To My Entrepreneur Friends

To my entrepreneur friends, fellow “quitters”, and anyone else who can benefit from more clients…

I went to a marketing bootcamp Monday and Tuesday.  We demanded soft copies of a certain section of the presentation slides because of the great value we saw in them.  Actually, we asked nicely and they complied.  :-)

They sent the slides out, and I thought I’d share them with you, in the hope that it will lead to more clients and more income.  If you aren’t looking for more income, then feel free to use the principles anyway and send the extra money my way.

These guys and girls are the best results-getters in the world.  Maybe not the best designed, most clever, or most visible… but they get better results.

So here is what the plans they actually used to get 10% of their audience to attend this seminar.  And then about 90% of the people bought their product… followed by another few people buying a product that cost $10,000.  Bottom line… the strategies work, even when they’re telling you they’re using it on you.  :-)  And here are their notes.

Enjoy it, and I hope it brings you too many customers to handle.

PS – I’m serious about sending me the extra money. (not really)
Download Link: Mapping Your Business

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Talk About People Behind Their Backs

It’s pretty common and good advice to heed: don’t talk about others behind their backs.  Well behaved boys and girls listen and follow these words!

Today, I’d like to add a caveat.  I believe there is a time to talk about other people when they are not around.

And that is when it’s a compliment.

A good habit to get into is the habit of complimenting people to their face.

But when you hear that someone has been spreading compliments about you when you’re not around… well that’s great.  Maybe because we’re less skeptical about what people say when we’re not around.  Maybe we put more trust in that compliment.  Whatever the reason, it has a longer lasting, more powerful impact.

So the next time you’re in conversation and someone mentions another person, take a second to think about how that person has impacted you.  Has their existence in your life been positive?  If so – tell other people about it!  This is one rumor worth spreading.

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Prepare to Step Off

I arrived at the airport a bit early for my 5:50am flight to Nicaragua. It was 4:30, and I was ready to get something in my stomach before we lifted off.

Unfortunately, the computers at my airline’s ticket counter had other ideas.

The system was down. The line was getting longer, and people’s tempers, shorter.

Ticket agents were handwriting boarding passes and checking off passengers from a printed list. I thought I slipped into some kind of time warp and was sent back 50 years.

The anxiety of the group was rising.

People began shuffling more frequently.  Making sarcastic remarks about the airline, computers, ticket people, and I might have even heard some criticism about the president. Hmm…

I was eventually granted access to join your favorite part of traveling: the TSA security check.  After a short wait, I gathered my belongings and started my walk to the gate.

Along the way, I reflected on the situation at the ticket counter.

Two things were going on that I considered.

First – my fellow travelers’ reactions to the computer issue.  I know flying can be stressful, and I understand that a lack of information or the ability to fix the situation has an exponential impact to the stress of flying.  But I just can’t accept the kind of hate that flows from people as their response.

Second – technology.  I am a big fan of technology.  But realize it’s just a tool.  Neither good nor bad, it all depends on how you use it.

OK, back to my walk.  I looked up from the moving sidewalk just in time to see this sign:

Moving Sidewalk Ends - Prepare to Step Off
Words of Wisdom

What wisdom! Before you think I am joining the crowd with more sarcasm, hear me out.

I believe this sign is helpful from both angles described above.

First, as a perspective to embrace in everyday life. Things will go wrong. The road ahead sometimes will change, and you need to change immediately in response to the road.

Your company will announce a restructuring. Your car will break. You will be late to that important meeting. Your flight will be delayed.

Prepare to Step Off

Realize that these things are not to be anxious about. They are just changes from your plan. And you are the only one who thinks your plan is important anyway. To everyone else, you are a detail of
their own plan. So why stress it?

Prepare to step off.

The second analogy I saw in that sign was one of technology.

People use the moving sidewalk as a tool to accomplish one of two goals.

They either see it as a short break from walking (and stand to the right). Or they use it to move them more efficiently toward their destination. To accomplish more (distance) with less (effort).

See where I’m going with this?

Technology is used in the same way.
People use it to give them a short break from their otherwise tiresome life. Think about television, Facebook, and video games. While they typically do not grease the wheels of productivity, they do provide a mental rest from reality.

