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.]

Why is Baby Yoda reading my book:  It’s Not About Time?  Maybe he agrees with me that how we use time reflects who and what we value. 

Today’s musings | My favorite thought about time is from Superman actor, Christopher Reeve, who at 43 suffered a fall from a horse, leaving him a paraplegic and reducing his lifespan. “All time is sacred time,” he said. While there are days I need reminding, I do think of time that way, in the sense of cherished and blessed to have. It’s a gift denied many, like the brother-in-law I never knew who died at fifteen. Above a bookcase in my office, a plaque nudges me to consider time’s non-renewable status this way: “Enjoy this moment … for this moment is your life.” And while all moments cannot be enjoyed, it is still the moments, of the good and bad times, that make a life.

It's Not About Time, Life, Thoughts about ... 

Why a picture of Baby Yoda & Baby Mini? They make me smile and sit on desk, or around my office, while I write. I love Baby Yoda. And Baby Mini was a recent gift from my husband who also likes to see me smile.)

Today’s musings | It took me a few decades to understand that who I am and my worth as a human being has nothing to do with my title or paycheck or job. It took half a career to realize that making a living and making a life are not the same thing. Now in this life-chapter, I’m clear that I just want to be me. But it turns out, becoming who you are capable of becoming is a lifetime process. That’s because it’s not about the doing, it’s about the being, in the deepest sense of the concept. When we are able to show up and be who we are capable of being, at a soul level, it makes a better world for all of us. That for me, is a vision worth working towards, and is, perhaps, the most important work any of us can do.

Thoughts about ... 

In the Scheme of Things 

“We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” ~ Roger Ebert

(Updated reprint of a 2017 Nan Russell Thanksgiving post)

Some people collect coins or books, kaleidoscopes or post cards. While I can add my name to tangible collections through the years, what I really collect is quotations that speak to me, like the one above. As if a treasure unearthed, when I find a quotation that nudges me, inspires me, or touches my soul, I savor it.

I added this quote to my collection after the 2013 death of Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert, whose cancer battle left him unable to speak for the last few years of his life.

While reading about his life, I found his words humbling. They were written by Ebert after more than a decade with debilitating and disfiguring health issues. I’m grateful to have found Ebert’s words. Every time I read them, they encourage me to try a bit harder, to be less self-absorbed, and to contribute more joy.

It’s not hard to contribute a bit of joy every day — acknowledging others’ contributions, smiling at a stranger, being there for family or friends, helping a neighbor, listening without judgment, or telling someone how much we care.

Still, we often don’t. We get caught in our swirl of life — our own busyness and dramas and troubles — absorbed in our (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

Job loss in good times is a disturbing, distressing experience. But these are not good times. Economic upheaval, social unrest, a deadly worldwide pandemic, and uncertainty about the future brings with it individual and collective psychological trauma.

Everyone’s job loss experience is different, even if it resulted from a similar event — e.g. economic upheaval during 2020 Pandemic, corporate acquisition, leadership change, etc. While such an event may be the catalyst, our situation, finances, goals, skills, and motivation are as individual as we are.

While my experience is different from yours, my interest in job loss impact began early. I was fired from my first professional job and experienced the emotional upheaval and reduced self-esteem job loss triggers.

No matter how it happens, job loss impacts us on many levels. Some we can see, such as diminished financial well-being, sleep interruptions, and reduced energy. And some we can’t see. Either way, how we appear on the outside may be vastly different from our inner world and well-being.

This eBook was born from that latter vantage point — the inner impact of job loss. I’ve worked with hundreds of people through the years, including during and after the Great Recession, to help them bring the best of who they are to their work and life. My role is as a catalyst, helping people find and use their own good wisdom.

I don’t pretend to have the answers, nor do I profess to (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Resources, Tips, Winning at Working 

Today I bought two books: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. I decided I need to learn more, listen more, and understand more.

A few years ago, I wrote about soul-courage in my book, The Titleless Leader this way: “Many of us stay waiting and hoping someone else will step up, take ownership, or make things happen. We’re afraid to speak up, admit we’re wrong, challenge a myth, or engage an adversary. But people using soul-courage understand there’s an inner risk if they’re not offering a best-self approach. They step up in challenging times, knowing action feels better than inaction and commitment feels better than non-commitment. We’re drawn to people who raise the bar for themselves and others. Their soul-courage nudges our own. They know what they’re for and it differentiates them. The difference between being for something versus against something is significant. When you’re for something, you’re working toward what you want to bring about or contribute to, and that shifts accountability, energy, and commitment. Being for something requires strength of convictions and a willingness to stand up for them.”

I am for Black Lives Matter. I am for the freedoms and values proclaimed in the Bill of Rights and Constitution to be the reality and truth for all people of these United States. I am for those like me, with white privilege, to understand more, listen more, and contribute more to a shared better future. And I am for all people of goodwill who shine light and love in the world.

In the Scheme of Things, Leadership, Life 

 

I haven’t posted in a while. There are many reasons for that, none of which matter at the moment.

What matters right now is how we, together, can support each other and navigate a collective and bright future.

In the scheme of things, our actions have the power to make a difference.

 

 

Life, Quotes 

Some people collect coins or books, kaleidoscopes or post cards. From flea market enthusiasts to junk-yard pickers, you name it and someone seems to collect it. While I can add my name to tangible collections through the years, what I really collect is quotations.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to sayings and quotations of insightful and thoughtful words that offer a bit of inspiration, re-frame my thinking, or provide encouragement. I’m amazed how a sentence or two can do that for me.

Like a treasure unearthed, when I find a quotation that speaks to me, I have to have it. For the past 32 years, I’ve logged favorites in a database (thanks to my techie husband), acquiring quite literally thousands of quotations for daily reflections or nuggets for writing and sharing.

A new addition to my collection came after the 2013 death of Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert, whose cancer battle left him unable to speak for the last few years. While reading about his life, I found these words by Ebert written after more than a decade with debilitating and disfiguring health issues:

“We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

That simple thought — a request of sorts to “try to contribute joy” — humbled me. It’s not (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life 

“That’s my dream,” I overheard her telling a friend in the dressing room next to mine. “But it will never happen,” she added quietly, “I might as well forget it.” But she hadn’t given up. Not yet anyway. An unmistakable sliver of hope was embedded in the word, “might.”

The substance of her dream didn’t matter. What caught my heart was the ache in her voice. That overheard conversation happened more than a decade ago. At the time, her words reflected my own dream-struggle, barely held together with a frayed emotional tether being weakened by each rejection. I was seriously considering giving up my life-dream of being a writer.

My growing fear about that happening nudged my persistence, as a long forgotten line from the movie Flashdance, echoed my biggest worry that: “When you give up your dream, you die.” It was around that time, my husband gave me a plaque that sits on the bookcase in front of me. It reads “Dream Really Big” in bright colors. He knew, like I did, that something in my soul would die if I gave up on my life-dream.

I didn’t give up, and a few months later I got the opportunity to write for a regional magazine. Two years later, I (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things, Life