We say “It’s ok” a lot. Even when it’s not. What if by sparingly using the words “It’s ok”–only as needed–we could live, love, and lead more authentically? And with more energy? And creativity? And more fun? Sound too good to be true? Maybe, but the thing about creating from what is real and positive is that we craft what’s needed instead of perpetuating a mediocre or unacceptable status quo.

We have all witnessed people, who when attempting to balance packages on a knee as they grab for the post office door, answer “It’s ok,” to an offer of help. I’ve been that person. I also used to say “It’s ok, “ when the packages I was trying to balance were not cookies to be sent or purchases to be returned but my vitality, my purpose, my dreams, my heart.

Like most in American culture, I was raised and praised for self-sufficiency. Carry more. Sure. Do more. Sure. Independent. You bet. We are capable. Proud of it. But at what cost?  When we say, “It’s ok,” aloud or silently and the accompanying attitude is “I can manage” or “I’ll be alright” the warning light starts blinking! A shrug typically confirms the falseness of “It’s ok,” signifying that something is being forced where there isn’t room, given up that is valued, or agreed to that will send things into misalignment. Think also how we close off communication and connection by saying “It’s ok,” when someone has disappointed or hurt us. Someone has opened the door to intimacy and instead of saying “Yes, I felt…” we sweep sweet release and mending under the rug.

We might not notice the damage since it’s a corrosive creep rather than an explosive pow. It’s rarely a huge deal to find the time, sacrifice, compromise, or relinquish. But if done repeatedly, we lose. A ton. Since it’s ourselves we lose. Bit by bit–our equanimity, our ability to relate and lead effectively, as well as our creative mojo.

Others lose too. We deny others a chance to connect, get involved, take responsibility, try things out, grow. Maybe in part we are scared of looking less than perfect in ability, knowledge, expertise, loyalty, dependability, availability, needing folks and letting them in, or worry that others will not do things as we think they should be done, maybe that they will even fail us. The false “It’s ok,” limits everyone. People tend to shrink when they are in the presence of those who act like superheroes, especially ones who like things done their way. No one gets to go deeper, wider, and higher. Connection, collaboration, rejuvenation, and innovation are squashed.

Let’s not cheat ourselves. Others as well. Commitment to authentic self is needed. Wrapped in that is a commitment to vulnerability and interdependence!! They open the door to authentic dynamism, and all that is good comes from that at home and at work.

So let’s say “It’s ok” only when we mean it! Remember it’s ok to say, “It’s not ok.”

Some tips for getting clear and being real and positively impactful:

Is there proper accompanying lightness with your “It’s ok”? If not, what might you be pushing through, acquiescing, or denying others.

  • Are you saying, “It’s ok,” at home when you could actually use some help? Use the acknowledgement that you just can’t continue as things are as a prompt to lean in and lean on. See what the possibilities are for greater intimacy with your spouse or for your children to chip-in and grow in responsibility.
  • Are you saying, “It’s ok,” to yourself about your job over and over? Maybe it is time to imagine and investigate what that job or another job would need to look like for you to go from tolerating to developing to celebrating.
  • Are you saying, “It’s ok,” to yourself when you are doing the jobs that a co-worker is meant to do or someone on your team? If so, see what happens if you communicate and hand over the thing that is adding too much to your plate and keeping others from stepping up or coming into their own.
  • Are you saying, “It’s ok,” to yourself when you postpone another day of exercising, having fun, or making a dream project happen? Stand up and plan from the vantage point of your future self who wants to look back and see a full happy life, not a postponement of health, creativity, and play.

If you would like to create and act from clarity so you can start living, loving, and leading with more impact and have fun while doing it, let’s talk. I empower people to play though life instead of pushing through it. You can connect with me at [email protected] or www.agoodlife.coach or @agoodlife.adele.