“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -A. A. Milne

The Courage to Share Your Message as An Author or Speaker

Dusty Staub Courage to Act, Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Dream, Courage to Learn and Grow, Courage to Let Go

A Conversation with Steve Harrison about Living Your Dream

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Steve Harrison, Partner in Bradley Communications about what it really takes to live your dream and get your message out into the world.

This is their conversation…

“When you have grown still on purpose while everything around you is asking for chaos, you will find the doors between every room of the interior castle thrown open, the path home to your true love unobstructed after all.” – St. Teresa of Avila

Courage to make your own way

What is it you do in your work that makes a meaningful contribution to others, society, and the world?

Steve: I help people take a message that is in their hearts, something that they believe in, some wisdom or guidance and experience and help them put it in a form that gets it effectively out into the world. This leads to helping people make more of an impact in the lives of others while also increasing their income. This can be the form of helping to finish a book, speaking on national media, giving speeches or helping to launch books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul or Rich Dad, Poor Dad or Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. To date our organization has helped to launch more than 15,000 people into living their dreams and actualizing their message and gift in the world.

One example: Jack Canfield and I created a program called Best Seller Blueprint.  Using this program and expert guidance we have helped people through trainings and services take effective short cuts to get their books published.  We help them to write it faster and then to sell more books than the majority of writers. After all, it often comes down to what you know how to do and what you actually do.

We have created services to get people on radio talk shows and to introduce them to the national media.  It is a great pleasure helping to get people on national TV appearances like Good Morning America and The View to mention a few. We customize what we do to meet the to individual and her or his specific goals.  It often starts with a free consultation on the phone to look at their goals and current situation and then we offer them a customized package that really fits them in order to help them move forward.

Typically we work with someone for a year or two to help them achieve theirs goals.  There is a team of experts, a cabinet of advisors that helps people in editing, media relations, speech making, story telling, etc. giving expert guidance and support in making their dreams into reality. 

Courage to create your own path.

Where have you most needed courage in your service to the world?  How did you come to that?

Steve: When we fist started our business we were paid to get people publicity using our magazine Radio TV Report where they could advertise.  I would talk at conferences and saw that there were additional services that people needed and would buy. For example, I was often asked questions and as I gave advice I saw the value people took. It turns out we were even writing the copy for them for media exposure.

I had to find the courage to own a new and different identity that went beyond selling a single service. I had to realize that in essence I was a consultant on how to achieve a life dream.  I had to own it and step up to see myself as a life-consultant who had real value to offer. I had to go ahead and own that as a consultant, when people bought our package they were also purchasing expert advice and counsel. This meant really stepping up and saying that I had something of real value, something worth paying for beyond the magazine.

After all, even a brain surgeon has to step forward after all the training to actually do the surgery for the first time.  I had to recognize that I had tremendous skills and talents to offer to those who had something to say and do in the larger world. 

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The Courage to Follow Dreams

Dusty Staub Courage to Dream, Interviews: Courageous People

“Pain seems an insufficient reason not to embrace life.  Being dead is quite painless.  Pain like time is going to come on regardless.  Question is, what glorious moments can you win from life in addition to the pain?” – Lois McMaster Bujold 

A Conversation with Polly Humphreys, Personal Growth & Development Coach & Certified Consulting Hypnotherapist.

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Polly about what it means to follow your heart while putting your hands to work to change your life.

This is their conversation…

Who are you and what has been your life’s work to date?

Polly: It starts with the idea of Whose I am; as a worthy child of God.  As a young child, if I had known that, it would have prevented immense fears that followed and haunted me into adulthood.  Fears were needlessly all in my mind.  My professional career includes an unseen Act of Courage: being a voice for others, for those who are not able to speak for themselves for some reason.

I have seen that there are many who are much like I was at one time. Their fears overcome them.  These are people who are bullied, beaten, victimized or marginalized.  My work can take the form of a prison ministry as well as that of a life coach for an executive.  I work as a trusted, Certified Consulting Hypnotherapist and Personal Growth / Development Coach at Alternative Wellness and Beyond.

