Prepare for mistakes

A danger time for imposter feelings is when something goes wrong. When you make a mistake. This is likely to send a shiver through your imposter body and stir up all the imposter fears. So, it’s a good idea to have a routine to follow when you make a mistake. This could be:

1. Acknowledge it

Acknowledge that you have made a mistake. Force yourself to describe accurately what happened.

2. Accept you will feel anxious

Accept that you will feel anxious and uncomfortable. And that this is normal, not nice but normal. Remind yourself that a mistake is not fatal. Unpleasant, yes, but it does not mean that you are stupid or incapable or a failure.

3. Be objective

Be objective about the scale of the mistake. Is it as bad as you think? What was the context? Could you have done anything about it? Does this mistake wipe out the positive parts of what you did? How significant will this be in a year’s time? It can be hard to be objective by yourself so perhaps you need a second opinion.

4. Assess the consequences

What are the consequences? How likely are the negative consequences?

5. Take action

Then try to take some action rather than dwell on the worries. What can you do to rectify the mistake? What can you do to move on?

Extract from The Imposter Syndrome

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