Starting Over

starting overStarting over at any age is more than possible. I get occasional emails from desperate readers who think they have totally screwed up their lives.  They think they can’t afford to hire me as their coach but they reach out, hoping for help.

I’ll often ask them to do something simple, like read a blog post and email me back what came up for them.  Or I’ll send them a couple of questions by email.  But rather than just answering the damn questions – they’ll write back telling some pathetic story about why they can’t start over.  Bull! Starting over is really your only choice.

It really doesn’t matter how far you’ve fallen or how long you’ve been down.  I know.  I’ve hit bottom and we can always wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start. Always.  At any notch, on the way down, I could have decided to stop there and start over.  I’ve written this post for everyone who thinks it’s too late to create the life or business you most want.

What if there was only one universal truth and all we had to do was get busy following that simple message?

Would you follow this message?

Starting Over

Be yourself.  Stay present.  Trust yourself.  Take frequent action.  Start over.

What if you didn’t need to know anymore than you know right now in order to turn your life around?

What if you are already brilliant enough and equipped enough to get what you want?

What if you already know what you need to know to make your best move?

What if you’ve repeatedly made the right decision but for some reason you’ve second-guessed yourself and needlessly stopped short of action?

You are closer than you think you are.  You’re almost over the hump.  Starting over is always a matter of being present and letting go of the past. Your desire is telling you where you need to go and most likely you just need to be bolder sooner while going for it.

Just because there appears to be a lot of folks selling you how-to and what-to-do, you don’t have to buy it.  Often they only know what’s best for them.

You are the best source of your own wisdom.

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been thinking about this commonly shared story about the gold rushes.  There is a mini series showing right now called Klondike that illustrates my point. History shows that more folks got wealthy by selling pans, lumber, shovels, sex, booze and supplies, to the seekers of riches, than those who actually struck it rich.

This story is now told to illustrate the wisdom for becoming a how-to-get-rich info marketer.  The promise is, by selling books, audios, videos and memberships sites, that teach others how to get rich, you’ll get rich.

Like many of you, I’ve been intrigued by the possibility of online riches.  In the past, I’ve shelled out my bucks for all kinds of “can’t miss” info-products and deals.

But here’s why I’ve been questioning this modern day gold rush.  I think, just like the original, it may be a business model based on illusion.  An illusion based business model is one that sells more hope than substance.  Am I nuts or is this really closer to the truth?


We say we like connecting, expressing and media socializing, but how much of this would we be doing, if we didn’t think that it would lead us to finding online gold?

I go back and forth on how best to claim online gold.  I question the value of social media frequently, yet I’m still using it, so I’m not judging any method.  If anything I’m confused as hell as to where it’s all going?  But I’ve learned that confusion often signals opportunity.

I do know this; when I stake my own claim, in this online gold rush, I’ll only sell a how-to system that helps you to express and promote your own uniqueness. That’s the best shot we all have at riches.

Your best shot at riches is to express your authentic uniqueness.

I’ll only sell what I and my clients have proven. That’s why I’m such an advocate for life coaching. Coached people more often create the lives and businesses they want to create. Coached people take more action so they fail and succeed faster, sooner.

Those who think they can go it alone without a mentor or coach are the really crazy ones.

Coaching works because it respects and honors individuality.  Any coach worth his or her fee will help you to take action swiftly and do it your way in a way that promotes your uniqueness.

Some of what I know will work for you and some won’t.  It’s my job as coach, to create the structure and environment that will have you repeatedly choosing, acting, failing and adjusting.

Fail faster better.

Fail more often and you increase the probability of succeeding.  Get to a place of not giving a chit about the outcomes and you’ll try more things.  Try more things and you’ll increase the probability of stumbling on something that works.  How’s that for certainty?

It doesn’t’ matter how often you fail and have to start over.  What does matter is that you do start over. Starting over is your new lease on life. Jump in and enjoy.

Start over. Be yourself.   Stay present.  Trust yourself.  Take frequent action.   Start over.

Contact me here to for a free starting over session to find your aliveness.