What I do is in the act of service to something greater, to creating something better, helping people realize their dreams.  I help dedicated individuals to effectively change their lives and achieve their life goals.  This is a fun, guided and highly interactive process.

Watercolor paint splatters

The prison ministry came to be through my Church. I was looking to use my innate strengths and the pastor was talking about the prison ministry.  My work there includes writing letters and showing up as a servant to the “lost” and those imprisoned.  I visit the female inmates and I help to remind them both who they are as well as Whose they are.  They need help finding the Courage to Dream, to understand something better in their future. I listen to their fears and make use of the Bible to outline key strategies to help them.  This helps to remind them who they are, what is possible and what they can do.

What role has courage played in your life?

Polly: This goes back to when I was a young adult.  I realized my fears would not go away until I faced them and addressed them.  God led me to a good hypnotherapist and great life coach.  It took the courage to realize I was stuck in a negative, repetitive pattern that was not helpful.  It was a mental trap of negative self-talk and fear.

I came to realize that I would be OK with professional help if I would be accountable for my own thoughts and actions; and if I trusted the process of growth and positive change.  It was so incredibly life changing that, inspired, I went on to advanced training so I could be a change agent and help to make a difference in the lives of others.

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Your life will always show you what's next.

How to Align with the Life that is Calling You

Dusty Staub Courage to Dream, Courage to Learn and Grow, Interviews: Courageous People

As a Life Design Coach, Elisabeth von Clemm provides guidance and support for her clients as they stand at life crossroads.  Founder of Von Clemm Leadership Solutions, Right Fit Hiring and ChoicePoints for Women, Elisabeth’s work is grounded and practical.  Her use of her intuitive skills and non-traditional tools help her to see and share a larger perspective for each client’s unique life path.

Elisabeth’s experience combines a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, 20 years as principal of her own leadership and organization consulting business, and 15 years of coaching CEO’s, executives and leadership coaches.  Elisabeth is the author of Managing Change in the 21st Century and has led coaching retreats and delivered workshops around topics of change, communication, conflict resolution, innovation and strategic life choices.

We had the pleasure of talking with Elisabeth about how she helps her clients trust their inner wisdom and move toward alignment with the life that is calling them.

AoC: Who Are You and What Do You Do in the World?

Elisabeth: The name I give my work is Life Design Coach. I see myself as a guide or mentor for people when they want to enact change in their life. I am not the catalyst for change; the individual is. My part is to help people see where they are getting hung up creating what they want, be that more confidence, a better job, help with a colleague.

There are two ways I do that. First, by showing my clients the bigger picture, the larger context. They can often find their own solution to the presenting problem when it is redefined this way. The other approach is to help my clients realize they have been focusing on the wrong problem or issue.

AOC: Can you give an example?

Elisabeth: Sure. Let’s say someone says, “I am so disorganized. I want to enact more in the world, but I am so disorganized.” Sometimes when we look at the pattern, we might see procrastination around certain to do’s. However, if we look further and widen the scope, we realize that person needs to put more time in for regeneration because his or her actual problem is fatigue.

Here is another example. Let’s say a client reports, “I am having trouble with my spouse. I want to be more compassionate.”  Maybe the real issue is that this individual’s own creativity is asking to be given more space and time. Then, when that need is met, suddenly there is less fighting in the relationship.

Many people come with a focus based on a more linear model. For instance, “I want to get more things done. How many garden projects have I completed?” When we feel into what the underlying desire really is–perhaps of simply savoring the garden, of enjoying time and space with hands in the dirt–then not finishing a project (and let’s be real, the list of projects will be endless) is less likely to cause distress.

In general we have been trained in society to judge success based on a linear model, as opposed to a more holistic model that asks very different questions. Both types of questions are worthy. In many settings, it is important to be productive. But most people are struggling with questions around contentment and ease.

