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

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December is a month of temptations — and I don’t just mean the cookies! At this time of year, a lot of business owners fall into the trap of looking back at the past year and forward to the year ahead instead of living in the moment. Before they know it, the holidays are over and they’ve spent them “rehashing and rehearsing” instead of making new memories.

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I saw my first live football game when I was 14 years old. I lived in Washington at the time, and my uncle had two tickets to a game between the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Oregon Ducks. At the last minute, he couldn’t make the game, so he offered them to me. My parents asked around until they found a family friend who could take me. I’m glad they did because it was one of the most memorable nights of my teenage years!

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Do you remember Pipes and Pizza? Growing up in the ‘70s, it was one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. The place was like a fantasy land. They served pizza, and had an organist playing on a platform raised above the tables. Bubbles emerged from the organ pipes along with every note! I’ll never forget the magic of chewing on a slice while organ music and shining bubbles drifted overhead.

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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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