  1. Tom. Very simply you are the man. You always are in tune with where my thoughts are (and many others I am sure). 3 months ago I was making 60K, had two new cars, and limitless possibilities. Now I have a beat up car, no “job” per se and still I have limitless possibilities. Nothing has changed really. Some would say I am close to the bottom, but I believe I have never been higher. I no longer make 60K, but I also never have stomach pains on Sunday night either, or chest palpitations during the week. I am starting over at 32 years old. It would be easy to wallow in what could, should, ought to, but instead I will take each day as it comes and be better than I was yesterday. Thanks Tom!

    Jays last blog post..The Sunday Ponder

  2. Brett Legree says:

    The only time it is too late to start over, really, is when they’ve laid you to rest and set the headstone in the dirt.

    Other than that, there is always another chance to start over. So start today – because you never know when your last day may be.

    An interesting thing happened to me today, actually. I’ve been applying for jobs and getting interviews in my current field as I’m also working to “re-invent” myself.

    (So much for it being a bad job market – maybe I’m in demand.)

    Anyway, I was looking out in Calgary (online) and got to thinking, “I wonder if I can find employment outside of my field – sort of – but closer to what truly interests me”. I have a strong interest in productivity, with a technical spin.

    You see, most of the jobs out there are in petroleum and that is not my specialty – but there must be people providing services to the petroleum companies, right?

    Lo and behold, there are a few companies there, and they are hiring. You see, I always figured I’d like to set up shop out there and run my own productivity consulting company – but why not get a start working with someone else?

    So I’ll be spending a few days putting a lot of thought into how to approach these people.

    There is always a way to turn what truly gets you going into a wonderful opportunity.

    We only need to open our eyes, and look beyond what we think are the boundaries.

    As always Tom, thanks for a very thoughtful piece of writing.

    And one of these days, I *will* make it to a coaching call (this week was just too crazy).

    Brett Legrees last blog post..i am what i am, i am who i am. a guest post by eyeteaguy.

  3. “Ahead of the curve.” That is my new statement. I am ahead of the curve- thanks Stacey and Tom!

    Jays last blog post..The Sunday Ponder

  4. Jay – You already sound freer and more enthused. There are many kinds of wealth. Sometimes we need to honor ourselves first (as you have done) in order to reconnect with financial prosperity.

  5. Jay – we seriously have parallel lives. I was 32 when I quit my well paying Boston job. I no longer had Sunday stomach aches either. I feel blessed to have started this path so young! Many are in their 50s or 60s when they start.

    Tom – I worked with a coach and can validate what you say about the benefits. Without that coach I would not be where I am today. I worked with her 3 years ago and the experience is still so loud and clear.

    One thing I’m not sure I agree on is “starting over”. I used to say that all the time. Felt like I wasn’t making progress, never getting traction, always starting over. When I paused and reflected on where I had come from I realized progress was greater than I thought. I wasn’t starting over, instead I entered a new phase of the cycle. Almost like a spiral, constantly in motion, with new circles being created all the time.

    I love your style and really enjoy reading your work. Thank you!

    Stacey Shipmans last blog post..The Importance of Practice

  6. Stacey – Absolutely, you and jay are way a head of the curve. Most folks in career crisis don’t ask for coaching help until their mid-forties and many much later.

    I get what you mean on starting over and I certainly understand the value that comes form making repeated starts both false and true. Really, use the language that works for you. Sometimes I use “start fresh” because I like the energy of it and other times I’ll use “time to adjust” because my path just needs a fine tuning.

    We agree on what’s important, I’m sure.
    Be yourself. Stay present. Trust yourself. Take frequent action.

  7. You’re right about when you think you’ve screwed up you can always start over! I was pregnant at 17 and married my boyfriend. When I was 22 I had 4 little girls. The last pregnancy twins.

    The funny think is I knew I was over my head but I didn’t think I screwed up. Everybody else did!

    So here I am nearly 38 years later not surviving but thriving. I’m still married and moved from MI to AZ 18 months ago. It was our dream we never let go of all of those years.

    Today two daughters are in sales with athletic shoes and as a runner I have enough shoes for the rest of my life!

    Another works for the airlines and we fly free. We have 2 wonderful grandchildren and one brand new grandson.

    Besides blogging and some coaching I’m learning to golf, I hike and I’ll be running a 1/2 marathon next Sunday in Atlanta with daughter Kristy.

