The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

Category: Goal Setting (Page 1 of 7)

When Goals Matter

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By Steve Keating, of SteveKeating”

So, I’m on the tee box of a fairly long par four hole on a world renowned golf course. I hit a perfect drive, long by my standards and my ball rolls to a spot in the middle of the fairway. It leaves me with an easy shot to the green except that the green is well above me at the top of a sizable incline. I can’t actually see the putting surface but my golf map shows me the size and shape of the green so I decide to go at the middle of the green. I figure that’s my best chance at a par on this challenging hole. 

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5 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do on the Weekends

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How are you spending your Saturdays and Sundays? Here’s how to make sure you’re not wasting them.

If you’re like most people, you probably want to spend your Saturday and Sunday sleeping in, only to roll out of bed and onto the couch to veg out in front of a little mindless TV—but just until it’s time to change out of your sweats and into real clothes for dinner and a fun night of drinking. Right? Yeah, that’s most people, but not entrepreneurs.

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How to Be an Effective Public Speaker

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By Kailey  Barney, All In Networking contributor

While it is true that all of us have a capacity to speak before a group of people, not all has the ability to grab everyone’s attention and hold it until the very end of the speech.

Communication is a very powerful tool that gets you wherever and whatever you want if you speak with credibility and style. Some people are born speakers. However, it does not necessarily mean that you can be like them if the mere sight of a crowd now makes you want to faint. Practice makes perfect. Here are some tips to help you with that butterflies in your stomach.

Focus on your purpose. Yes, it is understandable that you want to give as many facts as possible to your audience but be very wary not to overwhelm them with too much. Stick to the main purpose and deliver your message briefly and quickly. Feeding them with so many ideas will not make you look smarter. Do not expect your audience to remember everything you are saying so drive home to the point and stop beating around the bushes.

Keep in mind that you cannot please everybody. Trying to please everyone is very unrealistic. Shake this thought off your head because it will never happen. If this is your goal every time you speak up to the public, you will always be frustrated and disappointed. So what if some people started leaving the auditorium halfway through your speech? They might be attending to an emergency. Do not be distracted by a yawn from one of your audience, he probably stayed up too late last night for studying. However, too much of that may mean you do have to make your speech livelier. The next tip is a good way to start.

Injecting some humor will do wonders. Making people laugh is probably the one of the hardest things to do. It is a skill that has been mastered by some people. Learning the art of injecting a little humor in your speeches and talks goes a long way. However, keep in mind everything is all about timing, you wouldn’t want to spill out an untimely joke to the crowd just to look trying hard in the end would you?

Relax, breathe and be calm. Everyone, even the greatest speakers of all time, have speaking jitters and their own share of stage boo boos; so do not fret if you get tongue tied in the middle of your speech or forgot a few lines of your declamation. Good news is, you are still perfectly fine. Almost everyone has been there already. So before the night of your talk, have a good night’s sleep, relax and remember that nothing will go wrong. A few push ups against the wall before your speech also helps you to relax.

Know your subject by heart. This is very important once you step up on that podium. If you know your subject by heart, you will hardly go wrong. No matter how the panelists or your audience bombards you with questions, if you know the ins and outs of your subject then answering their questions is not a problem.

Watch out for that tone of voice. Having a commanding voice gives the impression you know what you are saying even if was an impromptu speech the last minute. A convincing and commanding voice gives you credibility so most likely, they will listen to what you have to say.

Keep the ambiance light and friendly. Keep a light atmosphere so your crowd does not feel awkward voicing out their opinions. A business like tone in all your speeches is a good way to thwart interaction with the crowd and worse, bore your audience. Make them feel at ease and you will get what you want from them.

Be Interactive. Never let your audience get bored. Always keep them entertained. One of the best ways to grab their attention is to facilitate interaction between the speaker and the audience.

Vince Lombardi’s Success Formula: “Task + Relationship Excellence = Results”

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By Michael Lee Stallard

I once attended a meeting where it seemed that everyone was focused on the people or relationships in a business and believed that doing so would bring success.

