Edification and Honour

Edification and Honour with James Hannan

Episode Highlights:

  • [1:06] Who is James Hannan?
  • [3:24] How James got involved in the direct selling business
  • [7:46] What is life like for James without network marketing
  • [9:15] Why edification is an important topic for James
  • [15:19] How and where James learned about the concept of edification
  • [17:11] The areas where edification is applicable
  • [18:53] How to apply edification when you’re in conflict with your upline
  • [21:29] How to teach the concept of edification
  • [25:22] James sample role play on how to use edification
  • [28:18] James’ “I made it moment”
  • [32:33] What excites James about the industry and his direct selling business
Edification and Honour with James Hannan


[0:54] Jen: Today we’re so excited to have James Hennan with us. James is from a global direct selling company in the health and wellness category and we’re going to be talking about edification. So, welcome, James.

[1:05] James: Hi, Jen. How are you?

[1:06] Jen: Great! Thank you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your background?

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[1:10] James: My background, I guess, from a little country town middle of New South Wales. I grew up in Coffs Harbour on the East Coast of Australia, absolutely beautiful and never in my life ever thought that I would be in a network marketing company. [Laughs] I failed school miserably. I’m the guy that tells his children, “Hey kids, make sure you study hard.” But I don’t want them to know exactly how I went at school. I’m that guy. But they know and they just laugh at me because they know, “Dad were you terrible at school?” But I’m just glad that they don’t take after me in that area.

[1:50] Jen: [Laughs] Can you give us a short overview of your business?

[1:53] James: Well, we started building locally. We’ve been very blessed. We have a large Australian business and then we saw opportunities as other countries opened and so we started to build into New Zealand and Singapore, Germany, Austria, the US, Canada.

[2:12] Jen: Wow!

[2:12] James: We’ve been so fortunate – and traveled to all of those places to meet the team and to be a part of what’s happening. I never – I always thought in life as a kid we have these big dreams, right? I never thought, I never even knew how my dreams would come to past, but I never thought it would be through network marketing, but it has.

We’ve got the honour of developing great leaders in all of those countries and continually growing because I guess as our company grows it opens up new doors. We’re looking into the Asian community like in China, Hong Kong, and Korea, all of those kinds of areas as well. And so we’ve been very fortunate, very blessed and just to meet wonderful people, travel the world and do things that most people only ever dream about. Everyone has that dream vacation. I’m planning to go on my once in a lifetime holiday. This industry allows us to go on a once in lifetime holiday every single year.

[3:18] Jen: Yes, once a year.

[3:20] James: But it’s been like that for us and it’s just been wonderful.

[3:24] Jen: You mentioned that you never thought you’d get into network marketing, so why did you get involved in direct selling?

[3:30] James: What a great question. When I got – it was because my step father in law gave me a call. He said, “James, I’m going to bring over a video to you and I want you to watch.” Now, we had done the – a couple of stints and a couple of other companies. I was really young, 18, 19, 20, and I didn’t really understand the power of this industry. It wasn’t fit for me, I guess, as well. But after I got my third going to different companies at the age of 20, I said, “No more.” Then, my step father-in-law said, “You got to watch this video.” Maybe in a good son in law – anyway it’s a funny [crosstalk] [4:08] Jen: Father and step law [crosstalk] [4:10] James: I know. I said, “Okay, I’ll watch it.” And I watched it. I said, “There is no way under heaven and earth am I joining in network marketing company.” And it was one of those big old VHS videos. It wasn’t DVD back then and so I watched I and said, no way. It’s not happening. But he persisted. He said, “Look, my friend is doing a meeting at his office, can you come along.” And so I said, “Okay, just to help out. Just to support my step father-in-law.” I went along and watched it again. I said, alright, here’s my credit card, we’ll sign up and just because we felt so sorry for him that he would stoop so low to join a network marketing company.

[4:53] Jen: No!

[4:54] James: We signed up, handed over the credit card thinking that – okay that’s really going to help him. This person signs up, buys his package, put’s it up on the shelf and never does anything.

But you know, life was interesting at that time. I thought I was doing okay in my job, but things weren’t great. I was – some people might – if you’re young and listening to this, you might understand that sometimes you get taken for granted.

