Language shapes our thoughts, actions, and, ultimately, our success. In the realms of business and personal growth, the words we choose can either limit our potential or open up new possibilities. This blog delves into the impact of two small yet powerful words: “just” and “and.” While “just” can subtly undermine our confidence and justify inaction, “and” can expand our horizons, foster collaboration, and help us achieve a balanced and fulfilling life.

As a business coach, I’ve seen firsthand how the simplest change in language can create a monumental shift in mindset and outcomes. Consciously and deliberately choosing words is not just about clarity and professionalism; it’s about creating connections and empowering others. Whether in a boardroom negotiation or a one-on-one coaching session, the impact of our words can resonate deeply with our audience.

I remember the day so clearly when I truly realized the power words had.  In high school and college, I was quiet and shy and strived to be invisible.  I entered the corporate world the same.  I was good at what I did, but I lacked confidence.  So when I spoke up in meetings, I often prefaced it with “You don’t have to listen to me but…” or “I’m not sure if this has been said/asked …”.  Then one day, a college took me aside and said, you know you invite people to not listen to what you have to say when you start with … but you listen well and when you do talk, you have value, and we should all be listening to you.

Two things happened that day. One, I became aware that I started my sentences like that because I didn’t think I had much value. Two, I realized that I had value, and my opinions mattered and made a difference. It would take time, but I broke myself of that habit. But the lesson, the realization of the power of words, has forever stayed with me.  

By understanding and harnessing the power of these words, we can transform our mindset and become more effective leaders and entrepreneurs. Join me as we explore how mastering even the simplest words can drive our success and growth.

The Silent Saboteur: How the Word “Just” Can Hold You Back

In the journey of entrepreneurship and business leadership, language plays a crucial role in shaping our thoughts and actions. One seemingly innocuous word that can subtly undermine our potential is “just.” While it may appear harmless, “just” can minimize our accomplishments, set limitations on our potential, and justify inaction. As a business coach for women, I’ve seen firsthand how eliminating this word from our vocabulary can empower us to achieve our full potential.

Minimizing Accomplishments

When we use phrases like “I’m just a beginner” or “I’m just not good at this,” we inadvertently belittle our abilities and achievements. These statements imply that we are less capable and that our efforts are not significant. By doing so, we create a mental barrier that prevents us from recognizing our strengths and celebrating our progress. Instead, we should acknowledge our efforts and embrace a growth mindset. For example, replace “I’m just a beginner” with “I am learning and improving every day.”

Justifying Inaction

“Just” can also serve as a convenient excuse for not taking risks or stepping out of our comfort zones. Phrases like “I’ll just wait and see what happens” or “I’ll just deal with it later” are often used to avoid facing challenges or making difficult decisions. This procrastination can hinder our growth and prevent us from seizing opportunities. To combat this, we need to adopt a proactive approach. Replace “I’ll just wait” with “I will take action now” and see how it transforms your mindset and productivity.

Damaging Relationships

Using “just” in a patronizing way can also damage relationships and hinder effective communication. For instance, saying “I’m just trying to help” can come across as condescending and imply that we know better than the other person. This can create a barrier to open and honest communication. Instead, strive for clarity and empathy in your interactions. Replace “I’m just trying to help” with “I want to support you in the best way I can.”

Empowering Language

By recognizing the negative impact of “just,” we can consciously eliminate it from our vocabulary and replace it with more empowering language. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m just working on this project,” say, “I am making progress on this project.” This simple shift in language can boost our confidence and motivate us to take ownership of our actions.

Beyond “Just”: Effective Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication is essential in any professional setting. Overusing “just” can make us seem indecisive, indirect, or even passive-aggressive. To communicate more effectively, we need to be direct and assertive.

Be Direct and Specific

Eliminate “just” from your communication altogether. Instead of saying, “I just wanted to check in,” say, “I wanted to check in.” Being direct and specific helps convey your message more clearly and confidently.

Use Varied Politeness Markers

While politeness markers are important, relying too much on “just” can make us appear unassertive. Use a variety of politeness markers to convey respect and consideration without undermining your message. For example, instead of “If you could just add a few more slides,” say, “We need a few more slides to ensure all the information is covered accurately.”

Remember Your Communication Goals

Effective communication is about balancing assertiveness with politeness. Consider your audience, medium, and intention when crafting your messages. This approach ensures that your communication is clear, respectful, and effective.

The Power of “And”: Embracing Possibilities

On the flip side, the word “and” holds transformative power. It can shift perspectives, open up new possibilities, and help women realize their full potential as leaders. By using “and” instead of “or,” we can envision a future where we can have both a personal and professional life without feeling guilty.

Expanding Horizons

Society often presents women with a narrow definition of success, forcing them to choose between their personal and professional lives. However, the use of “and” refutes this binary thinking, allowing women to envision a future where they can have it all. For example, instead of thinking, “I am a mother or a CEO,” a woman can say, “I am a mother and a CEO.” This simple language switch helps eliminate the guilt or shame that often comes with prioritizing one aspect of life over the other. It also opens the possibility for work-life integration, which is often a more realistic and attainable goal.

Embracing Balance

Similarly, “and” can be used to encourage balance and well-being in everyday life. Instead of saying, “I have to review this blog or go for a swim,” try, “I have to review this blog, and I’ll go for a swim.” This mindset shift promotes a healthier balance between work and personal activities, ensuring that neither is neglected. By embracing “and,” we can better integrate our responsibilities and passions, encouraging ourselves to find ways to do both and lead a more fulfilling and holistic lifestyle.

Fostering Collaboration

“And” encourages an inclusive mindset and fosters collaboration. In a world where women are often pitted against each other, “and” promotes a spirit of cooperation and support. It allows us to focus on what we can achieve together rather than focusing on our differences. This inclusive mindset is crucial for effective leadership and can create a positive and empowering work environment.


The words we choose can have a profound impact on our mindset and actions. By embracing this power of language, we not only enhance our leadership abilities but also inspire those around us to reach their full potential. Remember, you are capable, and you are working towards your goals. Let’s continue to harness the transformative power of words to become the CEOs of our own lives.

Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.

Cesar Chavez

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