There is yet one more way that I offer people a larger view about the problem that they are getting tangled up in, and that is to see there are a lot more solutions than the one track they are on.  I help them to see the patterns of thinking-feeling-behaving that are getting in the way. Usually I can bring one or two hidden lynchpins into the light, and that makes all the difference.

AoC:  What Is Your Personal Core WHY That Guides You As You Lead Your Organization?

Elisabeth: This could get esoteric!  My Why is to support leaders and creatives who are acting for the benefit of humanity, and to help make these individuals’ paths easier. I want people to have the success they want to have.  I want to support people who lead change that is expansive, remembering that “expansive” is different for different people. For some, it means more money. For some, to be even more creative. And for others, to be more collaborative.

I often point to Rumi’s quote, with my own variation in parentheses: “Your task is not to seek for love (or success, or a new job, or….), but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  I want to help my clients learn what they are here to learn, to support their evolution. And I do that by helping with whatever the positive, expansive endeavor is that they are interested in.  Everybody needs a carrot!

“Your task is not to seek for love (or success, or a new job, or….), but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

AoC: Where Have You Most Needed Courage in Your Career and Work?

Elisabeth: Over the span of my career, I’ve come to several critical milestones when I realized what I was doing in my field was paying me well, and had been satisfying, but was no longer the best use of me.  I’ve been in the same general field, but what and how I deliver my talent has changed.

I came to places in life where I felt that my gift and talents were not being used in a way to make the biggest difference. It takes courage to walk away from money, status, identity, and the role that one has created. These roles were all powerful and good, but then came a time when they were no longer the best use of my talent in the world.

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Courage to Dream

The Courage to Pursue Impossible Dreams

Dusty Staub Courage to Dream, Courage to Learn and Grow, Interviews: Courageous People

A conversation with Susan Baroncini-Moe, best-selling author of author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style and the host of 2Questions.TV.

Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Susan about having the courage to pursue impossible dreams.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Who are you and what has been your life’s work to date?

Susan: My name is Susan Baroncini-Moe, and I’m an executive coach, the author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style and the host of 2Questions.TV. I’m currently working on creating a significant amount of training to help women develop the skills necessary to become successful (or more successful) executives and business owners, to help guide women and girls to be more confident in their capabilities, to rise faster and more effectively in the workforce, and as business owners, and to create a supportive launch pad for more women, so that we’re even more of a force to be reckoned with.

I’m also working on launching a program specifically for people who have had setbacks at work, to help them bounce back from a bad performance review to be better than ever.

Additionally, I’m a former Guinness World Records title holder. I held the record for the longest uninterrupted live broadcast.  It was thirty-six (36) hours and twenty-three (23) seconds long, and was a live streaming video business extravaganza, with many successful entrepreneurs and business thought leaders and bestselling authors participating.

Dusty: What role has courage played in your life?

Susan: Courage has made a huge difference in my life, especially when I’ve faced hurdles or adversity. To me, courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.

It took courage to be by my mother’s side, holding her hand when she died. It takes courage for me to be fully present in relationships and in my marriage. It takes courage every day for me to take risks and do big things in my business. Right now, my business is requiring me to have a lot of courage.

To me, courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.

In your book on courage, The 7 Acts of Courage, you talk about one of the key acts as being the courage to dream the dream. It takes courage to dream of something that’s enormous, grandiose, and something that others might see as too big or too ridiculous.

You also mention the courage to confront and to be confronted by reality.  It’s important to be willing to face yourself and confront your demons, if you want to go after your dream. If, for example, you’re not living up to your full potential, then it’s worthwhile to face yourself, ask why, and be willing to take action on responding to whatever that reason is.

Courage plays a role every day in my life. I’m like everyone else – I have moments of self-doubt and I have an inner critic, just like we all do. As a coach, I have the tools to overcome those inner voices. I’ve been accomplishing big goals most of my life, and I’ve discovered that self-doubt can often be silenced, when you archive your history and keep track of it.