Don’t believe it.

Great leaders focus on achieving BOTH task excellence and relationship excellence. This dual focus produces sustainable superior performance.

Managers who are solely task focused eventually burn people out. Managers who are solely relationship focused don’t set sufficiently high performance standards and challenge the team to accomplish them.

However, managers who focus on task and relationship excellence inspire their teams to work together to reach their goal. When the team does reach the goal, the resulting sense of pride inspires, engages and energizes the team to keep performing at the top of their game.

You’ll find a passion for task excellence in all the great leaders. In John Eisenberg’s book That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory, Fuzzy Thurston, an All-Pro guard who played for the great coach said, “We realized in his first season that we were going to be a very good team…Lombardi wasn’t going to stand for anything less.”

That’s the attitude it takes to be great. It’s the relationship excellence that keeps people feeling connected to their leader and makes task excellence sustainable.

Most people don’t know that side of Vince Lombardi’s character. They’ve heard the quote “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” improperly attributed to Lombardi. The quote was actually from a movie entitled Trouble Along the Way.

Instead, Lombardi taught that winning isn’t everything, but making the effort to win is. It’s similar to basketball coach John Wooden’s philosophy that winners achieve competitive greatness by giving their very best efforts all the time and thus receive a sense of satisfaction from knowing they’ve given their all.

Vince Lombardi had a passion for relationship excellence too. He loved his players. He told them they must love one another and said love made the difference on their team. In addition, he abhorred cheating and taking cheap shots at an opposing player. He viewed it as unethical and illegitimate behavior that was inconsistent with being a winner. Winning the right way, with character and virtue rather than vice, was what Lombardi believed and taught.

Today’s leaders can learn a lot from Lombardi’s emphasis on both task and relationship excellence. Without both, your team will fail to achieve sustainable superior performance.

Is a Dress Code Needed for an Exceptional Performance?

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By John Scott, Customer Success Manager at PerformYard

Golf is a game of stretch goals. While some of these are fairly common, such as scoring a birdie, others are more elusive. The most famous of these white whale goals is the hole-in-one.

Imagine, then, being able a check a hole-in-one off of your golfing bucket list, and doing so in Scotland at the home of golf, St. Andrew’s. For many golfers, it’s the stuff of dreams. 

For my friend Scott, it was a dream that became a reality last April. However, what made Scott’s experience unique was that he was wearing jeans, which is a well-known violation of golf’s widely accepted dress code, especially in the game’s birthplace.

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5 Reasons You Need Coaches at Work

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By Dianna Booher, Booher Research Institute

Life coaches and personal trainers seem to be the new status symbol.  From corporate CEOs to the nineteen-year-old French student, everyone’s talking about the rigors their “coach” is putting them through. If you’re the one being coached, they expect you to show up, work hard, and do what you say you will.

No accountability and no embarrassment … means no progress.

But don’t overlook the value a supervisor, colleague, or team leader acting as sponsor or mentor can provide in offering accountability and encouragement. It’s easier to follow through when you have someone—anyone—watching. So get these cheerleaders in your corner:

 Coaches help you identify your strengths and remind you to use them. Bosses, team leaders, or mentors can help you identify your strengths and then put you in positions or on projects that allow you to use those strengths to shine.

 Coaches warn you of trouble ahead. Coaches also help you work on your weaknesses to ward off problems before they develop: Do you need better quality control? They design drills and scrimmages to improve in these areas. Coaches also warn of trouble from the outside: If your team is behind and you need to get off the winning shot, you’ll hear the coach yell, “Watch the clock. Watch the clock.”

Your coaches at work serve you in these same ways. They identify skills that need to be strengthened and help you set up action plans and gain stretch assignments to grow in those areas. With your projects and plans that may be in jeopardy, they point out trouble-spots and suggest check-back points for further direction.

Coach-cheerleaders rally the crowd to support your efforts.Spectators have their own way of “watching” a game—from visiting with friends to loitering at the concession stands to conducting business. But when the cheerleaders start a yell, most other conversations get drowned out and everyone tunes in to the game.

