I’ve written before on how goals need to be positive. Allowing you to achieve something, not block something. But there is one exception that I’m going for in my 2016 goals. I am banning myself from using two words… Just and Only.
Between them, just eight letters but every time you use them you give the impression that you are apologizing for being you, for your ideas, for your presence. That your views are not worth the air time.
How many times have you stuck your head round the door of someone at work and said ‘only me, just wondered….’ or piped up in a meeting with “I know I’m only…’ Instantly identifying yourself as someone who doesn’t think they have the authority or validity to be there. How many emails have you started with “I just wanted to…” Instantly indicating you don’t think you really have the right to be asking. Apologizing for being you, for doing your job. If you don’t think you deserve a voice, why should anyone else?
An article earlier this year from former Google executive Ellen Petry Leanse discussed the ‘just’ issue. She noted how much, when she started working in a fairly female environment, the word Just was banded about extensively, as if everyone was asking for permission. And she noted how much more it is used by women.
So try one week picking yourself up every time you say or write ‘only’ or ‘just’. I didn’t think I did it too much before I realized I was having to delete it in almost every email I wrote. It is enlightening. And removing those eight letters, those two words, doesn’t make you seem rude, or that you are toe stepping. It makes you look like your value your voice, and so should everyone else.