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20 Hobbies That Can Make You a Better Boss at Work

20 Hobbies That Can Make You a Better Boss at Work

A hobby is defined as an activity done in a regular basis during one’s leisure time for pleasure. Hobbies make life more enjoyable—research can back me up on this. The Society of Behavioral Medicine conducted a research that examined the effects of leisure to health and overall well-being. The results revealed 115 research participants to have positive moods, less stress levels, and healthy heart rates when engaged in their leisure activities. Furthermore, another study explains the effect of hobbies in moderating the effect of anxiety and stress. So, you don’t have to feel guilty about that fishing trip you made last weekend.

The following are hobbies shared by actual business owners, that can help you deal with stress and perform better at work. Remember that a hobby need not to be something you’re an expert at. Hobbies are for enjoyment and something you’re not familiar with is definitely a must-try.

1. Dancing

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    Mastering a style of dancing requires the same level of commitment and diligence required to run, manage, and grow a successful business. TrueLine Publishing President and CEO, Hajmil Carr tells how integral her hobbies are to become a great boss.

    “I am an avid salsa dancer and skier. My hobbies are an integral part of my efficacy and performance at work because they are rooted in pure passion. By delving into practice regarding something that you truly care about, you learn mastery.”

    -Hajmil Carr, TrueLine Publishing

    Dancing once a week does wonders for your abilities as a boss, and is very much an unusual trait for a startup founder like John Turner, CEO of UsersThink.

    “Dancing is the hobby that makes me a much better boss. It provides a great physical outlet, giving me more energy throughout the week, as well as being a fun activity that helps me clear my head and reduces stress so I can be more thoughtful and helpful during the workweek.”

    -John Turner, UsersThink

    2. Flying Aircrafts

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      Founder & CEO of Switch, Yarden Tadmor, is very passionate about managing his business and flying, for the simple reason that it fits his personality so well.

      “Both require me to constantly be learning, awake, and aware of my surroundings. Both include all kinds of variables and things can turn on a dime, but when both move smoothly, they really hum along. At the end of the day, you’re the one in the cockpit or the boardroom, and I really like that kind of pressure and accountability. I thrive on it and I think my employees respond to that managing by example.”

      -Yarden Tadmor, Switch

      3. Acting

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        Image Source: Flickr

        Theatrical acting is absolutely fantastic if you are a boss and looking to improve or gain new skills in such areas like public speaking, teamwork, active listening, or memorization. CEO and Co-Founder of Waverly Knobs, Evin Charles Anderson, is a perfect example of this.

        “It has greatly assisted me in my day-to-day interactions, involvement, team building, and much more. You also don’t need to be in NY, Boston, Chicago or LA as there are many community theater groups scattered across the US that anyone can become involved with.”

        -Evin Charles Anderson, Waverly Knobs

        4. Yoga

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          Image Source: Flickr

          Yoga provides relaxation, clarity and positivity. These are perfect if you’re doing a million things at the same time. Andrew Reich, Managing Director and Founder of InTouch Manufacturing Services comes to office with a peaceful mind thanks to yoga.

          “Yoga guides me towards providing my employees direction and reinforcement while not burdening them with micromanagement and the negativity that some bosses bring to work. My yoga routine also gives me the energy I need to get through the day and motivate my staff.”

          -Andrew Reich, InTouch Manufacturing Services

          5. Game Officiating

          flag-football-game-officials

            Image Source: FlagSpin

            Did you know that there is a third team on the field during a football game? It’s the game officials! Who knew this could be a perfect hobby for The Marketing Quarterback owner, Victor Clarke.

            “From pre-game to post-game, every move by the officials is pre-planned. As a business owner, I must learn and enforce business rules, apply correct positioning to make the right business calls, and occasionally, I must penalize poor behavior. The three priorities of officiating are to keep the game safe, fair, and fun. This should be the same priority of a business owner’s management style.”

            -Victor Clarke, The Marketing Quarterback

            6. Reading

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              Reading has always been a great way to manage stress. It also expands your vocabulary and improves cognitive function. Spencer X. Smith, vice president of sales turned consultant, who also teaches business planning and Internet marketing classes at the University of Wisconsin, shares his love for reading and re-reading books.

              “Depending on what is going on in our business, the best books (Think Good To Great) seem to morph into what I need at that time. The insights were there before, but now I’m just reading it from a different point of view. When discussing these ideas, it also helps to point to an outside source (like a book) so the discussion is more collaborative, and not an edict.”

              -Spencer X. Smith

              7. Exercising

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                It may seem counterintuitive to increase the physical demands of your body, but exercising can make you a better boss. Leading a company is both physically and mentally arduous. Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of Chargebacks911, routinely changes her workout to accommodate the current demands of her job. As the challenges at work ebb and flow, the intensity of her exercises conforms to her stress level.