In my job that’s kind of what was happening. I was running a large branch of a gas company and we were doing really good sales. All of that kind of thing but I was one of the youngest managers in the entire company. And so what happened one day is my boss walked in and he said, “It’s the end of the year appraisals and I want to give you a bonus. I want to give you a pay rise.” And I’m like, this is fantastic. I worked my butt off for the last 12 months. It’s going to happen. He walks in and he goes, James, this is it. We just increased sales by that year. I think it was closed to quarter a million to half a million dollars. The branch had done really well. He walks in and gives me a $3500 pay rise.

[6:06] Jen: Oh, ouch.

[6:08] James: And I went, are you kidding me? I’ve given up time with my family. I’ve given up doing things that I enjoy, fishing, exercise, to do this and you give that to me. Now, I already have a very small base. And that gave me a wakeup call and I thought something’s got to change.

I thought that I would do some kind of franchise. I thought I’d have some kind of business like that but then I realised that in my hand I signed up for this network marketing thing a few years earlier and I haven’t done anything with it. And at that time, I came home. I still didn’t do too much, but I came home. I left that job and went with something else and my wife met me at the door that time, she goes, “Honey, we need to buy our daughter a pair of shoes.” I said, “Sure, let’s go do that.” And she said, “We can’t. We don’t have the money.” So I didn’t realised how bad things were because I wasn’t a money person. I didn’t look after things. I just gave it to her, that’s for her. That’s what her gifting was. And so I handed it over to her and she told me that and that was like ripping my heart out and so what I did…

[7:12] Jen: It’s ripping my heart out now. I have two girls.

[7:14] James. Oh. And so, you know, we would save for two weeks to go out for coffee and a piece of cake. And so it wasn’t good. So I stayed home and for three days I thought about what am I going to do. And at the end of the third day, I went, oh, one second, I’ve got this box up on the top of the counter, oh on top of the shelf. What is this thing? And I took it a little bit more serious from then. The thing started to change thereafter.

[7:41] Jen: And here you are. [Laughs] [7:43] James: And here we are. It’s kind of crazy how it all works.

[7:46] Jen: So, if you weren’t in direct selling, what do you think you would be doing? How would your life be? Do you think you would be the same person?

[7:53] James: I think I love work. I’m a bit of a workaholic, not for the sake of working but for the sake of the challenge.

I love to get to a new level. I love to hit a goal. I love to work out what’s working, what’s not working and to really see the reward of that.

Network marketing’s so different to traditional business. And I would have got a traditional business whether it would have been a franchise, a consultancy business, I don’t know. It would have been something like that based on my career choices that I was making at that time. But what would happen is I would have always been away from home.

You see, for the – I spent 24 hours a day, seven days a week at home, pretty much unless I’m traveling going overseas for the last 13 years. So I’ve got to grow up with my kids. I’ve got to be there and watch them grow. But if I haven’t been in this industry, I reckon I would have been a burnt out individual who – maybe doing what, okay in my choice but maybe not too because the risk involved in having your own business, all the work that’s required, how much you have to be away from the people you care about, all of that kind of thing I don’t – would have played a big, big toll.

[9:15] Jen: I know that you’re excited to talk with us today about Edification. Can you tell me why this topic stood out for you? What is edification and why is it important?

[9:25] James: You know, when I’m – for me personally, I think edification has always been a part of my life. I’ve always like to encourage people. I’m a words guy. I love encouraging people. I love lifting others up and edification really is that, edification is such an old word and a word I like to use today is honour. Honouring one another. You see, I think when we come from that place of honour, because edification – it’s a very similar thing. But a lot of people don’t understand it when all it is just honouring one another.

One of my favourite quotes is, “Treat other people the way you want to be treated.” And there’s people that deserve it, there’s going to be people who don’t deserve it. The thing that we need to understand is what goes around comes around and edification is part of that. It’s an interesting dynamic.

In this business, we have to be wise. People look to us and they watch you, what you do. They listen to what you say, but they watch what you do. And you’re going to want people or we’ll all want people at one time to speak highly of us, to honor us, but it all starts with who we are. We can’t expect something for ourselves that we’re not giving out to somebody else. I once had a trainer say that edification allows the majority of the sales process to be done. In fact, if you learn how to edify, if you learn how to edify your product, your company, your upline, your downline, the support system, if you learn how to edify or honour all of that, then 95% of the sales process is done. Why? Because you’re making people feel good.

