Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Sorry, Ain’t Buying No “Life Coach”

Here is a thought provoking post on Adele and the power of “no”.  I believe it worth a read, review and reflection.  I believe and contend that it is all about knowing who and what you are and who you best Strengthserve.  It is about knowing your strengths.  Indeed, it has spurred me to address a question lingering in my head and heart for some time.

What is a “life coach”?

Personally and professionally, I get the notions of basketball, football, hockey and soccer coaches.  I also get the idea of financial or investment coaches.  I get health, wellness and fitness coaches… academic and business coaches.  I get team coaches, performance coaches and study coaches.  I get music and vocal coaches, spiritual coaches and social media coaches.  I get all of these and that.  They each imply an expertise in a given field.

I, myself, am a professional educator and a coach.  I do not believe that great teachers or coaches are based on certification specifically; though I do not deny the value of same and have achieved my own.  Still, great coaches and educators are made up of that combination of expertise, education, experience, enthusiasm and engagement… and even genetics maybe; that body of (as is known in human resource development) knowledge, skills, abilities and “other” ( I say the other is character and temperament).

And, please hear me.  I certainly get that great coaches have that balanced combination… but in a clear and specific area of expertise.  They have demonstrated both skill and accomplishment in their chosen field of expertise.

So, what is a “life coach”? Are there truly people who are skilled in life and all its myriad arenas?  How does one develop that experience, education and expertise?  Clearly, I seriously question this idea.  I do not question an individual coach’s (or educator’s) expertise in a given field.  Business educators and coaches have their expertise.  Health and wellness coaches… their own.  But I suggest that there is no one out there that has the answers to “life”.  No one.  We are all figuring that out, one area at a time.

So, what am I ultimately suggesting?  Stop using this term. 

I am not suggesting that you stop calling yourself a coach.  I am suggesting that you clarify and specify.  As Jane Atkinson, the great speaker coach, might say; choose your lane or define your empire.  In other words, examine your sum total body of work.  Ask yourself  “What area of life or work do I have the greatest expertise, education, experience, enthusiasm and engagement?”  Ask, “What area am I best and most hard wired to engage?” Get as clear and specific on that as you can, including who is your best customer, client and/or audience with that body of work.  Find the word that best describes that expertise… and run with it.  But, please stop using the term “life coach”.  It speaks to jack of all trades and master of none and I don’t think that makes for any great coach.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths of character and building upon them through practical and powerful unity Educatorand resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

What Makes a Leader?

Thanks to Harry Tucker and his sharing on LINKEDIN, I read this piece on leadership in China this Strengthmorning.  If leadership is of interest to you, I believe that it is certainly worth your time.

Then, this past week there was this… the August 20 Tragically Hip ConcertGord Downie is a story in courage, honesty, integrity and leadership.  His living story illicits such responses as this video.  Millions have been moved, myself included.  In my own attempt at response, I wrote this on Facebook the day after the live show.

Maybe one of the things we can take away from the example of Gord Downie and #thetragicallyhip is the importance of living a life and work true to you… your craft… your meaning. Maybe just maybe one of the great gifts of thanks we can give back for his and their example is to find our own craft or profession or vocation, that to which we will give our love and excellence. I said many years ago that WEALTH is When Love And Excellence Take Hold. What we witnessed last night and over the years is a band that understands that. We can best honor that by learning and living from the example. Now there is a legacy. Thank you to Gord and the band for showing us what commitment, passion, purpose, honor and love looks like. While I personally was not a huge fan of the music (though I liked it) I am a huge fan of their personhood. Peace.

This all brings me to a simple question.  When I teach on Trait Theories of Leadership, I suggest to my business students that the people they see as leaders are seen by them as such because those leaders possess 101 on Blackcertain traits or strengths of character that my students believe a leader must possess.  In other words, Trait Theories of Leadership say that we pick who we see as leaders based on whether or not they possess what we believe to be the strengths of a leader.  With that in mind, taking both the aforementioned article on leadership in China and the story of Gord Downie into account, what strengths of character come to mind for you that a leader might possess?

