The Power of Authenticity to succeed your business

In this week’s Exit Your Way Live we had the pleasure of talking to Kathy Motlagh. Kathy is the founder and CEO of Think Virtues. Think Virtues is a business that focuses on empowering school children towards bettering their lives with vital social skills.

We all wish to live the best of our lives but not all of us wish to make the best out of it. However, there are some people who aren’t just making the best out of their lives but also helping others to do so.

In this week’s Exit Your Way Live we had the pleasure of talking to Kathy Motlagh. Kathy is the founder and CEO of Think Virtues. Think Virtues is a business that focuses on empowering school children towards bettering their lives with vital social skills.

The talk begins with Kathy explaining the objectives of her work and Think Virtues. For Kathy, it is all about filling the gaps in life. It helps people understand what brings value to their lives and also makes them work in authenticity.

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She believes that it is our virtues, be it good or bad that makes us move along in life. Kathy further elaborates that the idea of her working with children is also the same. She thinks children are inherently virtuous and authentic, they just need a nudge in the right direction.

In between the conversation, Kathy talked about the reason behind Think Virtues and how she established it. Back in 2000, she was thinking about having children. This is when she thought about the world around her. She thought the world needs more mindful happiness and authenticity instead of instant gratification.

Further diving into the conversation, she talks about people finding their purpose in life. She was asked if she knew a non-fictitious person who found his purpose. To this Kathy responded that there are a lot of people around who are looking for a purpose or their authenticity.

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What these people fail to understand is that this purpose comes to them and will find them. No matter how hard they try to find this purpose, it will come to them when the time is right. According to Kathy, the right time will come to them when they are at peace with themselves and their ego.

At the end of the conversation, Kathy talked about the fact that there are times when people don’t find their happiness but it’s right in front of them. She is also of the view, that real happiness comes around in life when a person helps others.

By adding value to other people’s lives is only when you find your actual authenticity and purpose.

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Thanks to Kathy Motlagh for sharing their time and knowledge.  Watch the video below for the entire conversation!

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Damon Pistulka, Kathy Motlagh



As a cucumber.


Damon Pistulka  00:04

Alright everyone, we were here today on the exit your way round table. We’re a little bit later than normal a day. But we got it. We got it. We’re here now and Kathy Motlagh with me. Glad to have you here.


Kathy Motlagh  00:18

Hello, Damon, thank you. Thank you for having me. And thank you again, for your patience. We did have technical difficulties today.


Damon Pistulka  00:25

Yeah, but we got it. We did. And that’s all that matters. You know, that’s, that’s really what, you know, easy in the whole scheme of things. It’s a small thing.



That’s the attitude.


Damon Pistulka  00:41

Yeah. I mean, it is really, you know, I A while ago, I used to be one of those big stressor, people big worry, you know, worry and stress and, and I someone told me, I don’t even remember who it was, but it was, it was. Don’t think about it, if it’s going to be a year out. And then if it’s if it’s not going to matter in a year, don’t worry about it.



What a great advice. I mean, we all can use that that mindset. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  01:11

Yeah. So it’s so it’s one of those things where you just got it, you really, it changes the way that you that you can look at things. So. So Kathy, you’ve got an interesting thing. You know, we talked about the power of authenticity, we’ve been talking about. Looking at your profile here on LinkedIn, you started think ventures with your sister A while ago now and, and what really got you into this whole thing about think virtues, and then the power of authenticity?



You know, filling gaps, you know, think virtues is really about filling gaps, seeing what’s out there, and what can we do to add value in people’s lives and in working with authenticity, and we view virtues as who we are, virtues are all of our strong character traits and all of our positive emotions. So it was something it was a kind of a niche that was missing and in human development. So So it’s about ethical and emotional literacy. And, of course, authenticity is one of our most valued virtues.


Damon Pistulka  02:25

Yeah, so it, I was watching some of the videos that you created with your sister and, and and some of the things that you you worked with school aged children. That’s really interesting. So you have you’ve developed a system and a book too, and correct me if I’m wrong, and kind of explain it, because it’s really cool when you’re starting to talk with children, younger school aged children, about, you know, virtues and the things and I’m not I’m probably not using the right words, but I think it’s really something as you said, that’s missing.