Coach-cheerleaders at work serve the same function: They bring together all the various players who must contribute to your project, process, or task and get them behind your effort. Understandably, others get sidetracked in their own dramas at work. And their failure to meet a deadline, provide data, give a call-back, or attend a meeting can jeopardize your ability to execute your plans.

Enter your coach-cheerleader. Although you hope to use personal power as often as possible, knowing that you’re accountable to someone else to execute your plan can be the difference in your commitment to drive the project to completion. It’s not that you’d have to call on your coach to intervene; it’s your commitment to the coach that often drives you to peak performance.

 Coaches build your confidence.  Mentors and sponsorsplace their faith in you to accomplish your mission.  Their belief in you inspires the same confidence in yourself. Committing to someone else in writing that you will accomplish X by Y date and having them believe in you based on your word starts the adrenalin pumping.

 Coaches celebrate your wins with you. Having a coach-mentor slap you on the back after a win with “Great game” feels much better than hearing him or her walk away with head down and a mumble, “Better luck next time.”

Understand what this means for you: Your coach-cheerleader at work expects you to win. And that’s the idea—and the attraction.  Commit to a coach who will encourage you to execute your plans and hold you accountable for results.

Julie Myers Wood: Eat Your Sushi, and Expand Your Horizons

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This interview with Julie Myers Wood, chief executive of Guidepost Solutions, a security, compliance and risk management firm, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Q. Were you in leadership roles or doing entrepreneurial things when you were young?

A. I was always interested in working and earning money. My dad was a small-business owner — he ran an automotive industrial firm — and I grew up helping out with the business. He instilled in us a desire to work. You had to make money and think about doing things to make money in a productive way. I had this spark in me from a young age to try to find a way to create something.

When you were in college, did you have some notion of what you wanted to do for your career?

I always wanted to be a lawyer or a prosecutor. I love to read and to learn things — I was the kind of kid who would read the backs of cereal boxes. But in college, I was not a supermotivated student. I did well on the LSAT, and decided to do law school the right way, and I graduated near the top of my class.

How did you do that?

When I got to law school, I was very aware that I wasn’t the smartest one in the room, but there were a lot of people who thought they were. I decided I could prepare more, be more organized and think more strategically. That worked pretty well for me.

What were some early lessons in your career?

I was working at a law firm, and a colleague went to work for Ken Starr when he was independent counsel down in Arkansas. This was before Monica Lewinsky. I said to them, “If they ever need somebody else to write motions or do whatever, just let me know because I would love to be a part of it.”  I ultimately joined them, but it was very hard for me to say to someone, “Hey, I’m interested in this opportunity.” 


Well, it felt a little aggressive, but that’s how I got the opportunity. They never would have thought of me if I had not been willing to raise my hand. I’ve tried to take that lesson with me: How can I show, in an appropriate way, that I might be a good candidate for an opportunity?

Do you find that a lot of people don’t do that?

I think a lot of women don’t do that. And it is hard. It’s definitely against my nature.  You think that if you’re good enough, they’re going to realize that. But they’re not always going to realize that, and there are other people at the table who are raising their hands.  So I’ve really tried to say to other women: “A job has opened up. This could be a good opportunity for you.” 

I also worked briefly in personnel at the White House. I noticed that a lot of men would come to see me who were very inexperienced, but they were convinced they should be the next secretary of defense. Very rarely would a woman do that. They would come in hesitantly. You would almost have to seek them out to push them into bigger jobs. 

You worked in a lot of jobs in Washington over your career, including as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Lessons you learned from watching other leaders over those years?

I saw a lot of people who had really distinguished careers and were catapulted into new management challenges for only 18 months or two years. Some were extraordinary, and some were terrible. I learned more from watching them than from any book I’ve ever read.

What was the key for people who were successful?

They were able to identify and focus on core things. When you go into an agency or a company, there are a million things you could fix. But you can’t fix everything, so you make a decision about your priorities, and then you act on them. 

Other leadership lessons for you?

