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My mom is fearless when it comes to learning new things. Growing up in rural Iowa, she adopted a “can do” attitude that she brings to any task. When it comes to technology, my mom is stellar. A gift from her brother, the first computer in our house was a Commodore 64. She connected it to a small television in my parent’s home office and proceeded to become an expert at using it. With a dot matrix printer and a ridiculously large floppy disk drive, the C64 became a touchstone for learning, writing, and even gaming. Mom would take me to a computer store in Iowa City to find software. I would sit and play with that thing for hours on end. If I ever had an issue that I couldn’t figure out on my own, my mom would sit patiently with me and help me figure things out. I was learning a lot about computer hardware and software, but there were so many life lessons embedded in those Commodore 64 experiences with my mom.

When my parents purchased a Windows-based computer, it was my mom who took a leap with our new technological masterpiece. She bought a stack of clip art CDs and proceeded to engage in all sorts of design projects. Sometimes she would hit a tech-roadblock. Her inner patience, something that she honed on the farm in Southeast Iowa, would always allow her to to figure out a solution. A sense of fearlessness, unending patience, and a thirst for learning have always been traits that I’ve admired in my mother.

My mom was a stay-at-home-super-parent until I was 12. After that, she took a job at the local grocery store as the programmer for the store’s cash registers. My mom has a degree in English and she tackled those machines like a computer science major. Her tenacious attitude towards technology is awe-inspiring. She should have an honorary doctorate in technology troubleshooting.

The other night, mom and I were chatting about how she’s been using Publisher for some design projects. If you’ve ever used Publisher, you’re aware that it’s probably one of the worst pieces of software ever made. We talked about how she’s been getting better at using it. I could tell that she’s experienced some dissonance as she learned the ins and outs of the software. I love watching my mom learn new things. She exhibits a commitment to lifelong learning that never fails to amaze me. Mom is unstoppable. Sure, she gets nervous and/or anxious sometimes when she’s trying to figure out a tech-trouble, but she always pushes through.

Whenever I’m working with clients who exhibit a fear of learning when it comes to technology, I always try to channel my mom’s inner patience. Being fearless and diving in is sometimes part of learning…especially when it comes to technology. My mom taught me (and still teaches me) how to be okay with the dissonance of the unknown and to embrace all things tech-related.

Go out there, be bold, be patient, and never stop learning.


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