Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in August, 2015

Not-meA common pastime at work, it seems, is pointing out flaws, missteps, and problems – especially the boss’s, a coworker’s down the hall, or that roadblock person in some other department.

Stories of performance and style inadequacies, or snippets of memorable negative encounters can be repeated for days or even weeks. Some live perpetually in the work-culture, fueling rumors about a perceived inept, difficult, or bureaucratic department or person based on years-ago happenings.

Certainly, difficult people, poor leaders, and problems exist at work. But, the reality is (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

As a colleague of Nan’s I often post here about work and sometimes life. This month is the 100th anniversary of American Poet, Robert Frost’s well-known poem, The Road Not Taken. It has been a favorite of mine for many years and one of a handful of poems I’ve memorized. I thought I’d share it here. Enjoy!
The Road Not Takenroad
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


weddingringsOn the day before our 40th-wedding anniversary at the beginning of August, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a hundred guests there to celebrate, I’ll be officiating my niece’s wedding. By the time you read this, they’ll be married.

It’s a new experience for me and a bit out of my comfort zone. Not the speaking to a hundred people so much, but the tear-free challenge it poses. Let me clarify. I’m good at crying. I cry at weddings, cards, movies, news, stories, graduations, Christmas, and most anything that touches my heart. Some might label me a sentimentalist, an empathizer, or a soft-hearted person.

It’s part of who I am and I’m good with that; it even helps me as a writer. But sometimes my heart connection brings challenges. At my son’s wedding, I only managed not to cry by biting the inside of my cheek harder and harder until that overwhelmed-with-love-emotion was calmed. But I can’t bite my mouth while conducting a wedding ceremony.

While profoundly honored to be asked, the crying-question lingered after my enthusiastic “yes” months ago. How will I stop tears from coming when I (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things 

ericAs a colleague of Nan’s I often post here (though it has been several weeks) about work, life and sometimes how intertwined they often are. Recently, I had a rare opportunity to ‘hang’ with my almost 27 year old son for a couple of months. He is one of those humans who lives ‘in the moment’ and being with him I experienced it first-hand. How do you do that, I asked him one evening as we drove on a dark twisted unpaved road in Costa Rica; on our way to a restaurant someone mentioned prepared delicious local dishes. He shrugged his shoulders, “I guess I am more comfortable being uncomfortable.” I’ve been thinking about that idea on and off since. Wondering what that might look like for me. So, I’ve identified a few situations where I’m uncomfortable.  Here’s where I landed —

Asking for Help – I don’t know about you but this is a big UNCOMFORTABLE for me. Maybe you don’t want to seem foolish. Or stupid. Or dependent. Or needy. Or imperfect. Not knowing how to do something or (continue reading →)

Life, Tips