I started running last Spring after a few years away from any kind of consistent exercise. I’ve finished several half-marathons over the years but, even at my fittest, I’ve never been very fast. I shuffle, rather than glide.  Now, severely out of shape and significantly heavier than the last time I trained for something, my feet barely leave the ground.  

As I’ve done many times before, I turned to the Couch Potato to 5K program for guidance.  The 9-week program promises to turn even the most sedentary of us from slug to shuffler using  workouts that start out with timed walk-run segments and build to running 3.2 miles in just about 2 months. 

With a reliable plan, I should have been running three miles, three times a week by June.   But I wasn’t

Instead of leveling up each week according to the C25K plan, I had repeated weeks 4 and 5 several times.  Week 6 is when the rubber meets the road in the program.  The walking breaks stop and long stretches of non-stop running begin.  Suddenly, I forgot my reasons for starting, accepted my lame  about why I wasn’t ready to meet the new demands, and happily took my foot off the gas for a good month.

About this same time, I started working with a home seller I’ll call Jessica.   When I meet with potential new clients,  I spend some time trying to get a handle on their reasons for moving.  As I chatted with Jessie over a cup of coffee, she seemed extremely motivated.  She had clearly defined personal reasons for selling and a clear timeline for moving.  In addition to preparing both physically and emotionally for this move, she’d already identified needed repairs and made arrangements to address them; had begun to downsize and de-clutter; and she’d even started home shopping in her new area of choice.

When we met again a few weeks later to finalize the listing agreement and determine an initial list price, Jessica suggested a price tens of thousands over the price I’d suggested, and to which she’d tentatively agreed.  Slightly taken aback by this development, I probed to find out what had prompted it.  She had been monitoring recent sales in her area and felt confident she could get a higher price.  Friends of Jessica’s had received multiple offers and a contract for over the asking price in their first few days on market and,despite my efforts to explain why I thought her elevated list price would damage her chances of selling quickly or for the price she wanted, I could not persuade her to lower her expectations or the original list price.  The best I could do was get her to agree adjust her list price if she didn’t get an offer in the first couple of weeks on the market.

Jessica’s home was lovely.  The staging was perfect.  The market was hotter than it had been in years, and well-priced homes were flying off the shelves.  But showing requests trickled in slowly during the crucial first few weeks on the market. Jessica’s excitement slowly deflated, like a leaky air mattress, as she processed buyer feedback suggesting they expected bigger bedrooms and master baths in homes for that price.  As many sellers do, Jessica tried to find a different explanation about why she hadn’t gotten an offer yet,  but it was clear to me that we’d over-reached and need to do a quick price reduction to create the momentum we needed to get Jessica top dollar on her home.

Two weeks in, I called Jessica and asked her to consider a significant price reduction.  Leaving the price where it was and hoping to get a full-price offer was akin to my staying on week 5 of the C25K program and thinking I was actually making progress toward my goal.  Going through the motions would allow each of us to feel like we were doing something to teach our goals when we were really only running in place.

“Let’s take it off the market for the next couple of weeks,” she directed out of the blue.  “I’ve got family coming to stay and I would prefer not to deal with showings while they are here.”

“Understood,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.  “I’ll take it off the market temporarily.  Call me when your company is gone and we’ll get it back on the market and get it sold.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she agreed.

I never heard from her again. 

My calls went unanswered; voicemails, texts, and emails were not replied to.

I got the message.  Circumstances have changed in Jessica’s life and it’s no longer the right time for her to sell.  Life happens.  I continue to reach out every few weeks in the vain hope that she’d do me the courtesy of responding.  Since I cannot do anything without her written direction, her listing is in limbo – neither active nor cancelled.  Unless she contacts me, it will most likely remain that way until the listing contract  expires.  I hope she reaches out when she’s ready to list again, but I’m not counting on it. 

In an odd way, Jessica’s loss of motivation to sell her home helped me regain my motivation to get back in shape.  If I wanted to run a 5k, I needed to be willing to start with running an uninterrupted mile.  So I put my head down and re-committed to the plan.  I’m signed up for a race this Labor Day weekend.  I guarantee I won’t be the fastest runner that day, but I know I’ve got the momentum to finish.

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