It’s really struck home how much people want to be noticed in their organization, at whatever level they are. Sometimes just basic communication — things that seem so obvious — can make a huge difference. When I was at Treasury, I prepared testimony for Ken Dam, the deputy secretary at the time.  I also helped brief him, and afterward I got the greatest note about doing an awesome job helping him. The power of recognition can really motivate people. I wanted to work for him. I wanted to make sure he got absolutely everything he needed and everything was taken care of.

Does your background as a prosecutor help in your current role as C.E.O.?

It does. You think about things critically, and you’re able to ask a lot of the right questions. I also read everything that comes in front of me and try to understand it deeply enough to go beyond what’s on the page.

How do you hire?

I ask people about their past jobs — what they did, what they liked about them, and what they learned from them. I also ask what they know about our company and what they think we should do differently. A lot of people just don’t do that basic work before an interview. It’s stunning to me.

 I’m always looking for that sense of passion, urgency and commitment. Have you succeeded in an environment where you’re very independent?  How have you pulled yourself up in some way?

What advice do you give to college students?

One thing I always say is “eat the sushi.” When I had just graduated from college, I went with my mom to Japan. We had a wonderful time, but I refused to eat the sushi. Later, when I moved to New York, I tried some sushi and loved it. The point is to be willing to try things that are unfamiliar.

Twice a week, Adam Bryant, NY Times Contributor, talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing.

The Keys to Strategic Differentiation

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By James Kerr, contributor

Whether executive management teams recognize it or not, every enterprise shares the same three goals. These are to become a Company of Choice, an Employer of Choice, and an Investment of Choice within their particular industry niche.

To become “of Choice” is to possess those characteristics that serve to strategically differentiate a firm from its competition. And these three goals are universal truths. After all, why would any commercial enterprise wish to be anything less than an “of Choice” concern?

Sure, it’s true that some management teams may not specifically state these three pillars of strategic differentiation as plainly as we have above. However, there is no denying that every strategy aimed at outwitting the competition, all tactics employed to gain market share; indeed, any effort of any strategic intent finds its motivation in the achievement of one or more of these three universal goals.

With that said, let’s explore each one of these “of Choice” classes.

Company of Choice
To be the Company of Choice means that your firm is preferred over all others within its chosen markets. To be preferred implies that the company does plenty of things right – such as offering the right products, at the right price, using the right” distribution channels while providing the right customer service models.

Notice that the word is “right”. We are not necessarily saying the lowest price, or the best product makes a company the one “of choice”. Rather, the implication is that the company offers the pre-eminent combination of elements to make it the preferred choice within the industry. That’s why efforts aimed at simply becoming the least expensive provider or forging the most sophisticated product portfolio may be misguided.

A more appropriate tack may be to make the goal the provision of products and services on the customer’s terms. Efforts aimed at virtualization of the business, the delivery of on-demand products and service and mass customization are more likely to yield the right products, price and distribution outcomes that will help the enterprise become the “of choice” provider.

Employer of Choice
To be the Employer of Choice means that your firm is the preferred place to work within its geographical location(s). Here too, companies that are Employers of Choice do plenty of things “right”, providing the right work setting, with the right culture and employing the right compensation models.

The implications of being an Employer of Choice company are obvious. These companies have a clearly and cleanly articulated vision story; one that people can easily understand and, most importantly, see themselves successful within. The right setting includes well defined expectations and an intuitive operating model.

Fairness is the preeminent characteristic of the Employer of Choice enterprise. That means fairness in culture and fairness in compensation / reward systems. These firms are void of favoritism. They simply reward performance and ferret out sub-performers. These types of firms exude trust and enable staff members to exceed expectations.

Efforts intended to provide workers a voice in how work is done can unleash a potential not seen in most businesses. Programs providing for regular employee surveying, vision-based on-boarding, seasoned staff re-orientation, performance tie-in and culture committees can render exceptional Employer of Choice results.

Investment of Choice
An Investment of Choice company outperforms its competitors by delivering value to shareholders. All results achieved are built on a platform of sector-leading financial performance.

