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Maine ATD thoughts, News, & Happenings

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  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We live in Magical Times!

    How do you even take a picture like that?!

    And look at everything in it!! How many people--so small we can't see them, but you know they're there! And all of the things imagined, designed, built by people!! And all of the things we can do with and in those creations!!


    And we're so powerful these days!

    You know, except when we're not.

    I think I don't handle disillusionment well. Do you? If so, how? Is it resignation or acceptance of something disappointing? 

    I want to use all of my hopeful tropes:

    and I do. I use my native Pisces skills to turn around that 360 degrees to find something where I can make a difference. It's a strategy that has worked a long time.

    But sometimes it feels like in the Man of La Mancha where his friends and family hold up all of the mirrors surrounding him with "truth"--my friends and family are kinder than that, but the news--well, the news.

    What do you do? What is your strategy? Where do you find success or at least purchase to hold onto your confidence?

    Let's find meaning--make meaning--together.

  • Tuesday, November 08, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you voted today?

    Decal I Voted oval sticker

    Or maybe you voted early?

    I hope so--it's our primary superpower in this country, right?

    I'm listening to Brené Brown interview  Anand Giridharadas about his most recent book The Persuaders, and whoosh! I started listening to it as I walked to the local high school to vote. I like to vote in person when I can to feel part of the community. Of course I passed enough political endorsement signs for "the other guys" that I was not feeling very much a part of the community at all by the time I arrived. Ugh. So, I was glad to have my girl Brené (she doesn't know, but we're quite good friends. :D) in my ear.

    It's a really interesting interview--surprisingly slow-paced, but perhaps that helps process the information to make it my own. Among the things that have grabbed me by the throat in this are first the idea those "Russian bots" we've heard so much about in the last 6+ years went after us by using our own building disdain and disgust that are building between us and second the idea about creating on-ramps to the super-highway of understanding by meeting people where they are.


    The two ideas really work together--creating those on-ramps by meeting people where they are and giving them access to the journey to reach desired destinations will help us avoid feeling disdain and disgust with our fellow humans.

    They further talk about not being able to replace someone's beliefs, but you can displace them by helping them walk around the table to see the world--and themselves--from different perspectives. 

    It actually requires our recognizing others as not-unlike-ourselves to have compassion and working to understand about where they are and where we are and how do we come to understand, so we can all build a sense of belonging.

    What feels better than a sense of belonging?

    What does it feel like to you?

    How do you create a space where others feel welcome and like they belong?

    How do meaning and persuasion contribute to and result from belonging?

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I get all mushy in November.

    I like to believe I'm consciously grateful throughout the year, but I think it's the empty trees with the occasional lingering crisp brown leaves, the cooler temperatures, and the air of inevitability that this year is nearly done that makes me pause to consider what I'm grateful for at all levels.

    It's easy to call on my family and friends, work I enjoy, good health, financial stability, and general peace, but this is when I like to dig down--even to break apart those "easy" things to the specific parts that make them worthy of my gratitude and appreciation. What is it about each of my family members that makes me appreciate her or him and how they make my world better? What is it about my work that makes me proud to do it? What is it about being healthy that I'm grateful for--specifically?

    I read a post yesterday by Scott Galloway where he looked at how it's so easy to slide into horrible bit by almost-indiscernible-bit without noticing--certainly without stopping the slide because it doesn't seem like a big deal--until SUDDENLY it IS a big deal!! And then what?!

    He included this quote:

    I have the feeling that we let our consciences realize too late the need of standing up against something that we knew was wrong. We have therefore had to avenge it, but we did nothing to prevent it. I hope that in the future, we are going to remember that there can be no compromise at any point with the things that we know are wrong.

    — Eleanor Roosevelt

    I think conscious gratitude can help us not wait until too late. That it gives meaning to our world by bringing our attention to what makes that world good and meaningful and as beautiful as it can be. It highlights for each of us how we can lift others up as they've lifted us in ways we so appreciate. It draws our attention to those things we want to support and to reinforce and perhaps makes us more sensitive to the things that are slipping a bit in time for us to correct our slips with compassion and understanding rather than needing to avenge something that has gone too far.

    Gratitude is a gift. Appreciation is a gift. It needs to be expressed, ideally expressed directly, specifically, and promptly, but time does not run out on appreciation. It's also a practice at which none of us needs to be perfect but where we can all make progress.

    Who can you give some appreciative feedback to today? You can practice in the comments section! ❤️

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today's program was really good! 

    Generally, I think most of our programs are really good, but I guess I'm not always writing a blog post after them, so there's that.

    Today, Kathleen Kerr gave us “Moderating vs Facilitating – Learn the different skills needed to be an effective moderator,” which really got me thinking!

    I've facilitated a lot for a long time--and both facilitated as in content-neutral, process guide and as in learning facilitator with some expertise in the content. So, the distinction between the roles was really interesting and created new facets in my "Crystal Palace"--OK, wouldn't it be cool to be one of those Sherlock-y people who visualizes the complex relationships to that degree? perhaps "Crystal Cottage" is more accurate! :) 

    Anyway, all of that thinking about the roles and nuance resulting from purpose, was joined by the prospect of building a panel. I guess until she said it, I assumed panel moderators were brought in just to moderate after the panel had been assembled by someone else. I don't know who I think I am. I have only worked in the non-profit/education sector where there has never been enough money to toss around to have two or more people do what one person can do by herself, so obviously it would be the same person, but...

    The prospect of building a panel really got me! Then, already primed by the facets of my Crystal Cottage regarding roles and responsibilities of Moderators and Facilitators, I suddenly saw the kagillion facets of humans and the x to the 10th power or that in their interests/perspectives, and Whoosh!

    Imagine being a moderator who is assembling a panel of people to talk about a hot button topic. Consider all you must consider:

    • what is our context?
    • why are we looking at this topic in this group?
    • why is it hot?
    • what are the different perspectives of this topic?
    • which of those perspectives must we include in our panel?
    • how big/small should our panel be?
    • what voices do we need to represent for it to be taken seriously?
    • what voices do we need to represent to serve the topic and the group?
    • who has those voices?
    • what does each of those people bring?
    • how does each of those people connect?
    • and on and on

    I work with volunteers, and so this idea of finding people who don't just fill a role, but also bring value to the role is wonderful! I love the idea of being thoughtful on all sides of the invitation to help--whether on a panel or on a board or with a troop of Girl Scouts:

    • Is this role right for me? +Is this person right for this role?
    • What will I get out of this role?    +What will this person bring to this role?
    • Who will I/this person be serving and serving with?
    • How will that work?

    So many things!

    People are awesome and wonder-filled and weird and difficult and mysterious and brilliant!

    That's what I loved about today's program, too! It was offered by Kathleen, who is chapter member and a volunteer for ATD Maine! AND she came on the heels of Richard Parent and Sheila Adkins, also both members and board members for our chapter! Our chapter is a treasure chest of brilliance and insight and experience and opportunities for discovery!

    Where does your brilliance lie? What interests or insights or experience might you share with us? And how would that sharing serve you?

    Let's dive into that next week.

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It turns out that there are a bunch of rules of thirds!

    Go figure!

    There is the one for art where you divide your field into thirds both horizontally and vertically and place important parts of the picture along the guidelines and at the intersections of them.

    Lighthouse Painting: Example of Rule of Thirds (with grid)

    And then there is the sports rule of thirds Alexi Pappas mentions in her book Bravey. A coach told her 

    “When you're chasing a big goal, you're supposed to feel good a third of the time, okay a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time...and if the ratio is roughly in that range, then you're doing fine.”

    I like the picture for that one, too:

    But I'm really thinking about a whole other rule of thirds! My colleague Suzanne opens many presentations with the reminder to participants that they are critical to the success of the workshop as she explains that the topic accounts for about a third of the session's quality, the presenter another third, and the participants the other third!

    I love that!

    Haven't you done presentations that were spectacular, and you knew that you'd been your regular level of awesome, but the participants were engaged and engaging? And surely you have topics you prefer to present than others. Obviously you do a great job with the duds, but some topics just sing for you, right? And of course, some days you just aren't on as well as your normal brilliance. It happens. I know all of those situations have been true for me many times!

