Venturing Through Life And Embracing The Turning Points With Rebecca Scott
The path through life is not a straight arrow. In this episode, Rebecca Scott, Founder of Vivid Spring Solutions, joins Tony Martignetti to talk about her flashpoints and how she embraced the turning points in her life. Get to know Rebecca deeper as she shares her long and varied journey in business and podcasting. They then dive into the importance of perseverance in the midst of trauma and excelling in constraints. Plus, they also touch on thinking about the future by having the present moment inform us on how to take it on, inspire others, and make a difference. Tune in and embrace the turning points that may come your way with a renewed perspective in this conversation.
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Venturing Through Life And Embracing The Turning Points With Rebecca Scott
It is my honor to introduce my guest, Rebecca Scott. Rebecca is a business technologist, a strategy consultant, and the Founder of Vivid Spring Solutions. She is also the host of the Humans, Now and Then podcast, which is amazing. It explores how our rapidly changing world impacts people now and in the future. Rebecca has a many-year career that spans healthcare, finance, technology and business analysis. She has spoken at numerous local and international conferences on topics including innovation, team dynamics, and employee success. She is the mother of five, including her dog and she lives in Indianapolis.
I want to welcome you to the show, Rebecca.
It's great to be here, Tony. Thanks for having me.
Thank you. I'm thrilled to have you here. On the show, we love to bring on people who have done great things in the world but how do they get there? How do they get to this point in this world where they're doing amazing things and making a great impact? I want you to share your story but I want to share it with what's called the flashpoint. These are points in your story that have ignited your gifts into the world. It's a great vehicle to do this because it allows us to see that there is one thing that was in a certain way. At some point, you said, “I need to change. Something has got to change in me for me to show up differently.” As you're telling your story, stop along the way. Let's see what's showing up so we can look at themes. With that, I want to turn it over to you and let you take it from there.
Most people who venture through life find turning points and things that might shift you in a different direction.
Thanks, Tony. There have been a lot of catalyst moments in my life. Most people who venture through life find turning points and things that might shift you in a different direction, or inspire you to take a different direction and that certainly happened to me. I can say my story is long. I won't dive into all of it but I will talk about my podcast and business journey because that's an interesting thing for me, and a little bit about my background that got me to the point I was.
I had to overcome a lot of stuff in life that made me persevere. Anyone who's dealt with any level of trauma or difficulty in life, you have two different choices. It’s either gain some metal and learn how to persevere or you succumb to the trauma. I don't judge either direction because I know what it's like to be in low and difficult places. When you choose the path of perseverance and moving forward, it can bring an amazing perspective in life and that's the path I chose for myself over and over.
I was in an abusive relationship in my past. That was a huge catalyst moment for me to find my purpose, meaning and value. When I got out of that relationship and move forward in a better direction. I've got four kids. Two of my kids had struggles in school. They had IEPs. They had difficult challenges. I got daily phone calls from schools at times through my two older kids’ journey. They made it through school and persevering through that experience certainly gave me a lot of perspective in life as well.
I’ve also got two younger kids that we might say are typical kids that are doing fantastic in school. It’s a different journey, understood, parenting from a different perspective, and also some of the biases that we hold against parents because of the struggles they may go through. I do my best to support parents that are struggling or parents who have kids that are struggling to let them know that they've got someone in their corner and on their side to help their kids succeed.
Besides all that, I've got a career journey that I’ve taken over time. The fact that I've had that background did interfere with my career over many years. I was one of those high potentials early on in my career. Being a mom and dealing with challenges, schools, the abuse did hold me back in my career. I spent six years where I worked from home part-time when I had my younger kids as well. Those six years certainly held me back in my career. From a resume perspective and a job perspective, it was difficult for me to overcome and explain those six years that people saw me as taking a step back from my career whether that was fair or not because I gained a lot of great skills in that six years.
I had to make a choice. I either let that hold me back from the progress I could make or the learning I wanted to do. I'm someone that loves to learn. I'm truly a lifelong learner. I never will think I ever know everything there is to know. I always explore things. I always challenged my perspectives. Things that are important skills these days in particular. As I went through that journey, I found myself struggling and feeling held back in my career, especially working in corporate environments because my skills were unique. Some of that is because of my varied backgrounds, not only in my life but also in my career. Lots of different experiences and different environments.
