11 Tips for Letting Go of Past Failures and Embracing the Future

12 Tips for Letting Go of Past Failures

Failure is a part of life. It’s inescapable, but failure is only a loss if you don’t learn anything from it. Most entrepreneurs have fallen in their lives—some more severely than others. However, those who make it to the pinnacle only do so by dusting themselves off and taking stock of what their failures have taught them. Instead of seeing a failure as an insurmountable setback, these businesspeople see it as a learning experience and a guide to a different path. 

How does one get over the idea of failure as a stumbling block? To learn more, we consulted 12 contributors to YEC, in order to find out how they managed to let go of past failures and embrace the future.

1. Use your failures to succeed.

If it was easy, you wouldn’t have failed. Your failure was likely the result of you doing something difficult, something new and challenging. Take a moment to be proud that you even attempted whatever led to the failure. Remind yourself of the honor that lives in that and be proud that you are doing something that is worth the potential to fail. Look back for motivation to get it right next time.

Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

2. Track your progress and accomplishments.

When we fail, it is very easy to feel like we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. The best way to shed that negative feeling is to track—via notebook, web browser or phone app—the tasks that you have finished daily. These tasks can include if you have exercised that day, how many items you have completed on your to-do list or how you got approval on a project. We are more successful than we think we are.

Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID Inc.

3. Mourn, then move on.

I’ve failed as an entrepreneur many times. I have found that being open about my failures with family and friends helps lift the burden and breathe new life into me. Ultimately, I have to make a decision to let it go and stay focused on the present and future. It just takes some time to process failure… kind of like the stages of grief. Mourn the failure, then move on.

Robby Scott Berthume, Bull & Beard

4. Don’t dwell on past failures.

Dwelling on past failures beyond the essential learning is a pure and simple waste of time. That is not the way to create success. Of course, we want to learn and change our behavior—after all, they say an apology without change is simply manipulation. So instead of dwelling on the past or pacifying the issue with a false sense of moving on, make a real pact with yourself and internalize the lesson.

Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting Inc.

5. Use mistakes to determine which way to go.

Failures have a wonderful benefit of showing you what direction not to go, and we never stop learning from them. I find limitations (like failure) help really open up a clearer pathway forward, and when there seems to be a million possibilities, that really does help in navigating. It’s like the game Battleship: Each miss helps you close in better on your target.

Richard Fong, Bliss Drive

6. Be excited to start anew.

It is crucial to remember that past failures do not define you, yet how you react to them does. Failing at something simply means that you now get to begin again with a whole new understanding and perspective of what you are doing. Be excited to start anew.

Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals

7. Avoid pointing fingers at others.

If you blame others for your failures, you’ll never be able to move on and succeed. It’s important to take accountability for your actions like an adult so you can move forward knowing you’re doing the right thing. It’s more difficult to embrace new beginnings if you’re holding onto old grudges or blaming others for your own wrongdoings.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Accept where you’re at.

Are you in denial about where you are in your career versus where you want to be? Sometimes we lie to ourselves to help us cope with our shortcomings and failures, no matter how long ago they happened. It’s important to stay honest with yourself because that’s the only way you’ll be able to move forward to better things.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Remember that you’re a different person now.

The feeling of having failed in the past can be hard to overcome. It’s helpful to remember that you’re no longer the exact same person you were before. Today, you’ve learned a number of valuable lessons. You’ve met different people and had different experiences. You’re a different person thanks to the experiences you’ve had. Promise to learn from the past and you’ll do better this time around.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. Shift your mindset to gratitude.

To move forward after a difficult failure, shift your mindset to one of gratitude. Consider that challenges and failures are the universe on your side, calling you to grow. Without failures and challenges, life would be deeply boring and unfulfilling.

Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

11. Don’t look at mistakes as defining features.

We tend to look at our mistakes as our defining features. The truth is, most of our inner turmoil is self-inflicted and we are the only ones who notice! If you want to let go of your past failures, you have to acknowledge the fact that you have made mistakes, you learned valuable lessons and you’re ready for new beginnings.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Image by GoodStudio/Shutterstock.com

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.


  1. Avatar Naomi Johnson on January 2, 2020 at 8:09 am

    This is a fabulous and much-needed article. We will all fail but it is how we bounce back and what we do next that counts. Starting out in a new year, and a new decade, full of enthusiasm I find myself jaded by the past, yet this article reminds me and gives me the strength to shake it off Taylor Swift style! Thank you.

  2. Avatar Spreadmotivation on January 2, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Amazing tips. Everyone should focus on these 11 tips to improve their life.

  3. Avatar Konica khanom on January 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I do understand that becous thereisno fund there is no progress for the planets. and any other ambitions !! Nobody help me for my progress ! that iswhay I was failed !! I have to need finelcal support for my progress and my
    planets ! the civil society and community based
    doesn’t any help me !

  4. Avatar Hamid Abdullah Albashir Alnasif on January 3, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Amazing tips. Thanks so much.

  5. Avatar helen on January 4, 2020 at 6:07 am

    I have found that perhaps the greatest sadness i needed to pick up from was the behavior of other people….I suppose expecting them to be something or some way, was what provoked the disappointment…my expectancy..Try getting expectancy back up! But eventually you do when u ENGRAVE IT in Ur MIND THAT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE and not a PERFECTION BUBBLE in which u have placed them. You dont need their approval. You only need ONE specific approval. And youve got THAT one. Thats ALL u need.

  6. Avatar Fred on January 6, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Wonderful insights and reminders.

  7. Avatar George on January 6, 2020 at 10:15 am

    I believe Baby Boomers are a special category because we have less time to re-direct and re-connect. Many of us got stuck on stupid during the the 60’s and never fully recovered. Is there a message for us senior entrepreneurs who want to finish strong?

  8. Avatar Jagannatha Rao M Dr on January 9, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Great thanks.

  9. Avatar Steven on January 9, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Thank u for the insight,and living in the NOW is my reality today,learn something new everyday!!!

  10. Avatar Vance Wieland on January 17, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Yes, sometimes in business we, make mistakes in judgments. Have to get past the bad decisions, and keep moving forward to succeed.

  11. Avatar Lata Swarn on January 19, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    So beautiful useful advice.

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