Just by looking at the things you’ve accomplished and reminding yourself who you really are, you can banish some of your self-doubt, because you realize that your fear is, basically, lying to you.

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Embrace the storm

From the Darkness

Dusty Staub Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Dream, Courage to Learn and Grow, Courage to Let Go

By Robert (Dusty) Staub 

Dedicated to Erik


You do not have to like your life to find your way to love.

You do not need anything more in order to be free.


Sometimes, it is when you are in the deepest pain

That a kind word, a loving glance, a gentle touch

Will serve to crack the shell around your heart

And, a green shoot of forgiveness simply pushes through.


You do not have to like your life to find your way to love.

You do not need anything more in order to be free.


Sometimes, it is when you are most alone

And feeling lost within your self 

That your solitude can take you in its arms

Offering the balm of a companionship you have never known.


You do not have to like your life to find your way to love.

You do not need anything more in order to be free.


Sometimes, it is in your darkest hour when you cannot see your way

That the grace of light illuminates one searing scene of possibility,

Like that of a child laughing and at play, or 

The vibrant heart of a common field daisy.


And then, in that moment, the earth catches it breath, 

As who you are yet to be, reaches back and down

And who you are, reaches up and out

To join hands in gratitude and grace,


And you are drawn forth from the darkness,

Like Lazarus rising from the grave.


You do not have to like your life to find your way to love.

You do not need anything more in order to be free.


“Unfortunately, for most people, pain is the greatest teacher. People don’t begin to make changes until they really get uncomfortable.”  - Dr. Richard Moss

A Slow Boat to Nowhere

Dusty Staub Courage to Learn and Grow

4 Steps to Breaking the Addiction to Being Comfortable

By Robert E. Staub, Best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage

Everyone in our society seems to be striving to achieve something. To get to some desired destination – wealth, business success, published author, recognized expert, happily engaged with a loving partner, being slim and trim – you name it, someone desires it.

Yet, many are on a slow boat going nowhere because of a huge barrier preventing them from getting close to achieving their desired goal(s). In physics this barrier is called “inertia.”  In life, this means that the status quo tends to remain the status quo unless some other force “acts” upon it.

In other words, you get into a particular groove in how you are living that turns into a rut unless other forces or actions force you into new patterns of thinking, perceiving and acting.

The challenge is this:

Humans tend to fall in love, or at least deep “like,” with COMFORT.  People may feel stuck or even somewhat unhappy in their rut, but it’s velvet-lined in familiarity and safe in its predictability.  This comfort zone becomes a trap for all too many people. Breaking free requires the Courage to Learn and Grow, and a willingness to actively step into the unknown, entertaining ambiguity and giving up any need to be right.

A long dock symbolizing the courage of taking a chance.

There is an old English saying, “If you want the fruit of the tree you have to go out on a limb.”  This means deliberately making yourself uncomfortable by taking the risk of falling, of actually engaging in behaviors that feel difficult, challenging and even, at times, “unnatural.”

To overcome inertia you have to expend energy, effort, time, and actively step into discomfort.

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Ballet Shoes

The Eating Disorder that Brought Me To My Knees

Dusty Staub Courage to See Current Reality

And How I Found The Courage to Be Healthy

by Cynthia Stadd

When I think of the word “courage”, the first thing that pops into my mind is a firefighter pulling someone out of a burning building, or a person who grew up in poverty exerting a miraculous strength of will to do what they need to do to live a life full of abundance.

“Losing weight” or “getting healthy” are not the first things I think of when I hear the word courage. And yet, my journey of accomplishing those exact two things – and most importantly, the path of staying there to claim and live in the body size that is the best expression of me in this lifetime – has been the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.

It’s 1999 and I’m 4 years out of a very expensive college degree granting me the title of Dance Educator, accredited by my fancy NYU Bachelor of Science letters. I was 26. My dream was to perform on Broadway and I was deep in the pursuit of getting there.