    Lately, though, I've been wondering about other opportunities to apply this rule of thirds. 

    I posit that it applies anywhere one is involved.

    If I'm a member of a club, I find more meaning from that club if I put more energy into it with the other members.

    If I'm a member of a community, I appreciate the community more when I'm invested in it with my neighbors.

    I love that feeling of "we're all in this together!"

    What about you? Where are you invested, with whom? and What do you get out of it in return?

    Where else would you like to test that rule of thirds to find meaning?

  • Tuesday, October 04, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did you know: (I'm sure you do, but just in case) The MerryMeeting Bay is one of four confluences in the world.

    Three are famous, having loomed large in the histories and economies of their regions: the Sacramento, San Joaquin delta in California; Tigris, Euphrates delta in Iraq; and the Ganges, Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh. The fourth is Merrymeeting Bay in Maine. It is unfamiliar to most people, even within its immediate vicinity. (source)

    (If you haven't gone to give it a look lately, do it this autumn--straightaway to see it at peak--by going out SR24, which starts as Elm in Topsham, then becomes Middlesex at the rail overpass. Keep going past the Cathance Road a couple of miles until you notice a cemetery on your left. Look to the right to see a stunning view of the MerryMeeting Bay. The book about it at the link above is really interesting, too.)

    I love that idea of "confluence"--the merging of similar but apparently distinct parts. I often notice it in things I read and listen to, noticing how an article, book, or interview has so much more meaning because of another I've recently read or heard. Or maybe because of a project I'm working on.

    Right now, for example, I'm preparing workshops for a conference. Coincidentally, a podcast I listen to interviewed Woo-Kyoung Ahn about her new book Thinking 101, which is based on a class she teaches and includes lots of ways we short-cut thinking with biases and assumptions. I promptly got the book and read it. (OK, listened to it on Audible, but...)

    Then, I read a blog post by Fox Wizard--Dr. Jason Fox--on Smuggling Insight wherein he looks at "slipping past the gatekeepers," referring to the ways we resist new information! THEN, in another podcast, I listened to Dr. Erika James & Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten discuss their book, The Prepared Leader, in which a central theme is how we need to get out of our ego and to prepare for something unexpected to happen and mess up our timeline! (This book is next in my queue!)

    I needed the messages in these three sources right now. 

    Of course I've been building and offering workshops for a long time. I have a degree in education and another in psychology, so I should know this stuff, right?


    And isn't it lovely when things come together in a way to shine a new light on what we "know" to challenge us to look at it from a different angle or two (or 360)?

    Each of these in their own way took me back to more recently reminders in Adam Grant's Think Again, Carol Dweck's Mindset, and Brian Grazer's Curious Mind--and others! 

    Aren't there a lot of smart people "out there" with so many amazing insights?

    What confluences are you noticing in your life, now or as you look back?

    How are you drawing on those to find meaning?

  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How do Meaning, Mattering, and Belonging relate to each other? And how do we as talent development professionals, as learning professionals create meaning and a sense of mattering and belonging for the participants in our work?

    We tend to experience negatives so much more intensely and remember them more pointedly than positives (#BrainOnTheSavannah?), so I'll start by asking you to remember a time when you felt like you didn't belong or like you didn't matter.

    What was that like for you? How did it feel in your body? What was it about the situation that made you feel like you didn't belong or didn't matter? How did you feel about the others in the group or place? What did you want to do? Or what DID you do?

    Take a minute to really think about that feeling.

    If you were to re-write that story to make our hero (you) feel confident, like you matter and belong in that situation, how would you write it? What would you change outside of your character

    Would you add someone? Would you give someone who was there some special lines to say that would make a difference? What would you change? And HOW would that make a difference to our hero (you) in the end?

    As people who enjoy learning, we sometimes have a hard time imagining how vulnerable some of our learners feel when they participate in our sessions. Personally, I love that feeling of being a bit off balance in a class because I know that means I'm going to learn something, AND I have lots of positive feelings, memories, and results from both the learning process and having learned things, so I DIG THAT FEELING!! Bring it on!!

