I recently read an article (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/former-google-and-apple-exec-calls-on-women-to-stop-saying-just-at-work-10364885.html) which highlighted a female Apple exec urging her employees to stop using the word “just” in emails. I immediately thought it was a good idea. I realized that I tend to start emails with “I just…”.
I’m a strong female role model. I know not to apologize without a reason. I coach many of the younger athletes I work with to not constantly apologize. But I didn’t realize how I’d seamlessly replaced the “I’m sorry’s”, with the “just’s”
It was a ‘permission’ word, in a way — a warm-up to a request, an apology for interrupting, a shy knock on a door before asking ‘Can I get something I need from you?’
Ellen Petry Leanse (Apple Exec)
Since reading this article I’ve had to delete many intro sentences to more emails than I care to admit. I don’t even work in a professional environment anymore, but I still found myself downgrading my own value and worth with a single word. Instead of lurking outside an office door hoping not to intrude, we need to use our voices to deliver our message with clear, strong words. I have committed to no longer undermining my own authority in conversations and interactions. I am also going to encourage those around me to do the same.
And I wonder if there won’t be an unexpected side effect from this transition to more positive words. Perhaps when we truly should offer an apology, or seek permission, it will be more authentic. The receiver will be more receptive and our communication will improve.
Have you found certain words or phrases that you rely on instead of using your authentic voice? What tools have you found useful to regain your voice? And has it improved your channels of communication?