Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in June, 2016

two pathsReading in the airport while waiting for a flight, a housekeeper was tidying around me when approached by another facilities employee. After a few minutes of easily overheard chit-chat, she received coaching from her now apparent supervisor.

“You know,” he said “I’d like you to pace yourself.” Intrigued by his words, I stopped reading to eavesdrop and heard as he told her, “You’re doing too good a job. You don’t need to work this hard.”

“I like my area clean and looking good for everyone,” she said, confused by his direction. “Anyway, I get all my work done.”

When they parted several minutes later, her body language was not one of relief, but despair. Clearly a person taking pride in her work, the boss’s unfolding message was not about (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

I’m a colleague of Nan’s. I regularly post to this blog, about work, life and sometimes the blending of the two.

At this time of year there is an abundance of wedding and graduation celebrations.  It is common to hear messages of inspiration and pieces of wisdom during these life events. Perhaps, you’ve even seen Harvard Dean James Ryan’s commencement speech delivered a couple of weeks ago. It’s been circulating on social media. It is a bit different than many commencement addresses, it includes five questions to ask yourself as you move through life + a bonus question. Here are the questions:

question-mark25 Essential Questions in Life*

  1. Wait, what?
  2. I wonder, why/if
  3. Couldn’t we at least?
  4. How can I help?
  5. What really matters? (to me)

Bonus Question – Did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?

It is question (continue reading →)


ColoradoI was born in Whitefish, Montana, leaving without choice at age three when my father couldn’t find work after the Hungry Horse Dam Project finished. But my grandparents remained and Montana stayed part of my life.

My grandfather was a mechanic on the red busses in Glacier National Park and I have great memories as a child hiking its trails, boating on Flathead Lake, and go-carting at my Uncle Ole’s wheat farm in the eastern part of the state.

As long as I can remember, Montana has been part of my life. Even as an adult, living in Pennsylvania with my husband and son, we’d plan most summers around a trip to Glacier. Eventually, Glacier became my extended family’s gathering spot for reunions every few years. So much so (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things