    But what if you have a history of feeling humiliated if you're wrong about something? or a history of being told you need to have all the answers? or of not trusting people around you to give you grace?


    We are super powerful in our role--we know this!! We can create and change energy in our sessions, whether we are in person or virtual, by using language, activities, physical structure, tools, groupings, and more. It's like magic! However, we have to think about it--to plan for it--to be aware of what our learners need and to use these techniques to make a difference.

    What can you do?--What can we do as talent development professionals, as learning professionals to create space where learners find meaning, feel belonging, and are reassured that they matter as they make themselves vulnerable to learning something new and to discovering different perspectives?

    What techniques and tricks do you already use to provide that support? What is one more that you'll try this week? Share in the LInkedIn chat!

  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a self-identified Lifelong Learner, I was happy to see that Lifelong Learning had the highest proficiency score for all  four of the professional categories ATD highlighted for the Capability Model Assessment benchmarks.

    ATD created a 5-page benchmark report that is a gap analysis for all TD professionals and then also broken down into categories: HR/OD, Instructional Designers, Talent Development Managers, and Trainers/Facilitators. It's an interesting place to compare and contrast your own assessment results.

    Have you given yourself time to learn about the capability model and take the assessment yourself? You can find the assessment here. Self-Awareness is the first step in Lifelong Learning, right?

  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    You know, oh so often we see articles or hear speakers talk about the importance of taking breaks and taking vacation time. It's important for our mental health and our energy levels, right?

    Well imagine taking a two-week vacation where you don't even check email (gasp!) only to return to find your world higgledy-piggledy, with big decisions made about your jobs--professional and volunteer--with no prior notice and an inbox full of articles about quiet quitting. #Coincidence?

    What is the Universe trying to tell me? You know, besides challenging my hubris in taking time off?

    I'm not a surgeon or POTUS.

    I get to take time off.

    And it was GOOD time, doing good stuff, with good people, and made me feel GOOD. Unlike our usual vacations, we had PLANNED this, and I told people about it ahead of time. I'd prepared my work load and projects.

    But coming back to so much completely unanticipated surprise (redundant--perhaps, but that's how surprising it was) was effective at negating some of the lingering good feeling and rather set me back to the stressed out, tired state of pre-vacation.

    And that was what I returned to, no matter how much wishful thinking or hysterical outbursting or polite business emails of feedback or stewing or asking "but why?" I did.

    So, where's the meaning?

    How do I find meaning in it? What is it teaching me?


    So, not one to look a coincidence in the mouth, I looked up quiet quitting, which is a phrase I'd never heard before last month but have heard about 9,632,745 times in the last four weeks. I thought it would be the professional version of ghosting, where one just stops showing up to work one day, but NO! Instead, it is just quietly not going above and beyond, not taking on extra projects. So, #JustDoingYourJob

    Maybe the Universe checked a different definition? What is the big deal about just doing your job? Isn't that what we're supposed to do? And then the other stuff is the icing? #ButtercreamThanks

    That above and beyond stuff, those extra projects are what keep me coming back! They are the things that give my roles meaning! They make the job fun! Who'd cut out the fun bits if they didn't have to?

    So, Universe, what is the meaning of all of this? 

    Is it all just a massive inconvenient coincidence meant to challenge my professional control of emotions and maybe manage my expectations of others?

    Reality, I've given feedback, mostly better than I would have expected, and it has been received, again, mostly better than I expected. In a couple of months, I may think of these as small roots across my path rather than the smack in the head they felt like--maybe more than a couple of months, but not too long. I also won't not continue to raise my hand to take on those extras! I love the extras!

    Maybe it was that practical exam I needed to prove I could clearly communicate frustration and set some boundaries where I need them.

    Yeah, maybe that.

    OK, Let me know if you read all of this by posting your favorite candy bar in the comments of the LinkedIn post! I owe you one! (Offer expires September 30, 2022 :D)

    And please feel welcome to share some of your similar professional adventures! #LoveCompany

  • Tuesday, August 23, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Great thanks to this week's author ATD Maine Chapter Communications Team Member Kym Dakin 

    We spend so much time and energy running away from uncertainty. Yet here we are, surrounded by it, marinated in it, and in some cases, choking on it.