    My husband sold his accounting practice of 25 years before we moved and I ended my private practice I began as a psychologist. I still get clients calling me wanting counseling but I refer them to friends I worked with.

    There is no screwing up. There is only picking yourself up, taking one day at a time and moving through life. Choose to be determined and happy as you go. Help others along the way.
    That’s all anyone needs to do.

    You’re correct anything else is all bull!

    Oh, and the comment about Neale Donald Walsh and his wife and what they say to each other daily. I like that. I’m going to use that as well.

    Tess The Bold Lifes last blog post..Are You Bold Enough To Forgive Yourself & Others?

  8. Tom, I like “start fresh”. It was about language. For me starting over became daunting, like I wasn’t getting anywhere!

    Yes, we definitely agree on the important part.

    Stacey Shipmans last blog post..The Importance of Practice

  9. I am a big fan of the “do-over” in life and in business. Just a choice to start from now based on what you learned so far!

    Your points about the gold rush are well taken. I have come to believe the path to your own personal gold rush is finding a way to make a living doing what you love. Part of the gold is the satisfaction you get when your work allows you to express who you are and make a difference that matters to you.

    I have declared a few do-overs in my career. The only regrets I have are the times I waited a little too long to take the leap. How I know I waited too long is based on the level of suffering involved staying where I was! Have been told more than once I was crazy to “walk away from the opportunity” whatever it was at the moment. When times have been tough I thought about getting a job and even lamented (briefly thankfully) the opportunities I walked away from. But my freedom has always been more important than my security (or perceived security anyway). Not sure why that is, but it has certainly given me a great life on so many levels. And somehow it always works out.

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..Whose Job Is It Anyway?

  10. Tom – I love your no holds barred, no b.s. style of writing. I can always count on your endearing honesty! And of course it resonates for me too.

    I appreciate the reminder that we are the best source of our own wisdom. Especially as I am bombarded with all sorts of online fortune building schemes. I don’t give myself credit very often for what I do know.

    I have started over in 3 separate careers (I’m on the far side of 50!). That part gets easier. My takeaway is to keep these words in front of me:

    “Be yourself. Stay present. Trust yourself. Take frequent action.”

    Deb Calls last blog post..Cinderella Breaks Free

  11. Great honesty here Tom. As you know, I recently “started over” by creating my own business. I’m not 32 (and haven’t been for a while now) so it is never too late to make a major change to align with your gifts and passions. When you hit the sweet spot of creating work from your authentic self, it can be as good as a ……….(Laurie thinks:ok I want to say sexual experience but do I dare?)………..sexual experince.

    I have one more business in me. After I “retire” and move to the lake and build my log cabin, I am going to open up a shop featuring the artwork of locals and include my own. It will be a studio/shop and others can come there and work as well. I think that would be so much fun. And when I want, I can hang a sign on the door that says, “Be back later. Gone canoeing!” and head out for the afternoon.

  12. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching says:

    Thanks Tom. I’d add to this that I’ve found that many people who believe they’d be “starting over” with a career change, in the sense that they’d be starting “from scratch with nothing to show for” their old career, aren’t taking into account the experience they’ve acquired from what they did before. Even if you bring no clients with you into your new business because you’re doing something totally different, what about all the writing, thinking, connecting with people, and so on you did in your old position? It doesn’t matter whether some HR person would take that stuff seriously — the fact is all those “intangible” skills and experiences are going to drive your success in your new role.

  13. “You are the best source of your own wisdom” – As a society we need to shift gears and create a cultural norm that allows people to believe in their natural inner wisdom again.

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Authentic Happiness Series – Part One

  14. Hi Tom

    I love the fail faster better 🙂 So many people got hang up on the fear of failure, therefore, they never got started. Also another big group who needs help are the kind who play the victim game. They give away all of there power all the time, leaving them feeling helpless.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    Giovanna Garcias last blog post..President Lincoln heard more ‘No’ than ‘Yes’

  15. Brett – You’ve made several excellent points. “So I’ll be spending a few days putting a lot of thought into how to approach these people.” Too often we try for the quick hit in business. To really understand these companies and how you can add value, before approaching them is truly wise. Your confidence will sore form having invested in theat prparation.