I was able to put together disparate concepts quite well, being able to pull things together, break silos, and come up with efficient solutions for organizations, especially in relation to processes and so forth. Valuable skills to have but not always something easy to market. For me, finding myself extremely constrained, I found an avenue for me to break out of that by starting with public speaking. I took some of my ideas on the road and found that people resonated with them and it helps them. I got great feedback about public speaking. It turns out I was good at it, which was a mind-blowing experience for me. I found that I had that skill.
Over time, I decided, “There is no reason why I can't try to go out on my own and make it go at it. Try public speaking and workshops.” I took that journey in 2020 and that was the birth of Vivid Spring Solutions. It’s getting out and trying to help organizations solve these big challenges. I like the big challenges. I don't like the easy stuff. I want something that is a stumper or something you need a novel solution for. I like to put together disparate concepts for novel solutions.
I wanted to uncover what was it about you as a child or the early Rebecca that you think led you to this too. I can see that you love solving big problems. Somehow, it looks like you like constraints. You've been able to live in constraints and be able to excel in constraints. That's what you've also brought into this world. In some elements, that's why you love this show too because you can see that the future is full of these pivots that create beautiful new ways to reframe us into a new world. I don't mean to take away your thunder. What was about your early days that framed who you are as an adult?
Let's rewind to when I was little Becky. Based on when I was a child, I was creative, good, and well-behaved. I frustrated my parents. For instance, they sent me to my room to clean. I'd spend 3 or 4 hours there. My mom would come back and my room still wasn't clean because I was doing other things. A lot of those things are exploring whatever there was to explore. I was reading, looking things up, and creating so I do arts. I was an Art major for a while. I love to draw, doodle and paint. That's been a lifelong love of mine as well. I had a creative bent from an early age.
I was one of those kids that got the feedback quite often. It's quite different back then than it is now. I wasn't applying myself in those things. I do well on the tests and things like that. I was drawn to explore. My focus was also drawn in many different directions and sometimes, it was probably frustrating to my parents as well. I love to explore. I would explore outside. We had a huge area behind our home that I could go explore. I love to find things. I love to imaginative play with my sister and go out there and pretend like we're in a kingdom far away. That was my childhood.
Choosing the path of perseverance and moving forward can bring an amazing perspective in life.
I had struggles too. I was bullied. A lot of the reason I was bullied is that I was different. I was probably odd for most people. There was nothing inherently wrong with me. At that time, I was self-conscious that I wasn't always accepted in different environments amongst my peers. It took many years and up to the point where I was in an abusive relationship before I started to realize those vulnerabilities, I had learned, unfortunately, through socialization over many years that I wasn't good enough. I didn't meet some bar that other people met that I did not. A lot of people have that experience in their background.
For me, I'm glad I faced it head-on and I want to talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with me. I was a unique child but I wasn't bad and disruptive. I said, “There's nothing wrong with any child.” Anyone who thinks there’s something wrong with children needs to look at that from a different perspective. Everybody got their strengths and weaknesses, things they’re good at, and things that they struggle with.
We need to focus on people's strengths and their abilities. We then start to uncover amazing things. I never would have seen myself as someone who could go out, do public speaking, and have a podcast. When I think about it, I'm like, “This is crazy stuff.” The reason is that I'm an explorer. I'm willing to try new things. I'm okay with taking risks. I take risks that most people tell me I'm crazy to take. Some of them don't sound too crazy.
The risk that I took, you'll understand this given from your podcasts and the work that you do. I was shaken by what happened here in the US on January 6, 2021. I took a huge step back, looked around me, and tried to understand what's happening. I thought, “I'm going to give myself a couple of days to observe.” I didn't make any judgments. I wanted to absorb what was happening because it was a historic moment. January 6th in particular, I wanted to absorb what's happening around me because I’m always wildly interested in history. I was a former PoliSci major for a year in college. I have an interest in politics in general.
I wanted to understand what's happening. I wanted to absorb it from all different perspectives. I learned so much. When I thought about how divided the world was, I recognized that amongst my friends and family. I did a lot of research and exploration to understand what was going on beyond the windows I typically looked in. From a broad perspective, I found it meaningful. I almost did an entire show on the topic and may still but I feel like that exploration is still occurring. What I realized through that are other things as well. As I took that pause and stepped back from a few things including the podcast for a few days, I recognized other things that I was missing that I hadn't recognized before and a lot of it was moments with my kids.
