• Deborah Finleon, GIA GG

Plyometrics to Strengthen Your Appraisal Muscles

Plyometrics is an athletic training technique also known as “jump” training, which utilizes explosive movement to boost muscle power. Most plyometric exercises are performed beginning from a standing or static position. There is no time to get up to speed or ease into the movement. Plyometrics requires a sudden burst of energy.

Plyometrics in business is, of course, more of an attitude than an athletic exercise. It is the willingness, the bravery, the belief in one’s own knowledge and skills to take on a new challenge, often from a “standing” position, with no prior experience. Accepting such challenges from time to time can keep our appraisal “muscles” fit and ready for action.

Regular exercise keeps the body in shape, maintaining strong muscles not only to help us enjoy our favorite sports, but also making our everyday activities easier and giving us confidence that speed and agility will be there when we unexpectedly need it. Similarly, exercising one’s appraisal skills keeps them in shape, ready for action, equipped to take on a new and different activity, even if it’s one we’ve never tried before.

I am always inspired by members on the chat line who are taking on the challenge of an appraisal assignment in an area previously unexplored. They sound excited and eager to expand their skill set and learn new techniques. We are so lucky to have such a generous membership, willing to share their knowledge and expertise in so many different areas. Being surrounded by that community support really helps to boost confidence. Having the courage to accept a more daring assignment, along with the additional research time and steep learning curve, really flexes those appraisal muscles - plyometrics at its best!

The importance of keeping skills and knowledge current can’t be overstated. A regular program of continuing education is very much like a daily workout. It maintains the mind’s fitness for appraising. Staying on top of the latest trade news, gemological discoveries, and appraisal methodology hones those appraisal muscles over time and provides a solid core. Accepting new challenges in unexplored areas of our profession are the plyometrics which mix up the training and provide the muscle confusion necessary to continue to make gains and avoid a plateau.

Stretching to accept an assignment you might otherwise have dismissed can lead to future opportunities, a niche market you happen to love, or even the knowledge that that type of appraisal is not your cup of tea. Take it off your list of services and you never have to think about it again. Every experience, even the negative, has value. The sum of all our assignments makes us the appraisers we are today.

If you do decide to try something out of your usual comfort zone, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And be sure to follow USPAP and the NAJA Minimum Standards regarding competency and reporting. Remember the importance of having a spotter when you try a new exercise. Don’t fall into the trap of sticking only with the familiar and the comfortable. Shake up your appraisal practice with some business plyometrics and see the positive results!

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