    “There is always a way to turn what truly gets you going into a wonderful opportunity. We only need to open our eyes, and look beyond what we think are the boundaries.”

    Both of these points are powerful. The openings are always there. Options we normally don’t see appear when we approach knowing that they are there. As you’ve said, we create the limits anyway so why not tear them down and look anew?

    Stacey – Glad that fresh works. Language is so vital to movement.

    Jay – You are indeed ahead of the curve. Live that realization and you’ll find that you can become more decisive and fail faster as you build your empire.

    Susan – Might I suggest that your freedom is your security? That’s the way it is for me. Without complete autonomy I don’t feel as much at ease. With autonomy I know it’s up to me and I can change any circumstance and create anything that inspires me.

    Deb – I appreciate you for the inspiration your life offers. You can re-create your career 30 times if necessary to find the pure gold that’s in your vein of authenticity. That’s what we want you to express.

    Laurie – I’m glad you didn’t say better than sex. 🙂 But occasionally as good as, sure that’s definitely true. The rush of self-love that comes from authentic self expression can just as easily be felt in pure work as it also can be felt in satisfying sex.
    I love that you aren’t afraid to express your joys.

    Canoeing and art – why not? There have been much stranger couplings that have worked well.

    Chris – That’s an excellent point. It’s all good, meaning all of our experience continues to have a purpose that we can re-direct towards our current passion. I’ll go you one further. It’s all there in our lives because it is all connected and gradually nudging us towards the next creation. We all have a silent guide within and conscious of it or not we are stumbling toward our bliss, always.

    Stacey – Now that would be something. Shift the viewpoint of our society to respect inner wisdom and authentic expression. Kinda think that’s what I’m doing with Delightful Work. 🙂

    Giovanna – No victims here. that’s why you are always welcome. We’re in the same fail frequently club of happiness. 🙂

  16. Never considered that my freedom IS my security, yet now that you say it, it makes total sense. Very insightful. Thanks!

    Susan Mazzas last blog post..How Well Do You Listen?

  17. I’m a fan of fresh starts and each day, each week, each month, each year is a new chance.

    I like how the right motivation can make all the difference. Scrooge is an example of switching to life he wants to lead. In the story, I don’t think he becomes somebody different, he finally becomes more of who he was.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Life Frame

  18. Ian Peatey says:


    Sounds like these people you mention at the start of the post don’t really want a coach but want someone to save them! I sometimes do some coaching but only when I’m convinced that they are taking full responsibility for their lives and for whatever decisions / insights they reach. I see my role as mainly a sounding board and a challenger – never as a saviour!

    Great post!

  19. Tess – Welcome. I just rescued your inspiring story from my spam file. Something told me to check rather than just hit delete. 🙂 I’m glad I did. It’s an honor to welcome you to Delightful Work.

    Susan – Thank you. You helped me to remember an inspiration that I hadn’t voiced in a while.

    J.D. – I agree with you about Scrooge. We all have a brighter, bolder, more loving self within and it only takes decision to bring it forth.

    Ian – That’s very savvy of you. A coach is simply a tool to accelerate your life. I agree a life raft I am not. Spirit meets us on the way to action.

  20. You bring up some excellent points, Tom. Your first points really hit home with me because I feel it draws on the benefits of knowing and understanding yourself.

    I think understanding yourself–your strengths, weaknesses ways of working, etc are all important things to know. I think knowing these things can help you to discover any possible mistakes or missteps you might be taking in your business.

    Understanding and identifying these things will allow you to realign your strategy or speak with your coach or mentor openly, candidly and more focused without resorting to complaining.

    Matt Thomass last blog post..How to Effectively Lead Change in Your Company

  21. LifeMadeGreat | Juliet says:

    Hi Tom

    I’m not (or no longer) looking to use my blog as an online money-maker. I simply write from my heart and hope to inspire and share with others. Of course I’d love more people to be involved in my work, but numbers don’t count.

    I’ve stopped commenting on sites for the sake of commenting. I read those I want to, when I want to and comment if I feel so moved. I’m very comfortable in cultivating a few “close” and genuine online friendships than have hundreds of people behind lists.


    LifeMadeGreat | Juliets last blog post..What Do You Think Of This Quote?