Oh, yeah, it’s a virtues children are naturally virtuous, you know, they’re these virtues love, compassion, empathy, kindness, you know, confidence, these, this is what they’re about. And when they are given the language and, and the practice of it, it’s really empowering for them, and they become better friends, they’re able to make friends more easily, they’re able to connect better with, with their existing friends and family members. And also it helps them with their schoolwork, because one of the part of the curriculum is about men, self regulation, and managing different stresses in in children and all of our lives. Really.


Damon Pistulka  03:46

Hmm. So now, you you touch on, what are some of the topics?



Some of the time, they’re all life skill based, you know, very practical things that children need, like, for example, what do you do when all of your classmates are invited to a party and you’re not, for example, you know, these types of things that children inherently have to deal with?

Or on the other side, how to be more inclusive and invite everybody to a party, you know, for instance, or, or asking them to participate in various things, being kind and loving toward one another, being friendly. How to make friends how to be more resilient, when things aren’t okay. Things of that nature, you know, things that aren’t typically these are social, emotional tools and abilities that aren’t being taught in schools.


Damon Pistulka  04:51

Yeah, well, I don’t think I and I don’t think and this is not on the parents, but I don’t think that a lot of us were ever taught these things.



Yeah, unfortunate. Not that’s why we came up with the program. And in fact, in our school community, the curriculum was around for 30 years before I even got introduced, I got touched by it because my children were in the program from age four, and six, and I actually raised both my sons on the on this, and they’re now 14 and 16. And thriving.

Yeah, yeah, it really helps kids become stronger, more confident, be able to again, be able to have more meaningful connections with their friends and family members. And you really as as parents, that’s what we and also it gives them an inner knowing on how to make decisions, how to pick better friends for themselves and, and do things and partaking in activities that serve them best.


Damon Pistulka  05:48

Yeah, yep. That’s a big, that’s a big one picking good friends?





Damon Pistulka  05:57

That’s a big one. And it’s hard to because some kids are, you know, are very loyal, or they’re they they, you know, feel for me, it could be they feel for somebody that’s that’s not, you know, being included, and that person could be not being included, for reasons that are that are not good. And I that’s that’s interesting, though, that’s, that’s an interesting one. So what have you seen? What have you seen the the, and in your video, you talked a little bit about the parents to you got some good positive responses from parents on this, this type of educational help? What what are some of the things that parents are saying about it?



They love it, we have a program for parents, it’s called a mentorship toolkit, especially since post covid, it’s, it’s proven to be really helpful to parents who have who have to deal with so many things. And on top of that their children are at home. So this tool is really a coaching tool for parents. And it’s most of the content is digital, but then we have coaching calls, once a month, and in some cases twice a month, where we get online on a zoom call with a community and really discuss our issues.

What are we having difficulties with, and we share what’s working, what’s not working, because this is post COVID. This is kind of a new waters, that we’re all new, new things that we’re all experiencing. And we really draw strength from one another, in addition to having all kinds of little tools. The program includes family activities, all of which that can be done around the house. Yeah. Nice. Yeah, especially now. So it’s, it’s really a nice tool that parents are enjoying with, in this time, especially.


Damon Pistulka  07:46

Yeah, so now our kids in schools where you’re at



our school is open. But we and we obviously have the ability to do remote if we need to. A lot of kids in our community have grandparents or people in their families that are high risk. So where are we we have that choice. But we really were proactive about this situation. From the very beginning, we changed our entire ventilation system to keep things safe. And everybody wears masks, and we take temperatures and we social distance all that weird. We are doing all the right protocols. And since knock on wood since since the beginning of school year, we haven’t had any issues.


Damon Pistulka  08:32

Really? Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. I mean, your protocols are set up well, because, you know, I’ve got I’ve got a friend of mine net that is his manager at a manufacturing facility and they’ve got 175 people outside of Seattle here it’s it’s always outside of Seattle, but I am just amazed they have not had any trouble with it as well. But you know, I think it is in your procedures and you know, changing the ventilation system, obviously helps a lot. Yeah, well, that’s that’s a that’s a testament to the fact that people are diligent in there. They’re really doing what they need to do.