There were quite a few wins among the scores of rejections during that time. But what caused me to quit and walk away from pursuing the one thing I was most passionate about –the thing I had dreamed of since childhood– was something that had been causing me pain and struggle for years – an eating disorder.

The day I put a tight little leotard on my body was the day I became obsessed about being thin.

How thin?  Thin enough to be noticed.  Thinner than the girl auditioning next to me.  Thin enough for zero fat to roll under that leotard.

The quest for this undefinable pursuit produced an obsession with every morsel of food I put in my body.  I analyzed the calories, squabbled with myself over the carb-fat-protein balance in any given meal, and even created charts all over my refrigerator to make sure I was measuring at least four different scientific criteria at any given time to eat as perfectly as humanly possible.

Yes, it was maddening, but that’s not even the most interesting part.

The much more enthralling part to this story is that all of that mental energy for intense nutritional analysis flew out the window the minute I was triggered into a binge eating episode. Trying to control every calorie I ate during the day didn’t do squat to overcome the massive amounts of chocolate covered donuts and chipwiches I was stuffing in my face at night.

The enormous effort I put into being in control of my food most of the time was perfectly equal to the complete lack of control I had the rest of the time. This truly insane cycle of analyzing – planning – control during the day, and complete loss of control just hours later, went on for about 12 years.

Please understand this was not just “a little bit of overeating.”

This was binge eating, now labeled as Binge Eating Disorder or BED. There is one major factor that separates binge eating from overeating: compulsion.

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Frozen plant

Health and Healing: Courageous Choices

Dusty Staub Courage to be Confronted, Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Confront, Courage to Dream, Courage to See Current Reality

The Courage to Nurture Our Health

By Sarah Pryor

Nineteen years old.  That’s how old I was when I got diagnosed with diverticulitis.  This is a health issue that usually occurs in older populations.  According to this Cleveland Clinic article, “Diverticulosis is very common in Western populations and occurs in 10 percent of people over age 40 and in 50 percent of people over age 60. The rate of diverticulosis increases with age, and it affects almost everyone over age 80.” 

That being said, it’s unusual for a 19 year old to be receiving this diagnosis.  By the way, diverticulosis means pockets or bulges (diverticula) have formed in the colon. When undigested food gets caught in these, it can cause inflammation and/or infection, which is termed diverticulitis.

Dead plant.

What led me down this path?  In my opinion it was stress.

No, my unhealthy diet did not help, but there are PLENTY of people with unhealthy diets out there, including lots of teenagers, and most do not end up with diverticulosis.  Science has shown that there are more neurons, specialized nerve cells, in the intestinal wall than there are in the spinal cord.  It’s like our gut is our second brain and responds equally to neurotransmitters, including those that modulate stress reactions. The more uptight the mind, potentially the more uptight the gut.  And here is where my diverticulosis came in.

So, this is what happened.

One day I was walking along and felt some lower back pain.  Thinking I had pulled a muscle, I took some anti-inflammatories. This did nothing, so I went to my doctor.  After several tests over a period of days, including being poked and prodded by male doctors in places I had never been poked and prodded before, the diagnosis was finally made. Diverticulitis.

The day I received my diagnosis, I left being told to eat a high fiber diet, and that if it got worse I might have to eliminate some foods I was eating, mostly seeds. Not a word about the fried, fatty, processed foods I was often consuming as a college teenager.

Footprints on dry ground

So many things are wrong with this picture, if you ask me.

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Young leader

A Legacy of Developing Young Leaders

Dusty Staub Courage to Act

The Courage to Lead with Humility and Conviction

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Dr. James L. Hudgins, President Emeritus of the South Carolina Community College System about developing the confidence and capacity of young leaders so that they can make a meaningful difference in our world.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you for speaking with me, Dr. Hudgins. Would you tell our readers a bit about you and your service in the world?

Dr. Hudgins: I am an educator and a leader who has now concluded more than fifty years of working within higher education, the last ten years at the University of South Carolina.  My life’s work has been to lead an exemplary Christian life and to help everyone with whom I work to be his or her best self.

