Some things in life look easy to do – by design – but they are anything but that. If we watch a professional athlete that has been playing their sport since they were in grade school or possibly before even starting school, they have been doing the fundamentals of their sport for so long that they have internalized these activities and can do them without even thinking about it. It literally is second nature for them.
When we watch accomplished athletes, singers, or musicians who have been practicing and performing for years, they make it seem so easy and effortless. That’s because it nearly is. They have learned what they do so well that they just have to begin their performance and their muscle memory and all of that practice kick in and take over. They are the vessel for their performance to shine through.
However, we don’t have to look just to the sports or entertainment industries for this phenomena. We experience this ourselves. Thin back to the first time we ever got on a bicycle. Unless we were a “natural.” we probably didn’t do very well that first time, or the second, or the third. We kept getting a little better, but it took awhile for us to master staying upright as we propelled ourselves forward.
We’re talking about a regular 2-wheel bicycle without training wheels. Think of how unnatural the entire process was. Why did anyone need to sit on some strange looking seat that wasn’t particularly comfortable – with no back and no armrests – just to move a little faster than walking or running would get us?
First, there was getting on the bike, and depending on how large the bike was – as a hand-me-down or second-hand store purchase, or one that we could grow into (remember this prevailing philosophy?), it wasn’t likely to be that well sized for us. Also, it probably was pretty heavy – especially for our size and weight at the time.
So we managed to actually straddle the bar, get one foot on each pedal (although this may have taken more than one attempt to accomplish), and we tried to remain upright for more than just a few feet. There probably were a few scrapes and bruises along the way also. Nevertheless, we eventually got that balance thing down and the wobbling from side-to-side disappeared.
Soon we joined the ranks of all the other kids and adults who could ride a bicycle and take it wherever they wanted to go. Maybe the idea that so many other people could already do this feat propelled us to keep at it. Seriously, as hard as it looked, it could be achieved, So, we learned to ride a bike – perched atop a small (usually uncomfortable) little saddle (as it’s called), keeping our feet on the pedals, remembering to hold on and having the brake handles within easy reach, and then looking where we are going – all the while propelling ourselves along fast enough to remain upright and moving forward. Even today, if it’s been years since we have done so, we can jump on a bike and ride it like we were born knowing how.
This is how we need to approach the aging in place services that we provide. Whether it’s providing an assessment or evaluation, a consultation, a proposal for services, or an actual execution and implementation of that proposal to provide kitchen or bath improvements, enhanced access points, better lighting or flooring, vertical mobility devices, or anything else to help our clients, they should immediately appreciate that it looks like we’re having a good time doing what we do and that it looks effortless for us. After all, like the athletes, performers, and other professionals, we have worked years perfecting our skills so that it looks like it’s not so hard to do what we do – like it’s so natural for us to do what we are doing.
This natural look is important because we want our clients to have such confidence in our abilities, our design, and our approach to helping them that they will readily accept what we are suggesting and providing for them. They will enjoy working with us and feel, that of all the possible people they could have contacted to help them, that they got the best and most experienced people to assist them in what they need to remain viable in their current homes as they age in place. For them, it’s not about just getting the job done as much as it is a confident feeling that they are getting the best solution possible.