Are You Really Good, by George Baranowski, American Polygraph Association
Good question, right? Do you believe in yourself, do you believe in your abilities as a confident, professional, polygraph examiner? Polygraph Instructor? Polygraph School Director? Whether you do or don’t, maybe now is a good time for what some might call a “self-assessment.” As a matter of fact, it’s always a good time to do this. A self-assessment is like an ongoing process that requires being connected to yourself, in fact let’s call it something like connected to your inner self, that little voice inside that my teacher, Sister Mary Sulpicia, used to tell me about all the time when I was in the 8th grade at St. Stanislaus grade school in Michigan City, Indiana. The problem these days however is that many of us appear to be to plugged into today’s devices to see what’s constantly happening in the world through Cellphones, Facebook, I-Phone, the Internet, or whatever, and caught up in only what’s happening in the world today, in what some might call “Trump surprises,” so that there not asconnected to themselves as they were, and experts will tell you that that is no way to help make good or better decisions.
Self-assessment means being your own counselor, developing your own views and cultivating the ability to look closely at where you are so you can think through problems. Here is some thoughts: Work on developing confidence. Developing confidence to take actions that will advance you in your business or your career as a proficient polygraph examiner, instructor or director. But that idea of building confidence is not as simple as it sounds. The most successful people are those who can manage the contradictions of life, individuals who are aware of boundaries, but not constrained by their limitations. Let’s face it, insecurity disables us from winning those things that some might call “Inner Demons”, and making something out of our lives. Arrogance or big time pride makes us come off as know-it-alls. I’m sure you’re probably thinking about the same individuals in our profession as I am, when I say that. That superiority personality actually erodes our level of influence, and after a while, people even stop listening to us, no matter how good this information may be. People just stop listening to us. I think confidence is like the balancing act between pride and uncertainty, and I would like to believe it’s always a work in progress situation. My thoughts today are to surround yourself with trusted friends, and especially individuals like those that I have always regarded as mentors, folks who will be honest with you about your performance and what areas need improvement. Listen to them, then listen to yourself.
Regarding my own experiences, there are many such individuals that I have had blessed contact with. Individuals who come quickly to mind would be: “Donald Krapohl”, (He’s the obvious first choice), “Ray Nelson,” (He’s another high on my list) and also these other great influential individuals such as: “Mark Handler, Barry Cushman, Chuck Slupski, Jamie McCloughan,” these are names that come quickly to my mind, “And oh, don’t let me forget the late Ron Decker.” Now this problem of simultaneously doubting or trusting yourself is the core principle of effective self-assessment. For example, many people find themselves repeatedly crashing into the same brick wall, never changing course. If I find myself blocked at every turn – whether it’s because of people I would have to answer to, or perhaps by some competitive circumstances or situations – I now try to remember to step back and regroup. And you know what, it works! When we experience failures, even multiple failures, our nature is to blame circumstances, other people, the shape of the universe or… (no, I’m not going to say anything political – even though tempted to do that). But we also have to step back and ask, “Could this be me?” I think this is where the ability to have an intellectual discussion with yourself comes in to play. This is where you can disengage and look at the situation with a longer view. I think this kind of perspective is critical to determining whether your actions are helping or hurting you, your professionalism, your occupation, your work product and perhaps even your belief in the standards and goals of the American Polygraph Association.
I know you have heard this from many sources in your life, that you can carefully plot your own success and evaluate your effectiveness as you go along, but at the end of the day, you know what? You still have to get out there and play in the traffic by yourself, along with everybody else out there. You are never going to be totally trained or prepared. Let me repeat that, “You are never going to be totally trained or prepared,” because things change all the time. New creations, new discoveries, new ideas, new inventions, and there is seldom any schedule of something like required classes to see what’s going to develop next week that you haven’t heard about yet. You have to meet people, develop relationships and swap best practices, and you can make this happen. This APA Journal is jam packed with important necessary information and experiences regarding our practices and profession. You have to meet people, develop relationships and guess what, “Swap best practices.” You have to make things happen. The 2017 American Polygraph Association Conference is where such opportunities occur. Trust your healthy self-confidence, it’s like having an inner gyroscope to keep you on the right course, and above all…You can do it.