What Can Your Boss Can Learn from a Goose?

Flying V

Have you ever looked up in the sky and noticed one of the most amazing skills any animal possesses?

You’ve probably seen it at least a few times. Geese flying in a V formation is beautiful thing to watch.

It’s teamwork at it’s best.

You remember fifth grade science or probably looked up in the sky and asking one of your parents why do geese fly in a V?

You probably know the answer, but let me explain something first.

Happiness is an ever allusive feeling. You can’t always be happy, but there are ways to make it happen more often. I’m not talking about just popping in a smooth piece of chocolate. Letting it just melt all over your tongue.

I got a little carried away there.

I’m talking about tools that are proven to bring longer lasting happiness to your company. You might be thinking. There is no way my company would create a happiness plan to make us happier.

I get it. I’ve been there.

This might be true, but if you just give up then are you just throwing in the white towel. Are you resigned to an unhappy workplace? If so then you can click away. You shouldn’t waste your time here any longer.

You should be planning your weekends.

Let’s talk about what tools you have to help you bring more happiness back to your work.

I’m not sure if you noticed a trend in the younger workforce. They are buying less things and spending more money on experiences?

Why is this?

Because experiences make us happier, not new things. Experiences build friendships. It’s these friendships that matter to you, not an extra $2,000 in your paycheck. Very rarely will you look back on your life and appreciate the couch that you bought.

So I’m going to ask you a tough question.

What is your company doing to create more positive experiences for you?

They probably know that if they create positive and even stressful experiences for you it creates memories that endear you and your co-workers to the company. Yes, that means employees stay longer and work harder because of the attachment they feel for the company. It’s up to you if you want to share that information with your boss.

Ok, so they probably should buy you and your team a trip to Bali for a team building getaway, it would be nice, but probably won’t happen. What they might do is thank you for wanting to make the team happier and more productive.

That’s where my new “Work Happy Now Emergency Kit – Break in case of stress overload” comes in handy. Every company deals with stress, but it’s how you deal with it that makes the biggest difference for your employees. It’s in Beta right now, but the feedback so far has been wonderful.

I need a few more leaders who want to bring more fun and happiness to their teams. Are you interested? Click here to get the first 6 modules that can help your manager improve the culture at work and help you to become more engaged.

Managing employees used to be hard. Then I tried this…

leadership coaching

When I left the corporate world I thought managing people was impossible. When I was asked to take a lead on projects many employees didn’t want to do what I asked. I was lucky if they did half of what I asked.

I remember when my father coached my soccer team when I was in 6th grade. I yelled at another player because he was out of position and the other team scored. He called me over and asked me if I thought that helped my teammate. I shook my head no. It took a long time for that lesson to sink in.

I wasn’t wise enough to see my mistakes. I didn’t understand how to lead.

I now look back and wished I would have allowed people the flexibility to do great work, encouraged them to find new ways to improve and had more fun leading them.

There is no way for me to go back and change anything, but I can at least help you be a better leader.

It starts with thinking of yourself as a coach instead of a manager. Most people don’t want to be managed. They want someone to help guide them to be their best.

When I started my own business I thought my managing days were over. I could do what I wanted when I wanted without worrying about what other people thought of me.

As my time grew more crunched I had to be more efficient. I couldn’t do everything myself. In the past year I’ve hired a…

  • Web designer
  • Ebook designer
  • Copywriter
  • Editor
  • Nanny

I hired these people to take work off my plate. I did my due diligence before I hired someone, but I made a huge mistake.

The people I hired were smart, talented and passionate. All the right ingredients.

But my first hire failed.

Now instead of blaming them and just hiring someone else right away. I took a step back and took a hard look at my hiring process. I looked back through my emails, notes, and thought about our conversations, I realized my mistake.

I wasn’t giving them any guidance. People don’t want to be managed. They want to be coached to be their best self. People want the freedom to do great work.

“Accountability increases the positive impact of coaching conversations and solidifies their rightful place as keys to organizational effectiveness.” – Monique Valcour of the Harvard Business Review

Employees want to understand and appreciate the vision and help build upon it. Not be micromanaged or feel confused by their choices. They want to create something and see progress toward it every single day.

