Open Up Or Shut Up!

Open Up Or Shut Up!

by Barbara Deutsch


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781463425845
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 06/28/2011
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

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How to Talk Your Way Into or Out of Anything!
By Barbara Deutsch


Copyright © 2011 Barbara Deutsch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4634-2584-5

Chapter One

Why Me? Why Coach?

People always ask me when was it that I knew I was meant to be a coach. They expect a story where the sky lights up with skywriting that reads, "Your calling is to help people in their careers," and then I say that I felt woozy and complete. This is not what happened.

Until I really jumped into this world that I'm in, I didn't even know what a calling was and neither did anyone I had ever met. We never talked about calling. We just did it, on the phone, a lot. We did life as it came along. When I pose the question "What's your calling?" to my clients they often look at me like I have two heads. This amuses me because I understand. We tend to only think about goal setting and making plans for the future, not what's deep inside us that's really driving our actions. Actually, I also had to learn to set goals and make plans. It didn't come naturally because my family's vision only went as far as the next weekend.

I did think that I was meant to perform a bit and make a little money but that's only because that's what I was doing at the time.

The skywriting happened like this:

"I want you to be my partner in my business," he said from behind his Sharper Image glass-top desk. "Eventually." He was wearing monogrammed socks: J.C. Who wears monogrammed socks? And he wants me to be his partner? What does that mean? Why me? I'm just an actress trying to get some work out of Hollywood. So I asked him, "Why me?"

"People meet you and love you and trust you," he said simply. "They will do anything you say. I want that, and you, in my business." He looked so calm and, well, cheerful. Convincing. I shifted in the soft leather chair. "Look," I said, "I can't even do a bank deposit."

"I'll do my own bank deposits," he said. "I'm talking about a salary here, for you."

Oh, I get it, I thought. "Is this like a 'get people coffee job' because that's not me anymore." He just laughed. His brilliant blue eyes twinkled as he rose, walked around and leaned on the edge of the desk. "I don't drink coffee," he said firmly. "Listen, you nut. You and I can build this business. I know we can." I squinted up at him and said, "Is there something wrong with it now?"

"No," he replied. "As a matter of fact, it's doing really well."

I made one last attempt to get some clarity. "Are you on drugs?" I asked.

* * *

Flashback to two weeks before: I was sitting alone in my car outside of an audition, waiting for my girlfriend, Mimi, who was also auditioning. I had already gone in and bombed. It was hot. My blouse was sticking to my skin. My hair was plastered to my neck. This was the fourth commercial audition that week that I had blown. It was for fat-free cream cheese. All I had to do was bite a bagel and say, "This cream cheese is delicious!" and I couldn't shake off my depression long enough to be happy about a bagel.

My girlfriend Mimi, who was in the room when I bombed, got in the car, handed me my drug of choice, a Diet Coke, and a slip of paper with a phone number on it. "You're out of your mind," she said. "Call this guy and take his workshop."

"No way," I said. "Not now." By this point, I had been everywhere and tried everything; therapy, classes, meditation, you name it. Nothing helped me get over my single-parent, recently-divorced, I'm-a-loser state of mind. All my therapist was interested in was what I ate. It was her favorite topic so I would make things up to entertain her like "fruit sandwich."

Mimi grabbed my phone, called the number and put in an S.O.S. to "her guy." He agreed to see me a half hour later. I couldn't escape. We drove there together because Mimi didn't trust me to go alone and I didn't blame her. I didn't trust me, either. We rode in silence the whole way there, which was unusual because there's never been a silent moment between us. We arrived at the address, a condominium complex in Venice, and she said she'd wait in the car for me.

I rode up to the third floor in the all-glass elevator, catching a glimpse of myself in the reflection. The button on my army green jumper dress was hanging by a thread so I yanked it off, ripping a hole in the dress in the process, which meant I had to keep my pocketbook strap on my shoulder to cover the hole. My green blouse had long sleeves, which was good, but it didn't match my blue socks. You could barely see them, though, because my jumper dress was ankle length and the clogs matched the dress, so I guess I was okay.

I got off the elevator and walked down the hall. I could see the beach from the bay window and I could literally smell the ocean. When I reached the door, it swung open before I could even knock and there he was: J.C.

He motioned for me to come in. Entering that condo was like walking into heaven or what I think heaven might be like. Everything was white, including him. He had whitish-blonde spiky hair, gigantic white Tony Robbins teeth, and a white button down shirt with his initials on the pocket. The shirt had two buttons open, not creepy open, just casual open. He wore no jewelry, just jeans and loafers with no socks. Every part of him that I could see was tan. He practically shined.

The living room had white shag carpet and the white couch looked comfortable but not cozy. I imagined myself spilling something even though I had nothing to spill. I held onto my pocketbook for dear life as he walked me over to his desk. "Mimi thinks you are the greatest thing since cream cheese," he said, smiling. Oh God, not a cream cheese reference. I've had enough cream cheese for one day. "In fact, I've heard wonderful things about you from quite a few people," he added.