On the other hand, I am currently writing this post on my Droid phone, about to take off on my journey to Nicaragua. How’s that for productivity?

The thing to keep in mind with technology is that it sometimes breaks. The moving sidewalk ends. Sometimes at a bad time. Like at 4:30am at the airport.

If you used it as a tool to do greater things, then my guess is that an interruption like this will not hurt that much. But if you rely on it to take a much-needed rest, if you always run on low energy, then the end of the sidewalk can paralyze you. Leaving you with no reaction other than negativity and stress.

Now, I’m going to check Facebook and play a video game before we take off. :-)

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Get in the Habit of Setting Habits

Once you have an idea of your goals, you need to set yourself up for success.

I’m going to start by suggesting what this does not look like:

  • It does not look like you pushing yourself beyond your limits every day for the next six months.  Or three months.  Or thirty days.
  • It does not look like you depriving yourself for long… food, sleep, or otherwise.
  • It does not look like a single act of heroics, in which you accomplish your dream… while fireworks explode in the background, and a Celine Dion song plays louder and louder in the background.

If you want to give yourself the greatest chance of success, then make your approach look like this:

  • Small changes, only slightly different from what you currently do
  • Scheduled breaks from any changes or deprivation
  • Boring.  No fireworks, no music, and no single act of anything.

OK, most people should stop reading there.  See, we are conditioned (through movies, sensational news stories, and “a friend of a friend did _____”) to believe that accomplishing a goal is much like the first list.  So any idea that conflicts with that image will probably challenge beliefs and turn people off.  This is a much different approach.

I’m not against pushing yourself hard.  It’s certainly necessary to accomplish some things.  But for the majority of us, and the majority of your goals (like writing a book, or losing more than 5 pounds), pushing hard up front will result in short-term gains, long term failure, and discouragement.

The approach I’m recommending is for a new version of your former self.  A version that will be around forever.

If you’re looking for that permanent change, then try this approach:

Define the Habits
Define a habit you can repeat every day (or a few times every day).  If your goal is to write a book, then your first habit should be to write something every day.

Make the Habit Highly Repeatable
The more you repeat the habit, the better.  Writing 20 pages every Monday is not nearly as good as writing 3 pages every day of the week.  The more times you succeed at something, the more confidence and enjoyment you will have for that task.

Make the Tasks EASY
It’s tempting to ignore this.  Yes, you can write 10 pages of your first book in a single day.  And you can do it for a few days in a row.  The problem is that for each day you extend yourself, you are draining your energy reserves in order to get it done.  Eventually, you will put off writing for a day.  Then two days.  Then it’s next year and “write a book” is back on your list of resolutions.

This happens for two reasons.  Your energy to continue writing was way low.  And you pushed yourself so hard that your brain began to associate painful thoughts with the act of writing.  Combat this by making it easy and fun.  You will associate fun and enjoyment with writing.  Thus giving you more energy and more desire to write.  You can eventually build up to 5 or 10 pages per day.  Stephen King writes 10 pages every day.  What makes you think that you should be at his level on your first book?  Enjoy your time as a newbie.  This is where you get a healthy addiction to your goals.

Track Your Actions, not Results
Your habits should be based on actions required, and not the results desired.  Read that again, please.  This is the number one mistake in goal setting that leads to short term success, followed by permanent failure.

If you have easy, repeatable tasks set for one or more times per day, then you need to track how often you complete those small tasks.  Do not track the status of your book on the NY Times bestseller list.  Do not try to track the size of your publisher, or the languages your book is translated to.  These will be fun to reflect on; fun to enjoy.  And imagining yourself as a big deal can be motivating.  But if you set these goals and pay them attention, you will be tracking constant failure every day your unpublished book is not listed on Amazon.

Your actions should be tracked as a pass / fail every day.  Several times per day, if possible.

