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Sustainable  Roots 

Yes, it is February. The month that begins with the ground hog giving us his indication of how many more days of winter, and thus, how long do we have to wait until spring. Spring, when I can awake with the sun and not be late to work; when I see bright colors in the landscape and hear the sounds of nature as they come alive; and when I have the opportunity to enjoy some hours of daylight after work. If I am not careful, I start wishing away the last half of winter, negating my intention to make the most of every moment, every day, finding the value and beauty in what lies around me, especially as I strive to make 2008 great.

The other evening I was driving home as the sun was setting, as usual, caught up in my thoughts. And then I rounded a bend and saw one of the beautiful images of the winter season: the silhouette of the trees lining the mountain ridge, with the setting sun providing a background of orange, red and yellow hues. Amazing. The trees, stripped of their leaves and color, still presenting a beauty and grace all their own as their mosaic of branches and limbs reach for the sun and sky, and sway freely in the wind.

The tree. Providing profound beauty in its barest form. Changing appearance and from with the seasons, and usually surviving even under the toughest of conditions. In his book, The Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin likened the evolution of species on earth to a tree, and while other scientists have proven that we humans did not evolve from a tree, sometimes I find the similarities striking.

I have developed my own tree of life visual that I use in coaching my clients, and in reflecting and creating my own life. Most recently I have been drawn to the roots, the system which sustains the life of the tree, is essential to its health and strength, and is always actively working below ground, spreading out to reach, absorb and transport the vital nutrients to the tree, to its life above ground, to the life we see. Like the tree, we have our own root system that operates within us, in our underground, and expressed in how we live our lives. Our roots ground and sustain us, and affect our quality of life. Some roots are determined by our DNA, and some by our environment and experiences, nurtured over time by people who love us. Some we like, and some we don’t. Some we can clearly identify and others require a little digging. Like the tree, our root system is constantly growing and reshaping. Some roots wither away; some grow longer and stronger. We have the option to consciously grow new ones, and then nurture and strengthen them through our thoughts and actions so that they, too, can sustain and support us.

“I can’t do that, it’s too risky.” “I worry so much about the “what if’s” that I talk myself out of doing it.” “I can do anything I set my mind to.” “I am not angry. It’s not good to be angry. Everything is just fine.” “Who me? No way, I am too shy to do that.” These and various a sundry statements are expressions of our roots. You may relate to some of these, and you may quickly recall some of your own. All have sustained us. They may have kept us safe, or perhaps humble. They may have brought us many dear friends and contributed to our happiness in life. They may frustrate us or hold us back as they are so strong it is as if they reach all the way to the center of the earth. They make up our root system, and they are supporting our lives.

Our DNA and ancestral roots, and our roots that have been nurtured over our life time will always be with us, and serve to ground us. They do not need our attention or intention to continue to exist. Nor do we need them to die off for us to reach our full potential. We may need to balance them by growing other roots which we do simply through intention and attention. Roots that allow us to say, “why not me” or “I’d like to give that a try” and so on.  

I have a sister-in-law who has been actively growing new roots over the course of this past year. She’ll be the first to acknowledge that while it has not been easy, it has been worth it. She radiates joy; is excited about the opportunities she is beginning to discover and explore. Her bad days are few; her good days, many; her great, plentiful. Her attitude, inspiring. She is grounded, and she is stronger, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Extra Ordinary

What roots do you want to grow and nurture?

What will happen in your life if you add these roots?

What roots can you allow to whither?

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:

Green is for Valentine’s Day

…..most come from overseas; raised in hothouses and watered generously even though around them water is scarce; sprayed with fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides and the like so that they make it through customs ultimately to become beautifully arranged for display in our offices and homes, evidence that somebody loves us. Valentine’s Day…the florists’ favorite holiday.

 Show the earth you love it…buy local. Or give an IOU, and then really do it up right. Buy chocolate or a “green” diamond. How about a gift certificate for a massage? A manicure and pedicure?  Do something that honors your special valentine and mother earth, and supports the local economy. Go green this Valentine’s Day.

PS  And remember the bag of green M&M’s.  



"If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them."

– Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature, 1625

"Sometimes we hold on to our possessions because we fear we might run out - life seems scarce. But when we believe that giving is the way to live, we will produce more in the future - life seems abundant."

– John C. Maxwell

EOL Upcoming Events:


Leaping to YES,
a retreat for women

Be Care Full. Invest the extra day this year in yourself, and you will realize the benefit.

Held at Mariners Landing at Smith Mountain Lake, the retreat-to-advance promises to be a full weekend where you will learn practical tools; explore the virtues and values of your essential self; expand awareness of possibilities for increasing satisfaction with your life, and create a personal map for continued growth and fulfillment.

Go now to to sign up and receive the early bird registration benefit.

Thank you for reading. We welcome your opinions, comments and suggestions. Please contact us at

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