It's not that I wasn't spending time with my kids previously but it was the moments where I was present, either sitting on a couch, playing cards, playing a game, watching TV or whatever it was. How valuable those moments were for them. They’re telling me how valuable those moments were for me, those additional moments with me. It was a wake-up call. It made me realize that whenever you take a journey, take risks, and try to accomplish something new. It’s one of the things that people sometimes don't think a lot about, either you use it as something to hold them back. They don't necessarily think a lot about the smaller sacrifices that you make. Sometimes you don't recognize those sacrifices until they hit you in the face as they did for me.
I decided I needed to reframe my life and think about what direction I'm going, and the impact of the work that I'm doing on my family that maybe I didn't recognize before. Also, what am I trying to achieve? What's my real purpose in this world? How do I balance the purpose of being a mother and a member of my family against the purpose I have for inspiring people to shape a better future? I did one of the podcast cardinal sins, I didn't publish consistently. What I did do is regain a lot of my health. I got more sleep that I desperately needed. I feel more at peace. I was depressed previously. It's hard to acknowledge that. I’m not feeling depressed now because I allowed myself the time I needed to live and be okay with that.
All the challenges I had in life won’t get me in this place where I feel like I'm driven like, “I’ve got to get this done. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to change the world. I’ve got to do it.” Sometimes, I had to change the world for my kids so they can get an education. I had to change the world for myself so I can get out of a situation of abuse, put my past of bullying, and anything else I had behind me. Now, I realize that would be a pursuit based on fear rather than a pursuit based on a true motivation. I decided that what people think doesn't matter. If it holds me back temporarily, it's not going to hold me back in the long-term. If anyone is a listener of Humans, Now and Then, and you might not have read a few episodes for a while, rest assured, more episodes are coming. I took a break and I'm glad I did.
That's going to be powerful. When you come back, you will be in such a great better mindset and all. That's the power of it. I love that you shared this because this is something that to me resonates for many reasons. You said you're an overachiever and this is the world you came from. In some ways, we get stuck in these old patterns. Even when we're doing things we love, you sometimes find that the things you love can become a little bit programmed into us. They become patterns so we get stuck in.
When I think about the future and how we need to think about the future, not to make this the topic of the day but I'm sure you can think about this in this way, is there's an element that the future won't have patterns. It's going to be more about how we take control of breaking patterns. I think about the author versus the reporter. You are the author of your day saying, “I need to break this pattern. I need to take control of my life at this moment so that I can be more powerful in the future. If I don't, this pattern is going to rule me. It's going to become me, even if it's something I love doing.” That's what I recognize with what you said. I wanted to get your thoughts on that.
There's something to be said, and I've said this in the show over and over. I believe this to the core of my being. We all have the ability to take action, whatever the action is if that action is something that we need or makes the world a better place. One of the things that hold people back is, “Why me? I'm not Elon Musk. I'm not Jeff Bezos. I'm not any of those people. I'm not a huge name in podcasting at the moment. I'm not a huge name on any social media platform.” It doesn't matter your perceived status or how that compares to anybody else in the world. All that matters is how you experience the world and how you share that with other people.
You'll start to find that other people start to share those experiences in perspective as well. You're not alone. You even said it yourself. You relate it to some of the things that I said. Even though that was my experience, you experience some of these things too. The more that we talk about our experiences and be open, honest, not repeat the narratives, and repeat the patterns that we are used to repeating or the patterns we think other people expect from us, which is huge. That's one of the things that I threw out of my playbook early on in my business and podcasting journey. I'm not going to base what I do base on what other people think I should do or what standard procedure.
I've also got huge background innovation. If you're looking at it from an innovative perspective, following the same thing you've done over and over is not a great way to find a new way of doing things. I've talked to many business leaders in many industries and I haven't found one that has told me, “No. The way business is now is good. We don't have to change a thing. We're not going to change until we break those patterns.” I like that you brought up those established patterns and how we fall back into those status patterns. I'm not judging. That's human behavior. If we find the strength and courage to disrupt or questions those patterns and determine what might be better for us, that might be different or deviate from what we're used to. You then start to find new solutions and new ways of doing things that might be better for us as individuals or for societies.