Yeah, we’re, we’ve been fortunate to we’ve been holding classes outside when we can Yeah. Oh, it’s it’s nice. It’s been it’s been working and it’s nice that the kids get to interact, you know, even though they’re wearing masks, they’re still get to be with their buddies. And, yeah,


Damon Pistulka  09:25

yeah, you know, I saw I saw some kids playing. It’s been a couple weeks ago now, but I saw him playing outside and they all have masks on and they’re riding their bikes, you know, just it to me, it just showed the kids are going to be really resilient. You know, man, they got to wear a mask. It’s like, okay, mom, I really don’t want to wear it or Dad, I don’t want to wear it, but they’ll, but they’ll wear it. And they’ll they’ll do what they need to need to do if that’s what they got to do to go outside and play. Precisely.



Yes, they do it. They do it. They just roll with it.


Damon Pistulka  09:54

Yeah, they roll with it. They’re doing it and I thought that was awful cool, because it literally was there’s three little kids Looking at down the road, you know, are their bikes, it was awesome. You know, because because at the end of the day, you mentioned one of the things that that I think has got to be a real stressor for people is, is when you got little kids at home, and you’re trying to, you know, trying to a you might be trying to work, they’re trying to do school. And it’s just and then trying to keep everybody seen because you’re not used to being that close in that close quarters around everyone all the time.



Right? Precisely. Yeah, precisely. There’s a lot of pressure on parents that it’s really it’s a difficult time on the entire family dynamic. And that’s what we try to fill in and get help from experts. And as well as you know, help within our community. Our, you’d be surprised how resourceful some of the parents are, and some of the things that we do. Just some of these activities that can be done around the house are such lightsabers for them.


Damon Pistulka  10:57

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it just anything, anything. I mean, the bringing back game nights and things like that, I think has got to be there’s got to be a lot of popularity in in just getting away from the digital. And getting back into whatever you can that’s not in front of a TV or a computer screen.



Yeah. And you know, that this moral contemplation right now, the virtues contemplation for children and adults, it’s such a great thing, you know, with, we’ve all had, everything has changed. We’re all we’ve all had a opportunity to slow down and take a look at the big picture what’s important to us and why and how, and so these these important topics are everybody in the family loves the, the process. So it’s nice.


Damon Pistulka  11:51

Yeah, yeah. You know, and, and that’s another thing, too, is you touched on is, is that there are good things. Because of this, right? Yeah, I think back to this, and, and our children are a bit older, and, you know, not living at home. But they came home, when when COVID hit here hard. And we have four months with them. Now, yeah, I was a little crazy. But you’re not going to get that with 21 plus year old kids. And it’s just really, really special to be able to get that, that those few months like that to do it.

And we enjoyed it. And, you know, obviously, we went a little crazy once in a while, but you know, it’s, it’s what it is, but that’s time together that that you never will get. So these parents that are and I would think that with a smaller age where the younger child, you know, that’s five to 12 years old, this I know, it’s got to be just taxing as heck. But to get that time, that time with those kids is absolutely incredible.



It’s wonderful. Yeah, it’s it’s the silver lining, right? It’s a it’s what we you know, this has happened no one expected it it but it has it’s it’s it’s the situation we’re dealing with. But one good thing is that families have come a lot closer together, which is I love saying that


Damon Pistulka  13:17

well and then your your your virtues training, that has to help because you’re talking about being caring, and loving and empathetic, or I’m not using race or delivering with empathy or however you say it, you know, and things like that, that really help that that family unit become tighter.



Absolutely. And you’re saying it perfectly. Yes, that empathy be using our empathy muscles, using our compassion muscles, you know, virtues of exercises are just like working out, you know, working out our bodies. Now, this is working out our minds and our ethics muscles. And so they, we want them to be there, you know, confidence, courage, perseverance, these are all virtues that we need.

And the more we work on them readily, they are available to us. And for kids, it’s invaluable, because they get these tools on their belts, and they become such amazing and they’re already amazing anyway, but yeah, you know, they become even more of, you know, they it enhances their ability to do all kinds of things.


Damon Pistulka  14:22

Yes. Yeah. I mean, I can imagine I can imagine because that’s so when you originally Think back to the original was was did you get into this because because of your son’s and going into school, or what I mean, what kind of sparked the whole thing?



