What can I learn from this experience?

I am not going to write a traditional blog post. This one is not about how to create online training. It does not deal with the intricacies of Learning management systems or the complexities of e-learning software. This topic is based on an audio book I recently listened to on Audible. The book is ‘Mindsets: How we can learn to fulfill our potential‘.

Learning is natural. Why then do we develop a fear of it as we grow older?

Learning is natural. Why then do we develop a fear of it as we grow older?

Now, I am not going to recommend it, or hype its message or shrill for the book. I am simply going to tell a story about an experience I recently had.

So our eLeaP system is used for traditional corporate training as well as eCommerce course sales. If you are an expert or subject matter authority, you can easily create online training courses and sell them on your special eLeaP course catalog. We have ecommerce customers spanning a range of industries: Accounting and Finance, Sales training, Real Estate and Mortgage training, Healthcare and continuing education, Non-profit training, and even Church and religious staff training.

I am continually amazed about the extent of the content library: www.eleapcourses.com . The buyers of these courses range from private individuals to organizations (who purchase multiple licenses). This story is about one of the private buyers of a training course. The buyer let’s call Tomsue, purchased a course in Financial mortgage training (changed to protect privacy). Normally, most buyers simply log in and complete their training course without the need for all tech support; after all we designed the system to be as simple and intuitive as possible. In this case though, we quickly realized that Tomsue has almost no computer skills.

So I got the call (I always get the hard calls) to help Tomsue. The first thing I did was call Tomsue back to learn what is going on. I found out he could not log in. “Ok that’s easy… let’s go into your email and find your password reminder”, I said. “Well, we can’t quite log into our email because something has changed on my computer and the email is not where it normally is”, he said.

Here’s a little dialogue of some of our extended conversation from that point on: Me: How do you normally log in?

Tomsue: I click on my email link and then put in my password and log in.

Me: Ok, click on the email link and log in then..

Tomsue: I did… nothing happens.

Me: Yikes… Ok I want to use a tool to take a look at your computer so I can better assist you. Can you type into your URL window…. www.gotomeeting.com ?

Tomsue: I normally go to yahoo and then type in the website. Should I do that?

Me: Sure. But make sure you click on the right link. We don’t want to click on a bad website…pretending to be the gotomeeting

Tomsue: Ok I see all these sites. Should I click on the official on? Me: Me yes… (silently to myself “this is going to be a long day”)

Tomsue: Ok, I am there. What now? Me: There’s a button on the top right that says “Join a meeting”. Please click it so I can see your computer.

Tomsue: I clicked but nothing happened (silently to myself “this is becoming a recurring theme here

Me: Ok. Don’t worry. Let’s try a different system. Type in www.join.me ….

Tomsue: Ok I have it but its asking me to download something which I did but nothing happens after that…. This went on for about 47 minutes. All the while, I kept sensing my frustration rising.

The funny thing is something else happened. Just when I thought I might lose my patience, I asked myself a simple question: “What can I learn from this experience?” This slight change in perspective not only prevented me from not helping this individual (who through no fault of theirs, needed to complete this training program in other to maintain their job security and who was not as computer literate as others), but also enabled me to make some notes which I use to train my staff on how to deal with similar situations in the future.

You see, when my focus changed from “this is difficult, frustrating and no fun”, to “how can I learn from this experience”, my level of customer service, patience and even ‘fun’ went up.

I actually came up with little mental games I would play like “I bet $5 that this next screen opens in spite of all evidence to the contrary…” And when it actually happened genuinely smile to myself.

Why do I share this story? Because according to Dr. Carol Dweck, we have two basic mindsets: Fixed or Growth. If your mindset is fixed, you see most things as a test of your intelligence and subsequent results as a measure of your entire life’s accomplishment(s). Getting a C in a test is not just ‘I failed in this one lousy test’ but rather ‘I am a failure’.  You tend not to exert yourself because well you don’t want to run out of excuses. You will rather blame failure on something rather than look inside.

On the other hand, a growth mindset first of all seeks to learn from every experience. You strive to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone. Failure is not permanent; merely an opportunity to learn. You seek more and more challenges because ultimately what use is it to continue to master that which you have already accomplished. So you ran 1 mile? Good for you, now run 2 miles or 3.

So you spent 1 hour reading? Why don’t you try to wake up an hour earlier and then you have 2 hours to read. You can speak English? Fantastic, now take a Spanish course or a Mandarin class. Most importantly, we have the option of changing our mindsets at any juncture. Imagine if I had adapted a fixed mindset and concluded that this customer did not have the chops to take a computer-based training course. Imagine if I had judged them as not proficient after the 10th minute?

This is a training course which has a direct impact on their job, their family and their lifestyle. Could it have resulted in some disaster, I hope not but it could have and it would have been a totally unnecessary outcome.

Next time you are in a difficult situation, think for a second…”can I learn from this experience“? You will be surprised at the results. Then, do that for all aspects of your life!

With deep gratitude,

Don Weobong, President, Telania, LLC.

p/s feel free to share your comments below

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