So if you are a manager who wants more productivity out of your employees I suggest focusing on these questions:

Special notice: Does your business need more effective and loyal employees? Then signup for the first 6 modules of the Work Happy Now Emergency Kit – Break in case of stress overload. It will explain the importance of creating a great culture and how to encourage more engagement as a leader at work.

Ask your employees:

  1. What can I do to make your happier?

Wouldn’t you’ve loved to hear this question from your boss? I know I would have.

The more barriers you remove from people’s work day the less stress they have. For example if you have a meeting every Thursday at 10am, right when everyone starts to get in the zone, and you ask them to stop what they are doing to attend, then you are making it difficult for them to do great work.

Then ask yourself:

  1. How can I help them see their progress?

Career progress is maybe the most important aspect of happiness at work. Employees want to understand that their hard work is making a positive impact.

  1. How can I create positive experiences?

Young people don’t want new cars. They want experiences that help them feel connected to the people they work with. People stay at a job when the have a deeper connection with one person. How can you build upon these connections?

  1. Does my team have core values in place?

Core values are vital to growing together as a team. If people don’t have similar values then it’s harder to get along. By writing down core values with your team they will use these core values to make smarter decisions.

  1. Do I have a feedback loop in place?

It’s great that you asked them how you can make them happier. I bet they love hearing that question. If you only do this every 12 months then you are missing out on a lot of coaching opportunities and chances to learn from your employees. The best managers allow everyone to have input and allow the best ideas to rise to the top.

Being a better coach isn’t easy. There will be times you won’t listen as well as you should, but if you practice I promise you will be rewarded with more loyal employees who go the extra mile.

If you want to learn how to be a better coach to your employees then look into websites like the one I linked. I’m helping Tim grow his course because I believe coaching at work is a vital tool all great managers need.

5 Powerful Questions Every Boss Should Ask Herself

What can I do to bring more happiness to my employees?

There is one aspect of my work that makes me so amazingly happy I feel blessed to be doing what I’m doing. I think this is an overlooked part that we don’t see because we are so busy with our own lives and careers.

We get to work with people who want to be happier.

You can probably say the same thing for at least 90% of your co-workers. Some of them probably want to stay miserable, but for the most part most of them want to be happier. Helping them bring more happiness into their lives is vital to growing your career.

The thing that makes my job fun is that happiness and productivity go hand in hand. A happy employee is much more productive than an unhappy one.

“A happy workplace can increase sales by 37%” (Martin Seligman from Psychology Today)

“A happy workplace can decrease burnout by 125%.” (Harvard Business Review)

The hard part is harnessing this happiness. Employee happiness can feel so elusive

One of the most interesting questions I get from employers is how does work happiness improve the bottom line.

ROI is important, I get it.

You want to make sure that employees are happy, but you also want the best results for your business.

Quick Story

I had a friend who works for an amazing company. They follow many of the work happiness rules, they give free drinks and candy to employees, they have a slide, they bring in speakers, and they give their employees a flexible work schedule.

The problem is they fall in the same trap that most technology companies do. They want happy employees, but they don’t work on the fundamentals. The stuff that shows employees that their work matters a lot and empowers them to create better results. Employees want to see their hard work matters. They want to see progress.

If your company is just throwing great perks at you then your company culture will suffer. They must give tools to employees that want to improve the company.

You give me a piece of dark chocolate and I’ll be happy for a few minutes, but then I’ll go back to my normal mood. It’s a quick fix for the moment, not a long-term solution.

“Happiness is the joy that we feel on the way to living our potential.” Shawn Achor

Improving your happiness at work is not a quick fix. It’s long-term thinking that helps employees feel happy and stay happy. This is where progress is vital to every employee.

Does your company keep doing the same things over and over to try to bring more happiness to your workday?

Little Steps

What really needs to happen is working with employees’ emotions to help encourage them to build better relationships, do work that matters to them, and improve their results. There are no quick fixes when it comes to emotions. It all starts with listening to employees and their opinions of what needs to happen to improve the company.

This concept has been going on for ages. The blacksmith that encourages an apprentice to share his ideas with him is someone that learns from his apprentice to make his business better.

I call this the Flying V.

You’ve probably seen the V formation that geese use as they migrate to warmer or colder climates, depending on the season. They use this formation to help support each other through the journey. One goose takes the brunt of the wind (friction) and creates the starting point for the draft that all the other geese benefit from as they fly behind.

