Whoever said “there are no second chances” was full of it. There are second chances everywhere.
You can make them. There’s nothing stopping you except for the belief that you can’t. I’ll give you a classic example – you’ve interviewed for a job and been turned down. Game over, door’s closed, right?
No way! There is absolutely a chance to turn that into something that moves you forward in some way. 99% of people won’t do it, but it literally costs you nothing except a little ego.
So you’ve been rejected for a job you interviewed for. Email the person you interviewed with, as politely as humanly possible, and thank them. This absolutely does not work if you’re even the slightest bit argumentative, snarky, or petty. You’re not writing this email to contest their decision. You’re writing this email to genuinely thank them for their time and the opportunity. And you’re going to show some humility and say that you’re eager to learn and improve. And then, with tremendous politeness, you’re going to ask if they could possibly give you some feedback as to what you could have improved as far as your skills or interview technique.
Worst case scenario: They don’t respond. You’ve lost nothing. Since they’ve already said “no,” you’re not risking anything here. You have nothing to lose.
But the other possibilities are all upside! You might get genuine feedback and advice that you can use to improve. You might impress someone enough to get a reference for another role or similar help on your journey. Or you might even impress someone enough to reconsider their initial decision! Even if any of these cases are unlikely, it costs absolutely nothing to try.
Let’s say you could spin a wheel, and 99.99% of the time nothing happens, but 0.01% of the time you win a hundred dollars. Even though the chances are very slim, it’s worth spinning the wheel if it’s free, right?
Don’t worry about odds of success. Worry about odds of success versus cost. If the cost is zero, even a very unlikely “Hail Mary” is worth throwing.
Did you lose that competition? Enter again and change your approach. Did that cake turn out terrible? You can bake another. There’s no cosmic rule that says you only get one shot at anything. There are second chances all over the place. Yes, sometimes there are truly pivotal moments, decision points, or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. But those are incredibly rare, and most things you do will absolutely not fall into that category. Most of the time, you can try again. You don’t fail until you quit.