Most entrepreneurs are eager to say "yes" to every opportunity that comes their way. Unfortunately, due to lack of time, skill set, interest or all of the above, it's simply not possible or practical to pursue every deal that's put on the table.

There may inevitably come a time when you pass up a lucrative business proposal -- only to watch it grow into a success without you. While it might be tempting to sulk about the chance you never took, staying hung up on the past will not help pave your future.

Below, a group of entrepreneurs shared their best advice for changing your mindset on lost business opportunities. 

Retrace your thought process.

If your decision about turning down an opportunity is eating away at you, Matthew Podolsky, founder and managing attorney of Florida Law Advisers, P.A., recommends revisiting the thought process that led you to make the decision not to join.

"These reasons may still align with your core values and it was best you didn't get involved," says Podolsky. "Hindsight is always 20/20, so make the decision to learn from the experience and take this lesson into future ventures."

Reframe the loss as a lesson.

People make mistakes and, as an entrepreneur, you're very likely to make mistakes that you'll regret later, says Syed Balkhi, co-founder of WPBeginner. Instead of being consumed by that regret, think of it as part of your journey as a business owner.

"Reframe your loss as a life lesson and use the experience as a launchpad for future success," Balkhi explains. "You'll never make the same mistake again."

Assume that it happened for a reason.

Nicole Munoz, founder and CEO of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc., notes that you never really know what the future may have in store. There's no telling what could have happened if you had gotten involved, and there's likely a good reason you passed up the opportunity. 

"Sometimes it's best to assume that things will work out for the best, even if they don't initially seem to be going your way," Munoz adds.

Take the long view.

Even if you feel you made the right decision at the time, things sometimes don't work out the way you want them to. Karl Kangur, founder and CEO of Above House, advises entrepreneurs to remember that it's a long-term game -- and as long as you're making the right decisions the majority of the time, you're going to come out ahead.

"In the grand scheme of things, these missed opportunities are insignificant and may instead leave room for bigger ones in the future," says Kangur.

Talk it out with someone you trust.

As a busy entrepreneur, you simply don't have the time to bring the energy of regret or shame into your life, says Erik Rivera, CEO of Certapet. If you're wrapped up in these feelings, it's important to address them right away.

"Talking with a mentor, trusted peer or even a mental health counselor can help you move on," Rivera says.

Start looking for the next opportunity.

According to Serenity Gibbons, local unit lead for NAACP, the best way to move forward is to figure out the lesson in your loss and start seeking new avenues for success.

"Focus on that criteria as you immediately start paying attention to other potential opportunities," says Gibbons.

Let it fuel your own success.

Passing up a lucrative business opportunity is disappointing, says Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster. Instead of letting it get you down, you need to use it to fuel your own success.

"Look at what made that missed business opportunity successful and figure out how you can incorporate those qualities in your own business," Griffin says.

Think of what you've accomplished since then.

Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source Inc., says moving on from a lost opportunity is all about having perspective.

"You didn't take the opportunity for a reason, and as a result, alternative doors likely opened for you along the way," says Weitz. "Take the time to list out or recall the accomplishments and other opportunities you have said yes to since that deal was made."

Published on: Jan 7, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.