You got to remember this also that if you are bad mouthing somebody, the person listening is already thinking, “If you’re talking bad about them, I know you’re talking bad about me.” And that’s an interesting concept. An interesting mindset to have.

When we build a culture within ourselves, a culture of speaking highly, a culture of lifting others up, a culture of seeing people through the eyes of the way they would like to be seen, looking for the good rather than focusing on the bad, looking for a way to make someone feel good. They’re going to want to automatically follow you.

Everyone knows, people don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care. They want to know that you’re real. They want to know that you’re an individual they can trust and the way you speak about other people, the way that you treat other people in your team, your upline, your support line, your mentor, even the people in the corporate office, they are looking at that, watching that and then what they’re doing is they’re going away and they’ve made up their own mind, are you a person I like or a person I don’t like? Are you a person I trust or a person I don’t trust? Are you a person that I can put my dreams in the hands of to help me achieve or are you a person I need to run a million miles away?

That’s what edification allows us to do, what honour allows us to do. It’s such a powerful word, honour. We know the soldiers, they honour, we honour that they deserve because they’ve been in the battlefield and that’s what happens here. In business, in network marketing, we are soldiers in the battlefield and that new recruit, that new person that’s joined your team, they’re about to enter the battle of their life. Now, it’s not a battle where blood’s going to be spilt and where all that kind of stuff, but It is a battle where tears will be spilt. It is a battle where fear will have to be overcome. It is a battle where complacency has to be put off to the side. It is a battle and what we do as a leader and as an individual is we allow them to enter that battle place, we can either be their comrade in arms. We can be the general that’s on the field with them and say, “Hey, I’m here with you. You can do this. My leader helped me. I’m going to help you.”

The person that supported me was great. I am going to do the same for you. And they’ll see the general on the field or what they’re going to see is the general in the tent behind the battle lines. The one they have no respect for because that general isn’t there. We get to be that person through the words we use, the actions we do, the things that we say, everything.

We get to understand that that person is in a battle. Our edification, the honour that we give to one another allows those people to join in the battle, feel good about joining in the battle, and when they look at you, they’ll go, yes, I trust you. I honour you because you honour me and you honour other people. That’s what happens in this industry. That’s what edification is all about. It’s about the foundation of culture, a culture we have inside of us and that culture then gets developed in your team.

There’s always something I know. If I look at an organisation and the organisation is back biting, the organisation isn’t doing good, the organisation is fighting, I know where it comes from. It comes from the leader. And so that leader then has to fight hard. That leader then has to change. That leader has to look at themselves. I know this because I was that guy. I was that guy that wasn’t very good at this, that I’ve done the wrong things. I’ve burnt bridges. I’d said the wrong thing and I hadn’t built a business with humility. I built a humility with arrogance. And so what happened because of that arrogance, that arrogance overflowed and that needed to change. And that takes time. it takes time to win people back and if I can people there’s always keep a heart of humility and that humility allows you to honour others because you don’t see yourself too highly. It allows you to see other people higher than you and that is a good thing to develop. A culture that you want in your organisation where everyone lifts each other up.

[15:19] Jen: You seem incredibly passionate about the concept of edification. Can you tell me where you’ve learned all these?

[15:25] James: You know, as I said before, life is a battle. I don’t think a leader can ever train on something they’re not going through or been through and when they do its just theoretical knowledge, something they’ve learned in a book.

I got to go to a trainer one time. I’ve spent so much money on personal development and becoming better and all the time, I listened to this trainer and I learned that where edification came in. I didn’t understand it up until that time, but since then and then going through my own battles and understanding the power of it, and understanding how good it makes others feel when you are honouring one another, that’s what I wanted.

You see, I want people to feel good around us, to feel good in our industry, to feel good in our company and that’s an important place. Edification is also honouring, it’s also the place of unity. When we’re honouring one another, when we’re looking after one another it gives us that foundation of unity. When that’s not in place, when you don’t have unity, when you don’t have that, you have nothing. Your business will fall apart or it won’t grow.