  22. Hi Tom,

    In complex systems (ie. in principle unpredictable) – and the blogosphere is certainly one of those – the best is to try lots of stuff and follow up what works (rinse and repeat).

    In Australia some did get wealthy from the gold rush. This was because the government set the size of the claims to be quite large. It also meant that several people could work the one claim (they all got equal shares, even the cook). Applications to the blogosphere? Maybe a largish niche and collaboration?

    Evans last blog post..Exploring the (sort of) Infinite

  23. I like the idea of fail faster and better! That made me laugh today.
    I seem to need to re-invent myself about every two years – though I stuck to heavy parenting, care giving for about 27 years – each time my physical self takes a nose dive…

    I wrote a couple of weeks ago how my license for counseling was being rewritten and phased out/no grandfathered in clauses/ and I truly did not want to go back to school, you said think of a new title….great idea…and simple solution…

    I have just added writer in the last year….I think I will include Adult Educator to replace the counselor ….no license required and I already have a Master’s Degree in that area…sooo….here we go new invention of new self…
    Great post…

    Patricias last blog post..Morning Light is Revealing

  24. I love the ideas and energy here. I just turned 24 – I’ve traveled all over the world – been to New Zealand/Australia and back 3 times, spent 4 months living in the UK – essentially a “mini-retirement”, traveled all over Western Europe, as well as Belize, Brasil (where I am from originally), and have lived in Maine, New Mexico, Florida, NYC and LA. Obviously traveling is my passion… I graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and have heard very mixed reviews regarding how I’ve chosen to live my life.

    From admiration and envy to disaproval and concern, which leads me to believe you just need to find what’s good for you and do it well. There were times I doubted myself and even now I’m puzzled as to what I am going to do to be able to take my next trip (wherever it takes me). I think more than anything I want to write. When I figure out how to fund my traveling by writing about my experiences and observations (Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert-style) I will have reached my goal. and of course create new ones 🙂 But it’s a when, not an if – just a matter of time. And until then I am so grateful for my life just as it is and the amazing experiences I’ve had.

    Joy is infinate power.

  25. Lisa at Work at Home Mom Revolution says:

    This post reminds me of an old friend. She was always upset about some drama in her life. And being a good friend, I wanted her to be happy, so I would offer her advice (advice that was pretty much common sense for most everybody else). But she would never take it. She’d always have some excuse. After a while, I got tired of trying to help, only to see her totally ignore it. Needless to say, we’re not close any longer. I finally realized she was married to her problems. She was getting something out of being unhappy, and that wasn’t going to change any time soon.

    Lisa at Work at Home Mom Revolutions last blog post..Work-at-Home Technical Writer for Internet Marketing Company

  26. Matt – You’ve noted four key business concepts: understanding, awareness, willingness to make mistakes and the persistence to hang in there and adjust or realign as you say. Good stuff, thanks.

    Juliet – Your public declaration of intent is boldly refreshing!

    Evan – We agree that multiple attempts and approaches are essential. I’m learning that collaboration can be a very slippery slope.

    Patricia – It’s always a pleasure to witness your spirit. I love the way you’ve embraced your write to re-invent yourself. Question. Does the title you’ve selected appeal to your ideal client? Does it speak to the benefit they are searching for?

    Sesame – Welcome! You can add inspired to your list of feedback. Your energy is beautiful because you have lived your happiness in the purest form. You simply do what the hell you feel like doing. Keep making your heart sing.

    Lisa – Welcome. Yep there are folks like that. I’ll sometimes slap them into awakening with my challenges but often they have settled for a life of less than it can be. Glad you and I aren’t one of them 😉

  27. Chrystal K. says:

    Thanks for the advice, you’re right. It’s never too late to change.

  28. I think I’d like to hear more about what you mean that collaboration can be a slippery slope. I’m intrigued.

    Evans last blog post..Acceptance and Attention – the basis of unconditional love and nurturing

  29. Hi Tom. I like the idea of fail better, faster. The quicker we get it over with the closer we get to our successes. And the failure is just feedback — it gives us a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work. I think what stops people is believing they are a failure just because they failed at something. The failure doesn’t define the person at all. It is just experience.