He must be hearing impaired, I thought. "Really?" I managed to say in the voice of a 10-year-old. "I don't even know why I'm here, frankly. Is this a cult thing because I'm from New Jersey and we don't do this stuff at all. It's not on my radar."

He grinned slyly. "It's a good cult," he said, "the kind that searches for the best parts of you and turns it into passion, money, love ... stuff like that. And it happens fast." While he talked, I tried to pretend that my heart wasn't beating a million miles a minute.

He finished his pitch and said, "So Barbara, what do you think? Would you like to jump into this career workshop?"

Who could think? I didn't have the money to pay for it and there was no one to watch my 10-year-old son. But for some reason, I wanted in. I just wanted in. I didn't know why or how I was going to do it.

I told him the obstacles that were in my way and he didn't try to pitch me any harder. He just said, "Let magic happen," and gave me a dazzling smile. He wasn't flirting and yet it was oddly intimate. As I walked back to the elevator, I knew that I couldn't tell anyone about this or they'd think I was nuttier than they had even imagined I was.

I got back to Mimi in the car. I couldn't put two sentences together so I didn't even try to. Mimi nodded and said, "I told you so." I told her to shut up.

When I got home, the first thing I did was pick up my mail. There, among the bills and the junk, was a residual check from a commercial I did that I thought was long canceled. It was for exactly the amount that the workshop cost. 'Is this some kind of voodoo?' I thought and then I remembered J.C's words: "Let magic happen."

I signed up for the workshop. I didn't know who the heck this guy was and I didn't care. I found a way to make it work. Just the simple act of making this left turn when everyone was telling me to go right helped me get out of my loser frame of mind. For the first time in a long time, I began to feel like a winner. Really.

At the first meeting, there were eight participants sitting around a conference room table, with J.C. at the head. We shared our goals and our dilemmas and then J.C. gave each of us tips and tools to help us get results ... quick results. I was impressed with his no-nonsense style. After a few hours, I realized I'd had a smile on my face the entire time. Why was I so happy? I didn't know but I liked it.

At the third session, the discussion turned toward my acting career, which, at that point, was fading fast. After listening to me talk about having lost my passion for acting, he asked, "When were you passionate about acting?" Well, I'd never thought about it. I couldn't answer. "Were you ever passionate about acting?" he asked.

My face got hot and turned red. I knew the answer. "No," I said quietly. It was embarrassing to admit, but it was true. Uh-oh, this feels like an epiphany. I'd been moseying along in my life in a 'whatever happens, happens' kind of way and I'd seen other folks plan their lives and their futures, but I never thought I had it in me to do that. I thought it had to be in a person's DNA to choose or plan but I discovered I could do that, too.

Ideas like that happened in every workshop every day. It's like I'd had a pencil in my eye my whole life and I finally took it out and, lo and behold, I could see. "This guy knows what he's doing," I thought. And I liked it.

* * *

Now, just three weeks later, he's suggesting that I work alongside him, that he wants to teach me to lead workshops, just like he does. Is he crazy? My skill set up to this point included typing, shorthand, singing and delivering one-liners. "All you have to do is talk to people on the phone and sign them up for the course you just took," J.C. said when I expressed my doubts. "Here, try it." His smooth tan hand picked up the phone and started dialing. I backed away and began to perspire. "No," I protested. "I'm not ready. What about the teaching part, the learning curve?"

"This is the way I teach," he insisted, holding out the phone to me. "Here, it's Janie. Tell her you're returning her call for me and just be you." He stuck the receiver in my hand and left the room laughing.

I wouldn't find out until later that Janie was what he called a looky-loo. She had already called for information about the workshop three times and had never signed up. J.C. had thrown me right into the deep end of the pool.

I swallowed hard and noticed I had that dry throat thing I get whenever I'm scared. J.C.'s in the living room looking through the office window at me, still laughing. "This guy's nuts!" I thought.

"Hi, Janie," I said, my voice now a couple octaves higher than normal. "My name is Barbara and I work with J.C. and ..." Before I can finish my first sentence, Janie starts into a rip-roaring tirade: "I don't want you, I want him! I'm not spending $800 unless I talk to him. He has no right turning me over to some secretary. I'm not important enough to get on the phone himself? How insulting! I heard this was a cult and now I believe it!"

I could have just hung up on her but I didn't. I let her wear herself out. All my life, I've been listening to my family and friends' tirades and the best thing to do is let them exhaust themselves. I'll wait as long as I have to. The trick is to not interrupt.

When the line finally goes quiet I say, "Janie, I don't blame you."

"You don't?" she says, clearly disarmed.

"Nope. The thing is, J.C. leads the workshops and that's where he's headed now," I explained. "Tell me what you want to get out of the workshop. I would like to take care of you so you don't feel ignored."

"I see," she says, finally calming down. "Will YOU be there on Thursday when the workshop begins?" she asked me.

"Of course," I said. "Would you like to give me your credit card number?"