This is no trivial exercise.  Acknowledging these strengths tells you something about what you admire and what you seek in a leader… and it gives insights into what you might like to develop and strengthen in yourself.  That is why we call it leadership, by example.  Gord Downie has sampled it for us.  What do we admire about that and him and how can we reflect it in ourselves?  How can we reflect it at school, work and community?

Leadership begins with character.  Begin there.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and sing-300x200resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

 

 

The Walk with Tech

Here are two interesting reads on the evolution of AR and driverless cars.

Before going any other, let me say that I am a believer in tech.  I am part of the original Star Trek and IdealismApollo generations, seeing the potential for tech to be used for exploration, inward and outward.  And, I am believer in Idealism as a Virtue.  Without going into inordinate detail, my childhood and youth was filled with an imagination that saw the perfect dance between tech and humanity.  It turned up in imaginary worlds created and science projects delivered.  I am hard wired thusly.

That being said, at the risk of sounding “fogie”, I believe that advancements in character must lead advancements in tech.  It is not unlike walking a very large dog.  Who does the leading in the walking is an important question.  The purposefulness of tech is important.  Our ability to wisely use it is crucial.  Technology with wisdom and character can raise humanity to almost unimaginable heights.  Truly.  Technology, without same, can destroy it.  It is our choice; but I believe that the study, practice and advancement of character is as, if not more, profoundly important.  There is a quote that is attributed but not confirmed… from Albert Einstein.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

I contend that this includes the authority of tech.  The amazement and worship of tech can lead to toys that destroy.  I am not suggesting we halt advancement in science and technology.  Firstly, we cannot.  It virtuesis part of our humanity to explore.  Secondly, and as such, we need it as part of our growth; part of it.  Still, an exceedingly large part of our growth will have to be around character.  The things we are creating demand it.

For me, I look forward to remarkable advances in technology that support the human condition and its progress.  I believe in that potential and future.  Still, give me a five-speed stick shift that I can drive.  It is my Millennium Falcon; and that turned out okay.  🙂

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

Praiseworthy Wealth

This past weekend, I found myself looking forward.  The ongoing of extremes of wealth and poverty cannot win; it cannot be sustained.  That was and is my thinking.  I am a fan of the ideals of the Olympics… and the coming together of the world.  Still, recently I came across this post speaking of the extremes in this world in which we live.

I am attracted to the words of Abdu’l-Baha who said, “Wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree, if it is acquired by an individual’s own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, art and industry, and if it be expended for philanthropic purposes.”  Whatever your faith or none, there is wisdom in the essential message here.  I may lose some people on this but what is the purpose of an economic system?  Is it the advancement of prosperity?  If so, for whom?  Can real and lasting prosperity exist where there are incredible extremes of wealth and poverty?  Is this sustainable?  Can injustice be sustained over the long haul?  What does history prove of such systems?

Some years back, I learned that the human body thrives on synergy and balance.  If you work one arm consistently to the detriment of working out the other, that one arm will apparently only grow so strong.  Yet, by working both arms, the limits to strength achieved are considerably higher.  I contend the same is true of economics.  As customers are more prosperous, so are the sellers of goods and services.

There will always be differences in wealth.  That is my belief and contention.  But, it is also my belief and contention that extremes in those differences are not conducive for true peace or prosperity.  Merit matters, but so so does mercy and meaning.  Economic systems should reward hard work and initiative; but to a degree.  Sooner or later, wealth simply begets wealth and the playing ground is characterized by injustice.

So, if you are still with me, consider these virtues.

Which do we most need to practice to advance communities of universal prosperity, accepting differences in wealth but refusing the extremes of wealth and poverty?  Which virtues must characterize such a system in business, at work, in school and in community… locally and globally?

I am encouraging you to have those conversations in the classroom, staff room, boardroom and beyond. This is not a campaign against wealth; it is one to advance it.  Remember we are building both arms.