One goose doesn’t fly at the front for the whole journey. When he gets tired, he’ll drop back and let someone else take the lead. They trade off to support each other through the journey. It’s this technique that allows them to fly further together.

Most companies should utilize this same principle. Each employee knows his job well, but many times isn’t utilized to their full extent. They don’t require their employees to help support the company with their ideas. They follow the head geese (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.) ideas, implement their strategies, and feel underutilized.

The C level executives should be dropping back from time to time to rest and let other employees support the larger mission of the company.

The idea is a simple one, just ask employees for the best ways to improve the company. The hard part is implementing this within an organization. I talked with a client who was the head of HR that struggled to actually make time to listen to their employees’ suggestions.

They liked the idea, but were stuck in their old habits.

As a leader it’s your job to break these old habits.

If you are a leader at work you have to ask yourself some powerful questions:

  1. What can I do to be happier?
  2. What can I do to help employees build stronger relationships?
  3. Am I eliminating obstacles for my employees?
  4. Am I asking for feedback from my employees?
  5. What can I do to empower my employees to utilize their passions?

The first question is one that many managers forget to ask themselves. They think their happiness doesn’t matter to their employees, but it truly does. Happiness is contagious. If you are happy, your employees will be happier too.

The best part is that it’s mutually beneficial to everyone to bring more happiness into the workplace. Happy employees are more engaged, so you have their actions heading in the right direction. That’s the beauty of happiness. It’s easy to get them taking action on the right things because this is where the best results come from.

I have a step-by-step process that I’ve come up with through years of research, testing, and coaching. It’s called the “Happy Employees” program. It’s in BETA and I would love to talk with you if you are interested in bringing more happiness to your team. You can click here to learn more and we can set-up a quick chat to see if I think my program will help you and your employees.

You can click here to learn more. It explains what it takes to bring the Flying V techniques to your company so you can bring more happiness and engagement to your employees. If you are an employee and think your company can benefit from these ideas then send them on to your boss. It’s at least a good way to spark a conversation.

101 Tips to Make Work More Fun

Tip to make work more fun Too often we forget this simple rule:

Fun is a necessary part of life.

When work is fun, you are doing great work and, you don’t dread work, you look forward to it. You look forward to laughing, sharing, and growing. Now that’s motivating! So let’s look at a lot of different ways to make your work more fun.

