"Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was."
--- Helen Keller
As an observer of phrases, I've noticed a trend in language that is spreading faster than a California wildfire. You may have noticed it too. The genesis of these phrases seems to begin in the media and then spread throughout the world. Have you noticed this one: During an interview, the interviewee will say, "at the end of the day..." It appears that "at the end of the day" is the latest, hippest phrase to date.
My favorite, used by reporters, financial analysts, and politicians, isn't a phrase, but just one word: "look." You'll notice that to stress a point, a person will say, "look, we need more…," or "look, the economy won't change unless…" It seems everyone wants us to look at something.
"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."
---Ralph Waldo Emerson
I get the picture. The person using the word "look" wants to get my attention and wants me to "see" what they are saying. Not particularly correct grammar, but it does draw awareness to the speaker's subject at hand. The problem is that over time, the word "look" will lose its power and appeal for the speaker. We may no longer look when told to look.
"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new."
--- Og Mandino
There is some good to the word "look" when applied to our businesses though. When giving instructions to employees on how to use sign making equipment, that word "look" sure comes in handy. It helps to focus both the eyes and ears to the correct procedures you desire from your team members. It also commands the entire presence of the listener. A person can drift for a short time during a lecture or instruction, but once the magic word "look" is used, all brain systems are awakened.
"The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn't detect."
--- Mark Twain
Looking at things in a new light is often the suggestion given to solve a lingering, troublesome problem. People may advise "sleep on it and tomorrow, you will see things differently." The four letters in "look" offer hope in this respect. The resemblance of two wide-open eyes peering out, scoping the landscape and horizon at the same time searching for answers.
"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse."
--- Walt Disney
Before the word "look" loses its punch, let's squeeze all we can out of it. Beginning this month, let's see (pun intended) how productive we can look at every aspect of our business. Beginning with the beginning, look at why you started this business in the first place. Look at where you are taking it, including the steps you are taking to increase productivity (hiring people, increasing sales force, increasing inventory), and see if you are taking the necessary steps to reach your business goals.
Look, your business is your baby so you should look after it. Look out for its wellbeing and look for obstacles that are in the way now or may be coming. Keep looking 24/7 (another annoying phrase), because at the end of the day….
"I never look back, I look forward."
--- Steffi Graf