Many of us have probably heard that it’s important to remove the word “just” when describing what we do.
I’m JUST an employee.
I’m JUST an intern.
I’m JUST an assistant manager.
You can probably see where this is going. By including the word JUST in our description, we downplay our contribution and ability to be productive. Don’t believe this has an impact?
It occurred to me the other day that JUST is short for JUSTIFICATION (at least that was the connection made in my brain!). When we say we are JUST an intern, it gives us JUSTIFICATION to not take initiative, not take chances, and not actually make a positive difference. It makes it okay to feel that you are helpless, that you have no say, and that what you do doesn’t really matter. Insert any position, job or role after the word JUST, and you have essentially nullified any chance of being successful.
Why in the world would we want to JUSTIFY such a bland and unproductive existence? Maybe because it’s safe. Maybe because it keeps us warmly snuggled within our comfort zones. Maybe because that’s what we’ve been taught.
If someone has said to you, “You’re JUST an employee”, even without further elaboration, you can kind of fill in the rest, can’t you? “You’re just an employee… your ideas don’t count.” You hear that enough and you start to believe it. You are now JUSTIFIED to feel that way yourself… ABOUT yourself.
Here’s the trick – if you can JUSTIFY to yourself that you have very little worth, you can JUSTIFY to yourself that you have a great deal of worth – you just need proof.
What do you do that’s great? What do you do that’s noteworthy? What do you do that makes other people smile, brings them joy, or helps them in their lives? Want to feel good about yourself? Look at this list early and often… that is your JUSTIFICATION!!
Now let’s look at the statements above in a different way.
I’m an employee.
I’m an intern.
I’m an assistant manager.
Already there is more confidence and more authority. With that kind of outlook, you’ll feel much more JUSTIFIED in sharing your ideas and taking greater initiative.
And that’s not JUST a theory, its a fact.
Thanks for reading!
About the author: Matt Heller is not just a blogger. He’s a BLOGGER!! Oh, and he’s also written a book you might like called the Myth of Employee Burnout (to be released later in 2013).