The View from Here

Jeff Brull, Executive Director HaysMed Foundation

I wouldn’t ever say I enjoy writing, but there is something quite satisfying about crafting something well-written and sending it out for others to read. Writing and speaking in the public arena are opportunities I have come to simultaneously dread and appreciate.

Allow me to explain. My parents and my teachers always helped me see the benefit of seeking out the perfect combination of words to convey a, sometimes, complicated idea. It’s not something that comes naturally to very many people, and I’ve always admired those whose speaking or writing seemed effortless and impactful at the same time. Here’s where the dread part comes in. I’m always fearful that my words won’t be engaging, or worse, that they will be received negatively in a manner other than that which I intended. This fear can lead to overthinking an idea. To that end I’d like to overthink a single word with you today. That word is “Just.” Believe it or not there’s been a fair bit of research on this word and the unintended perceptions it can cause.

Entrepreneur Magazine published an article in 2014 that uses the following example: “There is a distinct difference between saying, ‘I need you to head up this project’ versus ‘I just need you to head up this project.’ By adding that one word, you have loaded your statement with subtext that says, ‘It shouldn’t be that difficult.’” In the non-profit realm it takes on a connotation like, “We’re just asking for a few minutes of your time,” or, “Just a $20 donation is all we’re asking.” I realize that everyone’s experiences and situations are unique, and my pledge is that we will never “just” ask you to do or give something that benefits the people and projects of HaysMed. Each gift is significant. Each gift is unique. Each gift makes a difference.