WARNING: corny but memorable fake equation to follow…

Tracking your Action = TRACTION

When I set out to take my body fat % from 23% to 13%, I set up a tracking spreadsheet.  The sheet was filled with gray zeros.  Each zero represented a healthy meal, or a workout.  When I did either, I replaced the gray zero with a big, bold, green “one”.  It may sound goofy, but that conversion made me really happy inside.  It reinforced that I was doing a good job.  It’s just like giving a dog a treat.  Except I was the dog.  And I was giving myself a mental treat.  Woof.

0   →   1

If you believe that the above will work, then it will.

Ignore your instincts that it’s too simple, or that the effort required isn’t “hard enough”.  These small successes will ensure you stay on the track of your goals, and you will not go big then fail.

Small successes are better than big failures


At some point, you won’t be able to resist the urge to measure your results.  Keep this at a minimum.  You’ll want to track 100 actions before measuring a single result.

Back to the weight loss goal.  If I track three meals and one workout per day, that’s four actions.  It will take 25 days for me to reach 100 measured actions.  Therefore the most frequent I should measure my body fat % is just that.  Once every 25 days.

I followed my own formula, I haven’t measured my body fat % more than once a month since I started a year ago.  I’m still on track, a year later.  With no signs of a weakened resolve.  And for those who think you need to push incredibly hard for results, my workout lasts between 20 and 30 minutes a day.  I enjoy it.  That’s why I’m still doing it.

Enjoy writing one page per day, and you can have a published 365 page book at the end of the year.

Enjoy running just a half mile each day, and you will have run 183 miles this year.

Enjoy cutting your calories by 100 every day, and you will have shed about 10 pounds by the end of the year.


Finally – I have an offer for you.

Post a comment below.  In it, specify the small habit (or habits) that you’re going to implement.  Be specific about them.  And I will make you a custom, spreadsheet to track your actions.  Complete with grey zeros and beautiful green ones!!

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Loading... Mix – I Like Your Face

I just finished my second big mix on  It’s called I Like Your Face.  It has 18 love songs, and they lean toward the rock or punk side, but there are some softer tracks too.

Here is the list of songs:

  1. Must Have Done Something Right Relient K
  2. (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To Weezer
  3. About A Girl The Academy Is…
  4. My Paper Heart The All-American Rejects
  5. I’d Do Anything Simple Plan
  6. Hold My Hand New Found Glory
  7. Fall For You Secondhand Serenade
  8. 1, 2, 3, 4 Plain White T’s
  9. 10.000 Nights Alphabeat
  10. New Perspective Panic! At The Disco
  11. I Don’t Wanna Be In Love Good Charlotte
  12. I Woke Up In A Car Something Corporate
  13. Dark Blue Jack’s Mannequin
  14. All Along Remedy Drive
  15. Two Is Better Than One Boys Like Girls feat. Taylor Swift
  16. Saw Red Sublime feat. Gwen Stefani
  17. Home Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  18. All I Want Is You Barry Louis Polisar


I hope you like it as much as I like your face!!

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Make the Difficult Decisions Easier

I understand why most people set goals of outcome.  (Goals of outcome are based around the results desired instead of the actions required.  Read my post called “The Only Way to Set Goals” for more on this.)

People set goals of outcome because that’s where our emotions are attracted.  Emotionally, we are attracted to the end result (a rockin’ hot body, more bling than a diamond mine, and a life of relaxation, golf, and beaches).

We are not emotionally attracted to the steps we need to take to reach those results.  And that makes sense.  If I were a dog, my tail would not be wagging at the thought of opting for the vegetables over pizza.  To be honest, the thought of less pizza puts me into a cold sweat of sorts.

But it’s that type of tough choice that needs to be made in order to reach that end result.  And not just made once or twice.  The difficult, inconvenient, uncomfortable, yet intentional decision to eat healthy must be made over and over and over… and over.  That is, if you want to be happy with your appearance.

That sounds hard.

It’s much easier to resign to the pizza and a nice pair of sweatpants.

Easier today, yes.  But not easier next week or next month.  Definitely not easier five years from now.  See that’s when the toll of lower self-esteem, anxiety, stress, and lack of confidence have their way with you.

To me, the thought of avoiding pizza so that I have a better image of myself when I’m 80 years old seems stupid.  Well, maybe stupid is the wrong word.  Let’s go with “disproportionate”.

