Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker
[ If you’re interested in a particular theme or topic I write about,
quickly find it in the blog by subject archives.]

It's Not About Time 

WHAT DO YOU WANT? Do you want to halt the busyness commandeering your life? Replace overwhelmed with control and balance? Or maybe you’d like to have more time with the people and endeavors that matter to you? Perhaps you’d like to explore, discover, and embrace life’s wonders? Or, write that book, coach your child’s soccer team, volunteer in the community, reach career aspirations, go back to school, start your own business, or exercise more?

Think hard. What do you want? Do you want to be engaged in your life’s work, live well, feel great, share joys with the love of your life, raise wonderful children, contribute to your community, change the world or at least your part of it, and live your life’s potential? Don’t we all!

Sure, in the big scheme of things we do want those things, or ones like them. But in a world-of-overwhelmed, that seems too lofty. Maybe what you want, right now, is just more sleep, a walk in the woods, or an uninterrupted conversation with a friend? Or maybe it’s time to organize that closet that’s bugging you, read the novel you got for your birthday, or experience two unscheduled hours to do whatever you’d like?

The reality is our wants and our time demands collide. Like the ebb and flow of life, the time we have (continue reading →)

It's Not About Time 

culturaldifferencesAs a colleague of Nan’s; I often post on Current Musings about work, life and the blending of the two. As 2016 comes to an end and a new year is around the corner; it seems like a perfect time for a bit of inspiration. So in this month’s post, my hope is you’ll find that inspiration.

In the words of Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves.”

And, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Lastly, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

We’d love to hear what inspires you. A quote? An idea? A story? Let us know.


dickens-jpgBehind glass and in a weathered frame, an embroidered sampler hangs on my office wall. It’s dated 1883. On the left side is a simple Christmas tree outlined in green thread and highlighted with ornaments and candles; on the right is an embroidered Scrooge quote from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”

Its charming style suggests the work of young hands learning embroidery. Years ago, I bought it in an out-of-the-way antique shop in Pennsylvania, where we lived at the time, as a Christmas present for my mother in California. With her love of both Christmas and children, it seemed to call her name For three decades she had it on her living room wall, returning it to me as a gift a few years ago when she took ill.

Its message is the one I need this year. While holiday music plays, festive decorations abound, wintry weather nips, and gift ideas and special programming work to nudge me toward holiday cheer, my (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things 

russell-frontcover-copyMy new book will be out in January. Here’s a preview:

What’s it about? Achieving what you want at work and in life, and thriving in the process, goes beyond time. Readers will glean specific strategies, tactics, and self-managing behaviors to enable results, increase effectiveness, and enhance well-being. It’s Not About Time offers real-world how-tos, reflective exercises, and tips that yield higher returns on invested time, insights about the choices we make, and periodic doses of “tough-love” peppered with reality trends.

What are people saying? “For all you busy-holics out there, THIS book is your wake up call! This is not another cheesy self-help book, but a call to action to take back control over your life. Nan’s experience driven insights inspires you to step back & reassess the energy you are putting into areas that aren’t serving your soul. A must read for aspiring dream-makers, make-it-happeners, and life-maximizers of the world!” —HANNAH BISE, Director of HR & Employee Development, Daydreamer Concepts

It's Not About Time, Life 

drum-publicdomain-jpeg“He who cannot dance will say: the drum is bad.” Too many people I’ve encountered use a philosophy akin to this African proverb to navigate their work. It’s easier to blame the drum or the boss, the co-worker or the company. Easier to criticize the workload, the training or lack of it, the pay or one’s upbringing. And easier to fault anything and everyone rather than their own actions, choices, and results.

I hear too many creative excuses and too much blaming and finger pointing from people honing the craft of deflecting reflection. To them, it’s always the drum or the drummer, never the dancer. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. Blame. Blame. Blame.

You’ll recognize them from their mantras: “It’s not (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

I’m a colleague of Nan’s. And, I often post on Current Musings about work, life and the intersection of the two. With so much noise coming towards us every minute of the day and night – from tweets, posts, texts, to phone messages, TV, news media; you get the idea, it’s challenging to have quiet moments to ourselves.

This week, I finally captured two hours to unplug from everyone, everything and just ‘be’. Like you, there are many things grabbing my attention and gnawing at me. So it’s difficult to slow my mind,  jumping from one thought to another but I persisted. Fast-forward: I believe it was time well-spent; I have a healthier perspective, improved focus and increased energy. If you happen to have similar feelings, schedule a couple of hours for YOU!

One of my gnawing thoughts had to do with apologies. Too many (continue reading →)


weeds-publicdomain-jpgAs I write from an upstairs home office, I can see the weeds, each day appearing more robust than the day before. A variety of them abound — thick, tall ones reaching more than two feet, and pointy, prickly ones spreading as definitive tuffs across the yard. There are sticker bushes and vine-like crawlers fighting for space, too.

Every morning timed sprinklers nourish the weeds’ thirst and accelerate their growth. One enterprising weed even broke through the asphalt in front of the house to caress a white Subaru that hasn’t moved in months. There are people, decades younger than me, who live in the house. They emerge most days via car or motorcycle, zooming off as if in quick retreat.

The weeds weren’t there when we moved to this neighborhood a few months ago. Back then, the house didn’t (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things 

road-aheadWhen faced with catching a fly ball, Lucy missed again. “The past got in my eyes,” she told Charlie Brown, “I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I’d missed.”

I’ve known hundreds of workplace Lucys. People who let their past get in the way of their future; who self-determine what they’re going to do, can do, or might be able to do by what they didn’t do, haven’t done, or even failed at. They stay aligned to their past like a Peanuts comic strip philosophy.

Past-focused people sabotage themselves with yesterday’s mantras that become today’s expectations: “Yeah, we tried that before and it didn’t work;” “I got rejected once already so I’m not going to make that mistake again;” or “No one listens to my ideas.”

What they miss is this: that may have been true yesterday, but (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

20160730_143030_resized-360x640-2-copy-copy“We’ll help you through it,” my 9-year-old granddaughter offered, followed by her 7-year-old sister’s “Don’t worry, Nana, I’ll hold your hand.” And so it was that I watched The Wizard of Oz, making it through a movie for the first time that delivered frequent nightmares to me as a child, and for six decades pushed me from any room where it was playing.

Thinking it funny that I feared The Wizard of Oz, years ago my son at 12 or 13, gave me a Wicked-Witch-of-the-West figurine as a joke. I keep it in my office as a reminder to embrace the popular philosophy: “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” But I never did that with The Wizard of Oz. When my granddaughters spied that green-faced-witch on the credenza of my new office, they asked why I had it. It was that day I told them more then (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things