    What would happen if we embraced its value instead?

    Uncertainty on Steroids

    In March of 2020, just as it became clear that some weird and deadly virus thing called Covid-19 was not going away, and was, in fact, killing increasing multiples of humans across the globe, I lost my job. I also lost my five in-person training contracts that I had spent considerable time putting together, and that I had counted on to amplify our income. Like so many others at the time, I could no longer be in denial about what was happening, and how it made me feel. I was shocked, devastated, and suddenly dog paddling in a swelling river of financial fear.

    This was uncertainty on steroids. And no one on our planet was ready for it.

    Right now, I m reading a remarkable book The Upside of Uncertainty* by Nathan and Susannah Harmon Furr. At a time when so many of us yearn to go back to our pre-Covid normal”, the authors are instead making the case for going forward into uncertainty so that we may discover its gifts.

    As we watch working culture grapple with trying to attract enough employees to stay in business, as we witness the vulnerability of what many of us assumed were rock solid political institutions, as we become aware of an entire generation of skilled and vital people moving away from the long-established 9-5 work model, many of us are thrown back on old ways of coping with uncertainty. And many of those ways are decidedly toxic.

    The Power of a Pause…

    But instead of drinking, shopping, click-baiting, or yelling too much, we could pause and reframe what is going on in front of us. We could begin by asking questions, we could challenge ourselves, those we work with and those we love to take a deep breath and consider flipping the lens on what looks like a crisis from disaster to opportunity.

    This is not easy.

    We are wired to run from uncertainty as if it s a forest on fire. Our lizard brain kicks in and everything speeds up inside and outside of ourselves. We run from our feelings and move into panicked action of any kind, just to feel like we re doing SOMETHING. We ve heard and perhaps experienced for ourselves the stories of compound disasters when we can’t allow ourselves to feel pain and fear: the unexpected death of a spouse and the surviving husband totals the car, she loses her job and accidentally sets the kitchen on fire.

    Running away invites more chaos and pain. Just like what our moms may have told us about dealing with nightmares: we need to face the monster chasing us and make it our friend.

    Why Uncertainty is Good for us:

    The unknown is everywhere in our world, and it always has been. Exploration does not happen without uncertainty as its impetus. In the Positive Intelligence model, the ability to Explore, to get curious, ask questions and dig into deeper information is one of the five Sage powers needed to subdue our lizard brain.

    I would argue that true growth, true accomplishment needs uncertainty somewhere in the process. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Anything truly valuable that anyone has accomplished, from raising a child to flying to the outer reaches of the universe has been undertaken by taking on risk - and risk is birthed in uncertainty.

    But What if I Fail?

    Fear of making mistakes can be paralyzing. Prolonged paralysis has many possible disguises: laziness, complacency, and even the appearance of contentment with the “way things are”. One of the gifts of the energetic entrepreneurial culture, however, is the bold acknowledgement that innovation is impossible without the lessons of failure. Edward D. Hess, Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business claims in a Forbes article titled Creating An Innovation Culture: Accepting Failure is Necessary:

    “Innovation requires a mindset that rejects the fear of failure and replaces that fear of failure with the joy of exploration and experimental learning. We also found that innovation organizations understand that failures are a necessity (in as much as 90% of the time) so long as the learning comes from small risk experiments. As one innovation leader stated: we celebrate success; we console failure; and we get rid of those who are afraid to try”.

    Again, thePositive Intelligence model has wisdom to add as well. By strengthening our Sage muscles, we grow our capacity to look at any failure, challenge or even disaster as a gift and opportunity to learn, amplify our power of resilience, and find inspiration in the journey.