To achieve this, Investment of Choice firms uplift the performance of their asset bases through cost and productivity improvements; integrate a stronger performance culture across the organization and streamline its management model; and prioritize capital expenditure towards those businesses and initiatives that are expected to perform most strongly in the near, medium and long term.

For instance, asset optimization programs involve a thorough review of all key operations and include the benchmarking of assets and processes relative to best in class performance along key performance drivers. Performance culture work involves driving cultural change throughout the organization and building a management team driven by value maximization.

Capital expenditure portfolios must position for growth across all time dimensions through both organic growth and targeted acquisitions across a number of physical geographies.

Simply stated, senior leaders who want to create Investment of Choice companies must actively run their businesses looking for assets that are in the most attractive market segments, have scale, long lives and future growth options; are cost competitive; and offer significant value creation potential. If they can do that they will build firms that stakeholders will invest in.

Integrating the Views
Now that we have come to understand what is meant to be a Company of Choice, an Employer of Choice and an Investment of Choice, it is important to note that being any one of these is not enough to guarantee unbridled success. It is the combination of all three that delivers sustainable achievement over the long haul. But while many firms achieve one or two of these goals. Few achieve all three.

How is that done? Any great change starts with a decision. Firms must decide to formally recognize and make these three pillars of strategic differentiation the goals. Once the decision is made, a senior management team will then commit to establishing the necessary strategic programs across all three “Of Choice” dimensions. Success comes with an effort to do your best in executing each program.

Clearly, work must be done to deliberately plot out a comprehensive plan complete with interdependencies, prioritization and timelines for execution. With an overarching plan aimed at intentionally achieving the three universal goals, an enterprise can be well on its way to incomparable performance.

Most firms won’t be the one that rises up above all of the rest. But seeking to become that one is a journey worth taking. Every enterprise will benefit by doing the work that comes from the honest pursuit of the realization of these goals. In fact, the quest itself will lead to improvements in virtually all areas of a business.

And by simply recognizing that all strategic differentiation is driven out of these three universal drivers, companies will begin to impel important and positive changes in the way work is performed and in the way the business is run.

A humblebrag isn’t the answer

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By Jane Perdue, Lean Change Group Contributor

Many individuals, especially women, struggle with achieving equilibrium between confidence and humility—another one of those life, love and leadership challenges of getting it just right by avoiding too much or too little of the extremes.

Self-promotion advice I recently read in a leadership enews post zoomed right past confidence and into hubris. It’s a busy, noisy world where being heard or being top of mind are precious commodities. Yet creating a five-part strategic plan to showcase winning an award feels like over-the-top, calculated conceit. Personal branding can go too far and result in being labeled arrogant and egotistic, which isn’t how leaders want to be known.

But the other extreme is equally as bad. A self-effacing “Oh, it was nothing” or “I was just lucky” can backfire, too. Individuals might believe your denials and fail to give you credit when credit is due. A friend told me about having been to an awards dinner where nearly all the award recipients either downplayed their accomplishments or apologized for them. He slyly—and not totally in jest—remarked that he was surprised they were nominated since they believed they’d done so little to be noteworthy.

The rise of the humblebrag—boasting disguised as modesty—isn’t a solution either. Social media brims with examples of manufactured demureness:  “Geniuses at Amazon just recommended my own book to me.” “Just spilled wine on my new book contract. #bumblingthroughlife.” Tempering good news with some personal fault isn’t the confidence/humility equilibrium answer.

So where is the sweet spot in sharing just the right amount of personal accomplishments without stepping over into hauteur land?

  • Recognizing when a gracious “thank you” is enough. Character-based leaders are tuned into their environment and can assess when less said is really more.
  • Giving ourselves permission to feel good about—and share—our successes. Gracefully and tactfully publicizing our achievements helps us when recognition or promotion time rolls around. Plus it makes us feel good about ourselves.
  • Striving for balance in using “I” and “we” statements. Effective leaders want to be known as generous team players, not self-serving egomaniacs.
  • Taming the inner critic or fear that stops us from talking positively about ourselves. Focus more on success and less on the possibility of failure. “Failure and feeling bad are necessary building blocks for ultimate success and feeling good,” writes psychologist Martin Seligman.
  • Resisting the siren song extolling the virtues of blatant self-promotion, what writer David Zweig calls the “culture of profile” where the “metric of value is just attention.” The pull of the whisper is more alluring than a blaring band that goes on and on.