So…

  • What virtues do we need manifest to produce systems driven both by merit and justice?
  • What practices do we need to manifest those virtues such that they are woven into our organizational DNA?
  • What will be the return on that investment?  For us all?

In dialoguing on these together, we will start to find answers to advance sustaining and sustainable…

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

Come on College…

BARCollege is coming, fast. Get ready.  Here is a great list of possible ideas around making the most of your time in College, whether a 2 or 5 or 10 year experience.  For me, as a College educator and our own work with EPIC, I see the value of practicing the virtues of healthy curiousity, discernment, courage, openness and more.  Consider these 101 and think about what virtues, if practiced powerfully, would make your school experience purposeful and magical.

Decide what actions and behaviours you will practice to do so and make it happen.  Put those virtues into practice and make it the meaningful time that it should be… make it count.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Go here and find College Daze; a kind of “peace of advice” (no typo lol) … it is a free download.Your College Daze 2014 Cover

PPS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

Olympic Optimism

As a business educator, I found myself one time in class saying, “There is always blue sky.  Often times it is merely hidden by the clouds.”  It was met by genuine smiles, looks of pondering and maybe even the odd roll of eyes.  I respectfully invite you to consider the following.

I understand cynicism.  I understand its birthplace.  It is born of seeing so much ugliness of spirit and action so as to believe that the ugliness is reality.  With it, the clouds are our reality.  Indeed, while the forces of both disintegration and integration are at work in the world, our collective canvas is often painted by a seemingly endless stream of “bad”.

This post on the Opening Ceremonies of the RIO Olympics is telling.  It speaks to and acknowledges the cynicism.  It also addresses the optimism and beauty that we can build and observe alike.

Last week, I saw Suicide Squad.  I did not know what to expect and held my own brand of healthy skepticism before going in; but going in I did.  By the way, I believe skepticism to be a healthy form of cynicism.  Cynicism has decided the world sucks.  Skepticism is open, while questioning.  In experiencing the movie, I was pleasantly surprised.  The darkness was evident but so was the potential for humanity and the nobility of the human spirit.  My point?  Optimism and idealism are neither blind nor naive.  They see the real; and all sides of it.  Still they believe in the possibility.

A positive viewpoint and faith in all circumstances; they do not ignore the circumstances.  A focus on positive outcomes and solutions does not ignore that problems exist.  Indeed, it focuses on that reality while seeing the possibility of resolution.  Being hopeful and resilient does not imply ignorance.  They imply vision and courage.  Having a dream with a plan is not naive.  It is necessary.  Walking our talk with perseverance requires walking, and through the challenges.  You cannot walk through the negative without seeing it any more than you can walk through a minefield without sensing that there are mines.  With optimism and idealism, we make a difference; and a difference is needed.  Without a difference, there is defeat.  Defeat is the realm of cynicism.  We have given up and in to some sense of inevitability and predictability… of the bad.

What if we could approach our campuses, communities and companies with an Olympic optimism and idealism?  What if we believed in the possibility and were prepared to do the freakin’ work?  What would that look like in the world and our corners of it?  How can we manifest true optimism and idealism that sees challenges and opportunities, with healthy skepticism that questions and robust optimism and idealism that believes in our capacity to rise above and walk through?  What would that look like in the classroom, as educators and students?  What would it look like in business and the workplace; as employers and employees?  What would it look like in service?  What about in our communities and families?

Indeed.  In deed.  What would Olympic Optimism look like in our daily lives at school work and community?  What would what I am now strangely but affectionately calling Suicidal Optimism look like where we are willing to sacrifice our cynicism in exchange for a bountiful dose of optimism and idealism that lives with powerful and questioning skepticism… seeing the challenges as tests and teachers of our capacity.  What would that look like?  What would it take?  What if we worked for that?