  1. Blast your favorite song. (Put on your headphones first if you need to be considerate of others.)
  2. Make a game out of doing a tedious task. (Make it a race against the clock or someone else, or the fewest mistakes and the winner gets a free lunch.)
  3. Find one super small reason to be excited about a boring project.
  4. Write in your gratitude journal.
  5. Invite a new co-worker out to lunch.
  6. Bring a dessert for your boss or a co-worker.
  7. Go out and buy a perfectly ripened piece of fruit and eat it at lunch.
  8. Give a small gift to all your co-workers.
  9. Write an email to a co-worker explaining how awesome they are and why you think they are the greatest person in the company.
  10. Come up with a wild idea for the advertising department even if you aren’t in their department.
  11. Buy donuts for everyone.
  12. Share your favorite moment from childhood with a friend.
  13. Bring in apple juice for everyone.
  14. Find an awesome joke online, memorize it and tell it to everyone.
  15. Don’t wear any underwear.
  16. Offer to help organize your boss’ or a co-worker’s office.
  17. Bring in freshly brewed sun tea.
  18. Make 10 people a copy of your favorite music.
  19. Have a paper airplane contest. Whoever’s plane goes the farthest gets an extra 15 minute break.
  20. Make today the day where you say “yes” to everything.
  21. Find one project you truly love working on and do it for at least an hour a day (even if you have to create a new project).
  22. Take 10 deep breaths.
  23. Pick a day where you won’t complain.
  24. Wear two different colored socks and see if anyone notices (step farther – different shoes).
  25. Give a friendly wave to someone that you like.
  26. Bake cupcakes for the office.
  27. Improve the recycling program.
  28. Go above and beyond everyone’s expectations.
  29. Set-up a happy hour to allow people to relax and connect with each other (alcohol usually helps).
  30. Offer a co-worker help on a project that fits your strengths.
  31. Write a poem during lunch and print out a copy for everyone.
  32. Ask someone what they enjoy about their job.
  33. Make everyone gather for a group photo.
  34. Compliment the first person you talk to today.
  35. Ask five people how they are feeling. Then ask them how they are “really” feeling (and just listen).
  36. Bring in a plant for your desk or workspace.
  37. Bring in stickers that a third grade teacher would have e.g. “You are Great,” and pass them out when someone does something good.
Need a fun speaker who can give your audience the tools to be happier and more productive at work? Then let’s work together to take your event’s happiness up a few notches.
  1. Ask all your co-workers for their best joke. The best one gets a cup of coffee on you.
  2. Find 10 simple things to be thankful for (your soft chair, your computer turning on and working, your co-worker who helped you avoid a mistake, your lunch, your desk holding everything up, your breath for keeping you alive, etc.)
  3. Do something kid like and create a “show and tell” Friday.
  4. Answer the question, “Why do I enjoy this job?”
  5. Start a book club that meets once a month.
  6. Take a 5 minute break to move around every hour.
  7. Have a child paint a picture to take into the office.
  8. Ask your boss for positive feedback.
  9. Stretch at your desk for five minutes.
  10. Bring in your old magazines and put them in the lunchroom for someone else to read.
  11. Laugh at yourself.
  12. Give a copy of your favorite book to the employee who annoys you the most.
  13. Celebrate everyone’s birthday – tailor it to their likes.
  14. Dress up like it’s a special day.
  15. Celebrate a big contract or completion of a project by having music, dancing and a prize of a dinner for two.
  16. Announce to your team/office that you are giving away a prize to the most creative solution to a specific problem that you are having. (Prize could be a giftcard, lunch, or your favorite book.)
  17. Move a friend’s objects around on their desk as a fun little joke. (Make sure that you are good friends, so they don’t see it as mean-spirited.)
  18. Wash a co-worker’s car during your lunch.
  19. Have a dress-up day on a random day (besides Halloween).
  20. Switch jobs with someone in your department for a day.
  21. Have a 15 minute exercise break for the whole office.
  22. Write a letter to the most famous person in your industry asking for one piece of advice.
  23. Do a 1 minute relaxation exercise that makes you look weird (like yoga nostril breathing), but you don’t care because you’re relieving stress.
  24. Have a coloring contest – it brings back the “kid in school” feeling.
  25. Make a cup of hot tea for a co-worker.
  26. Offer to let someone else borrow your lucky “object” for the day (figurine, photo, etc.).
  27. Bring in a carved design in a piece of fruit (what type of fruit depends on the season).
  28. Ask to switch desks with someone for a day.
  29. Set-up a team meeting with donuts to share ideas.
  30. Wear all white.
  31. Watch a YouTube video on “Office Pranks”.
  32. Give every co-worker a special rock or flower that you picked for them and tell them why they got the rock that you gave them.
  33. Bring in a board game and play it during lunch.
  34. Write a “thank you” note to your favorite client, customer, or business.
  35. Ask someone if you can decorate their desk.
  36. Do your boss’s or co-worker’s most hated task.
  37. Throw a party for everyone in the office. Give one reason why you appreciate each person and that’s why you are throwing a party for everyone.
  38. Decorate your desk with things you care about.
  39. Bring in face paints and paint employees’ and customers’ faces.
  40. Bring in a cool piece of original art from home and display it in the office.
  41. Create a company song.
  42. Ask one person what their favorite animal is and why.
  43. Bring in Trivial Pursuit cards and ask people questions. If they get it right, they win a piece of candy.
  44. Do a 2 minute meditation in a quiet spot.
  45. Walk up to your nearest co-worker and give them an honest compliment.
  46. On your way home, plan a route that will take you by your favorite local landmark.
  47. Ask a co-worker to teach you a skill of theirs that you’ve admired.
  48. Make a list of 10 things that make you happy at work.
  49. Allow yourself to start fresh at this moment. Nothing that happened earlier in the day matters any more.
  50. Ask a co-worker who has admired your skill if they want you to teach them how to do it themselves.
  51. Use the phrase “I choose…” whenever you catch yourself saying “I need…”
  52. Make your tomorrow’s “to do” list at the end of today.
  53. Ask yourself, “How would my favorite person in all of history handle this situation and go do it.”
  54. Ask someone to share a story about their favorite career moment.
  55. Ask someone to be your mentor for the month. (Extend it if you both enjoy the experience.)
  56. Show up to work 10 minutes early so you can ease into your day.
  57. Admit to a co-worker that you made a mistake and that you were sorry. A clear conscious can do wonders for your happiness.
  58. Organize your desk.
  59. Draw a silly picture for a co-worker just for fun.
  60. Bring in a ten pack of bubbles to the office and give them away.
  61. Ask someone if they could be a part of any moment in history, what would it be.
  62. Smile at everyone and keep doing it for the whole day.
  63. Create an email meme that compliments 3 of your co-workers and/or customers and ask them to compliment 3 people.
  64. Just be in this moment and realize how lucky you are to be alive, breathing, helping, sharing, eating, drinking, laughing, crying, screaming, loving, and being you.

