How one word can just ruin your credibility

Last week in the midst of a brow wax, to make small talk my esthetician asked me, "What do you do?" I replied, "I’m just a nanny."

What she told me will probably stick with me for the rest of my life. She said, “Never say you’re just anything. You’re a nanny. Never present yourself as anything less than what you are, because everyone else will do it for you.”

She was right. In the past whenever someone has asked me what I do, I’ve replied ‘I’m just a student, just an intern, or just an assistant.’ Deep down I know that I shouldn’t do this, but for some reason it always comes out. Like word vomit.

When you use the word “just” before a statement it often diminishes, and even apologizes for what follows. We often use the word "just" to relieve pressure or force from a question or statement. For instance:

“It’s just my opinion, but…”

“I just wanted to ask you…”

Sound familiar?

For me, using the word "just" has been my way of letting others know that whatever I’m doing at the moment isn’t my end game. I have bigger aspirations for myself. Unfortunately it never comes off positively. By saying the word “just” it suggests that I don’t respect my accomplishments. I dumb myself down, during a time in my life where I most certainly need to be building myself up.

Recently I’ve interviewed a lot of women that I truly respect. Looking back on these interviews I’ve realized that these successful women have experienced quite a few bumps in the road. Yet the way they've presented their flaws makes all the difference. I've never viewed their setbacks negatively; instead their indirect path inspires me. Presentation is key.

I’m going to stop undermining my credibility by using this four letter word. If I don’t take myself seriously, why should anyone else?