And then she gave it to me. I was stunned. I hung up and J.C. walked in with a cocky smile, knowing he was right about me. "Girl, you got talent," he said, giving me a hug. "Welcome to your new career."

So all I have to do is talk to people and help them succeed and I get paid for it? No learning lines, no competing for jobs, no pretending to eat imaginary cream cheese? This totally works for me. I'm in. Sign me up. I had found my calling.

What Does OPEN UP Mean?

Are you tired of people telling you to "open up?" Or are you tired of trying to get other people to open up? I know people withhold themselves. I wish I could fix it so that they weren't afraid but I don't have a magic wand. I'm just a woman who knows what it's like to have lived a life of either never talking enough or talking too much so I consider myself an expert on this subject.

The Webster Dictionary says that to "withhold" is to hold back, to refrain from giving and sharing. Why would someone who we know to be kind, loving and generous withhold giving and sharing? The answer is fear.

Fear of being wrong. Fear of being embarrassed. Fear of overstepping boundaries. Fear of being hurt. Fear of upsetting someone. Fear of having to take an action. Fear of how they sound. Fear of how they are perceived. Fear of the consequences. Fear of what may change. Fear of being yelled at. Fear of sounding stupid.

Withholders, listen up! If you don't begin to unravel the rope you've wound yourself up in, you may get an ulcer, have a heart attack or, even worse, break out in hives. Okay, that may be a tad dramatic but here's a fact: if you withhold, you could get hurt in other ways. Your silence could frustrate the other party so much that they assume you aren't strong enough to hear what they have to say or that what they are saying is falling on deaf ears. It may sometimes appear like you don't even care. They may also make a decision not to include you anymore because there's no give and take in the conversation.

Speaking up doesn't just help prevent heart failure. It's apt to surprise you. When someone who doesn't ever ask for anything finally gets the nerve to take a risk and ask and takes a risk, they usually get what they ask for. The reason is that they are not a pain in the you-know-what, and maybe, just maybe, the person they're asking had no idea they even wanted something. People aren't mind readers. If withholders don't show their colors, people assume that they are fine and happy and content.

Being silent doesn't necessarily mean you're listening. It could mean that you are freaking out silently and having dialogues in your head that will never be spoken instead of actually hearing what is being said to you. That means you are not "there," "in the moment," "present," whatever you want to call the notion that you took a holiday in your head.

I would never judge whether you are an "open" or "shut" case. My interest is finding out what you do most of the time when you are scared.

OPEN your mind, OPEN your heart, and OPEN your mouth.

What Does SHUT UP Mean?

In the 1960s, there was a doll made by Mattel called Chatty Cathy. It put Mattel in the lead as a doll maker because Chatty Cathy was the first talking doll and as a result, was a surefire hit. When you pulled her string, Cathy said things like "I'm sleepy," "Where are we going?" and "Why don't I ever get taller?" Okay, I made that last one up but you get the point. She talked to you when you pulled her string and in so doing, captured the hearts and imaginations of an entire generation of little girls. That's the good news.

On the other hand, the phrase "Chatty Cathy" soon began to be used in conversation to refer to someone who talks way too much. When friends or co-workers are describing someone that they either don't like or are tired of listening to they call them a "Chatty Cathy" and everyone knows what they are talking about. This could be you!

Why would someone who is enthusiastic, smart, funny and brave be accused of talking too much? The reasons below may be what motivates the chatter.


Excerpted from OPEN UP OR SHUT UP! by Barbara Deutsch Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Deutsch. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Why Me? Why Coach?....................15
What Does Open Up Mean?....................23
What Does Shut Up Mean?....................25
Pilot Light....................29
The Alien....................31
How You Occur....................35
Finding Your Competitive Edge....................39
Calling ... Do You Hear It?....................47
Interested vs. Interesting....................51
Positive Pain....................55
Connecting Authentically vs. Networking....................61
Parallel Thought....................67
Current Communication vs. Confront....................73
My Pilot Light....................79
The Corporate Disaster Story....................83
Secretary and Goliath....................95
Bride vs. Mom-Zilla....................99
The Ups and Downs of Love....................101
Meet the Moochersons....................103
Emotional Cleanup on Aisle 11....................105
Law and Disorder....................107
Ready for My Close up ... or Not....................111
Son, You're Old Enough to Hear This Now....................115
Tune In to Your Tune Up....................117
The Dye Job That Wouldn't Die....................119
What Am I, a Friend or a Taxi Service?....................123
The Accountant Who Counted Too Much....................127
Frequent Flier Flies Off the Handle....................131
The Hard Sell Means No Sell....................135
The Curfew and the Kid....................139
Actors, Auditions and Agents, Oh My!....................143
Hey Doc! Whatever Happened to Bedside Manner?....................147
Shark Attack in the Boardroom....................151
A Lesson for the Teacher....................155
The Famous Andy Garcia Story....................167
Quick Fixes from A to W (No XYZ)....................179
Now Go Live It ....................199

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