Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker
 
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quickly find it in the blog by subject archives.]

 

This is name of Chapter 1 of my new book, It’s Not About Time – How to Thrive and Get the Results You Want at Work and in Life! Do you want to halt the busyness commandeering your life? Or maybe you’d like to have more time with the people and endeavors that matter to you? Or maybe what you want right now, is just more sleep? The reality is our wants and time demands often collide. It’s about choices. One of the first choices is the art of self-managing as a primary focus.

It's Not About Time 

The first time it was loud scratching that pulled me from a deep sleep. Before I could nudge my husband awake and turn on the lamp, the terrified squirrel had jumped from the wall near the bed to a wall further away. I watched him rapidly scale the reclaimed barn wood of our cabin bedroom loft. By first light, our patience and brooms had prevailed. We guided him toward an open door, relieved that he ran toward the nearest Lodgepole pine.

The second time we were sleeping with a squirrel, it was more unsettling. We were away on business and got a call from the person looking after our house. He said he’d encountered a frantic squirrel in our house when he arrived to check it.

Realizing a squirrel was with us the night before we left, I found frightening. I’d (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

The “wisdom” on my refrigerator has changed through the years. As a young mother, Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem “Children Learn What They Live” was there. Later, quotes like Sophia Loren’s: “Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life” found their way. And today? It’s a Pinterest find, “There are people who would love to have your bad days.”

It’s true. I’m an incurable quote lover. Given the number of quotations tweeted, posted, pinned, and shared, some of you are, too. I started collecting snippets of wisdom shortly after my brother, Craig, gave me a book when he left for college. The Treasure Chest contained quotations, poems, sentiments, and prayers from the “Great Minds of 2500 Years.” I devoured it as a teenager trying to figure out my own views. It still has prominent shelf space next to other books I’ve acquired filled with inspirational and thought provoking words.

Given my big appetite for “refrigerator wisdom,” and this being my 14th anniversary of writing for Montana Woman Magazine, I put together my own wisdom snippets — one for each year of writing “In the Scheme of Things.” It’s my way to say thank you for (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

I tried time management, increased efficiency, being more productive, working more hours plus weekends-and-nights during a first-act career that took me from a minimum wage employee, through various management roles, to a Vice President of a multibillion dollar company. At the same time I was a wife, mom, and sometimes elder care giver, seeking to have “balance” in my “real life” while trying to squeeze in time to work on a few life dreams along the way.

Some years I did okay; some I didn’t. For the first decade and a half of that career, I got accustomed to bouts-of-overwhelmedness I held inside, scarfing extra strength Excedrin throughout the day, highlighted with increasing side-trips of anger, frustration, lashing out at those I loved most, plus the occasional health scare.

Maybe I was just slow at recognizing my own stress limits and signs back then. But one day, midway through that career, I found myself unable to get out of bed—overwhelmed and exhausted. I was emotionally spent, with no more to give to anyone. I spent the day in bed, reading and crying my way through a book that sparked my thinking.

That book, and others I devoured after it, served as catalysts for me to see a different path and to gradually transform from being a passenger in my life to being its driver. Years of reading, research, thinking, exploring, self-discovery, reflection, teaching, and learning later, I still don’t presume to know what is best for anyone other than me, and even then I’m not always sure. But, I do know those who get great results, the results they want for their lives, are masters at managing themselves.

Myth: You need employer support for work-life balance
This is the myth of balance: that work is separate from life.

Real balance isn’t something someone gives you. It’s not a program, but a mindset. And it doesn’t come from the outside. Consider that 429 million paid vacation days in a given year are left unused by U.S. employees. Despite cries of “overwhelmed” just 51 percent of employees (continue reading →)

It's Not About Time 

Thriving and getting the results you want happens when you understand, at a core level, no one can rescue you from you and your busyness, or live your life for you. Nobody but you. That’s what people who self-manage understand.

It's Not About Time 

I was born in Montana, left as a toddler, returning in my fifth decade for a second act career as a writer. It was then I first met and worked with Native Americans. Previously, I hadn’t known anyone who didn’t have an arriving-to-America story in their family history.

