The Slide Provides All The Motivation – August 2015

Just recently Alex learned to swim without the assistance of a noodle, vest, or any other flotation device. After nearly 2 years of ‘practicing’ and trying to swim on his own he was hesitant to ‘take the plunge’ and give maximum effort to swim. Yes, he’d stay in the 3 foot range and swim 2-3 feet to Susan or me, but he was unwilling to go out on his own until he had the proper motivation.

It is amazing how people learn and absorb teaching differently. Anthony and Alex are prime examples. They have been raised in the same home, with the same experiences, the same opportunities to learn but their learning styles are not, at all, similar. This goes for reading, math, building projects, playing board games, games on the DS, soccer pretty much everything.

Anthony is very analytical, and he must research the best way to do something first. He finds all the angles and strategies, and then he attempts the challenge.

Alex is totally different. He learns by doing, by getting his hands dirty in the process.

I could give you any number of examples of how their learning methods are different, but today I’m going to tell you the Story about how both learned to swim.

It was the summer of 2012 and my family still owned my late Grandmother’s house on ‘The Farm’. We were renting it out to Dr. Menocal, and he allowed us to continue to use the pool that we’d used my entire life. Dr. Menocal was an excellent swimmer growing up. He even mentions his swimming experience in his interview on Frederick Advice Givers. (Take a listen at So he took an interest that summer in teaching Anthony how to swim.

Anthony was cautious and wanted to know the how before actually doing it. Anthony knew that if he went to ‘the deep end’ without know how to swim that he would sink. Anthony would start in the shallow end and paddle for a few seconds, doing a great job, but would quickly put his feet down to make sure he didn’t sink. Much like many first time swimmers he was cautious because of the unknown.

One afternoon we showed up at the pool and Dr. Menocal had tied a rope the entire length of the pool.

Dr. M told Anthony that this was how he learned to swim when he was growing up in Cuba. The rope was a ‘safety rope,’ and, if he felt like he couldn’t swim anymore, he could hold onto the rope so he wouldn’t sink. Anthony loved this invention and took to practicing right away.

At first Anthony would only swim a couple feet before grabbing safely onto the rope to make sure that it worked. The next time, he’d add a few more feet onto his independent swimming. The next day Anthony went to the pool and he immediately swam (next to the rope) about half of the length of the pool without grabbing the rope. By the end of the 3rd day of using the rope as reassurance for swimming, Anthony was swimming freely around the pool and didn’t need the rope anymore.

The key to Anthony learning to swim was having a plan and blueprint that he was able to execute. Anthony quickly found out that if he tired or thought he couldn’t swim, all he had to do was grab onto the rope and he’d be fine. Each day he progressed, and by day 3 he was a full-fledged swimmer.

Alex, however took a different path.

Alex, literally took the plunge when he learned how to swim. Last summer and the first part of this summer we had worked with Alex to swim. He was perfectly content swimming all around the pool using a noodle. He’d drape both arms over the noodle and kick away. He never really felt the need to swim without the noodle. We’d work with him to swim independently, and he’d try and swim under water in the shallow end. Actually he would do ok, and, although he didn’t have the proper form, he was a good under water swimmer.

Trying to get Alex to venture out past the 3 foot mark of the pool independently to try and swim using the same technique he used in the shallow end was nearly impossible.

That was until one day at the Coldstream Pool in Lake Linganore.

Just the other weekend the boyz and I went to swim at the Coldstream pool…

If you have never been to this pool, it is a large community pool with an ample shallow end for the little ones to swim in. A few years ago they installed this waterslide in the deep end. Kids line-up 8-10 deep to use the slide. It’s pretty cool. Climb to the top of the steps where water is gushing down, go in feet first, and 2 full revolutions later you splash into the water, which is ten feet deep at this point.

The caveat is that you can’t use the slide with any swimming device and no one can be at the end to catch you as you splash into the water, so you have to be able to swim on your own. Now there is a lifeguard specifically assigned to the slide area, so it is safe.

Well, the other weekend we went swimming, and it was close dinner time, so the pool was thinning out as people were leaving for the day. There was no one in the slide line, so Alex decided that he would try the slide and ‘take the plunge’. I told him that I’d be right at the edge and if he hit the water and couldn’t swim, I’d come get him. We went back to the shallow end and practiced a few times. Keep in mind that Alex has never swam independently in the deep end.

