Perhaps one of the most harmful things we can do as business owners is dwell on the past. It is hard to look forward and not backwards when we are making strategic decisions about our companies, however it is absolutely necessary. You know the saying, hindsight is 20/20, well that is true and the only value is in what you learn to help you make better decisions in the present.
Moving on from a mistake or failure is a challenge all humans make and as a business owner we are not quick to forgive ourselves. Here are a few tips I have found helpful over the years:
- Make the decision to move on. Consciously admit it happened and acknowledge there is nothing more you can do. Write down 2 to 3 things you learned from it and put those lessons into practice for the future of the company.
- Process the mistake or failure. Before you can fully move on, you need to process the whole situation. I do this by grabbing a drink with another small business owner who can help me see the lesson in all of it and who also loves a great cocktail and real talk. Similar to personal hardships, you have to allow yourself time to mourn or you will never truly move on from it.
- Take responsibility. Don’t blame others for what happened. At the end of the day, you are the business owner and the buck stops with you.
- Stop looking back. Once you are through steps 1 through 3, it is time to put the lessons you learned into practice. No more dwelling on the past. If you continue to focus on the negative there is no room for the positive and it is already hard enough to be positive.
- Forgive everyone. This sounds very ’emotional’ but the fact is, if you hold a grudge against another person or yourself then this situation/failure/mistake will haunt you for the rest of your life. Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view. Empathy will set you apart.
Don’t let your business or yourself be defined by something that happened in the past. You are better than that.