Over the past fifty years I have received recognition and many awards for my contribution.  Yet my greatest contribution, since I had to choose one, and what has been most rewarding to me, is leading the South Carolina Leadership Academy for the Community College System.  This program enrolls the top twenty-five high potential emerging leaders from South Carolina’s sixteen Community Colleges in an intense year-long emersion into leadership practices and system procedures. The program has become a virtual launching pad of future leaders in the community college system in South Carolina.

For example, thirty-five of the graduates have gone on to get their doctorate degrees, three have become presidents of colleges and more than thirty have become vice-presidents in the system.

Dusty: What has been the greatest accomplishment in your career and what is the legacy you will leave behind?

Dr. Hudgins: As word of my retirement this month has gone out, I have been receiving statements such as: “I knew you cared,” “You were a great friend,” “You were warm and approachable,” and “You made a big difference in my life.”


"My greatest accomplishment has been the confidence and trust that people have placed in me, along with their willingness to take my advice" - Dr. James L. Hodgins

It is immensely rewarding to watch those I have mentored both succeed and grow not only in their careers, but also in their lives. To see people develop in their confidence and capacity to make a meaningful difference is the best legacy anyone could have.

Dusty: As a leader in Education and a Legacy Builder, where have you most needed courage in your life?

Dr. Hudgins: I wish I’d had your book The 7 Acts of Courage back in the 60’s and the 70’s.  It is an outline of the lessons I have learned in the school of experience. I lacked self-confidence and didn’t believe in myself. For me, low self-esteem was the opposite of the courage described in your book. (Where were you 30 years ago?) I turned down two key job offers out of that lack of confidence. This was a very big issue for me.

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Deer running through a field.

Creating a Legacy of Wealth

Dusty Staub Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Confront, Courage to Learn and Grow, Interviews: Courageous People

How to Stop Chasing the Transactional and Create a Life of Exponential Wealth

A Conversation with David Couch, CEO of Blue Ridge Companies; Owner of Summerfield Farms

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with David Couch about servant leadership, leading with integrity, and consciously creating a legacy.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you for speaking with me, David. Let’s start by telling our readers a bit about you and your service in the world.

David: I am a father, husband, philanthropist, real estate developer and a farmer.  My service to the world at this point in my life is mostly as a philanthropist.  I am a servant-leader who also functions as a coach, psychologist, mentor, motivator, supporter and one with whom to celebrate other’s successes.

I also work as a friendly life strategist/deal support person–offering guidance to help friends and, at times, random contacts in the creation of the life they want.

Real estate development for me has been a means to an end, providing time by being able to make an honest and good living while also being careful with the land and its development.

Being a farmer is really just a more organic version of being a real estate developer; both can do good or harm to the land and community around them. Either of these roles can, if stewardship is kept in mind, provide tremendous goodness and value.  My focus now is on how to create greater value by doing what is right for the land as well as for people. After all, the blessing of being a philanthropist is God’s reward for sharing and spreading His blessings.

We all have within us the ability and opportunity to become philanthropists, and it is our responsibility to broadcast our respective gifts, like casting seed into the fertile soil of the world.  The farmer and the developer roles provide a four-fold opportunity to do well by people, community, land and nature.  

Dusty: Whose legacy has touched your life and inspired you?

David: There are more than fifty different philanthropists/mentors who have touched my life.  One, who stands out as a catalyst for me, was someone who gave of his heart, soul, time and his immense emotional intelligence.  Joe Ehrmann is his name.

Joe is a former professional football player. (Featured in a must-read about his life… Season of Life by Jeffery Marx).  Joe had many opportunities to do incredible things with his great athletic ability, and economic success.  What he chose to do was help mentor young women and men to be of service in the world.

Joe’s statement of purpose was so inspiring I borrowed it with his permission.  It is, “I coach to help boys become men of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible and change the world for good.” 

I have modified it slightly from helping young men, to helping people. It is a timeless statement of purpose and true value creation in this world.

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