Itâ€™s taken a few decades and the arrival of my third book, The Titleless Leader, for me to understand that I am a writer. Iâ€™m not a writer because I write books, or articles or blogs, but because writing is how I â€śtake-inâ€ť and process my world.
As if housed in my DNA, writing helps me discover what I think or feel or dream. It helps me make sense of what happens or doesnâ€™t happen. And as an introvert, writing enables me to express my thoughts and ideas.
But, itâ€™s more than that. Just like my musician father shared his soul through his music, writing gives voice to mine. Being a writer isnâ€™t what I do, itâ€™s who I am. My father earned his living as a Credit Union manager, but he came alive through his music.
That difference is more than words. I havenâ€™t chosen writing as my profession â€“ itâ€™s chosen me as my expression.
Each of us processes and orients in our own way. Some people are runners, gardeners, singers, painters, dancers, crafters, organizers, teachers, inventors, designers, problem-solvers, caregivers, storytellers, nurturers. These may or may not be their profession, but it is how they experience their lifeâ€™s zest, and add their voice to their world.
Being a writer is different from being an author. Not because of being published, but because of being public. All my life Iâ€™ve been a writer. But, having people read my work when itâ€™s written from my own voice for others to react to, is less than a decade old experience for me. There is a rawness and vulnerability that comes with the sharing.
Yet, in the scheme of things, Iâ€™ve only found my voice with help. I realize that while Iâ€™m a writer alone, Iâ€™m an author because of others. From my eighth-grade teacher who planted possibility seeds of what I could do, to my mother who painstakingly corrected my sloppy spelling and grammar as a child; from bosses who gave me opportunities to develop my skills, to friends and family who believed in my dreams; from readers who encouraged my attempts, to my husband who picked me up after many setbacks, Iâ€™m an author because you helped me become one.
In the words of Althea Gibson, â€śNo matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.â€ť Thank you for helping me share my words.
I left the corporate world a few years ago to pursue a life-dream to work and write from the mountains of northwestern Montana. Today Iâ€™m Â the author of 3 career books, a professional speaker, and workplace consultant. Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to share workplace insights with a wide variety of people, from coal miners and Navy engineers to college students and senior leaders at nonprofits and Fortune 100 corporations.
My books include The Titleless Leader: How to Get Things Done When Youâ€™re Not in Charge (2012); Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Way (2008); and Nibble Your Way to Success: 56 Winning Tips for Taking Charge of Your Career (2007). I also write a work insights column called Winning at Working, job loss recovery articles for Job-Hunt.org, and I blog Â for PsychologyToday.com.
Before moving to Montana, I spent twenty years in leadership positions in human resources, communication, marketing and line management, in a varied career that took me from a minimum wage employee (after being fired from my first professional job) to a Vice President of multibillion dollar QVC.Â I hold degrees from Stanford and the University of Michigan, both in psychology.
I donâ€™t see work in a traditional job sense. To me,Â oneâ€™s â€śworkâ€ť is about becoming who you are capable of becoming. To that end, my passion in writing and speaking is to be a catalyst of sorts; helping people bring the best of who they are to the world, realize their dreams, and live their lifeâ€™s potential. Â More at www.nanrussell.com.