62 Second Chances

By December 31, 2015Generations

second chances

Do you believe in second chances? I do.

Second chances deliver the opportunity to correct a wrong, choose a better path, and live a life of renewed purpose. Many institutions allow individuals to have second chances while some do not. Most educational institutions provide probation in which individuals can correct and prove themselves.

Oddly, the same can be said for legal institutions. Reform is needed, so recidivism rates are lowered. Another opportunity for second chances, institutional-style.

I am glad for the institutions that give second chances.

Individuals, most often, give another individual a second chance. Relationships can be messy, yet people with the heart and mind to make and accept changes survive and thrive. For the gift of a second chance to be given, the recipient needs to demonstrate a willingness to change for the good. One-sided second chances rarely work.

Similarly, closed minds and hearts eventually dry up relationships, along with any opportunity for a second chance. The seeds of second chances that fall onto infertile ground never develop roots for growth.

Businesses are given a second chance through new strategies, new leaders, and new products. Also, within a business, individuals receive second chances through performance plans and educational opportunities. Second chances are not always perfect in what is given or in what is done, but human cultures will always be imperfect. We need to continue always to get better at what we do and how we do it.

Second chances demand innovation, change, and advancement. Second chances are an opportunity to become unstuck from old habits, bad habits, and dangerous habits. How we approach second chances, on both sides of the equation, need to improve. Our human condition requires improvement, just as our organizational condition does.

So, why this conversation about second chances, especially with the title of 62 Second Chances?

When you think about it, a new year is a second chance. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. We can build upon the past, too. Age does not matter when it comes to second chances, although more self-control and self-awareness should begin to take hold later in high school through college. Upon graduation, we need to view a year as a second chance.

I have had over 32 second chances with more to come. In an average lifetime, we may have about 62 second chances. I wish this view of a new year as a second chance would have hit me a lot earlier.

I am not big on resolutions. I would rather figure out how to have the resolve to sustain positive change.

I like the three-word focus approach that Chris Brogan promotes. Planting simple words can change our mindset, but they may fade as months disappear from the calendar. Using a three-word approach works better for me when I refresh the three words every six months.

Reflection of the past year is vital. Too often, reflections become superficial, and nothing new really happens. Reflection to action is the necessary conversion point.

Viewing a new year as a second chance resets our attitude though. After all, second chances should never be taken lightly. If you fail a second chance, the next one may not come and, if it does, the third or fourth chance may lack the family and community support of the first one.

A quick and firm warning. A second chance view for a new year is not a license to make bad choices or take inappropriate or lazy actions, knowing that the next year is another “second chance” year. A second chance mindset for a new year is additive, meaning you build a footing of positive support and momentum of actions through the years.

Having said this, second chances may create the right traction to achieve progress and positive change in a new year.

Framing the Second Chance Mindset for a New Year

I am not an expert in second chances, but I like the frame it provides to thinking about a new year.

roots habits second chancesFirst, for a second chance to stick, we need to understand the lessons learned. More than self-reflection, it is writing down what was learned from the previous 12 months.

Next, second chances mean we have to take responsibility for what was done or not done. We own our life and what we make of it. We need to step up to our life responsibility.

Third, we need to look ahead and determine what habits will produce better results for us and for those around us. Change does not happen just from thinking and reflecting. Change happens when we take to heart what needs to change and then begin to practice new habits that promote the positive change.

Roots need water to grow. Positive changes need new habits to grow. Better habits are the water for personal growth.

Fourth, if we fail greatly, we know it will take more time to recover. However, if we build a good foundation each year, we can explore new opportunities a little further without fear of falling all the way down. With a second-chance mindset, we fortify our personal foundation each year by doing new things to enhance our positive impact and purpose.

Ah, that purpose thing again! Purpose delivers betters choices. Studies now reinforce this fact. Second chances done well advance our purpose. Second chances serve as a colorful thread to strengthen our purpose.

Fifth, second chances mean we leave something bad behind. We may leave bad relationships. We may leave workplaces. We may leave friendships. We may leave baggage of stuff. We may leave bad habits. For a second chance to take hold, we need to unload what isn’t working. As tough as it may be, second chances demand it.

Finally, second chances are an opportunity given. We need to embrace the opportunity with all that we have and make the most of it with all of our talents and gifts. Our life is meant to have a meaningful purpose, and second chances give us the opportunity to hone our purposeful focus.

Second Chances: A Mindset

second-chance mindsetA second chance mindset is what we need to consider in a fresh year. Maybe this is a generational shift we need to instigate. For Millennials and Generation Z, skip the resolutions and look at the year ahead as a second chance. Take it from an older generation. Real change happens when yearly second chances are understood and acted upon. A lesson for older generations to adopt sooner rather than later, too.

Ask yourself and write your answers:

  1. What are the deepest and hardest lessons I learned these past 12 months?
  2. What mistakes do I need to own, and what is my new responsibility going forward?
  3. What 2 to 3 new habits do I need to start and sustain in the year ahead?
  4. What will I do to build on my personal and community foundation?
  5. What baggage do I need to ditch and by when?
  6. What 2 to 3 actions can I take to hone my purpose in the year ahead?

Let’s look at the new year as a second chance to take to heart changes we need to make and identify actions we need to begin and continue. Second chances are much more than resolutions. Second chances instill a tenacity to learn and do better. (Tweet it!)

Are you ready to embrace your second chance mindset in the new year?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Alli Polin says:

    Happy New Year, Jon! I too appreciate the frame of a second chance at the start of the new year. There is something truly powerful about a fresh start. Reflection keeps us locked in the past but unless we move forward with the lessons of the past without the chains, we’re never really moving forward. So last year wasn’t all you wanted it to be? Here’s a second chance. Pretty fabulous. Almost like a do-over but a whole lot wiser.




    • Jon Mertz says:

      Happy New Year, Alli! Second chances are fabulous… now it is up to us to learn, grow, and do something better and different! Grateful for your good works and am looking forward to all you will bring in the new year ahead. Thank you, Jon

Leave a Reply