The One Word That Will Undermine Your Success

The movie, “Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium,” tells the story of a young woman who works at a very special toy store. The store owner hired a young gentleman to help get the paperwork in order because it had been neglected for years. The gentleman was very dry, with little sense of humor, and an all work no play attitude. At one point in the movie he tells the assistant, “It is just a toy store.” She was quite offended, because she knew there was something special and magical about the store. They go on to have a short conversation ending in her saying, “You are a just man, aren't you?”

She quickly pointed out that we all say “just” quite often. That one little word disqualifies any implication of the idea that there is more to life. This one little word can undermine your success!

On a surface level of awareness,“just” takes off the pressure of life. It allows us to slip into the background, and evens out the waves we could be making.

If we look a little deeper, “just” also says there is nothing special. Nothing beyond what the eye sees. No deeper meaning. It covers up the magic of life and disqualifies the significance of what we think, do, and believe. Often, we use the word “just” when we are afraid to commit to our significant impact on the world.

Feel the difference between these two statements:
I am just a musician. I am just a life coach.
I am a musician. I am a life coach.

The difference is in the way we say it. There is more energy when we take “just” out, right? Without “just,” I can own my profession and take responsibility for my career. That responsibility is what people fear. Questions like this come up: What if I am not good enough? Who is to blame if this project fails? These questions a dissipated by adding “just” to our vocabulary. We no longer need to feel responsible, and the mistakes we make become no big deal, because, after all, “I am just a life coach.”

The other point to make about this word is that “Just” is a minimizing word. It oversimplifies the events and truths of our lives. When we oversimplify things, we take out the possibilities for growth and freedom. What other types of things do we minimize? Just a hobby. Just snow. Just a rainbow. Just my career. Just my family. Just a box. If we take “just” out of our vocabulary, we can add psychological room to grow, gain a deeper sense of purpose to our actions, and reaffirm our belief systems.

Here is a simple metaphor for you:

Picture a box. Now, put the words “just me” in it. Suddenly, the box becomes cramped, with minimal wiggle room. Now, take “just” out. The box has more room, with more space to fill with ME! I would personally love for the box itself to disappear, leaving ME with infinite possibility for growth and change. Changing language in this way will get you one step closer to the infinite possibility you crave. What will you do with the possibility?

Author's Bio: 

Sybil R Smith is a life coach and expressive arts therapist. She has a wide range of expertise, including music therapy, hospice, child psychotherapy, EMDR, and a M.A. degree in marriage and family therapy. She has helped clients deal with a range of issues including anxiety and panic disorders, life transitions, depression, and grief. Her mission is to show people how to live empowered lives so they can move past therapy and into forward motion. Sybil R Smith uses her training as a musician and performer to present creative ways to help move people through anxiety, depression, and grief to create smooth and joy-filled transitions. You can sign up for her thought-provoking EZine and meet her at