One of the best things that can happen in a person’s professional career, as well as in life, comes when we change. Pond water is never as fresh, clean and clear as a babbling brook.  Flow refreshes and brings life, the key to not becoming stagnant. Yet the mere mention of that word – change – creates mixed emotions in people.

When it comes to embracing technology, I have seen everything from exuberance to outright loathing. If you are working in an office with software, you will probably remember your initial reaction within those stated extremes. The way in which you embrace change will have a direct correlation to your success with implementation. This is extremely important for those who are tech-challenged.

I used to consider myself challenged because I was older than most of my peers, came from a clinical background and felt I couldn’t possibly learn what I viewed as “very complicated” applications. It was daunting enough for me to move from a cell phone one step above a Jitterbug to an iPhone. The last thing I wanted to do was pound complicated information into what little unused grey matter still remained between my ears. I considered myself smart, but technology scared me to death during the learning process.

Then a most unique thing happened. After thirty years in dentistry, with twenty of those as a RDH, I was hired as a technology advisor for Patterson Dental. I was face to face with my fear of delving deeper into the abyss of technology. I not only had to learn the software but how the software works, where to go to fix a problem and a myriad of other questions that get shot at you like the final question in the Miss America pageant. I had to know it ALL to do this job so I could appear intelligent when representing the software to existing and potential clients. The challenge to change was something I wanted to prove I could achieve, not just for myself but for many I had met over the years who were as apprehensive, scared and freaked out as myself. Not only did I learn Eaglesoft, but in the process I became determined to help anyone do the same.

When I meet someone who looks overwhelmed at the thought of changing how they do things, or attempting to embrace the computer screen in front of them, I can offer some very encouraging words. YOU CAN DO IT. These four words come packed with power because they come from one who has walked the path from tech-challenged all the way to tech-savvy. I want to show everyone what an exciting adventure it will be.

The saddest thing I ever heard was an office staff person who took me aside and said, “I am going to have to terminate my employment with this office.” She had tears starting to trickle down her face and was clearly shaken about learning the software. She didn’t see any way she could ever learn what was needed for her to be a successful team member. Wow! That set me in motion to modify my training style for those tech-challenged. They have real fears of losing their jobs if they can’t “come up to speed” in a computerized world. I now seek out the frustrated, using personal examples doused with humor to motivate them. If needed, I use one-on-one training time that focuses on each staff member’s specific tasks. We run through their daily functions, concentrating on ease and efficiency. The end result is marveling at accomplishments as the “challenged” become more comfortable with the software.

So here are some tips for the tech-challenged:

  • View change as positive, a means to grow you beyond what you could imagine.
  • Never underestimate the power of your brain. YOU CAN DO THIS!
  • Do not feel like you have to master everything all at once.
  • No question is dumb. Ask for clarification when needed and often if necessary – it’s okay.
  • Celebrate yourself! Look back and see what all you have accomplished and achieved.
  • The best tip of all: Never say you can’t. Everyone can!

One comment on “Tech Challenged to Tech Savvy

  1. I have been a hygienist for 22 years. I have been in the process of looking for a new job. I have many fears about not being familiar with everyone’s different computer systems. Many say we must have experience with. I guess I am searching for a place to learn it before I go into these offices. Since many offices are paperless it doesn’t feel quite as simple to take care of the patient as it did when I began.
    I like your positive bullet reminders @ the end.

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