Remember, life only has two stages, we’re either living or dying. There is no middle ground. There is no management mode. People move in to that place and need to stabilise my business, running to stabilise what’s going on, no, you’re either moving into a place of growth or moving to a place of decline. And this unity – and having this unity in your business and dishonouring in your business, it needs to be rooted out. It needs to be dug out with a fork and not allowed to happen, because I’ve seen it.

[17:11] Jen: What situations where you apply the principle of edification or honour, as you put it…
[17:16] James: In every aspect. When we do a three-way call, what we happen is we’ve trained our team that when they come on the call, they edify me. They talk highly of me. They know what to say and they got scripts, and they got a process that everybody needs to follow. That process they follow, it gives them something they can do. And the next thing that happens is I need to re-edify them. I need to tell that their prospect that, “Hey, this person is a good person. I love them. They’re doing awesome. I’m proud of them.” because that prospect will then say, “I wish people would talk about me like that.” I want someone to say I’m good. I want someone to say I’m amazing. I want someone to say that I’m following the system. I want someone to say that I’ve got a great future because life generally, we don’t have those kind of people around us. We don’t have those people that are lifting us up. In general, in life. We have a lot of people who want to bring us down and so what we want to be doing is we want people to see that this is the place they want to be. Network marketing is so unique.

[18:20] Jen: Yes, this business is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

[18:21] James: It really is. So we use it in every aspect. The team meetings, the three way call, even around your kids. Edification of mom and dad. Every aspect. The kids want to see mom and dad getting along. They want to see mom and dad doing things and speaking highly of each other even if things aren’t good between those guys. It’s still important, it’s still important that the kids get to see that and hear that, and feel that. It’s on every aspect of our lives.

[18:53] Jen: Sometimes, especially when you’re new in this business and don’t fully understand or appreciate certain principles we might not agree with our upline or what they’re teaching. So can you tell me, would you still edify them and what advice you would give to someone in a situation on following edification concept?
[19:09] James: You know, I think we all need to understand, Jen, is that we’re all human. We are prone to make mistakes. Your upline and everyone’s upline is going to make a mistake and they are going to let you down. They are going to make you question things because of their mistakes, but also because of life. That’s who we are. So honouring and edification, it’s a two-way street. Number one, but the big thing is that – here’s a principle for you, be a little selfish and what I mean by that is this, you are there to use your upline in this process. You want them to speak life in but you want to use them to be the ones allowed to come along and edify you because you can’t edify yourself, right?

If you have a culture within your organisation and your upline’s culture as well that everyone understands the reason we edify is not just to have a nice team that everyone gets along. It’s also a business strategy and that strategy when done correctly, allows so many objections to be overcome. So look, your upline is definitely going to let you down. And guess what, you’re going to let your upline down. That’s human nature. That’s what goes on, but you still have to edify.

Sometimes the way you get let down will be huge other times you get let down in a small way. But that’s normal. That’s okay. But we need to get over that and be in a place where your team understands that you can still speak highly of your upline even if they know something happened. You don’t want your team to know anything happen. I don’t want you – you don’t want your team to know that there’s conflict between you and your upline. But if there is, they got to figure it out. They’re going to feel it, but you don’t need to be telling your team negative. Never put any negative downline. Never tell your team about issues, ever. Always keep that sort of stuff to yourself. Go upline or go to the company corporate if you can, if you’re that high up the ladder. But find a way to always speak highly because the reason we edify our upline is because they’re there to help us make money.

[21:29] Jen: How do you teach this concept to a new team member? Is it part of a getting started training? Do you use videos, audio, books? How do you pass this on?

[21:38] James: The main way we do it is culture. It’s all about culture. If your culture isn’t a culture of edification and looking after one another, it’s very difficult to teach it. It’s very difficult teaching wise – we do have audios. We do have videos on it and we’ve got our app and people get to listen to that on their app. All of that kind of stuff. It’s all there. But you know, the number one thing is, I want them to see that it happens the natural part of our process. So when they’re around us, it happens and so then they learn, but then it is important that when for instance when our team when we’re on stage or when we’re about to be interviewed themselves or they come on to do a training webinar, we wanted to be recognised for new leadership level. We do tell them. Okay, make sure you edify your upline, okay? We do make that very strong and very much a part of our process.

[22:34] Jen: Can you share a story on edification and how everyone benefitted from that process?