    I really appreciate how powerfully you are able to explain life coaching. It frustrates me to put into words what it means to me after going through the training. It is very difficult to explain, and you do an excellent job!

    Davinas last blog post..A Vision of Fulfillment

  30. It all comes down to trusting who we are. We can all make excuses to not go for a dream. I don’t know about you but I can feel this is so wrong on many levels.

    I’ve been taking small steps to get my new career off the ground – laying the foundation. It’s a lot of work and there are days that I just can’t work at the computer any longer. I’ll take a break and before I know what happened I’m back at the computer knocking some work out.

    It’s all about a mission. If you believe that your goal is more important than your fear then you will work your butt off to make it happen.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Nows last blog post..Create A Members Only Club The Google Way

  31. Hi Tom – This has been a fascinating post, and from the comments you received, it’s obvious your words touched many.

    I also like how you did the comparison of the gold rush to making money online – it doesn’t get any truer than that.

    When I look back on my life, I was at rock bottom a few times, but I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as a learning experience, and a time for growth. To this day, even when things aren’t going according to plan, I’m always looking for the silver lining. And, it’s always there.

    Although many say they’re “starting over”, to me, it more taking what we already know and using it in a different fashion, choosing a different road, or branching out.

    I like what you said about not be the life raft for your clients. You can only help someone to the degree they want to help themselves. bI’m guessing those who do take your coaching seriously become very successful.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..What’s In A Name

  32. Evan – Collaboration – this is only my experience, but one really needs to examine the motivations of all parties before coming into an agreement. Some folks will agree to collaborate just because they are driven to community efforts. But these same folks do not necessarily make good completion partners. In my experience one needs partners who are in it for the longer haul if necessary and are truly committed to the end game.

    Chrystal – Glad you feel that way. What’s your big change this month?

    Davina – “The failure doesn’t define the person at all. It is just experience.” This is a powerful point that we coaches need to have tattooed on our clients hands. Thanks Davina I appreciate you recognizing that. It will come as you coach more and more clients. Eventually the writing will come naturally because you’ll have a wealth of experience to draw form.

    Karl – I always appreciate the way you give us updates on your business progress. I’m very much looking forward to reading about your many clients who I’m sure are on their way.

    Barbara – I’m glad you liked the gold rush comparison. Apparently many don’t want to believe that. You sound like a card carrying member of my favorite club – Natural Optimists! 🙂

  33. Tom,

    I enjoyed both your post and the comments. It’s interesting to read about how people feel about starting over. Like others, I’ve done it many times, some were hard and some were easy.

    While I enjoyed the whole post, this line jumped out at me, “You are the best source of your own wisdom.” For years, I distrusted the power of these words, but that’s changing…just like my life is changing AGAIN at the age of 57. It’s time to do something new and see where it goes.

    Regarding failure, I always think of children, especially the little ones who are learning to walk or stand up. Usually, at this age, they haven’t learned that failure is a BAD word. They just keep trying again and again. Even when they fall, they cry, but they get up and start over.

    Saras last blog post..Story Photo Contest

  34. Knowing how to start over can make all the difference. As I told my father-in-law when we were fishing and weren’t getting any bites: “If we aren’t going to catch any fish, we might as well change hooks and not catch the big ones.”

    An hour later we had five fish of 3-5 kilos between the two of us. It turns out that a shark tore the net of a nearby fish farm in water, and a bunch of the fish escaped. The reason we weren’t catching anything was because all of the fish that were normally there had run away.

    Sometimes we just have to know when to change hooks and start again.

  35. I like the idea of fail better, faster. The quicker we get it over with the closer we get to our successes. And the failure is just feedback — it gives us a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work. I think what stops people is believing they are a failure just because they failed at something. The failure doesn’t define the person at all. It is just experience.

  36. Sara – I just came here to answer a recent comment and I see that I did not answer yours for 09. Who knows how many changes we have both been through since then. I think of toddlers often as well. They just pop right up without thought – we could do well to emulate that behavior.

    Gary – I like your metaphor of changing hooks. It’s often the smallest of adjustments that lead to the juiciest results. Thank you.

    Kenny – You are spot on. I’m often corrected by folks who don’t even like me to use the word failure like it has some permanence to it. That’s crazy – it’s just missing the mark a little.

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