    Business as UN-usual…

    Are you working in an organization or a business that is having difficulty attracting employees? One of the unexpected lessons that the pandemic drove home is the palpable discovery that people need meaning and the opportunity to grow in their jobs, personally as well as professionally. This requires risk on the part of a business to look more closely at job requirements and to begin to listen and embrace what employees need and want. Could a position be a work from home hybrid? Could there be job sharing for employees caring for small children or elderly parents? How can you design a particular job so that it is not boring and repetitive? Reimagining what specific jobs could look like requires us to wade into the waters of uncertainty, but once we do, we will be on our way to hiring and retaining truly valuable employees.

    The necessity of informed, human-centered strategy is stitched throughout the ATD Talent Development Capability Model. The need to embrace a certain amount of risk is at least strongly implied if not directly addressed in these three elements:

    Lifelong learning: Sometimes called continuous learning, agile learning, or learning drive, this is marked by traits such as self-motivation, insatiable curiosity, and intelligent risk-taking.

    Talent Strategy and Management: For an organization to realize its potential, talent development should be integrated into all components of talent strategy and management.

    Organization Development and Culture: To remain relevant, organizations must continually develop capability and capacity.

    For all of us in these times, we are called to develop our “capability and capacity” to learn, to grow, to evolve our ways of thinking and the actions we take. We cannot make the changes we so desperately need in our world without embracing uncertainty.

    So - How do we do THAT?? 

    Here are 5 simple steps you can take just for yourself as a way out of paralysis, stasis, boredom or complacency, so that you can reap the benefits of uncertainty:

    Move Your Body: You’ve heard it before and it’s true. Think of your body as a different kind of brain - one that feeds you information through your senses and perceptions, one that needs to move in order to do its job. I’m experimenting with seeding different kinds of movement throughout the day as a way to transition from one activity to the next like: 10 minutes of yoga on an app like Down Dog , a quick round of 5 Tibetan Rythms, or just a quick walk around the block, the building, whatever is outside your door. My husband and I started getting conscious about daily walks and daily yoga at the start of the pandemic, and these practices continue to nourish and fortify us.

    Find a Healthier Routine: When the world loses its bearings, that doesn’t mean you have to. A morning ritual can help.There is value in being conscious of whatever your actions may be that start your day.  Does your alarm wake you up with a loud clanging sound? Maybe you prefer to start things off that way, but there are alternatives that make for a sweeter experience. Do you then scurry to the shower, throw on your clothes, grab a cookie for breakfast, charge out the door…and still expect the rest of your day to go well? Let’s consider what might happen if you got up one hour earlier and made choices about what would provide a healthier and even more joyful start to your day. Find some great ideas here.

    Be Open to a Silver Lining: The Positive Intelligence model, along with so many other coach programs, positions a “glass half full” attitude squarely in the center of mindset resilience. No matter what may happen to us on our lives journey, if we can manage to actively seek for a gift or opportunity in the event, we can almost always find one. I realized that the “gift” of the pandemic was Time. For the first time in my adult life, I had unstructured time - hours and hours of it. I decided to write a book about Head Hands & Heart listening, published by Routledge Publishers and on sale in early 2023!

    Follow a Curiosity:  Think about it. Try to remember a time when you were simultaneously very afraid and very curious. Apparently, these two emotions cannot exist in our psyches at the same time.  Allowing yourself just a little time and space to follow a curiosity can produce excitement and hopefulness where there was boredom and burnout. Next time you feel anxiety, get curious as to how this plays out in your body. Take some time to ask questions and consider alternatives. My curiosity got piqued with an invitation to join a women-only class in creating an online product - and the result was a bookmarking app for online meetings called Nugget - which sold for a nice price this past December!

    Ask for Help: If you’ve got resistance to asking for assistance…. do yourself a favor and get over it. Please recognize that your mindset has been hijacked by our culture’s toxic myth of the “self-made man”  - when truly, there is no such thing and there never was. We are all of us grappling with many flavors of uncertainty right now and much as we would love to blend them all into a delicious stew… this is not always effectively done on one’s own. Help could be as simple as an in-depth talk with a trusted friend, taking a class in a subject of importance to you, or signing up for a sample coach package. My clients have found it helpful to find out which of the 9 Saboteurs impede their progress and fuel their toxic response to uncertainty. Sign up for a free Saboteur assessment and one hour coach session with me to explore how these uncertain times can better work for you!

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