A Seven-Step Career Checkup

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By Beth Berk, AICPA Contributor

As they go through life, many CPAs set career goals that include attaining a specific title or role. That could range from being named CFO at a Fortune 500 firm to owning their own business.

Some of these goals, such as moving into the C-suite or being a partner at a public accounting firm, are obviously long-term objectives. There will be many years, and sometimes decades, between where you are in your career now and obtaining that dream title. So how do you know if you are still on track to reach that goal? How can you recognize if you’ve gotten stuck—whether in middle management or simply a job that can no longer help you reach your desired career objective? 

Far too often, job seekers tell me that they are frustrated that their careers aren’t progressing in the manner they envisioned. CPAs, whether in public accounting or business and industry, can get stuck due to issues in three main areas: skills (technical, education/training, soft skills), lifestyle choices (location, cost of living, work/life balance), and awareness/self-awareness (knowing your strengths and weaknesses, understanding what others think of you, fitting into your team’s culture).

During the course of your career, you should continually assess yourself in these areas through a career checkup. Once a year, take time to think about where you’re at in your career and where you want to go. Determine if you’re still moving toward that goal and, if not, figure out why. This assessment will help prevent you from getting stuck.

Here are some questions to ask during your next career self-assessment:

  1. Do you know the “rules” for climbing your organization’s corporate ladder to ensure you can, in fact, climb it? For example, if all previous CFOs at your company have worked at a Big Four public accounting firm, and your background is different, what is the likelihood that you can work your way up to the CFO role? Should you be setting your sights on a different company or maybe even a different industry? 

  3. Are you the one who offers suggestions and ideas at work, or do you implement others’ ideas? For example: Do you make recommendations for your department/business unit that can be implemented companywide that may result in higher revenue generation or lower costs? Developing ideas, not just implementing someone else’s vision, can help get you promoted.

  5. When given the opportunity to mentor or train staff, do you happily do so, or do you view this as another thing to add to your already busy day? Are you helping to cross-train staff so they can be promoted and you can be promoted too? Or are staff members going around you or getting promoted above you?

  7. In a similar vein, do your peers and senior management view you as the “go to” person for getting things done? If not, what can you do to be seen as that type of employee?

  9. How do your lifestyle choices align with your current career trajectory? When it comes to lifestyle choices, many factors influence your career decisions. These include where you live, your family situation, your health, and your personal work/life balance ideal. Maybe you live in an area where career options in your industry or profession are limited. You may have to relocate to get ahead, especially if your organization has multiple locations nationally or worldwide. If advancement occurs through opportunities requiring you to move and you choose not to move (e.g., your family wants to live near the beach, etc.), you may be limiting yourself. 

  11. Is management keeping you where it needs you—to your detriment? To advance in your career, you need to grow. That may mean deepening your mastery of skills you already possess. It also means broadening your skill set—adding new tools to the toolbox. But sometimes managers are content to keep a strong technical employee in the same spot simply because it makes the manager’s job easier. That prevents the growth necessary for advancement. How does management view you and your future in the company? Have you ever asked? Perception is reality—both in politics and promotions.

  13. Lastly, how do you deal with change? Consider getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis (taking into consideration your organization’s culture, of course). Doing so will showcase your ability to adapt and learn about yourself and new things, allowing you to lead others. Maybe you will even become your own boss and create your own corporate culture!

Everyone’s situation is different. Your career path doesn’t have to be the same as the person in the cube or office next door. Too much patience or lack of speaking up can eventually turn into complacency, frustration, and lack of engagement—habits that can stop your advancement right in its tracks. By giving yourself a career checkup on a regular basis, you can stay proactive and create strategies that will help you reach your goals.

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