Hope for your financial life and beyond

Why I’m Thankful for First and Second Chances

We’ve all had moments in life when we were granted first and second chances even though we probably didn’t deserve it. Remember that first big break? Can you relive the feeling? You were emotionally on cloud nine after being given your first chance to show the world what you were made of.

More than likely, it took a long time and a lot of effort for you to break through and secure your first opportunity. But still, that first chance to prove yourself happened fairly early in life, sometime in your 20s.

second chancesThere is no logical reason why anyone would give a person in their 20s a chance. Generally speaking, 20-somethings have no money, no experience, and no patience. They are idealistic to a fault, thinking they alone hold the key to changing the world. They disdain older generation, thinking they are pessimistic, set in their ways and out of touch with contemporary culture.

Of course I’m exaggerating with this characterization. Many 20-somethings are not like this. I was though, even though it may not have appeared so to those around me.

Yet someone still gave me a first chance.

What the First Chance Offers

With that first chance came three things I desperately needed. If you guessed money, experience and the immediate need to develop patience, you’d be right. Thank goodness I was able to get those three things sooner rather than later.

I messed up a lot in those early years as I grew into my profession. With no experience, how could one not mess up when new situations arose. There were times I wondered if I’d ever get it right.

I’m thankful that during the early days of my first chance, people were patient with me as I stumbled time and time again. No one ever said, “You’re just not going to make it kid…get out.” Sure, people knew I was raw, but they didn’t want to see me fail.

So they extended grace to me when I didn’t know what I was doing.

They supported me in public even when I had done something wrong.

They stepped in to provide counsel and direction through the difficult choices.

And they provided more care and encouragement than I could have imagined.

So why am I thankful for first chances? Because I got one. It provided for me in ways that go well beyond the financial.

Thankful for Second Chances

Have you ever needed (or wanted) a second chance? Did you need an opportunity to prove yourself again? Was there another goal to reach or a situation for which you needed to make amends?

Of course you have – because we’ve all failed.

We read in the Bible that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).  That means we are not perfect. You don’t need to believe in God to know that’s true. It’s obvious simply by looking at human behavior. We’ve all stumbled at some point and need a second chance.

In many ways, second chances are harder for people than first chances. With a first chance you usually start with a clean slate. You get the benefit of the doubt from the person granting the chance that you can make something of yourself.

That’s not true the second time around. People looking for second chances face something first-chancers don’t. It’s called baggage and looks something like this:

Regret (about your past decisions)

Guilt (over who was hurt)

Memories (of pain that won’t go away)

Fear (of failing again)

Hesitancy (to make decisions because the ones before were so bad)

Apprehension (about what others are thinking)

Endless emotions (that scream, “You’ll never make it again…it’s not worth it…go home”)

Even with that baggage, people still give us second chances. Why is that? You’d think after seeing a failure that they’d say, “That’s it, I’m through with you. Move on.”

I think people give second chances for one main reason: they failed at some point too and someone gave them a second chance.

So why am I thankful for second chances? Because I’m going to mess up and need one.

Forgiveness and Opportunities

In reality, we all need and are usually granted chances beyond just a second.  I’m thankful for that too. I’ve needed to move on for various reasons and pursue other careers because I wanted to change the course of my life.

Besides careers, we need second chances in other ways. I’m sure my words will offend someone this week. Thank goodness they’ll give me another chance with each poor remark I make.

One day the disciple Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus reply was, “…I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Jesus wasn’t putting a limit (490) on the amount of times you can forgive. He was proposing that forgiveness should be endless. That’s tons of leeway for the opportunity at more chances.

However, there may be an end to the chances you might be given. Some behaviors are dangerous and intolerable. So guard your chances carefully. Consider each one another gift to get it right.

Be appreciative for the first and second chances you are given. Make the most of them whether it’s the first, second or hundredth. Thank the people in your life who have given them to you despite your inexperience or the mistakes you’ve made.

And if you are the one granting the first, second or the hundredth chance, do so with generosity, remembering how many chances you’ve been given. Step into someone’s life with love, encouragement and guidance and help the succeed. I’m sure they’ll be thankful for it.

Leave a Comment or Answer a Question Below: Do you remember your first big chance? What was it like…how did it go? Have you ever had difficulty moving on from mistake or failure as you sought some second chances? Who has helped you succeed and become more than what you thought possible? 

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  1. Nice post Brian. I think when given with another chance, we’d better be glad and take it with renewed hope and positive perspective that this time, we can really make things right.

  2. Great post, Brian! I am definitely grateful to those who gave me my first chance, especially when it came to my career as a financial advisor. As I’ve shared before, there were a fair amount of naysayers because women financial advisors were not very common (still sadly a problem today). I remember everyone who stood by and cheered me on my journey to where I am today. Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving, Brian!

    • Sometimes all people need is a chance to prove themselves. That can’t come unless someone else is willing to take a risk and grant someone a first chance. Like you, I’m glad I’ve met some risk takers who opened a door for me.

  3. I think we all deserve a second chance. My only problem is when people don’t learn anything and need 25 chances all because of making the same mistake over and over again.

  4. I have made many mistakes in my life and for me, the greatest blessing is the second chances and forgiveness shown by those we love. We are human and not robots so we are bound to make mistakes, but it is such a gift when we are given the opportunity to rebound from those mistakes that we made.

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