When You’re Up A Creek, Cross It

We often have experiences that teach us principles of life or business—or in this case, both. And the power of an analogy is such that it can apply to a wide variety of circumstances, like this story of one appraiser who got lost in the middle of the woods but managed to rise above the sticky situation and keep moving forward. You will never have to say, “Uncle!” to anything you face as you use your head on your shoulders to problem solve and think outside the box, which is a lesson not only necessary for owning a successful appraising business, but also for life. 

The story starts with a Subaru Legacy, an unknowing GPS, and a dead-end road at the base of the Teton Mountains in the middle-of-nowhere Idaho. Have you ever been on your way to an appointment and followed the GPS rather than your gut, mistakenly thinking Google must know best? That’s how I was misled for a half an hour down a narrow jeep trail; the kind that goes from pavement to gravel and gravel to dirt in a hurry. I couldn’t see my desired destination, and after going that far I didn’t want to just turn around and go back the long way. I was convinced it would open up any minute until the road was intercepted by a creek the size of a small river. And my low clearance car wasn’t going to cut it. What was I supposed to do? 

I could see the house ahead and had two obvious options. Number one: try to cross the creek, which probably wouldn’t turn out well. Number two: turn around and be late to the appointment. Like many of us would, I sat there second guessing my decision and wishing I could go back. “I’ve made a mistake. Here I am, there’s the creek, what do I do now?” I thought. Have you ever been in a situation like this, trying to figure out how to cross an imaginary creek, feeling trapped by the circumstances, and wishing for a way out? When you can take the positive road in these situations, there is nothing that cannot be figured out. And with a little bit of problem solving and thought, there can be a third option.

That’s exactly what I thought while I was literally up a creek. Crossing in my car wasn’t a good option and neither was turning around. I decided to do things a little unconventionally, get out of my car, use rocks, tree trunks, and logs, and get myself across the creek and to my appointment on foot. I made it right on time and the homeowners even got to have a good laugh when they realized the situation. Whenever dealing with things that are hard while appraising, there is nothing that cannot be figured out. Use your resources to get up and get across that creek. Consider your options and make a choice. 

Part of being a business owner is thinking outside the box, thinking of how to solve those problems, and figuring out a way. Next time you’re dealing with a challenge, next time you look at a big hairy monster in front of you and think, how do I get around this thing, how do I forge this creek that’s in front of me, remember: there are more choices than just door one and door two. There’s always a door three. 

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode:

2 thoughts on “When You’re Up A Creek, Cross It”

  1. Your article is timely. I literally had to get out of my truck and walk/slosh a 1/2 mile for a new development acreage appraisal this week. Being a new development, the roads and drainage are under construction and with the recent rains were completely under water, luckily the lots are clearly marked.

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