Well, it all started right around. By the journey for me started right around year 2000. When I started to think about having kids and I have my first son until 2004. But I took a look around and I was like this is this is not the direction that I wanted. I want to help us humanity. I want to I want to help humanity just reveal more of itself, you know, become more connected and become more happy minded versus instant pleasure or instant gratification minded.

And some of the other things that I was noticing. So I just wanted to help parents also too, to connect better. All kinds of these types of things came into my mind at the time. And of course, when I got introduced to the program, through my son’s being in the school, it was like, This is it, this is what’s gonna do it. This is what’s gonna bring humanity together. Ah,


Damon Pistulka  15:37

ah, that’s something. Yeah. You



never know how life turns out. You know, you never know what sparks what.


Damon Pistulka  15:45

Exactly, exactly. And when you when you talk about, I know, you bring humanity together. I mean, God, is there anything bigger than that, that you’re that? You just don’t hear things like, often?



Well, it’s I think, but don’t you think that it’s, it’s starting to resonate? I think that everything has changed so much this year, in the beginning, you know, we weren’t getting as much of a reception. It wasn’t registering as much. But now I think it’s everybody. I think the world is ready for think Virtus now. Yeah, you know what I mean? It’s we’ve come full circle. And I’m loving it. It’s, it’s it. We love that, that we’ve created something that’s helpful to people that’s enhancing and adding value to people’s lives. And it’s just wonderful working with all these wonderful people in different communities. I gotta tell you, I’ve just been touched in so many ways by so many people.


Damon Pistulka  16:45

Yeah. So were you doing most of your work in person before? And then you switch the virtual



this year? Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. The calls, the mentorship but tool kit call calls, we’re just phone calls, we got a conference call. And now we do everything on zoom. Yeah, that’s actually been enhanced. Yeah, because we were all on a phone call versus now we do it on zoom, we get to see each other and it’s nice.


Damon Pistulka  17:13

Yeah, that is the the the power of video is undeniable. That’s for sure. Live Video being able to talk to each other like this is is I honestly, I don’t like to use the phone anymore. And if I even if we were on a video call, I would I would try to help someone get the video work. And just so I can see him when I’m talking to him.



I’m with you. I’m with you. It’s It’s nice. It’s been nice. And then of course, the power of authenticity workshops, which, you know, parents being touched by our work. They said, Kathy, you need to bring this work to corporations. And yeah, and that was a natural transition for me because I did so many of these on other realms. But yeah, yeah, so the power of authenticity has been fantastic. Also. And that was done in person. We did them in small groups of no more than 20 Yeah, a minimum of 10 people maximum of 20, in in conference rooms. And now we do those on zoom. And we do them with fewer people for minimum. A maximum.


Damon Pistulka  18:17

Yeah. So now let’s talk about the power of authenticity. How is that different from your think virtues? And and what do we talk about? And what are the subjects you cover in your power of authenticity, training,



the power of authenticity is a is first of all, I have to commend people who want to participate on the work because it’s incredibly intense, it’s difficult to, you know, to take a good look in the mirror and really decide that this is the change needs to we all need to be the change we want to see in the world. And, and have it have have, have this work be the one so it’s it’s I have to commend all the people who participated but it’s designed to maximize human potential.

It’s leadership training. And it’s it we take you through what we call the seven use the it’s a 12 week program, incredibly intense, but it’s but it’s meant to reveal your authenticity, and your sense of purpose and and, and and which is grounded in your values. So it’s a very, very rewarding work. It’s intense and difficult. So it’s not for everyone.


Damon Pistulka  19:37

Oh yeah,



it’s for the courageous leader.


Damon Pistulka  19:40

Yeah, yeah, well not only as you said, it’s really hard to take that kind of look at yourself sometimes and and you have to be ready to do it. I mean, it’s not just wake up one day and go oh, yeah, you know, it’s not it’s not like and



no but with with fantastic leaders thought leaders like some And Seneca people are starting to occur people that finding your why is really an important thing of the way we look at it, we think that finding your why is important. But that that’s, that’s the secondary thing for us in this process we first are interested in really taking a good look at who you are, you know, your authentic self is, and your purpose will occur to you will come to you. And then all you have to do is just answer your calling. So it’s really a cool, meaningful, deep process for a lot of people.


