Three Things Humpty Dumpty Can Teach You About Choices

Editors note: The following is a guest article written by Chip Kohrman, founder of Telesaur. Chip was one of the winners of our recent guest post contest. Find out more about Chip at the end of the post.

It’s been decades since I heard a good nursery rhyme before bed, but I’ve relearned them for my own children. Nursery rhymes are like a circus: senior citizens living in shoes, visually impaired mice, personified cutlery running around town. The kids love it.

And really, who can ignore Humpty Dumpty? Shell shocked and shattered, all over the ground, with a bunch of horses trying to put his fragmented frame back together again? By the way, those were the king’s horses… and you know those royal steeds had saddles full of cash.

Couldn’t they have just outsourced it all to someone with opposable thumbs?

Someday, you too will hunch over a big pile of Dumpty, with nothing but your hooves. In preparation for that day, we can learn three things from Humpty Dumpty’s fall.

Choose your riders carefully

As it goes, “All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men.” The horses had a network. It was just the wrong network. Imagine if the all king’s men had been members of the National Puzzlers’ League. Not such a tragic fall after all, right?

How do you choose your riders? Their goals should run parallel to your goals. Their abilities should compensate your weaknesses. And in no way should they be, as Ashley Ambirge puts it, dream zappers.

Don’t carry around dead weight. There will be times when you’ll need your riders to carry you.

Choose your kings wisely

You’ve got to question the logic of a guy who puts his eggs on top of a wall for safe keeping. Some clients/tasks/startups/endeavors are set up to fail from the start.

Two of my previous employers taught me a great lesson. Let’s call them Employer A and Employer B. They both had impossible clients.

Employer A was hurting for cash, so he said ‘yes’ to his client no matter what. 80 percent of the company’s resources went to accommodate this client’s outlandish requests. The revenue generated through that client never surpassed the losses it created. As a result, Employer A doesn’t have resources left to serve new clients.

Employer B made a valiant effort to please his client. Employer B tried to bring his client up to speed with the industry. But after a few months, Employer B realized that his client was not learning or progressing. The problems were always the same. Employer B fired his client and moved on.

Even with lifestyle design, you have your kings. Decide which things pull you away from your goals. Fire them. There are always more kings.

Choose with hooves in mind

I was discussing lifestyle design with a close friend of mine several years ago. I told him I was ready to leave my job. He said I was crazy, and that I was “incredibly good at it” and that “not many people can do what you do.” He said, “Starting over means starting from the beginning.” But I left anyway.

Lifestyle design, however, is not a total about-face, but more of a calculated 179 degree turn. Take your experience with you and use it. Inventory yourself. You are miles beyond “beginning.”

Even if the king’s horses aspired to be piñata artisans, they could have boiled down their feet for glue. Experience holds its value when you control the rate of exchange.

And yes, outsource what you can.

Have any Humpty Dumpty tips to share of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Chip Kohrman is the founder of Telesaur, a startup that helps people find and do telework. He writes for the i heart telework blog and hangs out on Twitter as @telesaur.

photo by ScottSchrantz

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