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Living in the Margin

“I will create more margin in my life”, an answer given by a participant when asked what she would do differently as a result of her attendance at the conference. She went on to describe what that would look like….time to choose what she wanted to do versus what she was scheduled to do; time simply to be; time between scheduled appointments rather than being continually rushed to avoid getting behind; time to “hang” with my children; time…. And as she described this, I could see the associated feelings of joy, happiness, peace, contentment come forth and actually shift her physical presence: her smile became more prominent and less taut; her tone of voice lightened and her shoulders relaxed. All simply by visualizing what life with more margin would be like.

Margin…a border; an extra amount allowed beyond what is needed; a quantity or degree of advantage (American Heritage Dictionary). I can’t help but think back to my grammar school days where it was drilled into me, “don’t write in the margin.” The margins that were clearly marked on the page, providing a protective border, an extra amount. And if I chose not to heed the instruction, out came the teacher’s red pen and down went my grade. It was as if the margins were sacred space.

While I am not sure of the value of the margins on a piece of paper, I am sure of the value of having margin in life. It is sacred space, yet we often treat it as not. The margins are where we truly link our body, mind and spirit. Where we align our thoughts and attitudes with our actions, see possibilities, and expand our perspectives. Living in the margin is essential to living a life fully honoring our values, talents and dreams; in essence, ourselves.

Most of us are living a life without margins. The page is full, there is no room for the teacher’s markings, and there is no space for anything else, although we somehow keep squeezing more in, writing smaller and smaller to fit it all on the line. We book our days with appointments, errands and sundry activities; we find ourselves rushing hither and yon, passing our loved ones in the night. Occasionally we will find a margin here and there, that aha moment captured around the dinner table or observing the sky, full moon and all. We accidentally stumble upon them and our day’s experience is enriched because of them.

Creating margin requires us to be more intentional about living. To be willing to say no; to set limits; and to seek more, to put the extra in the ordinary. The participant equated margin to time because that is typically what we think of.  However, no matter what we do we cannot create any more time. It is finite as that is how man has defined it. Creating margin is about choice, about being more cognizant of the choices we make so that we create and maintain margin in our life. Living with margin doesn’t mean living a life of sacrifice, rather it means living a life of abundance. Don’t believe me, give it a try.

Extra Ordinary

What would living life with more margin look like for you?

What choices can you make now to create more margin?

What are you getting now from living life with/without margin?

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:

Sustainable Lighting
You have seen those strange looking bulbs on the shelves. Intrigued, you look at them some more, notice the price, and if like me, reach for the standard. At least that is what I used to do.

Not any more, as I commit to living a life that helps our world be a better place, not to mention making wiser investments with my financial resources. Compact fluorescent  light bulbs use about 25% of the energy of standard light bulbs, and they last up to ten times longer.
What’s the saying, “penny wise, pound foolish”. That is truly what we are being if we continue buying standard light bulbs, no matter the deals we can get.

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. (

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans."
– John Lennon

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you... while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
– John Muir

EOL Upcoming Events:

Leaping to YES
Join us in a weekend of personal discovery to identify ways to have that YES feeling every day, several times a day. The YES feeling you ask? YES, the feeling that resonates from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, that causes you to pause and celebrate, and then propels you forward.

If you are a woman itching to say YES to life: all that it has to offer and all that you have to offer it, this retreat-to-advance is for you. Your facilitators Dr. Joanne Greenawald and Janet Crawford will guide you in a process of self discovery that will result in the development of a plan created just for you by you, designed to attract more YES into your life.

When: The evening of February 29, 2007 to noon on March 2, 2007.

Other details will follow in my next ezine.

Say YES to you, and YES to all life has to offer. Join us!


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