Some four-letter words have a lot of power. Good and bad. Words like…
Love. Hope. Hate. Help. Fuck. Can’t.
But there is another four-letter word that can destabilise everything about a person. About you.
This word is used in a lot of introductions at conferences and it utterly undermines the person. It eats at their confidence and their authority.
The word is JUST.
“I just have a blog.”
“I just work part-time.”
“I just…I just…I just…”
Each introduction that contained the word just told me that any impressions of greatness I’d formed were probably wrong.
You see, there is a whole lot of can’t, won’t or shouldn’t behind the word just. You can apply that to the word only as well.
These words are full of excuses.
They tell me what you’re not doing. Not what you are doing.
“I don’t have any influence. I’m just the copywriter.”
“I can’t charge that much. I’m just starting out.”
“I can’t approach an agency. I usually just work with small businesses.”
“I’m just one person.”
These are all statements I’ve said – to others and to myself.
But just is a trick to make us feel okay in the comfort zone. After all, if we don’t reach for a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), we won’t fail. Not failing is good, right?
Don’t fall for it.
Don’t mistake my message
You don’t always have to dominate everything. You don’t have to be at the top, the most famous, work with every big brand.
But don’t talk yourself out of something before you’ve even begun.
How is it done?
Next time you hear yourself saying “I’m just…” – to others or internally – STOP. Ask yourself this. Am I excusing myself from going after something more? Or am I setting a boundary I am okay with?
If it’s the latter, carry on. I salute you. If it’s the former, spend five minutes considering if your goals are really stretching you enough.
Either way, try that statement again without the word just.
I’d love to know… Do the words ‘just’ or ‘only’ pop up when you talk – to others and to yourself?