Just sayin’.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

My own personal take on optimism and idealism… Dancing with the Dragons. It is my sense of  optimism and idealism and its relevance for my life; personally and humbly offered here.

PPS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

Service from Your P.A.S.T.

I posted this as a Facebook status last night. Ultimately great service has little to do with technique and everything to do with an attitude of service. Caring wins every time.BLG3

Before going any further I have to say that I love, appreciate and admire the work of Joe Calloway and The 5 Friends.  I invite you to have a look and listen on the topic of providing value to customers; some sage and even diverse advice going on here.  For us, our work is around character as the foundational piece to capacity, creativity and true customer care.  So, with The 5 Friends’ guidance and our own work in mind, I humbly offer these strengths as priority in getting to ultimate value through laser focus.

Purposefulness, Assertiveness, Service and Trustworthiness.  The pure focus of your service value will advance excellence.  The healthy confidence in delivering same will advance confidence in your customers.  The usefulness of your value is imperative for true buy in.  The consistency and dependability is equally so, if not more… for the longer haul.  It was certainly not intended, but indeed it is true… we must let our P.A.S.T. catch up with us (groan, lol).

Cultures that build value know what they do, confidently get it out there, focus on the utility of the work and commit to delivering on being worthy of ongoing trust.  So, here is what we suggest:

  • Reflect on these virtues; these strengths of character… from the cards noted above.
  • Reflect on their behaviours; the practices that manifest such strengths.
  • Ponder and develop your own specific list of behaviours and actions that will manifest them every day.
  • Get clear on them and where you are and want to be with them.  Make them important measurables.
  • Then, start implementing them and encouraging them.

This is a starting point to advancing value and excellence driven cultures.  See where that takes you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our buffet of FREE services here.

 

WISE Teaching

An intriguing and thought provoking look at learning and development, going forward… is this article from HBR.  Design thinking is a revolution of thought around learning, and yet it is not.  I believe it to be a return.  Prior to the industrial age, it was how we learned ultimately… IMHO.

That being said, the experience is the teacher.  Educators and trainers are gifted in supporting this by accepting the full on mantle of facilitating learning; not delivering it.  Creating cultures of creativity and learning is about supporting and advancing the capacity to learn… not the capacity to be taught.  I see this requiring in educators, trainers, facilitators and coaches of the future … the following strengths of character.

Wisdom is beyond knowledge.  It is its synthesis… of experience.  Experience best teaches experience.  Knowledge is easily accessible these days, and increasingly so as we move forward.  Wisdom is different.  It crafts mindfulness, thoughtfulness, discernment and judgement.

Initiative inspires.  It engages learning.  It empowers us to engage learners in the art of learning.  With Initiative, we advance creativity and independence of thought.  We unleash instead of harness.

Service is value.  It is value added.  It makes a difference.  It is useful.  With Service, we bring our best experience to the table and we find ways to ever serve those with whom we work in the process that is learning.

Excellence; the excelling at craft and process.  Excellence gives us our value.  We have reached some level of mastery and are striving for more.  We continuously stay ahead of simple knowledge and “sharpen our blades” on turning it into wisdom of experience and expertise.

Educators, teachers, trainers, facilitators and coaches of the future must needs practice wisdom, initiative, service and excellence.  This goes for speakers, thought leaders and provokers, and gurus (self anointed or otherwise).  They all must be WISE.  We all must be.  The days of spooning it out are done.  The days of delivering notes and lectures are done.  The days of presenting are done.  The days of “having the answer” are done.  We need engagers of the learning process; not unlike veteran players of the game who earned the right of experience and judgement and wisdom.

The good news is that there remains a vital role for those with the gifts to teach.  The challenge is will we dance with education and learning instead of deliver it?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and

mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Here is a post on asking better questions that might be useful too.

PPS

Our work is all about character. We go beyond behaviour to help build character driven, united, and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our FREE buffet of services here.

