My body went rigid with frustration when, as I closed my fridge, the attached freezer door popped open and stayed open. It happened again …. and again.
I took a quick look in the freezer to see if something was preventing it from closing. Nope. I gave up.
I came into the kitchen a while later and found the freezer door open again. I implored my kids to watch the freezer door when they closed the fridge. The chances the kids would remember to do that were about as high as if I’d left cookies out in the open and expected them not to hoover them up.
The freezer thing kept happening. I kept getting frustrated.
I sought help. My brother-in-law was over. It’s easy, he said, supporting the fridge are little feet which you can adjust so it tips back slightly. This will make the freezer close.
Phew! I thought, solution in sight.
The next day I got my teenage son to tip the fridge back as I, with my butt in the air, bent over and shined a flashlight, looking for the adjuster-things. Two things immediately became apparent. 1) there is a good reason why some people occasionally clean under their fridge and 2) there were no adjuster-things in sight.
Entirely frustrated now, my inner chatter was in high gear. I don’t have time for this. I don’t like doing stuff like this. I can’t do stuff like this. I don’t want to be doing this.
It was sometime around there that my inner chatter banged around in my head loud enough to tell me that while I could try and ignore it, there was an oven sitting behind me, which probably (no definitely) would have equally disgusting things hidden under it.
O for overwhelmed. The damn freezer door still wasn’t closing.
In a flash of inspiration I dug around for some little door stopper things I remembered having. Slim ones, ones that would be Perfect with a capital P. That’ll work, I convinced myself. Trouble was I could only find one. I was pretty certain that tipping the fridge to only one side would make it seem drunken as opposed to effectively closing the freezer door.
After digging out all the disgusting things from under my stove and fridge I hollered for my kid to help me again. He once again tilted the fridge so I could stick a board under the front legs. That was after the anxiety of trying to find a board that would fit, one that I wouldn’t have to cut. Because having to actually get out a saw and cut a piece of wood was more than I could bear.
I went to a hardware store to look for doorstop type things (notice the lack of my vocabulary for all things home repair related). They only had gargantuan ones, ones which would create such a dramatic angle it would risk making all my food fall to the back of the fridge.
I came home and rummaged around and found some of those things you put under couch legs to protect the floor. Valiantly trying to protect my sanity, one more call to kid to tip the fridge again, found said fridge at more than a wee angle. Voila. That’s gotta work I was desperately telling myself.
Nope, only made the fridge hard to open.
I asked for more help, Ms. Google in fact. Scrub the seal. Put something heavy on the door, Ms. Google said. Check, to both of those.
At this point I turned to more comfortable things and searched for some learning in all this idiocy and made plans to write a blog post about it. (The idea of confessing to the gross state of the undersides of my fridge and oven was much less stressful than trying to fix the door.)
So here’s what I observed from my uncooperative, tipsy fridge and its disgustingly dirty underside:
# 1 Observation = Motivation
I wasn’t motivated to learn about how to keep the (#$&% door shut. I just wanted it fixed. My lack of motivation made learning how to do it very unappealing and uncomfortable.
Application as a trainer? Help your training participants be motivated about the subject matter or at least acknowledge that the only reason they may be in your workshop is because the boss said so. This will help them avoid their lizard brain and be able to think critically, creatively and learn.
#2 Observation = Learning is hard
I was slightly open to learning when I thought it would be a simple matter of adjusting some lever. When it kept getting more and more complicated, my motivation tanked even further.
Application as a trainer – take care to inspire the confidence of your workshop participants, especially if they’re in a new setting, learning new content and/or anything else that they might deem hard.
#3 Observation = Learning makes you vulnerable
I wasn’t feeling go great about myself that I wasn’t able to solve this relatively simple problem. Learning about it made me feel vulnerable. Ergo the chatter I don’t have time for this. I don’t like doing stuff like this. I can’t do stuff like this. I don’t want to be doing this.
Application as a trainer – know that you as a training specialist likely know more about both your content matter expertise and the process of how to teach it. Know that your participants are likely feeling vulnerable as they’re trying new learning on for size. Recognize and take steps to encourage that. Learning doesn’t happen without it.
Okay, time to go look at the freezer door again….
Rania Issa says
Lee-Anne, fridges can be stubborn indeed. An old fridge I once borrowed from my parents to store cold meet for a Sandwich-making project, gave me a very hard time trying to find a way to melt the huge Ice belly it had in the lower section (not the freezer). I opened the door of the long-abandoned fridge to find it pregnant with a huge ice belly. Puzzled by the unexpected pregnancy of my seemingly innocent borrowed fridge, I decided that the fridge is having an abortion immediately, and I am becoming a gynecologist at once. I could not just unplug it and let the ice baby melt down, since it would ruin the carpet. So, I brought a hammer to operate professionally. For the next 15 minutes, I was smacking, beating, slapping, battering, slapping the ice belly with no signs of success. Sweating,gasping, and cursing the @#%$ fridge. Finally, I took a step back and gazed at the unbeatable ice belly. Suddenly it occurred to me, if I hit the side I would create a crank and the ice belly would fall apart. IT WORKED.
Application as a trainer: instead of beating yourself up to ensure that participants UNDERSTAND a concept. Take time to pose a well thought question, and watch the magical learning happen.
Lee-Anne Ragan says
Here’s to a successful ‘operation’ Rania. Great story with great learning. Love it!