We cannot undo the past but we can learn from it, without wallowing in regret.
I’ve been lucky I did get a second chance. I was given a breathing space in which to reconsider my life.
Stop and think what you would do differently if you did. Could your life, your relationships, your work, whatever it is, be improved upon? Could you live life in a more encompassing way to others? Could a challenge be handled more effectively with less effort? Most importantly acting on whatever you find out comes from this thinking.
Second chances can be created
I would not wish what I went through on anyone. It does not need to be a life altering event that creates your second chance. Sadly many people continue with their lives in the same old way, with that sense of niggling dissatisfaction pushed away and life carries on. It can take a dramatic event to shift that thinking, but it doesn’t have to be an earth shattering occurrence.
You can choose to reflect honestly and consider alternative paths, simply through the process of thinking about it.
Considering things in this way leads to improvement and effective adaption. Do not get introspective with it or start regretting things but learn from where your thought processes take you. It may not be possible to get a second chance on the matter in hand however it will mean the next time something similar crops up you’ll be able to instigate a better strategy.
Life is rarely set in stone, despite our thinking it is. You may feel settled in your job, then economics change and so too your job. If you never consider alternatives, this change can be difficult to handle. “We’ve always done it this way” is a sure fire recipe for disaster in any business but that is exactly what many say. Also true with linear thinking about your own life.
Second chances can be exciting
Changing direction, rising to face a new challenge even after life altering events can bring a sense of excitement to your life. After all, the rule book just got rewritten. If you like, all bets are off. This is your opportunity to write the chapters that follow, not simply do what everyone else is doing.
Even when change is forced upon us, we are still in control, of our reactions to that change. The human capacity for resilience is extraordinary and has quite literally defined our evolution. By nature, we adapt to survive and this has only been obscured by technological advances, not written out of our DNA.
If you decide that change, adaptation, a new direction is required the impetus has to come from your big “Why?”, your sense of purpose. The past can inform your future; it does not have to shackle it. We look back to learn, not regret and we look forward to see if it could be different from past experiences. Those who seize or create second chances often go in a very different direction, on the surface, but they still use the skills and talents they have learned along the way. They simply reapply them to something that means more to them. They will talk about, “wanting to make a difference, an impact, on the world”. This does not have to be headline stuff; it can be simply affecting your local circle for good.
How to make your second chance work for you
Whether it be an external or internal force that is shifting your life, you can make this work positively. A little retrospection is a good thing. Consider times you are happiest and feeling the most fulfilled. Celebrate and recognise your unique skill-set, acquired over the years both at work and home. Consider change as an opportunity, not a threat. Life is not a man-made canal, it is a river with unexpected twists and turns, some obstacles and some moments of tranquillity.
Don’t spend a life regretting what was. Decide what you want to be. I had my second chance thrust upon me and it changed my direction and connection to life. Some days are harder than others, but it feels as if I am creating a legacy, something to be remembered by that would make me feel proud. I will discuss the notion of legacy in the next post. In the meantime, I think this Zig Ziglar quote sums it up rather well.
“We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending”