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Every so often, you’ll commit an offense so bad that you’re not sure how you’ll bounce back or if you’ll even be able to continue the task. From a costly mistake at work to breaking the trust of a friend or partner, some things are hard to make amends for. But it happens, and when you’re given a second chance, you can’t squander the opportunity to make things right and improve going forward. Below are some ways to ensure that you’re making the most of a second chance.

Sit with the person or people you hurt and discuss the issue plainly | It may hurt, feel awkward, and dredge up some events that you’d rather put behind you, but an important part of moving forward is ensuring that you fully understand what went wrong and how you can prevent the issue going forward. Especially if coworkers or friends got hurt in the wake of the issue, talk through what happened, apologize, and strategize tactics for productive interactions.  

Take stock of what was and wasn’t your fault | Usually, a combination of uncontrollable circumstances and controllable behaviors and reactions collude to create an eruption, so talking through what transpired will help you only take on guilt for what was your fault. It’s easy to get lost in self-loathing and wallow in a pity party, but you only need to take on what you did wrong. There may have been other factors and other people whose decisions contributed to the mess.

Keep a Journal of Situations and Reactions | Once you come to terms with what you did wrong and how you came to make the wrong decision, start keeping track of similar situations and how you respond to them. Are you reacting well or poorly? Are you reacting in a timely fashion? Are other people responding well to your methodology? You can begin to build for yourself a database of tough situations and appropriate ways to handle them for you to reference in the future.

Find a Friend to Hold you Accountable | Learning from your mistakes can entail ending a bad habit or starting a new one. As anyone who’s ever attempted a New Year’s Resolution can attest, you can slip on your promises if there’s no one to hold you to them. Find a mentor, friend, or coworker you can regularly meet with to discuss your progress in forming or ending a habit. Make sure the hold you to your goals and call you out when you’re slacking.