My brain works pretty quickly.  I can do single-digit addition in under ten seconds.  But this isn’t about my superhuman math skills.  The point is this: in the time it takes for someone to offer me a slice of pizza, I have (mostly unconsciously) weighed the pros and cons of accepting their offer.  Included in that lightning-fast analysis is the impact it will have on my life… even an impact 50 years from now.  There are two Bobs in my head, an Emotional Bob (e-Bob), and a Logical Bob (l-Bob).  They discuss my decisions and let me know the answer.

It goes something like this:

Hey l-Bob, it’s e-Bob.  I’d like a slice of pizza.

OK, e-Bob.  Well, let’s think about this.  It’s clearly delicious.  Will it have any negative effect on you later, like when you’re 80 years old?

It’s a slice of pizza, you idiot.  Not a bionic arm.

Good point.  Go for it.  Get pepperoni.


If I’m on a diet, then it would be like this:

Hey l-Bob, it’s me again.  I’d like a slice of pizza.

Oh hey.  From what I remember, pizza is the best tasting food in the world.  Any negative effect on you later?

Well – I’m on a diet… so this would mean I’m breaking my rules of eating.  But who cares, it looks really really really good.

I know how it looks, but it doesn’t make sense to go against our diet.  Let’s avoid it this time.

Fine.  Jerk.


There is a point to this.  What you don’t see in those decisions is how much energy I’m using in each scenario.  When they are in agreement, then almost no energy is used.  So eating the pizza is easy.  There is no conflict.  However, when they disagree, e-Bob gets throws a hissy fit, and that uses my energy.

Eventually, my energy tank is depleted, and I’m left with no willpower.  That results in listening to e-Bob much more than I should.  In your life, that probably looks like the yo-yo effect of dieting.  Or hitting a wall and giving up.

This is where habits come in.

Habits motivate e-Bob to do what’s right.

Two things happen.

One – if I track the success and failures of my habits (like eating the foods I’ve already planned), then I tie myself to those results emotionally.  Which means that e-Bob will start to say things like “Dude – you’re ten for ten on eating well… don’t throw all that progress away!!”  It’s much easier to stick to your habits when you have e-Bob on your side.

Two – even if you’re not yet emotionally attached to the new habit, you can begin to put your decisions on auto-pilot.  Every time you successfully complete an action (pick veggies over pizza), you more closely relate to that action.  If you pick veggies every time you eat out, it will then become your default action.  Less conversation between the Bobs take place, and that means less energy is used.  It’s easier to stick to your guns.

Hey l-Bob, it’s e-Bob.  What should we eat with our grilled chicken?  Veggies?

Yeah, I guess – why do you think veggies?

I dunno, it’s what we always go with.

Sounds good to me.  See you at the reunion.


This perspective will allow you to lay the foundation for habit-setting, which I will talk about in my next post.

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The Only Way to Set Goals

Have you heard of setting “SMART” goals?  SMART is an acronym that states goals should be the following:


Personally, I think that list is DUMB.

Deadly (as in it will kill your goals)
More than you need

OK, I just wanted to make up my own acronym.  To be honest, using the SMART guide can be helpful.  It’s a good litmus test to check your goals against, and helps to prevent you from some common goal-setting errors.

(insert however)


It doesn’t address what I believe to be the biggest mistake in goal setting.

This mistake causes people to give up on their resolutions and prevents them from reaching their goals.

It’s the mistake of setting a goal based on outcome rather than input.

Or setting a goal based on pay instead of work.

Or tracking accomplishments rather than efforts.


Let’s say your goal is to lose 24 pounds this year.  Is that a SMART goal?  Let’s test it.

Specific – I see no vagueness in this goal.  If it were up to me, I’d prefer it say “24 pounds of fat“, but that’s getting picky.  Specific.  CHECK.
Measurable – Very measurable, just step on a scale.
Achievable – Yes, there is no reason why you can’t achieve this.  There is a reason why you may not, but we’ll talk about that later.  It is possible.
Realistic – 24 pounds lost in one year equates to two pounds per month.  Yes, it’s realistic.
Time-bound – The one-year is a very specific time limit.  365 days.  March 1, 2013 is the deadline.  Perfect.

