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  • Katie Ford

I made a mistake! Does this prove that I'm an imposter?

A favourite Richard Wilkins quote
A favourite Richard Wilkins quote

Mistakes often poke the imposter syndrome narrative

There is another way. I want to remind you that mistakes don't make us imposters, they make us human.

They also give us information, when we feel ready to reflect.

"Every genuine mistake is simply a good intention that didn't go according to plan"

The quote on the post-it note was from one of my mentors, Richard Wilkins. Back in 2016, I wrote it down as I heard him say it on a video and it resonated deeply.

And so it sat on my work desk and was a powerful reminder so many times.

You can see it became a little faded in the sun, right?

I used to feel a lot of shame when things didn't go to plan. Many times work wise as a clinical vet, sometimes in my home life.


Because I'd be listening to (and believing) that negative voice in my head trying to persuade me that I was a bad person.

That I'd done it on purpose.

That I was an imposter.

That I'd missed something.

That mistakes were 'bad' and ergo, I was bad too.

It's understandable why this would come up when all we've been handed through life is information that mistakes are BAD (they're not btw, they happen to everyone).

That nobody talks about mistakes, or if they do, they're hushed.

That 'success' is perfection.

Maybe we have a negative experience.

That we must find the person 'to blame' and let's not even start on social media 'witch hunts'.

Nobody really says it out loud....but actions speak louder than words.

Then it gets handed to others - often inadvertently. It's a self perpetuating cycle of society.

Can we break it?!

Will we finally be a generation conscious enough to notice what's happening here and start changing the narrative?

The quote on the post-it note reminded me that I did act with good intentions...and it didn't go to plan.

Of course there is opportunity for growth.

Sometimes we'd love to go back and do something differently because we care and would have preferred another outcome.

There is learning there, of course. And we know that 'mistakes' are rarely one person's actions alone.

Can we start to step off the pedestals of 'no mistakes' and start to praise compassion, learning, kindness, working as teams....because so many of you out there have that in bucket loads already. ❤️

And for the record, I've made tonnes of mistakes in my life.

I still do.

Read enough blog posts on here and you'll find some spelling mistakes made in haste.

Sometimes they still hurt, that voice pops up and I still feel shame sometimes - but I remember I didn't choose that and I'd always choose to meet myself with compassion and then learn to grow from it.

I make mistakes, but they don't make me a mistake.

How can we change the story? Because they're going to happen.

That negative 'voice' and those first thoughts aren't you; they're based on the past.

When you've met yourself initially with some compassion, who can help you reflect back on them and find the learnings?

There's another way.


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