The worst four-letter word

If you’ve hung around me for any length of time, you know that I am no stranger to cursing.

In fact, one of my favorite stories to share about my son Julian iswhen he was 4 years old.  He got up out of bed, looked out the window, and then said, “Sh*t. It’s raining.”  The apple clearly does not fall far from the tree.

And while I do use many four-letter words freely, there is one that I really can’t stand.

The word “just.”

I hear this word constantly with my coaching clients when they are describing breakdowns.  They’ll say, “I just need to… (get more organized/follow up/do what I said/be more disciplined/etc.).  “Just” makes it sound so easy like any dope could be doing that.

But if you could be doing it, wouldn’t you be doing it?

The other way we use “just” is to belittle ourselves, especially in front of other people. Listen in to anyone speaking in group settings and you’ll hear it constantly. After talking for a few minutes, people will say, “I just wanted to share that.” Or “That’s just my opinion.”

Their message is clear: “I shared something with you that I care about, but in case YOU don’t care about it, you can ignore it.”  As the listener, I’m now wondering, “Geez, I really liked what that person had to say. But maybe it wasn’t that great.”

What happens when we remove the word “just” as a qualifier for our actions and communication? We’re left with empty space. And that’s a good thing.

In the case of actions, we can now ask a question, “If it weren’t so simple as “just” doing something, what’s holding me back?”

In the case of communication, the empty space can be filled with a simple “Thanks for listening,” or “I’m complete.” And then stop talking!

Let me know how it goes.

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