So it’s definitely SMART.  That means guaranteed success, right?  Not quite.  And you know that, because this isn’t your first rodeo.  Here’s what happens to most people:

Day 1: Weigh-in.  The scale is pretty disturbing to watch.  This sends adrenaline and motivation pumping through you like crazy.  You could be one of the 300 Spartan warriors.  Today, you eat healthy, and you exercise to the max.  Great job.
Day 2:  You weigh in.  HOLY COW, you dropped one pound in one day!  You do some quick math, and figure out if you stay on this pace, you’ll lose your yearly quota of 24 pounds in three and a half weeks.  Then you have 48 weeks left in the year to be on a beach with some models.  You will fit right in.  Heck, someone might even want your autograph!  Working out today is FUN.  You can’t get that image of a skinny you in all your new clothes.  Eating healthy is also easy, and with good cause.  Your body is a fat-burning factory.
Day 3 – Day 7: At some point, your weigh-in doesn’t go so well.  Maybe you plateau for a few days straight, or even put weight back on.  The horror!  Instead of seeing it for what it is (water weight, normal fluctuations, or an un-birthed food baby), you convince yourself that you were born to be a fat cow.  The goal now seems unreachable, and you are defeated.  If you have good willpower, you may not quit for another couple weeks or months, but eventually everyone runs out of the emotional energy to overcome this frustration.

If your attempts at weight loss have ever felt like a yo-yo, this probably hits some pretty strong chords.  Or if you think you’re accustomed to hitting a wall that you eventually lose to, this also applies.

Now – here’s the secret decoder ring in your cereal box.  This is how you beat the evil boss of frustration:


In our example, that means you set your plan (or better yet, habits) up front.  I’ll be making a follow-up post on setting habits in the next couple days.

For now, let’s say your habits are to run some distance every day, and eliminate sugars from your diet.  Guess what you track.  How many days you’ve run, and how many meals you’ve had without sugar.  That’s it.  Throw away the scale.  Or check your weight once every few months.  It’s useless to watch that number.  It would be like staying an extra hour at work every day, and watching your paycheck for a raise.  With time, it will come, but it’s not under your direct, daily control.

So your tracking sheet would look like this:

Did I run?  YES
Avoid sugar at breakfast?  YES
Avoid sugar at lunch?  YES
Avoid sugar at dinner?  YES

Why does this work?  Because we’re creatures of emotion.  Each time we experience a victory, our body gives us a little shot of positive emotion in the form of energy.  The more of those positive shots we can give ourselves, the better.  And these shots don’t require you slapping any veins.  Just do what you say you’re going to do.

There are some ancillary benefits, as well.  Constantly achieving mini-goals like this will give you more self-confidence.  It will reduce anxiety and stress.  Oh, and it will make big goals seem to accomplish themselves.  Freeing up your mental energy to pursue other things you want (travel, career, or a date with those models you envisioned yourself on the beach with).


Get going.

Want to write a book?  Goal: published book Goal: write 1 page a day.

Want more money?  Goal: get a raise at work Goal: spend an hour each day doing something above and beyond my normal job

Grow your business?  Goal: get 10 new customers Goal: send 50 marketing letters each day


Goals of effort are based on the action required instead of the results desired


One last note – I just learned that Jerry Seinfeld, well before he was popular, performed two comedy shows per night for eighteen months.  Every night.  Unpaid.

That is about 1,100 free shows.  I assume his goal was to be a successful, highly-paid comedian.

He could have been thinking that each day he didn’t have a #1 hit network sit-com show, he was a failure.  But that’s a lot of failure – 1,100 days straight of assuming failure will cause anyone to lose hope and quit.

Instead, I think he saw the value in each show he did.  He extracted the value of practice.  Of improvement.  He saw each show as an opportunity to grow.  And therefore, he got two big successes each and every day.  For 18 months.

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February 29th = Extra Day?

This morning, I got an email from an avid reader.  Just so happens they share my last name.  And it’s my mom.