He went over to the slide, climbed up, and then came back down afraid to take the plunge. He then watched big brother do it. Next time he said he was going to go see how fast the water was. He went to the top and said, “Wow that water is going down the slide fast.” And he walked backed down the steps and watched Anthony go again.

On the third time up the slide, he decided this would be the time.

Anthony and I stood on the side of the pool waiting for Alex to slide. I thought that he’d go down the slide and attempt to swim, be scared, and I’d need to jump in to get him. (Keep in mind I was only about 4 feet away from him, so I wasn’t worried for his safety.)

He slid down, water gushing all around him. Around one revolution, then the 2nd revolution, then he popped out of the slide into the water. He calmly swam over to the ladder.

He could swim. No practice in the deep end. He just took the plunge.

All it took was an overwhelming reason for him to do it. Alex was so motivated by the fun of the slide and watching all the ‘big kids’ enjoy the slide that he decided it was time for him to join in the fun. He was tired of watching big brother Anthony and the other kids have all the fun because he couldn’t go down the slide and needed a noodle to swim.

After that first hesitant time, you could see his confidence grow. He continued to go down the slide 11 more times that day. By the end there was no fear. He was a pro.

Motivation is a huge factor…

If you want to accomplish a goal and don’t have proper motivation, then most likely you will find excuses for not taking the necessary steps to accomplish that goal. If Alex hadn’t seen the other kids having such a blast on the slide, he would never have realized that he could swim.

When I meet with clients I always try to find out their motivation for either buying or selling. This is one of the first questions that I ask: “Why do you want to sell?” If purchasing, “When do you plan on moving? Why?” Then I sit back and listen. Having specific motivation and proper desire definitely determines the likelihood of success in a transaction. Just in the last few months I’ve had 2 sellers that were about to have babies and add to their growing family. Their motivation is HIGH, with specific timelines. Other times when buyers and sellers are not under specific deadlines and are just ‘thinking’ about moving, their motivation changes and these clients are less urgent.

I’ve found that when buyers are under a lease that is ending in 2-3 months that the motivation to purchase a home is high and that they will become accessible when homes that fit their criteria pop on the market because they are afraid of missing out on the right home. Other buyers are ‘just looking for the right home.’ These guys will drag you all over the area looking at house after house, and then when they find the right one they’ll talk themselves out of it.

You see, no house is 100% perfect… I always tell my buyers that when they walk in the right house that they will just ‘feel it.’ And you know what? I’d say that most of my clients would agree with me. When you find the right house, it’s a different feeling. Does this mean that it doesn’t have flaws? Minor imperfections? No. All houses do. But when a motivated buyer finds the right house and has that gut feeling, it works.

When an unmotivated buyer, or better said, a buyer that doesn’t have proper motivation finds a home. Unlike the properly motivated buyer, they will find flaws or find excuses not to buy that home

When selling a home Proper Motivation is a MUST to successfully execute a Value-Driven Approach…

Even moreso, when selling your home, there has to be enough motivation to make the process work. I’ll be the first to tell you that it SUCKS to sell your home. Taking the necessary steps to do it correctly, to maximize the value of your home, to find little known ways to increase the perceived value of your home. The process can be painful… doing it correctly.

Unlike some who just ‘throw their listings on the MLS’, there are specific steps that must be taken to properly present your home. That is why when I first meet with sellers, I make them aware of the process: how my team will help them execute the plan to maximize value. However, this doesn’t happen overnight, and sellers are often surprised when I tell them that, on average, it will take 3-4 weeks to properly get their home ready. Rarely can we get your home ready in under 3 weeks. Some take much longer. There are some families that will take months to work through the checklist, but when they understand the benefits of ‘doing it right,’ they sign up for the process.

This is the time when I find out if sellers are properly motivated… When I give them the written Game-Plan, the steps necessary to maximize their value. If they cringe and make excuses about why they don’t want to do A, B, and C, then I know they are not properly motivated and not to waste our time. However, if they are willing to sacrifice and take the necessary steps, then their motivation is sufficient.

Some clients, like Anthony, need to analyze and digest the process of either selling or buying. They must understand every step, every potential pitfall during the process, and, once they do, then they are ready to move forward.

Others are like Alex. You tell them something, and then they just ‘jump-in’ the process and learn as they try.

Either process works as long as there is Proper Motivation.

If you or someone you know is ‘motivated’ to move before the end of the year, now is the time to start. Have a wonderful rest of your summer… Hope to talk or see you soon.