“No, they’re slaves.”

My son Kubla and I are sitting at the dolphin show during an impromptu visit to the aquarium. Freedom is a big theme in our family. So while the dolphin show is surely fun, and justifiably the main attraction to a four-year old, I can’t help but think these wildly intelligent creatures are confined to a tank they can fully explore in 30 seconds.

It strikes me as a teachable moment.

“Would you rather be a free dolphin or a slave dolphin?” I ask him.

“Free to travel the seven seas and eat all the fresh herring you can catch? Or a slave, safe in the walls of the aquarium, hand-fed dead fish, stuck with the same friends everyday, but you can see the veterinarian any time you want.”

He pauses to consider his answer. “I’d rather be a slave dolphin.”

I try not to show my disappointment.

“Really? Why?”

“Sharks can’t get me in the aquarium.”

“Hmm. Makes sense.” I have an idea.

“Would you rather be a free shark, or a slave shark?”

“A free shark,” he says. “Definitely.”

What would you rather be—a free dolphin or a slave dolphin? What is more important to you? Security? Or freedom?

Every entrepreneur I’ve worked with knows that tension well. But like any core value, security and freedom mean something different to all of us.

Have you done the work to define your most important values? How do they stack up against other potentially conflicting values that drive you?

If finding the answers to those questions sounds like time well spent, check out my Identifying Personal Core Values mini-course. Dolphin shows not included. Deep discussions about what matters most – very much included.

The next session starts July 18. Click the link in the first comment below to learn more and save your spot!