This has been quite a week. A week of busy, non-stop, chocked full to-do lists and a week of starting to see some plans come together. And a week of feeling like the plan was falling apart before it even got started. I have a typical learning process I follow with new technology. It’s never really failed me. I open it’s box or install it, and play. I explore it, and because I was born a nerd, I get it. I may not know every single detail, but I understand how to use it. I self-taught Photography, PhotoShop, Lightroom, Web Design, WordPress, Video Making, and it was all play and learn. When I don’t know, I Google a tutorial, and it’s always gotten me through.
So this week, when it came time to use new software and it didn’t quite work as I planned, I was um, frustrated.
Had I been naive enough to think figuring it out always works?
Was I not realizing just how complicated the software was because of the number of devices that it was connected to?
Did I underestimate all the things that could go wrong?
Was I feeling an enormous amount of pressure I placed on myself because of the number of people I was sure I was letting down in the process?
Did I have some ridiculous idea that if I needed help I was failing?
Yes to all of the above.
And this morning? I woke up and thought to myself, “Is this what a teacher feels when technology is new and it overwhelms them?” It is.
We are learners and we make mistakes. We find glitches. We must troubleshoot. But those times when we feel so out of our comfort zone that we just want to shut down, literally shut down, we just can’t. That’s not an option.
Next time I help someone learn a new technology, I have a new view. When they want to shut down, it’s not because they don’t care to learn it. It’s because they care so much, they that they can’t learn it. And the fear of “can’ts” within are sometimes louder than anything. Like brain freezing fear.
Technology is just like anything else. Cooking, Oil Painting, Fixing a Car Engine, and Building IKEA Furniture. Some things come natural to us and some don’t. So if we are really going to help others learn something, it won’t start with a set of instructions or a training session. It will start with a conversation, empathy, and the time to figure out how to best deliver the help. Relationships. This might only take a few minutes, but it will be worth more than any of the other time spent.
For the record, I put together 2 IKEA shelves in 10 minutes last week, cooked myself an egg this morning, have oil paints I’ve never used, and would rather stick a pencil in my eye than touch a car engine. But, technology? I love it. This week? It was hard. But you know what? I have a feeling that I learned something important. And it really has nothing to do with the software (although I DO think I’ve got it!), but more to do with myself and it’s a whole new view of what I can do to provide support for others.
And you know what? It’s going to be a great year.