I just hung up the phone and booked the fifth customer appointment for our CEO visit. I came into the hallway all jazzed.  Done!!!!   My colleagues looked at me like I had two heads.  Al said, “You have got to be kidding, you just walked in your office a few minutes ago and now you are saying you have 3 Executive Customer appointments booked for our CEO?”   With a puzzled look on my face, I said, “Yeah, why? What’s the big deal?  You said I could have his time given your clients were not available.”

Both account managers proceeded to tell me that they had been trying for the past week to book appointments and they had no luck.  I could tell this frustrated them, especially since I was JUST an inexperienced rooky account manager.

I walked back into office perplexed. I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. I JUST made a few phone calls to a couple of key people.

That story took place over twenty years ago and today as I hear the word JUST once again, I was reminded of the tremendous power in the word ‘JUST’. 

After working with thousands of clients I created the following theory.

We create two lists in our mind.  One ‘I AM…’ and the other ‘I AM NOT…’.  

With time the ‘I AM NOT… ‘list grows much longer than the ‘I AM… ‘list

Eventually the ‘I AM’ becomes an ‘I AM JUST…. ‘ because we see such a long I AM NOT… list.

(Note: JUST likely means it is easy to do and extraordinary results consistently JUST happen.)


As I continue to expand and share the following about these lists with my clients, I have observed the word JUST transform from disempowering to empowering.

Your ‘I AM’ list is supposed to be short on gifts or talent  and long in character.

You were created to excel in your gifts and focus on developing your character to best use your gifts.

Others may compliment you for your  ‘I AM’.

Because they are your gifts they are natural for you to do and may even seem easy or trivial to you.

Instead of dismissing complements, do as my mentor instructed me: say, “Thank you for noticing and strengthening my faith.”  This empowers both of you and the one honoring your gifts, to be more of who you were created to be.

Their ‘I AM…’,  their short list was designed to meet others long list needs.

Your ‘I AM NOT…’ list was created for three purposes that you may not be aware of:

1) to see & celebrate the greatness in others

2) to highlight the character traits you need develop

3) to increase your awareness of who to align with because they have both the character and talent you need to help you fulfill your purpose.

In other words, much of your ‘I AM NOT…’, is to be left to the 80 bazzillion other people to do and you are freed to develop your best ‘YOU’.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

We have become people who have forgotten how to treasure our ‘I AM… ‘ and let others be our ‘I AM NOT…’.

Imagine how different the world would be if we each embraced our own ‘I AM’ness.

Imagine walking into a room fully embracing your ‘I AM’ and being curious about what other’s ‘I AM …” is.

How much more confidently would you enter a room?  How would your relationships improve?

Imagine knowing that everyone else will be excited when you arrived because you are walking in with their I AM NOT…. and now they can focus on “JUST” being themselves.

Find the power in your JUST.

When you find yourself using the word JUST, ask yourself why JUST?  Do not even feed the thought that you are JUST anything. Know the power of your own ‘I AM…’.  Your use of JUST is a POWERFUL clue of what your greatness is.

When you hear another person say JUST, be curious about what they say they are JUST… know it is a clue where they will bring the greatest value.  Match them to your ‘I AM NOT….’ and be excited that you noticed their ‘I AM JUST … ‘ first.  Speak life into their greatness.

With time you will find your ‘I AM NOT…’ replaced and replenished with meaningful relationships – ”I am grateful you are in my life” list.

Experience the strengthening of your ‘I AM’ and watch it empower others as you share the value of each other’s ‘I AM’. 

To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.” Charles B. Handy