                “Exercise is my passion. I don’t grudgingly workout to improve my health or lose weight. I don’t see exercise as a consequence for eating my favorite foods. I genuinely enjoy pushing my body to its limits. I like discovering new ways to improve my abilities. But most importantly, I relish the clarity and open-mindedness that exercise provides me as I enter the office. Without a physical release of my mental anguish, I wouldn’t be able to joyfully interact with employees.”

                -Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911

                8. Traveling

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                  Traveling can help you create a culture of adventure and curiosity in your workplace. TJ Sassini, CEO of ZOZI.com is an avid adventurer. He has pursued his passion in more than 30 countries‹ from wreck diving in Australia and canyoning in New Zealand, to backcountry skiing expeditions and shark diving. He is also a two-time IronMan triathlete and also completed an unassisted solo cycle expedition from Portugal to Italy, crossing the Pyrenees in early Spring.

                  It’s important as an entrepreneur to gain new perspectives and be unafraid to get out of your comfort zone. Founder and Managing Director of Acceleration Partners, Robert Glazer, sets an example of taking a break to his employees.

                  “Traveling is a hobby that gets me out of the office while giving me time to think about The Big Picture and bring back new ideas. In addition to setting the example of taking a break, I actively look for ways to engage my team through travel, whether organizing off-site employee retreats or encouraging employees to take vacation time.”

                  -Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners

                  9. Playing Piano

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                    Learning a new hobby is never too late for MyCorporation CEO Deborah Sweeney. She took up piano lessons six months ago and she’s loving it!

                    “It teaches me patience and it reinforces my mindset of hard work. My piano instructor is constantly encouraging me to let go and enjoy. That is not always easy for a business owner, but I continue to work on it through piano (and also in motherhood)!”

                    -Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

                    10. Ice Hockey

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                      Here’s a tough and challenging hobby for you — ice hockey. Andrew Schrage, CEO and Co-owner of Money Crashers is by no means an expert to this sport, but constantly trying to improve his skills and the competition that goes along with participating transfers over to running his small business is a challenge he is very much willing to accept.

                      “I always strive to do a better job everyday and I have a great focus on winning and making my organization one of the best in the industry.”

                      -Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers

                      11. Fishing

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                        Fishing is a great hobby to help better your managerial skills. From the discipline it takes to get up to catch the sunrise bite before work, to the patience it requires to land that first fish, Online Marketing Manager Tim Smith of DialMyCalls knows the drill.

                        “Fishing takes up quite a lot of time in my life and it definitely improves my work ethic. Discipline and patience are two extremely important factors when it comes to managing co-workers and customers which is why fishing is the perfect hobby for me.”

                        -Tim Smith, DialMyCalls

                        12. Gardening

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                          It’s not everyday you get to work with a boss who has an intensively planted yard. Meet Christopher Peck, Managing Partner of Natural Investments. The experience of planning his personal ecosystem, then dealing with successes and failures of the plan, ripples into the similar challenges inherent in running a business and supporting the growth of his colleagues at work.

                          “The time I spend working with the soil and plants in my intensively planted yard pays big dividends in my professional life, that is to manage a 9-office investment advisory firm. These hours refresh my body and mind, of course, and they also offer a quiet time away from the desk during which integration and insight can emerge.”

                          -Christopher Peck, Natural Investments

                          13. Sausage Making

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                            Here’s something you must try at least once in your life — sausage-making. Well, butchery and sausage-making to be specific. To be fancier, charcuterie. That is the hobby of Red Sky CEO, Jessica Flynn.

                            “I think it’s important for every managerial ‘buck-stops-here’er’ to get their hands dirty and make sausage — literally. A world of meetings, emails, digital engagement, and conference calls have blunted our senses. Without the joy of creation, our ability to think creatively and lead with inspiration is stunted. Every business founder, owner, leader or manager needs to commit to creating, crafting, producing, building or cranking out something physical weekly. Put down the digital devices and get hands on.”

                            -Jessica Flynn, Red Sky

                            14. Knitting

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                              The beauty of knitting is that it relieves tension and calms both your body and mind. Business owner and author, Tara Swiger, knits a bit every night, and sometimes even during phone meetings.

                              “It gives me something to do with my hands as I think through a difficult challenge. Without it, I would surely be more likely to snap at my assistant. Because she also knits, it gives us something non-work related to talk about and bond over.”

                              -Tara Swiger

                              15. Biking

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                                Endurance sports such as biking can improve your determination, perseverance and drive at work. President and owner of FREE Advertising, Chris Bolivar, bikes almost every day and competes in Ironman Triathlons. These help him bring enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit to work everyday.

                                Here’s another avid long distance road biker. Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands. Biking allows him to build momentum that will keep going even after he finishes the ride.

