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FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO REDUCE RISK IN YOUR BUSINESS

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Labor Day is just a week away as I write this, and for the last few days, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my daily “labor” of coming into the office — including whom I labor with, and whom I labor for. During this reflection, the feeling that swelled up over and over was gratitude.

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Are you setting yourself up for failure? If you’d asked me that question a few weeks ago, I would have said “no” pretty easily. But since then, circumstances have conspired to change my mind. I’ve realized I was holding myself back from achieving a few of my goals, big and small. Today, I want to share the story of that realization and explain how I’ve changed my mindset, just in case you’re limiting yourself in the same way.

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When Nancy and I moved into our house, we were determined to start a garden, which turned out to be quite an adventure. The chaos started when the landscape crew dumped a truckload of rocks on the street. Apparently, they were afraid of putting them on the driveway because the boulders could crack it. I was at work at the time, and our neighbor called the police because the rocks were blocking the road!

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A few years ago, I was on a fishing boat with my dad, my brother, and one of my brother’s colleagues. The colleague was in the military and had recently returned from Iraq. While we were on the water, my dad lifted and adjusted the boat motor. Watching him, the soldier turned to me and my brother and said, “Your dad is a man’s man!”

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Here’s an under-appreciated fact for you: We’re all better off when we don’t judge other people. It sounds simple, almost like something you’d teach a kindergartener, but most of us have a hard time living up to it. I am one of those people.

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I grew up in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, Washington, but that didn’t stop my dad from telling constant jokes about Texas. He was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and his all-time favorite funnies pitted UT Austin graduates (Bevos) and Baylor University alums (Bears) against Texas A&M University grads (Aggies).

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We’re officially one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and for a lot of the business owners the phrase “When one door closes, another opens” is taking on new meaning. In the last few months, I’ve helped an increasing number of entrepreneurs acquire similar businesses and expand to new opportunities. Some of these new ventures were inspired by necessity, but others were exciting leaps made possible by COVID-19.

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It’s been more than four weeks since I last climbed a set of stairs like an adult. I had ankle surgery on Dec. 23, and ever since then, I’ve been crawling up the steps in our house. When it’s time to come down, I scoot from stair to stair on my backside like a toddler.

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Many years ago, I was browsing the shelves at my local library when I discovered a collection of Shakespeare’s plays on audiobook. This was so long ago that it was still the norm to check out a case of CDs from the library and play them in your car. Shakespeare wasn’t my typical choice of soundtrack back then, but something about the recordings intrigued me. I picked one up and carried it to the checkout counter.

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When my wife, Nancy, was a young girl, her father started a new Christmas tradition in their family. He loved board games, and he wanted to find a way to motivate his wife and children to play with him on Christmas Day. His strategy was simple. Every year, he would hold back a present for each family member. There was only one way to “earn” that final gift: They had to win a game.

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