You can’t change the past...but you can create your future!

At least that’s what I tell myself every time something goes wrong in my life or when I make a mistake in business.

Mistakes are the building blocks of success because you are hopefully learning from them, but some of them can reside deep in the darkest spots of your mind and they can cause a kind of paralysis – a total fear of taking any form of action because you may end up back in the same place...or somewhere far worse.

Throughout my entrepreneurial career, I’ve suffered from this, and whether I made a simple mistake or a total blunder, a reference point was created in my mind, and equally, when I did something really well, another point was created, and the trick is to be able to let go of the bad reference points and focus on the good ones.

You simply must have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one and in simple terms, you need to have an open mind – one that is ready for learning and growth. It’s far too detailed a subject to cover in this article, but I cover it in much more detail on my blog at, just search for "growth mindset."

As an entrepreneur you have to face the reality that things can and will go wrong – it’s not so much about them going wrong, but more about how you deal with it.

From making your first hire to hiring a new team for growth and from putting in your life savings, to raising significant capital...and everything else in business, you are constantly exposing yourself to greater risk, but also greater reward.

When I made my first significant executive hire and it didn’t work out, I lost a fair amount of cash, but the effect it had on my mind was far worse – why didn’t this work out, we were so aligned, the resume was fantastic, so why did it fail?

It didn’t stop me from hiring the next one, or the one after...but I had the same result and now I was starting to develop a huge mountain of self-doubt.

The same occurred with signing a services contract for a supplier, which I needed to do to gain the best terms – it didn’t work out and I was now tied into a legally binding contract which had to run its term, just as the one-million-dollar lease I signed for my US office, just before the entire tech industry spiraled into recession.

Up to that point, we were flying high, hence the expansion, but it shows you that anything can happen and from flying around the globe selling to some of the world’s leading tech companies I was now having to sell to my bankers, to keep them from pulling the plug.

Try this simple 5-step solution 
I’ve always loved to look for outside influences and inspiration – in my case, it came from martial arts, the military, sport, and even cooking!

Meeting a few top chefs and hearing their stories, simply connected me with the similarities of success in business and having to go through a sometimes painful process to achieve it.

There is no time for negative reflection or dwelling in the past, which can have serious consequences such as in the military, where it could endanger lives.

Here’s what I have learned:

  • Identify the issue or problem so that you understand it clearly
  • Be brutally honest with yourself and the mistake you made
  • Write down what you would do differently and commit to action
  • Don’t worry about what you cannot control
  • take a deep breath in, then out...and let go

I have burned a ton of nervous energy worrying about what I cannot control and when I look back, I ask myself what was the point of worrying?

It’s human nature of course, but you can change the way you deal with stressful and difficult situations.

Positive Building blocks 
Everything you do creates a reference point as I said earlier and it is a matter of eliminating the bad ones, and focusing on the good, so you create a solid set of building blocks to build your future success.

Letting go of the bad ones is simply a matter of identifying them, looking at them honestly, and then committing to how you would do it differently in the future – now you have created a building block that you can use positively.

It’s extremely liberating when you follow the process, and this is exactly what I tell my children in relation to them pursuing their dreams and the negative experiences they go through on the journey.

It’s so easy to focus on and remain in the past...but you will have a much better business life if you switch that focus into accepting it for what it is and then use it to build the foundation for what you want to create right now and in the future.

Blog submitted by Neil JC Franklin Consulting

Share this page

Print this page