There is something about the way that you approached it and described it. At the center of this is the human approach, which is you are not coming at this from high and mighty like, “I have all the answers.” It’s like, “Let's be down to Earth and grounded in who we are. We're flawed individuals. When I share my story with you, you can relate to it because you're flawed too. You're human like me.” The beauty of podcasting is because of this ability to share stories and reach many. That's why you've done so well at what you do, first of all, with the speaking because you go out there, you talk to people, and they're like, “This person gets us because she's human.” You're podcasting, which is all about connecting at that level.
There's nothing wrong with any child. Everybody's got their strengths and weaknesses.
We often underestimate the importance of thinking about our human nature.
Tell me more about the journey. You were working in the space. Tell me what brought you to do what you're doing now? What are some other stops along the journey you want to share?
Let's talk about me starting my podcast. Imagine me back in late 2019, I was not a podcast listener at all. I never listened to podcasts. I was feeling stuck, a catalyst moment. I thought, “What would be the next thing I could do? I've got to do something else. I've got to change something up.” Nothing is not working. I wasn't heading in the right direction. I felt like something was missing. I was exploring that and thinking about that a lot.
It was one moment of inspiration where I'm driving my daughter to gymnastics one day and all of a sudden, I was like, “I should start a podcast.” It was out of the blue. It’s like a brick hit me in the head. I had never even thought about that before. At that moment, it was powerful to me. It’s like, “I should start a podcast. I could talk about how people could shape the future and inspire people to make a difference. It'd be awesome.” I'm tearing up and my daughter is like, “Mom, have you lost your mind? What is happening right now?” That's how powerful it was.
If anyone has ever had those powerful catalyst moments, you have a Eureka or a turning point. That was it for me. I was like, “I can do a podcast and I'll be good at it.” It turns out, I can do a podcast. Go figure. I did it. Sometimes, it sounds simple but sometimes, it's simpler than we make it in our heads. Sometimes, making the decision, laying out the steps, doing the steps, and then make it happen works.
It’s like your usual path. You’re like, “I'll take the risk. I'll go out there and give it a try.”
I do it all the time.
That's a great part of the journey too. It’s getting into this platform and then seeing what evolves from here. The proof is in the pudding. You've done a great job of bringing this show to where it is and bringing some amazing guests on. It's cool that this has come to life but also all the things that you've done to bring this to life, which is the work that leads to this journey. What are the things you've learned about yourself along this path? This is a story of somebody who's taken lots of risks and has shown amazing grit and resilience. What are the things you've learned about yourself?
A lot of it has been a continuation of the one thing I haven't talked about yet, which is my authenticity journey. That was one year that I took to dedicate myself to being truly authentic in all the environments that I showed up. I still plan to write about it and I haven't done it yet. I plan to write about a lot of things. This is one of those things about me. Understanding my blind spots or my shortcomings are the things I’ve got to watch out for is the fact that I want to do too many things at one time.
That being said, I did an authenticity journey for a year and it was that impulsive I’m going to take a risk on this moment where I'm like, “I'm going to dedicate myself to one year being fully myself in every environment that I show up, work, life, family, you name it.” It's hard to challenge yourself to be as you are and break the social norms around you. I'm not saying it in being a jerk kind of way or anything like that. I was never a jerk. Luckily, I’m a nice person. I showed up exactly as I am. Respectfully, I spoke my mind.
It was amazing how people responded to me showing up exactly as I was. I have one colleague of mine who told me, “You're too authentic. You’ve got to watch being too authentic.” I'm like, “Thanks for the feedback.” I wasn't ready to share what I was doing at that moment, which was taking this authenticity journey. I almost or at least considered deviating from that path a couple of times because it was hard. I’m glad I didn't. This is after I experienced burnout and things like that, which was my catalyst to do this. Throughout that year, one thing that I found was a lot of peace and the ability to feel comfortable in taking some additional risks that I probably wouldn't have taken before and being able to sleep through the night. Sometimes, we have worries that run through our heads at nighttime that keep us awake. I didn't have them anymore. It went away. There’s so much value in that.
