As a writer, I know as well as anyone about the power of the written word. We’ve all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. And this is just as true when you turn that pen upon yourself. These words have meaning. They have impact. So, what happens when you — consciously or unconsciously — choose to diminish or qualify that impact? How does that affect you (and how other people perceive you)?
Earlier this morning, Rebecca Bollwitt posted a Facebook status update that really struck a chord with me. Locals know her best as Miss 604; you might remember when I was featured on her site a few years back. In the Facebook post, she reminisces about a startup networking event back in 2009.
One guy went around asking everyone what they did. Each person replied and when he got to me and I said, “I’m a blogger.” He replied, “Just a blogger, that’s it?” 10 years later and I still think of those words sometimes. I’m “just a blogger.”
Just a blogger, eh?
While she didn’t use the word “just” herself initially, it’s a word that stuck with her. When you’re told that you’re “just a blogger,” it can feel like “blogging” isn’t really that big of a deal. No one cares, right? What else do you do that’s actually important, that we should actually care about?
And she’s most certainly more than “just a blogger.”
It’s much more dangerous when you turn the word “just” upon yourself, because it is then representative of what you really think about yourself. The “just” qualifier dampens the value that you bring to the table, the happiness that you deliver into people’s lives. How can you expect anyone else to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?
Just Some Guy
As a child, I had this grand vision that I was destined to do great things. My vocational interests were in a constant state of flux, as is oftentimes the case with kids, but I was going to be famous. Renowned. Respected and revered. I’d be the founder of Kwan Industries (KI, as in Killer Instinct, just as my actual initials correspond with Mortal Kombat) and I’d make a real difference in the world.
Today, I’m in my mid-30s. Kwan Industries doesn’t exist. I’m hardly famous. And most days, I feel like I’m “just some guy.” Yeah, I’m “just a blogger” or just a stay-at-home dad. No big deal. But why? Why do I feel compelled to qualify my accomplishments and contributions?
While I certainly don’t claim to be a big deal, I’ve been a featured speaker at professional events. I’m a published author, a home owner, a devoted husband and engaged father. I need to stop slumping and strike a more confident pose. And as should you.
You’re not “just” any one thing. Or five things. You’re many things, and all of those things are important. Don’t sell yourself short. Wear your titles and roles with pride.