Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in May, 2017

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