Kenyatta Jones-Arietta

I did my first doggy paddle last weekend. Yes, that’s right—a doggy paddle! I didn’t attempt to learn how to swim until a few years ago. Yep! I got to 46 not knowing how to tread water. That all changed after a trip to Africa with my girlfriend, Patricia in 2018.

We chartered a boat to explore this little island off the coast of Mozambique. The angry waves crossing into the Indian Ocean were rough and quite terrifying. I remember sitting on the floor in the stern of the boat, embracing the post under the pedestal seat for dear life. I prayed, thinking, “God didn’t bring me to Africa to kill me!”

Meanwhile, Patricia, an experienced boater and very confident swimmer, lay on the bow, relaxed and unphased with her face covered, protected from the sun’s rays by the brim of an oversized straw sun hat. Once in calmer waters and a few shots from a large bottle of Red Label, I began to relax.

With the assistance of one of the ship’s crew members, my life vest, fins, and snorkeling gear, I was able to see Nemo, and a lot of his fellow finned friends under the sea. My eyes were open to the wonderful world below and I was hooked! I vowed to take swimming lessons when I returned home, and I kept that promise.

I immediately paid a visit to Lifetime Fitness and signed up for lessons. I committed for a few months but then was busied with life and my swim sessions fell by the wayside. I’ve never attempted anything beyond a convoluted breaststroke, in which I hold my breath and swim for as long as I can until I run out of air; this was enough to get me by.

Three weeks ago, I took my granddaughter, Raevyn, to the outdoor pool at the gym for an afternoon. She is nine and quite the fearless little tadpole. I watched as she swam up and down the pool. She did backstrokes, doggy paddles, handstands, you name it! The outdoor water hole was hers to enjoy, and I was in awe.

Fast-forward to last weekend. My husband, Rudy, and I were invited to a pool party at a friend’s house. Now, even though I never attempted to perfect my strokes, I do get into almost every pool I encounter. Light gave way to darkness as the evening went on, and soon, Rudy and I were the only ones left in the pool. Eventually, he got out to dry off and grab a bite to eat.

Having the pool to myself, I decided it was my moment to try a doggy paddle. I mean, if Raevyn can do it, I should be able to. Usually, I venture under the water, afraid that any attempt to swim above would cause me to sink, but this evening I was hopeful. I was feeling good this evening but I wasn’t in the mood to get my hair wet. I mean, do you know what happens to coily hair when it gets wet?

The thought of having to detangle and stretch my hair alone was enough motivation for me to succeed at swimming above the water at all costs. And wouldn’t you know it, I did it! I’m not sure if that first doggy paddle was a funnier visual than me trying to walk forward in fins on that island beach in Africa. Regardless, I set out to accomplish a goal and I succeeded! I tried something new, and it was easier than I had expected. It was literally just one stroke at a time.

Speaking of stroke, that brings me to the point of this very revealing piece. As our digital world evolves, so do the ways in which we get our message across to our potential clients and customers. And NOT jumping in the waters of social media and trying to paddle across Instagram and TikTok could be giving your real estate business a slow leak.

I have spoken with many Realtors who are afraid to just “dive in,” afraid of making a mistake; in fear of looking silly, not realizing that the biggest mistake they are making is not utilizing these platforms to assist in amplifying their message. Not to mention, for the most part, it’s free!

Everything is challenging when you first get started and are unsure of what to do. The answer is not to rule it out while sitting on the shore watching the other swimmers in the distance. What is this world, if not a playground for learning? Don’t be afraid to fall back onto the waters of the World Wide Web and give that doggy paddle a try!

Not sure how to get started? As with my swim instruction, look for someone within the digital marketing realm who can give you some guidance. Follow some of your favorite real estate personalities on Instagram and TikTok to see what they are doing that works and emulate it! There is no need to recreate the wheel.

Spend some time brainstorming ideas and messages that resonate with who you are and get them out there! It may require you to pick up a few additional tools, such as a light ring or an instrument that will allow you to do your videos hands-free, but hey—those are write-offs!

I once had an agent admit that he stopped making videos because his neighbor teased him about, “Waiting for his next home improvement tip.” In actuality, he should have made another one! His neighbor saw it and commented, which proved that he was getting views! Even if his videos didn’t translate to hundreds of “likes,” his efforts were working!

People want to see who we are and what we may be like to work with. You can give them a glimpse by sharing bits of the real you. I’m now 51 if you were wondering. Looking forward to seeing more of you on social media. Remember to take one stroke at a time!

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