What would you add to make this list even better? 102 tips would be awesome. Just leave your tip in the comments below, either something you’ve been wanting to try or have tried in the past.

If you would like to be happier and more productive at work, you probably should check out the Unlock Your Passions free e-course. It takes you step by step through what you need to bring more passion into your career.

How to Stop Office Negativity

Office Conversation

What do you think would happen if everyone in your office vowed to stop spreading negativity?

Would it improve the communication in your office or maybe reduce the daily stress that you feel?

The majority of your time is spent at work.  Regardless of whether you love your job, or whether it’s only a necessity for keeping a roof over your kids’ heads, you can make it a happier and better place to be all those hours.

I used to work in a toxic office environment. Our boss was not a warm and kind sort of person. She set the tone for a hostile and negative work environment. Soon everyone was grumpy and unhappy at work. I hated to get up in the morning because I hated my job.

My coworkers were fearful of losing their incomes, yet hated coming to work. We all complained incessantly to each other, and we stopped caring about the quality of our work. I wasn’t aware of how or why it happened, only that I hated it.

Then one day a new hire came to me for paperwork. She was enthusiastic and cheerful and sweet.  I really liked her.  A couple weeks later she came to talk to me again. She closed my office door and started crying.

She came to see me because she thought I was the only nice person there, and she told me she wanted to quit because the place was so depressing and unfriendly.

Listening to her felt like a light bulb switching on. I realized that I was just as guilty in spreading negativity as the others every time I participated in talk about how awful the boss was or how grumpy or mean another coworker was.

Gossip and negativity should have no place at work. They should have no place even in our hearts. If we want happier and better lives at work or at home, we have to take charge of negativity.

1. Find an Ally

I talked to my friend and coworker Sarah across the hall. I told her about the new hire’s situation. Sarah was also depressed by the gossip and negativity that surrounded us at work. I confided to her that I had promised myself time and again I would not engage in gossip about anyone, only to be horrified at myself for joining in every time.  Sarah felt that the negative attitudes and complainers drew her in and made her as miserable as they were.

Sarah and I made a pact.  We decided to become positive forces at work.  We would NOT give in to gossip or negativity.   We made the process fun by making up code words to alert each other if we noticed either of us was “falling off the wagon.”  That encouragement and support from each other helped both of us to succeed where we used to fail.

2. Start a Movement

Sarah and I found that when we did not participate in negativity ourselves, our other coworkers were more fun and uplifting to be around because we had to find other topics to discuss than what a jerk our boss was.

Another of Sarah’s pet peeves was the lack of teamwork from certain individuals. She began to set the example herself of offering to help other people with their work.

One evening when I was leaving, I noticed a coworker still hard at it.  I really wanted to get home, but I asked her what I could do to help so she could go home sooner too.  She was very grateful, and I realized it benefited me too. It gave me an amazing feeling! Negativity produces hostility and anger, but kindness produces good will and spreads positivity.

The nicer everything got at work, the more of my own faults I began to see. Another necessary step to improving office morale was a friendlier stance with a couple of people I didn’t like.

I didn’t feel that I had to socialize with people I didn’t care for, but I found that just behaving generally more pleasant toward them actually made me feel better myself.

Try making eye contact and smiling at every person you come in contact with, whether they are coworkers, vendors or customers, even when you don’t like them. You’ll see what I mean about feeling better.

3. Work for Someone Else

If you don’t like your boss, then tell yourself you are not working for him!  Tell yourself you work hard and do a good job for God.  Or for the Universe or whatever you believe in and value.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for the experience or a building block for something greater in the future.

