Stop Doing This Now and Start Moving Ahead

Mental Toughness Attribute #2

Refusal to dwell on past failures\regrets

I’ve had some monumental failures in my life. Some are humorous, and some make me weep.
I once asked a woman, whose name I was having trouble remembering, how her mother was doing? She looked at me with a shocked expression and replied, “Well, you performed her funeral service.” Ooops. I felt terrible, how do you recover after that?

Mentally tough people don’t sabotage their present life by getting caught up in reviewing past failures and regrets.

We all have failures in our lives. They range from the trivial, such as social blunders, to life altering mistakes in judgement.

Let me list a few failures:

Social errors:
• Public clothing mishaps
• Falling down on a busy sidewalk
• Getting people’s names drastically wrong
Leadership snafus:
• Making public promises that you fail to deliver on
• Unwise acquisitions for your business
• Hiring someone you later have to fire
Life changing failures:
• Bankruptcy
• Divorce
• Getting arrested

Everyone has something in their lives they regret, but tough-minded people push past those negative memories and move ahead. How do they keep their spirits positive after messing up?
• They accept that they are only human, and that mistakes and blunders are part of everyone’s life.
• They realize the foolishness of wasting the opportunities for a productive future on the lamenting of an irreversible past.
• They have a vision or dream that compels them to get back in the race no matter how devastating their failure.

I knew a Pastor who was helping his church to clear a downtown property for an expansion of their auditorium. When he was asked by the demolition company which building they were supposed to tear down, he pointed to the wrong building. The blunder cost his church thousands of dollars as they had to rebuild the partially demolished structure. He did not quit, but kept on serving his people and his church continued to grow and impact their community. He was mentally tough.

Make up your mind that the past is gone, and you will let the failures contained in it die. Extract any lessons for improvement from your failure that you can, and then put it behind you, and move on.

Success is difficult. Only those who can muster the continued energy to overcome obstacles obtain it. That’s why you need to be mentally tough, and mentally tough people refuse to let past failures and regrets steal their energy for life. Learn from the past, but live in today, and keep dreaming for your future.

Leave me a comment about how you have overcome regret and failure in your life.  I’d love to hear your story.

The Failure Is The Success



I failed. For the first time in a long time, a plan made was a flop.   A project that I orchestrated, managed, promoted, and even prayed about, crashed and burned.   It was disconcerting to say the least. To be honest, I’ve been on a pretty good run. I know this won’t sound modest or humble, but I have been succeeded on pretty much everything I’ve been working on.   So you can imagine my chagrin when I failed. I spent a couple of days licking my wounds and enjoying an elaborately staged “pity party,” and then I got back to work. As I analyzed my crash, I was pleased to discover, (with the help of my wise coach) that my failure was actually the success.

Here’s why:

  • I regained a large amount of time that I’d been investing in the project
  • I helped the my clients to recognize why something wouldn’t work
  • I learned a lesson about securing resources before I take on a project
  • I took one more step in clarifying the key areas where I can make an impact
  • I gained this opportunity to model the skill of “failing forward”

The cliché is, “if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”   I am proud to say that thanks to my recent past, I’m trying hard enough.   It is good to know that even our disappointments contain value if we look at them carefully enough. Thanks to the lessons learned, my failure was the success!