[22:40] James: Yes, sure. Okay, so we use the – maybe before that we’ve been through this. This is why I’m passionate about now because I’ve seen the negative side of losing edification. I’ve seen the negative side of disunity, disunified team and I knew that it all means to start with me and so what happened is that – we have a global team. It’s thousands and thousands of associates around the world, very blessed, very fortunate. Then our team, no matter where they were had heard or knew that there were problems, okay? And so, what needed to happen was number one, I needed to change. I needed to be – come from a place of speaking nice and being able to speak from a place of being, you’re good sort of stuff. But then also my team needed to get to that place themselves, but I can’t expect my team to be there if I’m not there.

So, what I started to do was, number one, I started to talk from stage, speak from stage and on conference calls like this being thankful for my upline. Thankful for what they have done for me and helped me because they are incredible person and the more that I look at what they have done and who they are or the things that they have taught me, I realised that I was coming from a stupid place before with arrogance and ego and it slowed things down. Then the what I did, the next part is that I actually apologised, which released so much. And then I went to my leaders and I did the same thing to them and then all of a sudden, what happened, a team that was disunified became unified and this then overflowed into our whole company or our whole region, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, even over to Germany and the USA.

We started to see this out working of when leadership comes into unity, when all of a sudden people start talking good about one another the team lifts. The team feels good. They feel the difference because, I guess if you think about it this way, the team don’t want to see their uplines in argument because what happens is they kind of look at you like they surrogate business parent if we’re looking for a better terminology. That sounds so ridiculous, but we are close to that. They look at us as mentor, as a coach and they want to trust their future with us. And so what happens is all of a sudden we have a – from having a global disunified team, now we have a global unified team. A team that can move forward. And with unity, you can accomplish anything.

[25:08] Jen: So, could you give me an example of edification. So if we could do a little bit of role play and possibly we could be on a three way call and we’ve got a prospect, and I’m your upline, how would you introduce me to that prospect?

[25:22] James: Hi, John. It’s such an honour for me to be on this call with you. First of all, thank you for letting me do this with you, but I’m so privilege to have Jen with me. Jen has been in this industry now for a long time. She has helped me, supported me, coached me, and I couldn’t think of having a better person to be in that role. When I first got started, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t know if I could this. It was a big step for me, but Jen has been there the entire time. She’s actually learning from some of the best that are out there. She’s put in the hard yards and she’s making sure that I miss many of the obstacles that I probably might not have missed if I didn’t have her right there. And she’s so busy, but she’s given up a little bit of her time for me now and I feel so thankful that she has. So, whoever, this is Jen.

[26:18] Jen: Now, James, I feel – even though none of this true, I just feel incredibly honoured. [Laughs] That was great. You really warmed my heart. I felt wonderful, thank you. So, any don’ts when it comes to edification?

[26:33] James: Yes, don’t be fake. Find how you can – let’s just say you do have conflict, find how you can edify in a positive way. Find the truth because when you’re being fake in it, people will pick it up. It shows in your eyes. It shows in your facial expressions. All of that kinds of thing. Don’t be fake. Be real. And the next part is practice what you’re going to say. People want a million-dollar business. They want to be earning that six and seven figure income but they a lot of times miss the most important step, and that’s the practice step. Rather than thinking that this business is throwing mud up against the wall and hopefully some of it would stick, that’s an old thought process. We’re professionals now and being professional is like being a doctor. We’re not going to let a doctor or surgeon operate on us without him putting the hours beforehand.

Take the same mentality. Put in some time. Write down what you’re going to say or rehearse what you’re going to say. It doesn’t mean you have to practice and practice months on end before you do it, but at least practice it a few times that night or – and become better at it and then look at the different circumstances that you’re going to use edification at. So when you’re first getting started, the edification is just mainly going to be a three-way call or a presentation where you got someone that will help you. So practice what you’re going to say on both of those. Write down some notes. Know the individual and if you don’t know what to say, ask them. If they’re a leader and they’ve been around, ask them what can I say over here. It doesn’t have to be any harder than that. So practice and just be truthful in your edification.

[28:18] Jen: Now, can you share with us what does it feel like when you first experienced that I made it moment?

