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When in Doubt, Make the Effort

By Arin Forstenzer

I came across a quote the other day that read, “When in doubt, make the effort.” It went on to explain that this could be anything from getting dressed nicely to doing something for a friend or calling a client rather than sending an email.

In my life I have always found this adage to be true.

To put this concept into practice, the other morning I broke my habit of throwing on yoga pants and a t-shirt and took the time to get dressed nicely, fix my hair and put on makeup. I was shocked at how ready I felt to start my day, despite the fact that I have a home office.

Before my workday began, I made my daily trip to “my” Starbucks down the block. No one was treating me any differently, but knowing I had made an effort to look nice changed my outlook, even during this routine act of getting my tall, non-fat cappuccino. The baristas at the Starbucks are always energized and friendly, but rather than politely smiling and shying away from them, I engaged in a lively conversation before going off to pick up my java. It amazed me how much my own attitude toward people changed by simply throwing on a dress and some mascara instead of my sweatpants.

Just taking the time to get dressed – or call a friend on their birthday rather than sending an e-mail or Facebook wall post, or offering to help someone at your office – makes an impact on your own mood and the attitude others have about you.


A Talk with Karen Cortell Reisman: The story behind personal letters from Albert Einstein

This is part one of Karen Cortell Reisman’s interview with Marlene Jones of the Chicago Examiner.

Karen Cortell Reisman is an author, motivational speaker, and cousin to Albert Einstein. She is a communications expert and executive public speaking coach who has coached thousands of people. In her one-woman show, Letters from Albert Einstein, she brings wisdom and insight from personal letters from her cousin, Albert Einstein, to audiences around the country.

Karen, when did you first find out about the personal letters from Albert Einstein?



They have been a part of my knowledge base since I was born. I’ve always had this knowledge. The relationship is between (Einstein and) my father’s mother -all my father’s side of the family, Marlene. Einstein and my grandmother were friends their entire life. In fact, in Europe, they somewhat grew up together. They weren’t in the same place, but they had a lifelong friendship and a lifelong correspondence. So, when I grew up, my parents already had some of the letters from Einstein and they were just a part of (my life). I mean my mother had some of them framed and in a corner. She had them framed in K-Mart frames, using masking tape or scotch tape on the back to keep them in the frame. And of course today, an archivist would die to see that.

What surprised you most about those letters?

I would say the genuine closeness and admiration that Einstein had for my family, particularly my grandmother and thereby… my father. He admired people for their strengths and my grandmother had those strengths. She was a very dynamic, insightful, funny, bright human being and he saw those characteristics in her.


Your one-woman show, Letters from Einstein, includes wisdom from Einstein and touches on family stories from the holocaust. How have people responded to your keynote, Letters from Einstein?How has social media affected your ability to get your message out?

I like social media. I’m probably not using it to the extent it can be used – I mean I have some fan pages on facebook, and the one I find the most helpful is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is helpful to me in getting out my message about my business. And by linking in to many, many different people, then I can go and see whom we have in common, so it is easier for me to open up doors, to have conversations with decision makers.

This is Part One in a series of two articles based on my interview with Karen Cortell Reisman. Watch for Part Two to hear what Karen has to say about improving your public speaking and communicating well on social media.

Contact me at marleneExaminer@me.com if you would like to share your story about how social media has affected your life or your success.

Happily, I will tell you that all audiences respond…It doesn’t have to be an audience where people are very familiar with the holocaust… Everybody responds to the story. I’m very clear when I share my keynote that I am honored to have this legacy of being related to Albert Einstein, but it is a passive event in my life. I am in awe of what my mom’s side of the family did in order to survive during extremely difficult times… But all of us, through design or by default, have to survive and overcome obstacles in our lives.


Disconnected in our Connected World

By Rachel Schwarz

The ability of Facebook and text messaging to keep us in touch with each other faster than ever before is impressive in its own right. However, I am concerned that with these technological tools at our fingertips, it’s also easier to sit on a couch and interact with people in cyberspace instead of in human-to-human situations. Tone, emotion, and intention don’t translate the same way over the Internet, and it’s disconcerting to wonder how this decreasing need for human interaction is negatively affecting the communication skills of younger generations. And I’m only in my early twenties!

When I was in high school, we would pick up our phones and call each other in order to plan our night. Now, teenagers simply send out a mass text, meet up, and then only spend half the time paying attention to their real-life surroundings because they’re too busy texting and facebooking others instead of getting involved in what’s happening around them.

No matter how good the video quality is on the iPhone 4, or how fast Twitter can document the trending topics, there is no replacement for good, old-fashioned human contact. We’ve become slaves to our technologies, and it’s become commonplace to leave our cell phones on the table during meals, respond to work e-mails at 11pm, and be up-to-date on the latest celebrity gossip because ‘everyone’s been tweeting about it’.

I propose that it’s time we re-evaluate the necessity of our social outlets. Get rid of them? Absolutely not. Remember that there’s more to life than a 17-inch computer screen and a text message inbox? Yes. Go grab dinner with a group of friends tonight, because there’s no substitute for real life.

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