Damon Pistulka  20:36

Yeah. So are you typically doing this with teams or leaders from different companies, or how is it usually being done?



Typically, the the leadership, the top tier leadership starts with the program, and then decides, you know, who within their organization would benefit from the work, but it’s fantastic for team collaboration. It’s fantastic for two teams from various departments, or when when corporations merge, fantastic for that. It’s great for startups, it’s great for any team that does any innovation, creativity work, because although we are the main focus is to find your authentic self and your sense of purpose.

We work with with empathy, we work with collaboration, these are all virtues, creativity, and also what to do, when things are when when how to deal with stressors in life to reduce anxiety, so that your creativity can emerge. So the outcome is really beautiful for for teams for you know, for any, any any department really, if they’re for sales, it’s great for sales, because empathy, as a virtue is one of the first steps in anything we do, really.

And that includes leadership. And most of us aren’t, though we are hardwired with empathy, we really need training in it, because we sometimes miss it, you know, Miss Miss the tone? Yeah. So there’s a huge distinction between petting somebody feeling sympathetic, versus being empathetic and compassionate. So those are huge distinctions that we draw. And we really make it clear to the participants so that when they leave their, their, their their true empathy shows up.


Damon Pistulka  22:34

Yeah. Something. That’s something because yeah, that’s a i can i can imagine that is really pretty, it’s pretty special. When you when you get people that do that, and they’ve spent the time and they’ve gone through it and and what comes out the other side. So do you do you think that as they complete this process, that they’re able to then work more effectively? And they they get more more, they’re more creative, get more things done? What do you really, what do you really see when a when a team goes through this exercise?



Well, when teams go through the exercise, they become more effective, they performance goes through the roof, their productivity, everything else falls into place. And as far as leaders that go through the process, same thing, I mean, it just really takes your performance and achievement to the next level. Because you’re getting rid of the barriers that stop you from from that from your excellence in the process. And the in the 12 week process, we get rid of all the stuff that we really don’t need, clear the way for your genius for your, for your excellence to really shine through. Oh, really? I mean, the benefits are immense.

And and you know, it’s it’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Yeah, yeah. It’s intense, 12 week program. It’s a seven week course online. And then there’s five weeks of coaching. Yeah, because we want to really, we want each person to really be succinct about who their authentic self is, and what their purpose is and how to live their lives powerfully through through that, through that oppression. It’s It’s incredible. They become better leaders, they become, you know, they’re become more profitable, they become, you know, everything gets better.

And also it helps. We’ve been also hearing from participants who, you know, who haven’t talked to their family members in 10 years, who had had difficulty with their best friend hadn’t talked to their best friend in a couple years. Yeah, they’re able to, they’re able to rekindle those relationships, which really is it’s amazing, you know, that that’s what life is all about, you know, for us to realize. Those who are important to us and, and reconnecting with them.


Damon Pistulka  25:04

Yeah. Yeah. So one of the things that you mentioned there that that I want to ask a couple more questions about is when you talk about someone finding their purpose. Mm hmm. Can you give me a common example of, of someone that not not someone in a fictitious person finding their purpose? What does that mean?



That means, for me, first, I mean, it’s different for everyone. Yeah, everybody’s purpose is different. But, you know, people look, are forever looking for their purpose. You know, it’s just like, to me that somebody’s looking for their happiness, you know, those are not things that you should look for, those are things that will come to you, they will occur to you when when you have a healthy relationship with your ego, healthy relationship with your identity. And so the outcome for a lot of people has for some of the people. So I’ll give you an example of one of the people who just went through the work.

He’s a, he’s a high level executive, he has gone through other authenticity tracks. But he has found that his passion is making meaningful connections throughout his network connecting people with other people. And, and so he’s leading that he’s starting in networking. He’s just among other things that he’s working on. He’s He’s founded an international connection type of a network, with high level executives and in and also sponsoring kids from various communities, to sponsor them and getting them into the community so that they can be connected with the right people once they graduate from from university.

