Beware the ‘because’

Beware the ?because?

I consider the word “because” a sneaky and dastardly little word based on its ability to adversely effect desired results.

Why might “because” be a word we may want to limit in our vocab? (First, let’s create a distinction. The everyday word “because” is always followed by a reason or rationale. However, to “Be Cause” — two words — is to initiate an action, despite reasons, in order to produce a desired outcome.)

“Because” always comes with a reason. If you think about it, many reasons are made up even though they appear real. “I can’t get to the gym. I’m too busy.” Is it true? Could you work out for 30 minutes if US$1,000 awaited you at the desk upon completion?

I remember sitting in a meeting and listening to reasons why a team could not execute on a fabulous restaurant concept because of “because.” It went like this. “An herb garden is a great concept but this is New York City. We can’t build this because we don’t have the space.” Seems plausible, but “because” usually stops people/groups from further exploration. In this case we could have considered partnering with a park, school or roof of an apartment building nearby, or created a hothouse. Maybe it would have worked. Maybe not, but “because” will prevent some great ideas from gaining ground.

As a strategy consultant, this sneaky little word has negatively affected my own productivity. Marketing is the hardest part of consulting and the most important. I wonder how many opportunities I missed when I said “I think I’ll take Mondays and Fridays off from calling prospective clients ‘because’ I don’t think people want to engage in new ideas on these days. Really, Nanci? All people think like this? Without a doubt, that thinking, based on a made-up reason, a made-up “because,” has cost me opportunity.

Listen to your teamspeak. You can gauge how quickly or slowly your business can develop by listening to all the reasons and” becauses” your teams use in conversations. 

At the end of life — or a job — we either have results or reasons, regrets or fulfillment. It all depends if we “Be Cause” or we “because.”