 

Stop Shooting for Excellence

Excellence is not a goal.  It is an approach.  Indeed, Excellence is a virtue; an approach to living and working.  We give our best and approach our best as life long learners… striving for possibilities and mastery.  We give our work and life our love.  This is Excellence.  The goal of excellence is but a myth.  If we approach our lives with this strength of character, others may and will describe our efforts and outcomes as excellent; showing Excellence.

But excellence is not a goal.  It is a journey, an approach…  a true strength of character at school and work, in business, in community and throughout life.  It does imply that we focus our efforts around that which we most want to apply Excellence.  We can give our best to everything we do.  We can give our true best to that which we most love.

Hear Dave Grohl on his take around Excellence.  Upon first seeing this, I wrote, “Passion, drive, focus and excellence. .. powerful and real message for musicians, speakers and anyone trying to find the “secret” to success. It never was a secret. Be great at what you do and see who shows up. Excellence at what you do and for whom you do it matters.”  I also wrote, “Do not confuse popularity with purpose.”  Purposefulness drives Excellence.

Excellence is a Virtue; and it does matter.  To what will you bring excellence?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Barry is ultimately a strength coach.  His work is about exploring, identifying, practicing and mastering our strengths and building upon them through practical and powerful unity and resourcefulness.  That is why Barry is The Unity Guy™.  EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. The Epic work is all about building strong, united and inspired cultures lead by character… at school, work and community; where everyone matters and contributes everyday.

PS

Here is a post on asking better questions that might be useful in the journey that is Excellence.

PPS

Our work is all about character. We go beyond behaviour to help build character driven, united, and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our FREE buffet of services here.

.

 

 

The Study of Character Leadership Epilogue (Sort Of)

Last week, we shared Part 4 of The Study of Character Leadership.  Here is Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 home-page-callstoaction-epic-engagepreceding that post. They were all grounded in an article published by The Ivey Business School on Developing Leadership Character.  At the heart of this work and exploration has been the virtue of trustworthiness and its vital importance for leadership.

Now, there is this piece on optimizing team productivity.  In it, there is reference to the following team productivity “hacks”.

Team Productivity Hacks For Managers

Organize team building activities

  • Take a little time outside of work and organize some team building activities.
  • By encouraging social interactions between team members, strong collaborative relationships are built and team members are happier.

Create inclusiveness in discussions

  • In order to have an effective and productive team, all members need to feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts.
  • Taking turns to speak and giving everyone a similar amount of time to share creates more inclusiveness in the workplace.

Facilitate Peer Recognition

  • Don’t underestimate the power of peer recognition in the workplace. Team members have a great understanding of great work that deserves recognition around them.
  • Leverage a culture of peer recognition where employees are able to frequently recognize one another for their efforts.

We recommend the entire read; though we do squirm the idea of “hacks”.  But, we get it.  Still and even more so, we suggest these and many other suggestions and activities center around the building of authentic trustworthiness that goes beyond words.

At a recent entrepreneurial event, I heard a number of comments and ideas that (let’s just say) went in another direction.  The ideas proffered were in line with “what they don’t know won’t hurt ’em”.  The thing is they will know, in time.  You might gain temporary advantage but you will not sustain productivity nor success.  Any quick fix manipulation will be seen.  Integrity and trustworthiness, whether in pricing or service or leadership, is vital to long term growth and success.  It must be a treasured commodity.

Dwight Eisenhower spoke of the value of integrity.

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.

These words speak to integrity and its power to build trust and be worthy of it.  It is an investment true leadership must make.  Anything else is built on the shifting of sand.  Build a house of trust that will stand.  Build the kind of integrity that earns and keeps trust.  The world does not need another quick change artist.  What it needs are builders, of trust.

That is it for our study, for now.  May you “Let deeds, not words, be your adorning”.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™Educator

PS

Two leaders whose work I truly respect around business, excellence and success speak to this.  Check out Joe Calloway and Scott McKain.

PPS

Our work is all about character. We go beyond behaviour to help build character driven, united, and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our FREE buffet of services here.

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