Why Second Chances are Necessary
By Joe Ulm
A situation occurred a few weeks ago that required me to make a decision whether to give someone a second chance or not. The situation was significant, and after a few days of gathering information, there was still no clear right answer. In the end, I granted the second chance, but through the process, I came away with a new perspective on second chances. Specifically, every second chance of significance is complicated.
I’ve got enough years under my belt to have spent plenty of time on both sides of the “second chance” equation. I’ve been grateful for the grace of a second chance when it’s been granted to me and I’ve tried to be generous when I’ve been asked to give the same. But those who gave me a second chance weren’t always right. Nor were they right every time they withheld it and that’s because of the four factors present in every second chance: belief, risk, change, and time.
For example, if I’m the one asking for a second chance, I’m essentially asking someone to believe in me so much that it outweighs the risks of granting me the second chance. That’s a lot to ask! Even more, I’m asking them to believe I’m committed to changing my behavior for a long period of time. Because if I need a second chance, I’ll need to earn back trust/respect/goodwill/etc., and those are only earned over time.
Prior to the situation that occurred a few weeks ago, I had generally thought of second chances as good things, and to an extent, I still think they are. There are dangers to second chances too; dangers that deserve thoughtful consideration and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Within the context of that careful consideration, however, I believe a world of second chances is necessary.
As I think back to all the times someone granted me a second chance, I realize it was much more than just a chance to redeem myself; it was what made me learn and grow. Their belief in me was a touch of grace that would allow me to better consider the risks I would be asked to take on someone else in the future. And that has value in any context.
Better together, better United.