Remember when you interviewed for your job?  Remember how badly you hoped to get hired?  Remember to be grateful!  Lots of other people are out of work or making less money than you.  They would love to have your job.  You are lucky to have it!  Remember to count your blessings. *Editor’s note: Mindset is the most important part of building a happy and great career.

Unexpected Benefits

Being kind to everyone at work makes your own days more pleasant, but there are also other advantages.  You may be able to get recommendations from coworkers or make unexpected connections through them that can lead to better opportunities.

You don’t have to socialize or engage with them any further than that if you don’t want to.  Just smile at them as you walk by.  Make an effort to be pleasant if not friendly.  You will FEEL more pleasant and friendly just by smiling.  It can also make you a happier person!

There is a very real relationship between cultivating a positive attitude and achieving a happier and better life. Do you want to have a more uplifting, positive workplace?  Start the movement yourself. Be the office hero, and take charge of negativity.

  1. Spread a positive attitude.
  2. Care about other people!
  3. Help your coworkers.
  4. Be kind.

Just imagine if everyone just followed the last rule how much more positive our work experience would be.

Have you or someone you know spread an attitude of positivity in your workplace? Please share your story or just make a comment.

* Contributed by Deborah Shelby who writes inspiration for a happier and better life at Prayerful Mom.

** Image courtesy of @boetter

Top 15 Business Building Quotes and Research

Companies that put an emphasis on employee happiness are rewarded. Every company has a culture that either supports or detracts from their productivity and bottom line. Figuring out how to create a more supportive culture should be at the top of every company’s “to do” list.

Here are some of the best quotes and research that I have on the importance of work happiness.
[Read more…]

The Official Work Happy Now Book is Here!

work-happy-now-amazonDo you have  friends who won’t stop complaining about their jobs?

That was me 5 years ago. That’s why I started Work Happy Now. I wanted to do great work, but didn’t know how.

I knew that the only way for me to do great work was to work on my attitude, my skills and my ability to get results. Every day I would sit and research what made people happy at work. Why were some people so good at being happy and accomplishing great work while others just loved to complain?

I saw the bullshit that I put up with. I saw the lack of focus and motivation because of my attitude. I realized how I was making it difficult on myself to be happy.
[Read more…]

How to Improve Traditional Management Training

trainingEditor’s Note: This is a guest post by Phil LeNir of CoachingOurselves.com. As many of you noticed I’ve been writing more from a personal view of careers and personal development. I published this piece on organizational development because anyone can apply these concepts to their business and life.

There are a lot of management development training programs out there. They help managers and employees to improve their skill sets and become better at what they do.

But what if there was a way to apply self-help concepts to the corporate world? What if managers could train each other, learn through discussions, and be inspired by stimulating material?

Keep reading to find out how we found ourselves doing exactly that.
[Read more…]

Freedom – Rehumanize Business Part 3

twitter-symbolWhen a business stops trying to control their employees, the employees begin to feel free at work. This freedom will allow them to feel more comfortable and happy.

Let’s say you have 50 employees who each have 100 Facebook and 100 Twitter friends. That’s 10,000 people that your employees are interacting with. They are talking about you to their friends.

What are they really saying?

Employee Outreach

You should be encouraging your employees to talk about their company, but never force them to use social media. Your employees will share the company’s story with their friends when you treat your employees like the superstars that they are.

This is where freedom comes in. If your people feel that they are free to do what is best for them and the company, they will use this freedom to make both themselves and the company happy.
[Read more…]

Unleash Employees’ Inner Creative Marketing Talents – Rehumanize Business Part 2

Zappos-interiorYou may have read that title and thought, “What does my company’s marketing have to do with work happiness?”

A lot.

70% of business is transacted because your friend told you about a product or service. You probably own an iPod because your friends wouldn’t stop raving about their iPod. You trust your friends to recommend good stuff.

Zappos let’s their employees Twitter on the job. They trust their people to connect with the customer.

I love Zappos, not because they have every kind of shoe on the planet, but because they ship for free, have a 360 day return policy and pay for shipping back to the company if you want to return a purchase. Now that’s worth spreading.

People want to share stuff that makes them happy. It’s up to companies to encourage their people to share their story.
[Read more…]

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