[28:24] James: This is funny. I achieved what we call in our company a level core presidential. It’s a six figure income level where I am in. This was a long time ago. When I achieved it, I thought to myself, this is pretty cool. Now, I still have a full time job. I was a national sales manager of a public company and that was a mistake in it’s own right, you know. I got started in network marketing and trying to sell everyone and that doesn’t work. That’s another conversation, but I got started and we’ve achieved this level and when I achieved this level, I’m still at work. That’s cool. That wasn’t the thing that helped me understand what we had done. What helped me understand what we had done was eight weeks later when I actually got fired. They closed the company down. I was working for public company and the board of directors met me or met everyone there and said, “Hey everyone, thanks for working with us. Thank you for turning the company around making it profitable, but we’re going in a different direction today. And so you all have two weeks notice. And I called – remember I said before I’m not good with money. I don’t look after the books and that. So, you know, we’re earning a great income when you combine our business income with my job. And I called my wife and she said, okay, just go home.

[29:37] Jen: That’s what you wanted to happen, isn’t it? [Laughs] [29:39] James: Yes. I said, what do you mean, I Just go home. I’ve just lost my job. How are we going to pay the bills? She goes, “You don’t really know how much money we earn, do you?” No. And she told me, and I said, “What does that mean?” [Laughs] [29:54] Jen: It’s enough. Come home.

[29:55] James: Right. And she was actually over in Perth at that time, so. That was funny.

[29:59] Jen: So there’s a lot of books and resources out there so people looking to develop themselves and their businesses, anything in particular that you consider a must have for direct sellers?

[30:10] James: You know, number one, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It is a must. Everyone needs to read that book and then learn to apply in every aspect of life. So, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must and the second book is “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Obviously, there’s loads, and loads of books. Anything by John Maxwell, I love a lot of John Maxwell’s Leadership Principles. I love the Questions and the Answers by Alan Pete. I love – oh, there’s The Five Levels of Leadership by, ooh, I can’t remember his name now but I apologise on that one. But yes, there’s so many books. In our team, in our business, we have a culture of reading at least one book a month and listening to around four different audios to help you develop yourself. You know, we’ve seen some of the biggest companies around do that and they do it well and it develops leaders, it develops strength and so we’ve applied that ourselves and the change in people’s lives was incredible. Always be reading. Always be listening. It works. They’re the bit of books I love.

[31:22] Jen: I think that the Five Levels of Leadership is John Maxwell, I think and “How to Win Friends and Influence People, is that Dale Carnegie? So for those people listening check those out. And do you have mentor or someone that you look up that helps you in your business?

[31:40] James: Yes. you know, I have different people, I guess – that I talk to all the time. Different people that have influenced my life. Obviously, my upline at the start was who I was always talking to everyday of the week, two or three times. But I guess when we get to a high level like us that doesn’t happen as much. So for me now, I always look to people that are higher level than I do. They’re in the same company or even different companies as we connect or network. All that kind of stuff allow people to speak into our lives.
I’m a Christian so I love getting input from pastor and different people like that. But also, I have a great relationship with the management of our company as well. You know for me, I have different people speaking in a different aspects of my life because I find that important.

[32:33] Jen: What’s one thing that has you the most excited about your business or the direct selling industry right now? Maybe it makes you smile or laugh when you think about it.

[32:41] James: For us personally, our company has just gone through a rebrand and because we’ve gone through a rebrand it gives us a new place of positioning and brings new energy. We all of a sudden feel like we’re twenty something year old startup. It’s kind of our story now and at the same time we’re bringing in new products that are sexy.

[33:07] Jen: Yes, so it’s re-energized everything for you.

[33:10] James: it really has. It’s nice and then we look at the industry and see that really is impacting a lot of lives. It really is changing. It really is growing and it does offer true alternative. Eric Worre said, what we do is better. And it is. And I love that.

[33:28] Jen: Well, thank you so much for being with us, James and sharing your insights on edification. I’ve love speaking to you and learning all about it and I particularly enjoyed our role play, so thank you.

[33:38] James: Thank Jen, I loved it as well. You have a blessed day and everyone I hope just go nail it, go do something great.

[33:45] Jen: Great! I will.

[33:48] James: Thanks, Jen.


Understanding Illegal Pyramid Schemes

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