The 2 Words You Need Remove From Your Vocabulary Right Now

The 2 Words You Need Remove From Your Vocabulary Right Now

Come on, get up. You’re better than this.

No I’m not talking about curse words 🙂

I’m talking about “I’m just.”

In many of my recent travels, I’ve come across people saying things like:

“I’m just an intern.”
“I’m just the sales guy.”

The Kinds of People That Say This.

When I hear these things, it makes me think that you are one of the following:

1 – You don’t really care about the organization that you work for and just want to do your 9-5, clock in clock out type of bs. If you aren’t invested in what you do, people will see this attitude a mile away.
2 – You are drowning in self-doubt and don’t see the value that you can bring to an organization

So if you’ve made it this far in the article, it’s safe to say that you probably are driven and motivated and aren’t the 9-5 mindless zombie type. 🙂

Why  Do People Do This?

Question is: why do otherwise driven people pigeonhole themselves like this? Many people think they need permission to be more than “just” something.
I’ve mentioned before that you don’t have to be the boss in your organization to move mountains. You can be a linchpin and really step things up.

But it starts from your own self-talk. If you want to degrade yourself with such a silly notion that you are only your job title, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Sometimes it’s the Culture

If you’re working somewhere where contributing at a level outside of your pay grade is not tolerated, it’s probably time to look for a new job.  They just want the 9-5 clock in and clock out types.  That’s clearly not you.

Strive to do better.


  1. Bonnie D

    I too dislike the phrase “I’m just”. Whatever is coming after it doesn’t even matter because I have stopped listening. It is a copout for taking ownership and therefor any responsibility of learning, acting or initiation has not been accepted.

  2. Brian Wallace

    Exactly Bonnie! It’s been such a pet peeve of mine for so long, instead of just telling people individually (yes, I usually rebuke people on this point if I think they can take it), it seemed to be time to just write it once and send them all the link 🙂

  3. Patti Grota

    These words “I’m just” often signal self-doubt and powerlessness. The person using them sometime does not want to accept responsibility but sometime the person does not realize what they communicate when they use them–subservience to others or even worse I am a nobody. Depending on the context, I usually bring their use to the attention of the user. Hopefully, it at least motivates self-reflection.

  4. Brian Wallace

    Well said Patti! If people spent more time being mindful and present of their words and actions, perhaps they wouldn’t use such terminology!


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