O.K. Fine and Other Words to Live By

O.K. fine means “I’ve got it,” it turns any request into a positive exchange. O.K. fine means I take you seriously, but I take myself seriously too. O.K. fine reduces the need to explain further, defuses negative energy and creates a “can do” aura.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Sometimes, the most insignificant grouping of words can hold the most significant meaning.

Years ago when I was a manager at Macy’s Herald Square, I was faced each and every morning with a barrage of buyers and assistant buyers on my selling floor attacking the merchandise and addressing the needs of the day. I loved the team, but was lukewarm about their morning blitz, because it started my day with an unfair advantage (14 of them and 1 of me). Their offices were located right upstairs and as much as I knew they were there to help me as I single handedly endeavored to manage 14 men’s departments, it was a hard pill to swallow. I felt as if I were living in a fish bowl and under constant pressure to be and perform with perfection. My group manager, assessing the situation reminded me that their daily ritual was not about me, but about their understanding that my job was previously a two manager responsibility and that it was simply not possible for one person to handle the quantity of merchandise that was on the floor each day. To level the playing field she suggested that every time they descended on my selling floor, each one asking me to get something done for them right away, that I learn to utter 6 short letters. O.K. fine. Over two decades later, those words still have power and punch left in them.

O.K. fine means “I’ve got it,” it turns any request into a positive exchange. O.K. fine means I take you seriously, but I take myself seriously too. O.K. fine reduces the need to explain further, defuses negative energy and creates a “can do” aura. O.K. fine turns can’t into can and with it generates possibility.

Where else in our daily interactions are our words capable of shifting the mood of the moment? If we stop to investigate this further it appears that there are a variety of catch phrases, even single words that can completely change the tone of what we are saying or thinking and alter the perceptions and even the actions that occur afterwards. Below is a list of some of my favorites.

• “Yes, AND”, replacing “yes but” works very nicely in shifting energy away from an excuse mode that makes us choose one thing over another into a possibility mode that allows us to consider more than one thing with equal weight.

• “Say yes now and figure it out later.” This is one of my favorite mantras because it is an enabler. We spend so much time thinking that often we don’t spend time doing. When I repeat this phrase, it’s about the doing and it naturally shifts me into gear.

• “What can I do NOW, in the time I do have.” A few words that can take that 10 or 20 minutes of time we may have before we pick up our kids, and turn them into productive to-do time. We are all faced with gaps of time in-between other things we do, and it is very easy to mindlessly check Facebook or waste the time thinking it is not enough time to effectively get something accomplished. When we empower ourselves to own up to the moments we have, we automatically become more productive and accountable in those moments.

Our thoughts dictate our actions. Subtle shifts in how we say something, and favorite catch phrases that we return to go a long way in shifting our beliefs and our mindset. This in turn impacts our relationships to people, time and ultimately ourselves.

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


When mentors leave us…

by Joy Atkinson

10 Random Thoughts For Celebrating Life

by Randi Levin

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.