It’s time to play a little game I like to call “Vocabulary Elimination.” There are two words you need to stop saying: “I’m just…”

Stop Saying These Words
You are not “just” anything. You are a world changer. Don’t ever forget that. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

Listen to this post: 

I’m just a janitor.

I’m just a programmer.

I’m just a bus driver.

I’m just a stay-at-home mom.

I’m just _______.

I hear so many people say these two words and completely downplay their purpose to humanity.

The reality is that you can change the world from any position in life. From any career. From any location. But not if you downplay the impact you can have.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was just a nun from a poor country living in a part of the world mostly forgotten by the developed world. And yet she never saw her role as just anything. Instead, she said:

By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world.

To the world! There was no thinking small in her.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was just a boy born the wrong race at the wrong time in the wrong country. His Xhosa tribal name, Rolihlahla, literally meant “troublemaker.” To a people for whom the meaning of names meant something, he could have been just that and nothing more, a troublemaker.

But he never thought that way.

He could have been just a prisoner. As the years ticked by…1 year, 5 years, 27 years in prison, he could have identified himself as just another prisoner.

But not Nelson. He left prison and became president of a new South Africa, one that he would lead for five years. He would become a world leader and world changer.

Related Post: Remembering Nelson Mandela and his Six Life Lessons

Michael Jordan

You may already know the story of Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basketball player of all-time.

He was cut from his high school team as a sophomore. To put that in perspective, he could not make a team of 10-13 high school players on a single team in Wilmington, NC. Today, NBA teams are already scouting high school sophomores. Yet, he couldn’t make his high school team. So he was relegated to the junior varsity team.

But Jordan never saw himself as just a junior varsity player.

He worked his butt off the summer before that season began and became the star player of the junior varsity team. Three years after he was cut by his high school team, Jordan was making the winning shot in the NCAA Championship game. Three years! Five years after being cut by his high school team, he was the third selection in the NBA Draft, on his way to one of the greatest careers in sports history.

Michael Jordan never saw himself as just anything. His vision was that he would be the greatest player in the world and no high school coach could convince him otherwise. No label could change his future.

Nelson Mandela had to suffer through 27 years of imprisonment but it never changed how he viewed himself. No label could change who he was and what he would achieve.

Mother Teresa had to beg for food and supplies in her early years in India but it never changed her vision of her purpose. She was never just a nun, she was a chosen servant of God. Nothing could diminish her impact, not even the negative thoughts or words from others.

Action item: Immediately eliminate the words “I’m just” in describing yourself. Focus on how your current role can change the world and how you can use your current situation to reach your full potential.

You are not “just” anything. You are a world changer.

Don’t ever forget that.

What “I’m just” labels do you need to remove?

12 thoughts on ““I’m Just” | Two Words You Must Stop Saying

  1. Chris Bailey says:

    What an awesome post man. I’ve caught myself saying this quite a bit in the past; out loud, but most damagingly to myself in my head. It might sound funny, but I think when you eliminate certain words/phrases from your personal vocabulary, you can gain a lot more respect and appreciation for yourself.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I totally see that. Years ago I worked really hard to stop cussing. I am human and a hammered finger sometimes results in something I regret later, but it has been many years since I cussed just for the sake of cussing. I realized that I felt better about myself.

      The same goes for negative or defeating words about ourselves.

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      You’re so right Chris! The thoughts and words we use have a massive effect on what we actually do and accomplish!

  2. David Mike says:

    I am a writer! Yes! Feels good.

  3. Steve Pate says:

    I’m more than just a ditch digger!!!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is FOR SURE Steve!

  4. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    “I’m just a kid from a small town…” I fight that view everyday. I have to fight the thoughts of “who are you to think you can be somebody and change the world?”

    …but I’m getting closer!!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      It’s 2014. There are no small towns anymore. We live in one big connected world.

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        Agreed! …though the sarcastic part of me says “…you obviously haven’t been to my town…” 🙂

  5. Jon Stolpe says:

    I’m more than just an engineer.

  6. Jim Woods says:

    I’m a writer, coach, instigator and ,most importantly, child of God, husband and dad!

  7. Kirbie Earley says:

    Now I’m going to have to listen to me to see if I say that…probably do but honestly I don’t know. I don’t think so…we shall see.

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