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Flash of Burn Out

After many hours of data entry, Cindy was done. She saved the file on the flash drive, handed it off to me to pass on to my client. Great as the client was anxious to have the completed file. I plugged the flash drive into my computer and there on my screen were these “gibberish icons”. I clicked on what looked like the file, and up popped some version of the message, “unable to recognize file”. I cautioned myself not to panic, after all it worked 5 minutes ago, I will just try it again on Cindy’s computer. Same result. Oh, maybe there is reason to panic. I send out an urgent call to my very competent computer guy, explained the situation, and he answers with, “yea, there’s one thing they don’t tell you about flash drives. They burn out.”  To further instill disgust, Cindy had not saved it on her computer’s hard drive having total confidence in the touted and widely used flash drive.

Now I know, as do you: the life of a flash drive is limited to a certain number of “write and erase cycles” (the official terminology). Why did I have to learn this the hard way? Did I miss some directions? Or how about some warning signs? Why did I assume the life of a flash drive is essentially limited only by my memory to recall where I last put it? As I reconciled in my mind and with Cindy that we would simply have to chock it up to lesson learned, and she had to begin the tedious task of data entry again, I had my own mental flash.

As I had once done with my life, and have witnessed others doing with theirs, I assumed that I could handle an infinite number of  “write and erase cycles” without any harm to my body, mind and soul. And like my flash drive, and yours, I did not have any direction or warning as to exactly how much I could take before burning out. I didn’t take precautionary measures to protect the information, to take better care of myself. Common sense escaped me. In many ways, I lost data.

We have created a culture that embraces more is better. Bring it on; I can handle it. “Sure, no problem”, you say confidently to your boss, while you think to yourself, “I guess this means another month of 14 hour days.” And you rationalize that it will be worth it, because you will get that raise or promotion or overtime. Or we go to one more party, accept one more volunteer obligation…the list is endless. Many people survive just fine living this way. Yet, I will contend that at some point in their lives, most will face burn out. One more thing too many and the drive simply burns out. 

It is a fact that flash drives burn out. For people, it is essentially self inflicted for it is a result of our choices. Thus, if we apply common sense, we can avoid it.

  • Nurture your closest relationships for they help restore energy and help you feel appreciated.
  • Recognize when enough is enough. Honor those limits. And learn to say no. I can almost guarantee someone will say yes; it doesn’t have to be you.
  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Eat healthy, particularly avoiding sugar and simple carbohydrates.   
  • Be grateful.
  • Do work that you love.

Extra Ordinary
Take a mindful check: how many more “write and erase” cycles can you take?

When and how do you know when you have had enough? What are those boundaries/limitations? Write them down, refer to them frequently to remind you when doing just one more thing will result in you doing a lot fewer things.

What’s your back-up? Make sure whatever is on your flash drive is saved somewhere else.

About Extra Ordinary Living

Janet began her coaching journey in January of 2004, leaving behind a satisfying career as a healthcare executive. Working first under the company name, Tiberius Enterprises, in January of 2007, Janet adopted the company name, Extra Ordinary Living, symbolizing her desire to work with people who defy the law of average and want to live extraordinary lives, consistently adding the extra to the ordinary. Her by-line embracing sustainable change is reflective of two intentions. First is to have the changes a client makes have long term positive implications. Second is to live a life that respects the importance of sustaining our planet’s lives for generations to follow.

As an Executive Coach, Janet’s intention is to assist service professionals and organizations to maximize their return on human capital….managing human behaviors for optimal outcomes. Janet has repeatedly found that an individual’s professional and personal satisfaction and happiness is often limited by their very own “human capital.” She loves working with people to identify and own their natural tendencies, abilities and talents; to recognize their limitations, and apply all in creating the life they have historically only dreamed about. As a professional coach, Janet is trained to listen, to observe and to customize her approach to match her client’s needs. She provides tools, support, structure and accountability to help her clients unleash their full potential and optimize results.

Having a coach herself for over four years, Janet has found the best thing about coaching is that it is all about you, the client, and what you want. A coach may share her opinion, and give you advice; however, it is all up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept. A coach suspends judgment, and supports you in your decisions.

With the coaching philosophy as her foundation, Janet is also an inspirational Professional Speaker. She has spoken at local, state and national conferences, providing the plenary session as well as more structured workshops. Her goal is to impart useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to assist her audiences in living extra ordinary lives. Janet always customizes her content to match her audience.

 Interested in learning more? Please contact Janet by phone at 540-342-3040, email,, or visit the website,


Janet Crawford MHA, MBA Professional Certified Coach

Extra Ordinary Living is written for aspiring individuals looking for new perspectives and ideas for living life differently by finding the Extra in the Ordinary.

Sustainable Living Tip:


Kids do it. It is how they measure the quality of their day. Play equates to fun. Play brings laughter; taps into creativity; builds our emotional intelligence and is good for our physical health.

Somewhere in our life journey, we condition play right out of our lives. Add it back. Plain and simple. Do something playful every day.   


"Walk in the rain, jump in mud puddles, collect rocks, rainbows and roses, smell flowers, blow bubbles, stop along the way, build sandcastles, say hello to everyone, go barefoot, go on adventures, act silly, fly kites, have a merry heart, talk with animals, sing in the shower, read childrens' books, take bubble baths, get new sneakers, hold hands and hug and kiss, dance, laugh and cry for the health of it, wonder and wander around, feel happy and precious and innocent, feel scared, feel sad, feel mad, give up worry and guilt and shame, say yes, say no, say the magic words, ask lots of questions, ride bicycles, draw and paint, see things differently, fall down and get up again, look at the sky, watch the sun rise and sun set, watch clouds and name their shapes, watch the moon and stars come out, trust the universe, stay up late, climb trees, daydream, do nothing and do it very well, learn new stuff, be excited about everything, be a clown, enjoy having a body, listen to music, find out how things work, make up new rules, tell stories, save the world, make friends with the other kids on the block, and do anything else that brings more happiness, celebration, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self-esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, relaxation, communication and life energy to...all living beings on this planet."

– Bruce Williamson, It's Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood, 1987


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