Yes You Can (Conquer The Tech)


I was just looking up the saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Who said this originally and what does it really mean? According to, this idiom dates back to the 1500s. What’s interesting to me about this phrase is that the original meaning focused on how hard it is to learn how to do something in a new way after you’ve done it the same way for a very long time. However, that’s totally different from being able to learn NEW things. This gives me great comfort and encouraged me to share my top five tips for how to conquer technology, whether you are young, old or somewhere in between.

Here are the five tips that I use all the time when I get frustrated with technology. They work particularly well when I’m struggling with a new app or a new update to a program I thought I knew how to use. I hope you find them useful. A sense of humor always comes in handy too! YES… YOU…CAN!

Top 5 Tips To Conquer The Tech

#1: Repeat After Me: YES…YOU…CAN

Having the right attitude and mindset is paramount when you are learning something new. What makes this easier is when you are learning something that you really want to learn. For example, if you are getting started in surface design, you need to learn Adobe Illustrator which is the industry standard. Most companies require Illustrator files when you’re submitting your surface pattern designs. There are exceptions, of course, but mastering Illustrator will give you a tremendous boost. Whether you are serious about building a career or are more interested in surface pattern design as a hobby or a side hustle, you really need to learn this program. It’s not easy but YES…YOU…CAN learn it and the rewards are endless, joyful and transformational. If you really want those rewards, you’ll have the positive mindset you need to conquer Illustrator.

#2: Take It SLOW

Most online teaching these days comes in the form of video tutorials. This is fantastic because you can watch and re-watch the training as many times as you need to understand the concepts shown. It’s also true that digesting new information in bite-sized pieces works better than trying to absorb a huge amount all at once. Most, if not all, online courses allow you to work at your own pace. Lifetime access is frequently included and while many courses have a “LIVE” component at the beginning, which I encourage students to participate in, you aren’t expected to completely master the material in just a few short weeks. It’s like losing weight. The slower you take the pounds off, the longer they will stay off. I know that’s a bit of a weird example, but you get the idea.

#3: Give Yourself Grace

This sentiment is really important to me. We are so hard on ourselves. I’m not sure if self-criticism is an evolutionary thing where we needed to identify and correct our mistakes in order to survive. But especially today when technology is changing so fast, we need to give ourselves a break. We weren’t born with iPhones in our hands! But we’re now getting super comfortable with them, using them all the time for almost everything. Maybe even too much. Other new technology concepts take time to assimilate. Let them sit with you for a while. They may not make sense the first few times you try them, but you will become familiar with them over time. Practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself. I’m not a scientist but I believe that giving yourself grace helps with motivation and positivity which helps us keep moving forward.

#4: Celebrate Every Win

It’s so important to recognize and celebrate each win no matter how big or how small. One of my surface design students, Anna, said it this way: “I am celebrating the victory and progress made today, no matter how small and slow, because I did it my way, and I didn’t give up when I was so frustrated and annoyed with myself. I feel so empowered and joyful because I know how to get past the roadblock. I can’t wait to work on more designs.” Learning new things keeps our minds agile. It’s also incredibly powerful when you figure something out yourself. Get up and “dance like Snoopy”. No one can take knowledge away from you. And the adrenaline rush is almost as good as exercise! Recognize and celebrate each and every win along your learning journey.

#5: Enjoy The Journey

This one might be a little tough for some of you. It’s a bit cliché and when you are feeling super frustrated you are definitely not enjoying the journey. Rather, you are ready to throw your computer out the window. I offer it to you with a slightly different perspective in mind. Perhaps my perspective comes from starting my creative journey in my mid-50s. I’m on a new journey now and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it whether I’m tearing my hair out over a new app I’m learning or whether I’m “in the zone” designing a new collection of beautiful patterns. Life is short. Do something you love. And enjoy the process. Learning is so much fun. And it’s endless. Start the journey today.

As I wrap up, I want to remind you that I’ll be speaking at the Kajabi IMPACT Summit in Irvine California this weekend. My panel on conquering the tech is on Saturday at 5:30pm. I hope to see some of you there. Come up and say hi. I’d love to meet you.


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Hi…I’m Anne!
My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.


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