So this was his purpose. And, and, and it’s, it was really a very important part of his, his process. And now he is just he’s forming a non for profit. This is he’s got he’s gonna take a global so it just went from, you know, him wanting to really work on himself and crystallize that his sense of purpose and authenticity, and, and figuring out that this is really what he wanted to do. He’s a people person he’s LED. He was a he’s been a high level executive and in corporate America for 25 years. And, and now he’s doing this, which is wonderful.


Damon Pistulka  27:35

Yeah. Yeah. That is that is when when, when people couldn’t get it all together, I think you’re right there. That is. Purpose is not something that you find it kind of finds you.



Yep, exactly. And same with happiness.


Damon Pistulka  27:52

Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah. Yeah, it is. It is, it finds you and it doesn’t come without work. That’s the other thing. You know, there’s a there’s someone that I’ve, well, I’ve actually interviewed him a while ago. It’s Danny Shannon, the gratitude maker. I mean, example, if someone has overcome a ton of challenges, you know, but you see them and yeah, you’re not happy all the time.

But if you really focus on the good things that are in your life, you know, it makes such a huge difference. And that that happiness does come and it is their most and most people it’s right there. It’s right there. You have two different ways of looking at it. And if you look at it the wrong way, you’re never gonna be happy that but it’s right there. Exactly. Hey, don’t want to look this direction. Because it’s right there.



Exactly. Damon. Exactly. Exactly. And mostly it’s when yours in service to others. Yeah, that’s when you’re when you’re doing when you’re when you’re adding value to people. And when you’re when you’re doing something meaningful, touching people’s lives is when you get touched yourself, and it just brings joy to you.


Damon Pistulka  29:02

Yes, yes. I was telling that to somebody this morning. They’re they’re someone I’ve known for a while now. And they’re, they’re kind of realigning their life and, and I said if if, if there’s anything that I know that if you if you just just start helping people, it’ll come back, you know, double or whatever number but it, it feeds you, it feeds you, it gives you It gives you this energy, because I was explaining to them you know, I’m not young anymore, but I got more energy today to do what I want to do and and I am finding my purpose than I ever did. When I wasn’t connecting with people and helping them like



I am now. Exactly like soul food. You know, it’s like soul food if you just get so it just adds vitality to you. It just, you know, it just really gets you get you up in the morning and you know what you got to do? That that power of intention and air more intention driven. You’re more purpose driven. It’s It’s amazing.



Yep. Yeah, so


Damon Pistulka  30:08

good. So good. Well, it’s, it’s awesome to talk to you about this. And I, what what have I not asked you that we should talk about?



I mean, well, you are you did a very good job of asking some really good questions. Um, I don’t know. I mean, it’s a, it’s it, this is something that I think people would love and enjoy. And especially now, um, you know,


Damon Pistulka  30:34

it is, I mean, to me, this is, this is something that, that these are the basics that if you really got it would help. The other things that are, you know, get the foundation, right, and you can, you know, the, the the building would be there for 100 years kind of thing. And you come back and get the foundation, right? And you’re going to be able to deal with these things much better.



Precisely. That’s, that’s actually one of the metaphors I use is that, you know, we’ve in our society, what we’ve done is we’ve built these, you know, these enormous, wonderful buildings on on 2000 square foot foundations. So we got to, we got to start over and really start with these foundational, important, important work first, and then anything else can be built upon it.


Damon Pistulka  31:25

Yeah. Yeah. That’s so that’s so great, Kathy. And now Kathy, if someone wants to get ahold of you, what’s the best way for them to do that?



The best way is our email our info email info at sink for


Damon Pistulka  31:41

Okay. For



Yes, our website is think www dot think Virtus calm, they can find more information on all of our lanes there. But yeah, if they have any questions, somebody from our team will get in touch with them.


Damon Pistulka  31:57

Very good. Well, we will have that in the show notes. And we’ll have it on YouTube and everything when this is up so people can get that. But you know, Kathy, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by today. And I think this isn’t, you know, helping children the way you are with the virtues and the power of authenticity for leaders and teams, I think is is so appropriate in that rapidly changing, you know, an evolving time that we’re living in now. But thanks so much for stopping by and talking with us today.



Damon, thank you so much. It’s been an honor and pleasure to be with you and lots of lots of love to you.


Damon Pistulka  32:35

Have a great evening. Thank you



there. Bye bye


Damon Pistulka  32:38


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