up the pot and usually their presence alone leads to some change in the status quo.…November 29 people know how to push emotional buttons. They can get great mileage out of a cutting comment, a raised eyebrow or a telling silence. They may, in fact, regard themselves as watchdogs of the truth, and woe to anyone who presumes to depart from it! A meditation for those born on this day: Emotions can be calmed with the breath.”