For me, as I go through this journey, what I've learned about myself is to stay true to being authentically who I am. I take accountability for it when I screw up because I do still screw up. Sometimes, quite a bit. Some of it is around that thing I have to watch out for, which is making commitments with good intentions but then over-committing myself and then having to go back later and say, “I misjudged my ability to do all that.” That happens. I take accountability for it. I'm not perfect. The fact that I can smile and laugh about it means that I'm not letting that weigh on me and I'm moving forward.
This is killing me because I'm thinking for someone to say you can be too authentic, I want to say, “What does that mean to be too authentic? How can that be a bad thing?” I start to think to myself, “That's such a great experiment that many people could embrace.” I get what you're saying. There's an element of being authentic. Does this mean that you're being vulnerable and open that you potentially could over-commit yourself to things? You could open yourself up to more wounds and potentially some injuries or does it mean quite the opposite? Could it be quite the opposite where you're being authentic and you're also being strong about what you truly are? You're allowing yourself to know when a clear no is a no.
Early in my authenticity journey, I did experience a lot of pain. It was hard. If you want to relate to this, I encourage people to even take 1 or 2 days if they do want to take years of big commitments, especially in a professional environment. Think about the mask that you might wear. It might be simply how you speak in a meeting. You can catch this. I see it inherently all the time because I used to speak that way in meetings. It's professional speak. I don't speak that way so much anymore. If you get me, I'm going to show up and I'm going to be as I am. This is what you get.
Those masks that we wear, take all those masks off. You're right, it does leave us feeling more vulnerable. It does make us feel like we can get hurt or we might not have that protection that we typically have or we might not be accepted, which is one of the biggest fears that people have. Everyone talks about the fear of public speaking. The fear of public speaking is the fear that people won't accept you.
It’s vulnerability. We feel exposed. If you can overcome that, the value is tremendous. You lose so much fear that you didn't even realize you had as you navigate through life. I don't worry as much. It's not that I don't want to belong because I'm still a human being and still want to belong. Here's the thing. I feel like I have better and deeper connections with people now than I ever have. Sometimes, people will tell me, “That was a deep conversation.” On the podcasts or otherwise, I have good connections. They're authentic. People feel it. People know. People don't question it.
There is something about this that I resonate with. I see the journey to authenticity. It's not something like, “I'm going to be authentic,” and you jump in. It's about going through different cycles or phases. The first phase might be something that allows you to open up, be vulnerable, and then you have to learn how to be able to also find that toughness that allows you to say, “I'm open but I'm not going to take crap from nobody. I know what I believe in. I know that I'm leading with my values. I'm leading with who I am. Those who don't like it are going to run away. Those who do are going to love it.” That's where the authenticity comes from. It comes from that ability to see that the journey is not arriving from the get-go. It's about letting it blossom over time.
As you gain more comfort in feeling authentic and recognizing the things that may have inhibited you in the past, sometimes we never recognize it until we take that commitment and go through that journey. It’s like, “This is the thing that I'm hiding behind and I didn't realize.” It's not something that we always define for ourselves. Sometimes, things that are defined in society that we are behind this wall, shield, mask, or whatever you want to visualize it. It's scary at first but over time, it feels great. I don't fear telling people no or I disagree. I say it nicely. There is no content behind it, no competition around it, or anything like that. It's like, “I disagree and this is why.” It leads to a robust conversation. To be completely honest, that type of conversation is desperately needed at this moment in time.
What else is on your mind around the things that you've learned that you now want to make sure you share in the space?
The fear of public speaking comes from the fear that people won't accept you.
If I could inspire everybody to do one thing, it’s understand the future that you envision for yourself. The world, for your business, or whatever it might be. Take that next step or that first step towards that future. Don't ever believe that it's not your place, you're not good enough, or you're not positioned well. There is this analogy I use all the time. We have this vision that we're in this boat with no oars and it’s heading down the river towards the future that's being defined by other people.
The reality is we can take an oar and start to help define that future for ourselves and society for the better. There are a lot of people that realize more and more now the power of technology companies and how much they've been able to shape our experience in the world. We need to think about that and where we go from here. It's important for people to step up, speak up, and say, “I want to be a part of that conversation.” It's important for people to think about, “What do I want that experience to be like for myself, for my kids, and for future generations?” If we don't do that, we can't consider things like the downsides of technology.
