Earlier this week I participated in a group online-training session to learn how to use and implement a new-to-me productivity tool.
To say it was a disaster is an understatement.
I am not 100% sure what was going on for me but I could not keep up with the group. My software installation screen did not match the instructor’s. My Chrome app inconveniently decided it needed an update. Even my passwords eluded me as I was instructed to “log in” here…. and “right-click” there….
It started to go south from there.
The instructor shared a screen of another participant, in order to use her account as the class example. The notion, at first blush good, was that we would follow along, and then easily and happily re-create the setup to launch our own. As a matter of fact, the training was called “From Launch to Lunch”.
For me it was more “From Launch to Lunacy.” No time for lunch.
“Here I was in a highly public forum, failing.”
Between the shared screen, my own screen, and the chats stacking up on the right side, I began to lose control.
Here I was in a highly public forum, failing. In hindsight, I remember now that some of the other participants were struggling to follow along, but at the time I was only able to see my OWN ineptitude.
For a split second a barrage of mean self-talk avalanched over me.
“I can’t see the screen very well, my eyes are old.”
“My screen doesn’t look like the instructor’s screen.”
“I don’t understand that next set of instructions.”
“Everyone else is already there, I am holding everyone back.”
Three Hours Down The Drain:
Three hours in and nowhere near success, I had to leave for a doctor’s appointment. Anyone else see the irony of spending three hours working on implementing a productivity enhancement tool to no avail?
Initially, I was furious. I had been forced to drop a task that was in the process of spanking me before I could master it. I don’t do well with walking away. I tend to double down in those situations. But circumstances forced me to “put down” the challenge in front of me to take care of myself in another way. I both despised and rejoiced as I left the zoom meeting.
I was “giving up.” I was letting this ridiculous piece of technology thwart me. I don’t walk away from challenges very easily. And while that may appear like a wonderful strength and attribute, it does not always serve me. Because sometimes it pays to walk away, clear your head, breathe, and gain a new perspective. Sometimes the most expedient and effective tool you can call upon is a change of scenery.
One thing led to another that day, as it so often does for us all. Given my schedule, I was forced to spend the day tackling and successfully completing other “to dos” on my list. However, and I am not exaggerating in the least bit, the only thing I could think about was: “How and when am I going to make that software work for me?” I did not return to the unconquered challenge until much later in the early evening. I can’t wake up tomorrow with it still sitting there…. useless and broken to me.
Dog With A Bone:
“I started the day frustrated, alone, riddled with self-doubt and negative self-talk. I finished a success.”
So lIke a dog with a bone, the minute I became available I got back to it. But here’s the key difference for me between last evening and well, most of my life. I allowed myself to ask for and receive help. Here I am burying the lead, again. I changed the way I started.
I started the day frustrated, alone, riddled with self-doubt and negative self-talk. I finished a success. And I was able to stay true to myself, driven and tenacious to make IT happen – whatever IT happened to be, that is true. Yes, I ended the day with the productivity tool up and working. But, more importantly, I was gifted the reminder that I am not isolated. I don’t have to struggle alone.
Maybe we all initially jump to the same space of self-recrimination when a challenge seems insurmountable at the moment — and I suspect women are particularly prone to this negative thinking. But sometimes hours away from a task can result in a fresh perspective on solving it — or in recognizing the easy value of simply asking for help.