Are You Out Over Your Skis?
For those of you who know me, you might know that I LOVE clichés, figures of speech and kitschy sayings. What you might NOT know about me is that I do not ski. To me, skiing is a bizarre past time in which people strap little sticks of wood to the bottoms of their feet and hurtle themselves down a mountain covered with slippery ice and snow. Are you KIDDING me? That is just straight up crazy.
So I was recently introduced (by a client) to this phrase, “He’s over his skis.” I took it to mean that he was over his head or trying to do more than he was capable of. But I decided to consult the always reliable and 100 percent true internet to see what the accepted definition was. And I got a couple of different interpretations.
Learnings.com says that it means that “you are engaged with situations above your pay grade.” OK—but that’s actually a pretty cool situation to be in in that you can learn a lot from doing stuff that is a little beyond you, as long as you have support, guidance, and are not risking messing something up majorly.
Urban Dictionary has a different take. “To get entirely too far ahead of yourself”—To me, this has a different feel to it—you can get ahead of yourself in your thinking or your actions; and this does not necessarily have a specific business application to it.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s say it is a general sense of getting overwhelmed; a state in which you start to feel that you may not be able to handle everything that is coming at you at present.
I have to produce more than 20 hours of presentation content from scratch that has to be delivered between now and the end of April. Hence trying to put a name to the deep dark fear and terror that I am facing every moment that I spend working, thinking about work, or preparing to work or think about work. Feel me?
So here are a few things I have been doing to keep the panic at bay as I get through this challenging time.
- CREATE A MANTRA—Sometimes it helps to have a short phrase that will help me to calm down and keep things in perspective. Right now, mine is “You can do this. It will all work out. You are FINE.” And every time I say it or think it, it becomes more true and makes me feel a little better and a little calmer.
- PRIORITIZE—For me, not all of this content is due at the same time, so I am keeping a very close eye on deadlines and the complexity of each deliverable. Each day, I create a new to-do list with a focus on what is due sooner, but also weighing that which will take up more of my time or which will require me to learn something new.
- GET SOME PERSPECTIVE—Another mantra I like to use is “It’s not my life, it’s just my job.” All I mean by this is that you should never allow your personal life to suffer because of work. Try to keep some separation and make sure that you are still enjoying free time. If you can’t do that, it’s time for some real time management skill sharpening OR
- SAY NO—If you understand what your limitations and capacity are, you will know when you are approaching the threshold of what CAN be done. It is better to turn something down than to do something poorly or disappoint someone.
To any of you who have felt “over your skis” lately, please let me know if any of this helps. And I’ll see you all again when I come up for air. In May.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.