While many of us have relatives, perhaps generations ago, who made a conscious decision to come to this country, that’s not true for everyone, of course. A few people were already here, some tagged along as children, and others were brought against their will.

Along my life’s way, growing up in California, attending graduate school in Michigan, raising a family in Pennsylvania, living in the Rocky Mountain states of Montana and Colorado, I’ve heard hundreds of why-we-came stories from people I knew personally.

Some stories are fresh with tears and struggles, others generations old where details have been lost or blurred. But the why seems to remain. On my mother’s side, they came for religious freedom; on my father’s a chance for (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

It’s a toss-up world. Sometimes what we encounter is truthful, sometimes it’s not; sometimes a picture is real, sometimes manipulated; sometimes a statement or “news” story is factual, sometimes “over-exaggerated,” fabricated, or plagiarized. In this kind of world, trust can seem naïve, gullible, and foolhardy.

Of course, sometimes it is. Not everyone is trustworthy. But, the reality is all people never have been and never will be. From snake-oil salesmen to the seller of the Brooklyn Bridge, there have always been scammers, cheaters, and manipulators. Technology may have changed, but the challenge of knowing how, when, and whom to trust hasn’t. It’s still an essential skill for anyone who wants to be winning at working.

In a complex, changing world with social media influence and a 24/7 connectivity of people, it’s easy for anyone — even the trust-savvy and trust-skilled — to make trust mistakes. However, some are easier to avoid than others.

Three Essential Winning at Working Trust Don’ts:

  • Don’t allow the halo effect to extend your trust perimeter. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a halo effect is: “The tendency of a favorable (or unfavorable) impression created by an individual in one area to influence one’s judgment of him or her in another.” You wouldn’t allow your auto mechanic to do your root canal, so don’t apply the equivalent elsewhere. Just because someone is successful or competent in their role doesn’t mean they’re trustworthy in other roles or areas. Be wary of giving trust-passes stemming from the halo effect.
  • Don’t blanket trust or distrust, or extend or withhold trust, based on title, position, or role. Neighborhood priests and test-changing teachers offer headline examples against a trust blanketing approach. A person’s role or status (or race, gender, religion, or community) doesn’t determine trustworthiness. A person at the top of an organization isn’t inherently more or less worthy of trust than someone in an entry position. All leaders, salespeople, construction workers, business owners, doctors, police officers, protestors, students, politicians, neighbors, or friends aren’t the same — i.e. all trustworthy or all not. Trust is about individuals, not groups. Be careful about the trust-blankets you throw.
  • Don’t judge only what someone says; judge what they do against what they say. Actions, at least consistent ones, do speak louder than words. But those actions don’t speak in a vacuum. Our words provide the backdrop for how our actions are measured. It’s that alignment between words and actions that creates behavioral integrity, which is a foundation for trust. Don’t give your trust to people whose words and actions are misaligned — who say one thing and do another– or those whose actions demonstrate a belief that their words apply only to others, not themselves. Pay attention to mismatched words and actions, including your own.

(continue reading →)

Trust Inc, Winning at Working 

Life happens with or without our participation in it. By holding back engagement you lose the joy, love, and opportunities it holds, simply because they’re not the ones you seek.

 

It's Not About Time, Life, Quotes 

I’m on the radio show, “Thank God For Monday” with Brother Greg – Saturday, March 11 @ 8:30 AM EST – discussing my new book It’s Not About Time. 

It's Not About Time  Comments closed

It was one of those unwanted travel days. Stuck overnight in an interim city after a canceled flight from arctic weather, we were in second-day clothes. Using provided airline kits to brush our teeth and hair, we attempted to create some look of presentability.

Our day was spent waiting to hear if flights resumed, while working in a darkened hotel hallway after room check-out. By the time we took the late afternoon shuttle to the airport, all we wanted was to get home. Several hours later, we did.

Anxious to collect luggage and head home to warm showers, we found ourselves instead waiting in a long line to report missing luggage. I couldn’t help hearing the conversation behind me between a father and (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things