So she wanted to wish me a “Happy Leap Day”, and also point out that it’s traditionally called “Sadie Hawkins Day”.  That is, the one day when women turn the tables and can ask men to marry them.

Marriage proposals aside, I’ve read several motivational blog posts on February 29th.  And I’ve come to the conclusion there are two ways we can look at today.

1. It’s Wednesday.  A normal Wednesday.  Two days into the week, and two more work days before the weekend.  Go about your business, do what you normally do, and treat it just as you would any other day.

2.  It’s an extra day this year.  February 29th is one free day to reflect, plan, try something different, do something special.  This perspective is much more empowering.  My good friend is on his way to a special adventure today – attending a red carpet movie premiere in Miami.  What a great (and memorable) way to spend this extra day!!

Now it’s obvious that if you’re looking to accomplish more than you have previously, then the second perspective is the one you should adopt.

…or is it?

You’re carving out one extra day from four years.  That’s one extra day for every 1,460 days you live “normally”.  Or about an extra 0.07%.

If you work a typical 8 hour workday, that’s like staying 20 seconds later to do something different or special.  Watch out, coworkers, today is the day I’m gonna blow up this company’s productivity with my extra 20 seconds.

Or say you run a mile every day.  Then one day, you’re going to put in more effort.  The same extra effort as this extra day.  That means you’re running one mile… and 3.6 feet.  Might wanna buy a new pair of shoes for that extra distance.

I’m saying all this light-heartedly, just to make a point… and segue to my third way of looking at February 29.  It’s this:

It’s the only day.

We won’t see another February 29 until 2016.  That sounds pretty far off, doesn’t it?  And even less available than another Leap Year Day is another February 29, 2012.  Today will be the only one of them that anyone will ever live.

Kind of makes you appreciate today for what it is.

Now, for those of us who plan to change the world…

Every day is the only day.  Not having the chance to repeat any given day is reason enough to live consistently with our purpose.

What does that mean to you?  What are you currently doing that you need to stop?  What do you need to start?

What do you need to create?  And once it’s created, what do you need to share?  Who do you need to share it with?

There’s someone who is desperately waiting on you to share your gifts.  Stop cheating them, and share it.

What are you doing different today?  Feel free to comment!

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Image is Everything

I’m not sure what started me thinking about this, but while I was eating lunch today, visions of the old Sprite ad popped into my head.  You might remember the ad series – where they focus on various wanna-bes.  Making fun of those that spend more time looking the part than being the part.  Their tagline was “Image is Nothing – Thirst is Everything”.

Even though the message is making fun of the image-conscious, it can be helpful advice.

I could apply the mocked Sprite message to just about anything I want to be or do.  To accomplish anything, I can find someone who has done it, and copy them.

With one caveat.

I will not focus on copying their public image, their style, their possessions, or their glamour.

Instead of focusing on the outward appearance, I will copy their methods.  Their habits.  That’s the image that matters.

The challenge is separating their actions from everything else.  Because all we see in the media is the “sexy”.

The Beatles – Most rock bands would have us believe the prerequisites for becoming a rock star are alcohol and drug consumption, lots of casual sex, a cool attitude, and some interest in music.  But look at the Beatles’ habits.  They put on well over 200 performances before being signed by a record label.  That sounds like hard work (and over a period of 6 years, no less!)

Stephen King – When I hear about an author writing a new book, I picture this: the author takes a month off from his life, goes to his 4,000 square-foot cabin in the woods, sits by an old school typewriter and hammers through the text while looking out the window at snow-covered pine needles and a frozen lake?  And there’s a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate next to him at all times.  Always steaming.  Well, the reality is that Stephen King writes ten pages a day.  Every day.  Even holidays.  That’s it.  Pretty plain and boring.  But it’s real.

Benjamin Franklin – While he didn’t have spinning rims on his carriage, I’m pretty sure we focus more on his achievements and less on his work ethic.  One habit he was known to have is that he asked himself every morning (at 5am) “What good shall I do today”?  That was followed up on, at 10pm, with “What good did I do today”?

So yes, image IS everything.  Copy a successful image, and you will become successful.  Just make sure it’s the right image you’re copying.

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Try “Bob”

This is fun:

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