I had the opportunity to speak to a very successful entrepreneur recently about an incredibly painful and public experience he had. Things had not gone the way he had hoped, despite incredible commitment and hard work on his part.

What was impressive to me, was that despite his investment of tremendous resources, he was willing to walk away when he realized he couldn’t be successful. I heard the pain and frustration in his voice as he described the experience. And it resonated with me because I’ve had the same thing happen to me many times.

What I’ve learned is that these frustrating experiences of failure have prepared me for bigger opportunities in the future. While success breeds confidence, I believe failure breeds wisdom, understanding, and capability for our next efforts.

As you think about the future, and especially the coming year, what things haven’t worked for you? What can you learn from them that will fuel your progress? Learning from failure is the thing that sets great leaders apart from the rest.