                                “As someone with ADHD, I find that biking is a terrific way to clear my head and regain focus. Arriving to work focused, attentive, and passionate means that I am able to give my employees one hundred per cent, and in turn, they can feed off of my energy, optimism, and support.”

                                -Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands

                                16. Blogging

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                                  In addition to blogging regularly about his experiences as a business owner to help and inspire other small business leaders, Matt Rissell, CEO at TSheets, has learned to fly airplanes. These two hobbies make him a better leader because by learning to fly he is exercising his ability to take risks, which he believes is an essential skill as a business leader. Additionally, by sharing his experience, failures and successes with other small business on the TSheets blog, he is reminded of the challenges he has faced while building a successful tech company outside Silicon Valley.

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                                  17. Teaching Indoor Cycling

                                  Fitness instructor leading class on exercise bicycles in gym, low angle view
                                    Fitness instructor leading class on exercise bicycles in gym, low angle view

                                    Image Source: Huffington Post

                                    Teaching rhythm indoor cycling demands a unique-for-each-class, pre-planned choreographed routine with a heavy motivational and performance component. Each musical beat is accounted for, yet you often must pivot with plan B or C within seconds based on your reading of the group’s desires and unknowns, balanced by their needs, which are not always equivalent to their demands. That’s how Alissa Walter, co-founder of Blindsgalore runs her business.

                                    “I conduct my business like I run my spinning room — with precision and prediction yet with the nimbleness to change the whole shebang. At the end of the day both shows must go on and both crowds have to want to come back to join you the next day.”

                                    -Alissa Walter, Blindsgalore

                                    18. Meditating

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                                      As a business owner you are often rushing from meeting to meeting every day and don’t always get the chance to reflect on how your actions affect those around you. That’s where transcendental meditation comes in. This hobby helps Founder and CEO of CloserIQ, Jordan Wan, alleviate his stress and improve his focus and general self awareness.

                                      “Regardless of whether you believe that meditation provides health benefits, I think it’s a great way to block out time and reflect on the quality of your interactions with your colleagues and employees.”

                                      -Jordan Wan, CloserIQ

                                      19. Playing Chess

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                                        Chess can make you a better boss, but not in some crazy-seeing-20-moves-ahead kind of way. Chess taught ilos Founder, Sean Higgins, to appreciate losing. Every time he loses, he learns something, he study harder, and eventually gets better at it.

                                        “You learn quickly and not fear coming up short but to take those missteps and use them to become better than even you thought you could be. Because of this lesson, my team isn’t afraid to come to me with their mistakes. We can face losses together, learn our lesson, and come back stronger on the next milestone.”

                                        -Sean Higgins, ilos

                                        20. Fixing Cars

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                                          Mechanical work takes a lot of problem solving, muscle work, and tremendous patience; but for Enerpan Insulated Panels Controller, Marten Skupien, cars that most people don’t even notice are gems in disguise.

                                          “Today, I’ve got two. A 2004 VW Jetta TDI and an 2007 Audi A4 Avant. I love doing mechanical work on them because it can be frustrating but really rewarding. So doing things like replacing the suspension so that it’s lower… so much low J. The other thing that I really like doing is the detailing of a car because you can really lose yourself in the details of it, it’s nice and calming.”

                                          -Marten Skupien, Enerpan Insulated Panels

                                          Hobbies encourage us to take a break and are proven stress-busters. For busy business owners, they take their breaks with purpose. They engage in activities where they gain a thing or two that can help them succeed and become better bosses. Found a hobby that interests you? Good, now it’s time to plan something this weekend.

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                                          Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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                                          Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                                          11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                                          11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                                          Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

                                          Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

                                          “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

                                          While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

                                          The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

                                          What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

                                          The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

                                          1. Cloud Computing

                                          “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

                                          There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

                                          This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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                                          2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

                                          Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

                                          Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

                                          his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

                                          3. Data Management

                                          All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

                                          We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

                                          However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

                                          4. Scheduling

                                          Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

                                          An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

                                          5. Financial Skills

                                          These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

                                          While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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                                          6. Research Skills

                                          These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

                                          Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

                                          So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

                                          If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

                                          If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

                                          7. Marketing Skills

                                          While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

                                          Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

                                          While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

                                          8. Network Security Specialist

                                          Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

                                          So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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                                          9. Communication Skills

                                          At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

                                          Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

                                          10. Computer Programming

                                          I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

                                          11. Graphic Design

                                          As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

                                          Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

                                          That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

                                          Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

                                          You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

                                          Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

                                          Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

                                          Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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                                          This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

                                          You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

                                          But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

                                          Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

                                          In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

                                          Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

                                          And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

                                          We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

                                          We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

                                          As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

                                          More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

                                          Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
                                          [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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