Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It Is Hard To Get A Second Chance - But Sometimes You Do


We all have faults and we all make mistakes.  It is simple to look at the world from own vantage point and misunderstand the viewpoints and motivations of others.  Jumping to opinions about other people is a national pass-time (Come on, we all do it!).  

It is not uncommon for people to create a judgement based on limited observations, and then forever hold these fellings about the other person (regardless of the realities).  

There are many reasons why someone will hold an opinion about you.  Some of their feelings are based in reality, others are off base entirely.  The manner in which we engage with people needs to be more about them, as that is the filter they use to judge.  But it is hard to always be doing things their way.  I struggle with this, as it is hard to remember that others may not share the same enthusiasm for people, places, ideologies or other things.  

Failing to understand another person can often leave them feeling hurt.  This is never fun, and often not uncovered until it is too late.  To realize you missed the mark is hard to admit, and even harder when you struggle with it internally.  Nobody wants to bomb a relationship with a possible business contact, but it happens.

I have done this (failed, dropped the ball, etc...), and I will do it again.  Nobody is perfect.  When you are engaged with other humans, you have to remember that the other person has their own "stuff" going on in their lives.  This means that their emotions, hopes, dreams, disappointments and goals are all lurking behind the surface.  That can be a lot of "stuff", and it is impossible to interpret when you do not really know the person.

Sometimes a relationship can be salvaged.  Or not.  It is difficult to change the perceptions that others have of you, as few people seem to be willingly look beyond what they want to see.  A personal example is about one acquaintance I have known for many years.  We could be a great friends (he is a very nice person), but he clearly does not want to pursue a stronger connection.  It is a shame, as the synergies are strong and I admire his accomplishments.  However he does not show any interest in building a stronger friendship (this is okay, as I learned long ago that not everyone will be my best buddy).

Of course you can, and should, try to salvage a relationship or expand a friendship when appropriate.  All opportunities come from people, and therefore few things are as powerful as long-term and mutually beneficial relationships that is built with trust and respect. When you can "re-start" it can become an amazing experience for both people involved.

When you reach out for a second chance there is no guarantee the other person will have any interest in revisiting their opinion.  Thus this is a risk.  But sometimes big risks bring big rewards.

Not everyone who crosses you path will become a part of your network.  It is okay.  There is nothing you can do about it, as 100% of the people will not like you.  All you can do is try to help others when you can and be nice to all.  Own up to your own faults and work to improve yourself.  And do not forget to be forgiving of others who are struggling to overcome their own shortcomings. 


After reading this you may not be rushing to make a list of people with whom to reconnect.  However, the next time someone reaches out to you for an second (or maybe 3rd) chance, I suggest you set the past aside and come back to the drawing board of judgement.  Some of the time (not every time) you will be pleasantly surprised by the great friendship that can occur.  And just one person can change your life in amazing ways.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This article crossed my path at the right moment.

Tiffanie Kellog said...

Great share!

If people are willing to reach out to you after you messed up, it means they are trying...

Anonymous said...

People don't like being connected to people who are purely self-serving and fake. Doesn't matter how many times you come back to the drawing board if the experience is always the same.

That being said, your post is a good one. Hopefully you take your own words of wisdom to heart and move on. The people who aren't your fans likely never will be. Whether that is for good reason or not, only you and the other person know for sure.


Thom Singer said...

Anonymous #1. Thanks

Anonymous #2 . You are right that some people never change. But some do work hard to improve along the journey. Changing for the better is a tough task- but humans are funny creatures and can surprise you (for good or bad).

I am not suggesting being a door mat... But the one time you give the right person a chance it can be HUGE for both (I have been on both sides of this).

Alas- you are right for me to move on (have really). And I have for the most part. But I recognize where I failed in this situation - and believe when two motivated people collaborate all are better.

I have seen too many good situations of a "re-start" work out good (true- many or most do not)- that I never quit :-)

Melanie Smithson said...

Thom, you are so right about the mind jumping to conclusions. Often before we have any say in the matter. Sometimes I can catch myself and postpone judgement. It's a fun game I play with the mind. I say "just wait til we get all the facts and then you can judge as much as you want". By then, the urge to judge often disappears.