Clarify your values before you set your goals


A new friend and collaborator asked me recently where I saw Curious Lion going. I recited the somewhat vague 10-year plan I have in my head, fleshing it out as I went along. He asked good questions about other growth opportunities that caused me to question how big I wanted the agency to grow. I became nervous thinking about a 50-person company, working on 15-20 clients at a time. Leading an organization like this requires an enormous dedication of time.

I left that conversation knowing I needed to spend more time thinking about what I valued the most.

After weeks of thinking about it I realized that my number 1 value is freedom, specifically freedom of time. I want to be able to decide what projects to work on and who to collaborate with. I want to be able to work on diverse topics. I want time to write, to travel and to spend time with my family.

I shared this revelation with my wife this morning. Her response was swift.

“Then you shouldn’t have decided to have a baby.” (we’re expecting in March ?).

She’s the realist to my idealism. She’s also right. But it helped me to clarify my most important value. I don’t desire the life of a nomad. I don’t crave the ability to up and leave on a whim to spend 6 months in Guatemala (ok, maybe a little). I have another important value: to grow a family and build deep, human relationships.

Freedom to me is the ability to decide how I spend my time. To take a day off work to play with my future son. To work through the night finishing an article I’m writing. To slowly grow two companies that make a difference for people in contrasting ways. To not grow Curious Lion into a company with unmanageable headcount. Of course, financial freedom is part of freedom, but it’s a component of the overall driving force, not the driving force itself.

Taking the time to clarify my #1 value has given me the driving force I need to make better decisions.

Till next time, stay curious.


P.S. If this email looks a little different to you, it’s because I’ve migrated from MailChimp to ConvertKit. This is going to allow me to personalize content for you even more, so look out for some cool features in the coming weeks!


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China and India share many similarities: rich history and traditions; growing global influence; and burgeoning middle classes.

Together they are home to one-third of the world’s megacities.

But they differ in one significant area: demographics.

By 2050, India will add roughly 270 million more citizens, and China’s total will actually decrease by 30 million people. Thanks to China’s one-child policy implemented in 1979, the main working-age population cohort (25-64 years) has essentially already peaked in size.

By contrast, India’s population is growing rapidly. By the year 2050, it’s estimated that India’s workforce age population will be comparable in size to that of China’s today — over 800 million people strong.

Click here to watch a video showing demographics move over time.

This email newsletter was originally shared with subscribers on February 6th, 2020. To receive the latest newsletters twice a month, sign up below!

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