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

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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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When I am driving around town, one of my favorite things to do is listen to a good audiobook. This fall, I’ve been absorbed in “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, a nonfiction read that explores what people like you and me can do to live up to our potential.

 

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In the early 1990s when I was working at a Chicago law firm, my wife Nancy and I lived in downtown Chicago. While we were there, Nancy and I were involved in our local church, which met in Logan Square. Nancy expanded one of her church assignments to include staying in contact with a few of the congregants who were homebound. In particular, she looked after four widows, and I remember watching her write each of them a letter every week. We also visited them from time to time to offer our friendship and company. All of these widows were wise women and great teachers for us, but one really stands out in my memory. Her name was Enolar McNair.

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In February 2019, our firm moved into a larger office space. It was great to have the extra room to spread out, but the best part of the transition was that we could finally expand our team. Over the course of the year, we brought on three amazing women — and at this point, they pretty much run the firm!

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Have you heard the story of Poeville? It’s a bit of a local legend. Not far from my house, there’s a mountain called Peavine Peak, and it’s home to our very own ghost town. The story goes that in 1862, a Michigan man named John Poe (supposedly a relative of the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe) found gold and silver running through the mountainside. He set up a mining camp there called Peavine.

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Just before the coronavirus pandemic hit Nevada, my wife, Nancy, and I got some amazing news from one of our daughters: We’re going to be grandparents! The baby is due in September, and our family couldn’t be more excited. Though we’re trying to give Mom and baby some space, helping our daughter get ready has been a real joy over the last few months and kept us busy during social distancing.

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