Adjust Your “Just” Story

February 4, 2020

Just give me a minute because I’ve got something to say.

You need a big adjustment.

You have a just problem.

You know the “just” I’m talking about… the one you insert into conversation when it just has no reason to be there.

I ask, “So, what do you do?”  And you reply: “I’m just a mom,” or “I’m just an assistant.” 

I say “Tell me about yourself” and you sheepishly admit, “I’m just not that interesting.”

I congratulate you on the event you’re organizing and you shrug and offer, “I’m just a volunteer.”

You pepper your email with this phrase: “I’m just checking in!” even when you have every right to do so.

Why do we justify our existence with “just”? Why do we put ourselves in a “just” box?

What’s in your “just” box?

Stop justifying.

What justification is there for doing so? How does it help?

It’s like we have some inner narrator pointing out we’re just not worthy.

It’s like those other words that just have no reason for being part of your vernacular: like saying “sorry” when there’s nothing to be sorry about or these two words that should be already obvious why they shouldn’t be used.

If you suffer from “just”-itis (I just made that up), you need justice.

“Justice” is “a concern for justice, peace and genuine respect for people.”

My friend the judge adds his formal definition: “Justice is giving everyone, regardless of who they are or what they did or didn’t do, a full and fair opportunity to be heard.”

Are you giving yourself justice, peace, and genuine respect? Are you allowing yourself a full and fair opportunity to be heard, regardless of what you did or didn’t do?

It would be criminal not to.

Adjust your just!

Instead of answering “What do you do?” with “I’m just a mom” or “I’m just a volunteer,” say it without justification:

“I’m raising my family…”

“I’m focused on my kids right now.”

“I’m volunteering on the board raising money for the school.”

Instead of justifying your reply with any sort of conversational hedge (“I’m just not that interesting,” “I just have a question”), just be who you are and stop worrying about what other people might think.

Own your own story.

Adjust your “just”!

It’s just that simple.

Valerie Gordon, a 10-time Emmy award-winning producer, is the founder of career and communication strategy firm Commander-in-She.  A frequent speaker at conferences, Valerie offers workshops and group and individual coaching and works with employee resource groups for companies such as Aetna, Prudential and Mass Mutual to help level the playing field for women at work. 

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