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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Do you recognize this line? Yes, it is the first line of the chorus from the Five Man Electric band’s 1970ish hit “Signs”, and is followed by:

Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign

A familiar chorus for many of us, but probably not one we think of often. For me, such was the case, until a day not too long ago when my car was towed.

Ignoring the posted signs clearly stating for customer parking only while in the store, all others will be towed. I did see it, gave it a glimpsing thought, rationalized that I was going in after my lunch, so it would be okay, and took the risk, even overriding my gut voice that was saying “are you sure you want to risk this.” Humbled, embarrassed, frustrated, I called my husband for help. 

A hundred plus dollars later, a damaged car requiring negotiations with the towing company, a less-than-kind comment from an acquaintance exiting the store, a very understanding husband (I am lucky), and the chorus continues to play….sign, sign, everywhere a sign. The universe has my attention.

Signs are indeed everywhere, some are more obvious that others, perhaps because we are accustomed to seeing them, such as signs posting the speed limit, marking the street, telling us to stop and where we can park, and so on. We often look for these directional signs to guide us, and usually follow them--well sometimes—and if we don’t, we at least have some understanding of the risk for not doing so.  

Then there are the other signs requiring us to be more attentive, and not because they are more subtle. They are just as obvious if we are willing to notice, if we have removed our blinders, and opened all our senses. Some mother nature provides, simply ask the farmers for they are an encyclopedia of nature signs. Some are provided by a power greater than us, a power I will refer to as God or the universe. They are the inklings in our belly, the random course of events that aren’t so random, the offers of help that we often decline, the nagging cough that lingers on, the car getting towed.

When we chose to make these our signposts in life, and look for them, recognize them and follow them, possibilities emerge, lessons are learned, and a deep joy results.

 I was experiencing an ordinary day before my car was towed. A morning working with clients, a nice lunch with a friend, to move on to an afternoon of writing. My ordinary day was disrupted because I chose not to follow the well posted, warning signs. At the time, I was not grateful for the interruption, regardless of the kind comments from my husband; I was angry with myself for dismissing the message, thinking it didn’t apply to me, at least not this time. And then I began to do a little self coaching, and practicing the principle of the present is perfect, and my attention shifted.     

What other signs am I ignoring? Not seeing? What ones am I looking past, as if they aren’t even there? And what ones am I giving my attention to? Have I been reading between the lines discounting the obvious? Or maybe not reading the fine print?  I became determined for this sign to break my mind open.

Opening ourselves up to all the signs around us, man-made and universe given, opens us up to opportunities we otherwise would miss.

I have a friend who recently loss her soul-connected dog, Max. Her days and nights have been long, her tears many, as she grieves. She went on her annual family vacation to the beach, heavy hearted but open to the fun times the week had in store. As she was walking on the beach one morning, she happened to look up to the sky, and low and behold was Max, four paws up, waiting for his belly to be scratched. Clear as a picture, shaped by nature, lighting up her heart, telling her, all is well. That, my friends, is an extra ordinary moment, an extra ordinary sign.

Extra Ordinary

What signposts in your everyday life are you following? Seeing?

Take your blinders off. Break open your mind. Look up. Look around. Pay attention to the signs.

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.


"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority."
- E.B. (Elwyn Brooks) White,

"All judgment reveals itself to be self-judgment in the end, and when this is understood a larger comprehension of the nature of life takes its place."
- David R. Hawkins

"Beware of undertaking too much at the start. Be content with quite a little. Allow for accidents. Allow for human nature, especially your own."
- Arnold Bennett

Sustainable Living Tip:
Go Raw

My husband does nothing small, thus, 80 pepper, 20 squash, and 50 tomato plants later, not including the ones we planted just a few of, we have lots of fresh vegetables. Some will be frozen, some canned, others cooked with, and some will be eaten raw for in their raw-ness they are rich with nutrients.

Raw….probably the most natural way to eat, following the simple path of seed/nut to earth, nourished with water and sun, to table. Indeed eating a berry, a tomato, fresh lettuce or anything else straight from the ground to the plate (if it makes it that far) to the mouth has an undeniable rich taste.

This is a perfect time of year to eat more foods raw. They are plentiful. Doing so you may discover you have more energy, better digestion, with a word of caution that your system may actually need to strengthen to digest the roughage, especially if it is used to a cooked diet.

Here’s to the crunch of a carrot, the sweetness of a blackberry, the juice of a fresh tomato and to health and longevity.

Extra Ordinary Living Updates:

First, I want to share with you a recent award I received from the YWCA of Roanoke Valley. Somehow, someway, one of those random signs, I was the 2009 recipient of the Women of Achievement Award in Human Relations; thus, the new photo. It is humbling to be nominated and selected, and a privilege to hear the stories of the many women selected in the other categories and the women who have benefited from the services of the YWCA.

Second, I am entering the world of social networking. Would love to be your friend on Facebook and Twitter, JanetmCrawford; on Linkedin Janet Crawford, and will have a blog: www.4extraordinaryliving.



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