Technology can do amazing things and solve huge problems in the world. We can use technology to help solve things like world hunger, global warming, and all of the big problems of poverty. It will make you think of lots of different big problems that we can solve through the use of technology and creative means. We need to consider the trajectory of that technology that is made without the critical analysis of what could go wrong.
I've had conversations on the podcast. There was someone named B that I had on the podcast. B is a remarkable ethicist working in the AI space and working with Congress to help shape the future of technology. Amazing individual. Go back and listen to that episode of the podcast if you get a chance. That conversation encapsulates some of the things that I think a lot about and other people should consider as well. One of the things that B states in that conversation is the importance for people to get involved at the local level or with technology companies, share their voice, and the things that they would like to see for the future.
At this point, we've come to this place where it hit home on. It's part of our lives in a big way. Not that it wasn't already part of our lives with the phones that we have attached to our hips. Ultimately, it's about taking charge, about being the author and not the reporter of our digital lives. Not just how we write but how we want to see that story be played out. I love this idea. I can't wait to check this episode out. As we come close to the end here, I have one last question for you. What is one book that has had an impact on you and why?
I love books. I've read a lot of amazing books. I can talk all day long about the amazing books that I love. We talked a lot about turning points in this conversation. I want to mention the book that was a turning point for me in my stepping out to take a chance on doing a business, doing public speaking, and starting a podcast. All these things that started that ball rolling for me was a book by a gentleman named Eric Barker and it's called Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
I mentioned the book to you earlier and you said, “No one has ever mentioned that in the show.” Eric is a reserved person, in general, as authors go. His book is amazing. It has many great stories. It gets down to the point of your gifts and contributions to this world and how important those are. The stories in that book are remarkable. That's what spoke to me. That's what woke me up from this place of feeling stuck to, “No. You can do something with who you are now to make the world a better place in the future.” That was the thing that started it all for me.
Honestly, we need to share this episode with him so he can know that he's got two huge fans on this show.
Eric, I'd love to have you on my show. I’ve got to put that plug out there because I would love to have Eric on my show.
He is gifted. That was powerful. I’m glad that I brought that into the space. The fact that it had that type of impact on you speaks volumes. There are certain books that you come across. Some of them are like, “That's great, 1 or 2 thoughts in it that are meaningful.” You can sometimes read the title of a book and be like, “I get it.” When you read a book and it got so many great insights inside of it, you're like, “This is good.” That's one of those books. This has been amazing. I can't thank you enough for coming to the show. Your story is fascinating. Also, you're packed full of so many great insights. I thank you so much for coming on.
Tony, thanks so much for having me. I had a blast. It’s a great conversation.
I want to make sure I give you a chance to share where people can find out more about you.
If you want to check out the podcast, the easiest way to do it is to go to HumansNowAndThen.com and you can see all the episodes that I've got published out there. You could also find it out on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, you name it. I'm on most of those major streaming networks for Humans, Now and Then. Also, you can go visit VividSpring.com. That's my company website. You can find me out on LinkedIn under our @RScottCBap. I'm on Twitter and Instagram under @HumansNowAndThen. You can find me in lots of places.
You're not hiding anywhere, that's for sure.
I'm not hiding. Only a little bit but mostly I'm out there.
If they can't find you, she's hiding a little bit to get recharged.
Internal exploration. This has been amazing. Thank you to you and the readers for coming on the journey with us.
You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
Have a good one.
- Vivid Spring Solutions
- Humans, Now and Then
- Rebecca Scott - LinkedIn
- Barking Up the Wrong Tree
- B Cavello - Humans, Now and Then past episode
- Google Podcasts – Humans, Now and Then
- Apple Podcasts – Humans, Now and Then
- Stitcher – Humans, Now and Then
- Spotify – Humans, Now and Then
- Twitter – Humans, Now and Then
- @HumansNowAndThen – Instagram
About Rebecca Scott
Rebecca Scott is a Business Technologist, a Strategy Consultant, the founder of Vivid Spring Solutions and the host of the Humans, Now and Then podcast. She has a 20-year career that spans multiple industries, and has spoken at numerous local and international conferences on topics including Innovation, Team Dynamics and Employee Success.
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