Does Everyone Shift?

At some point, probably yes. But does everyone also become aware?

In one of my favorite “lite” movies, Pretty Woman, a rich venture capitalist and a pretty young prostitute both shift to new ways of being in just four days.  The VC decides to begin working with the father figure of his newly acquired company to build big ships, while the woman determines to align her outer environment with her inner self, leaving the LA to pursue a GED and radically change the way she works and lives.

In reality, most shifts occur over several years, not several days. As is the way with movies however, we meet the character at just the precipitous moment where he is ready to shift. He has fought back his father, staked his claim in life and made his fortune. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he realizes, as many of us do, that none of this has brought him satisfaction. Most of us however, do not run into the perfect storm that allowed the character to so completely shift in such a short amount of time. For most, in “real-life”, the process is more gradual.

President William Clinton partially shifted after the 1994 mid-term elections, driven perhaps by the fact that his policies were not supported by the people he was elected to lead.  He began to cooperate with congress, and for a short time was able to reach across the aisle and work with Newt Gingrich on broad legislation. This helped drive prosperity and craft the ever elusive balanced budget for the first time in ages.  Of course those two estimable gentlemen also shared off-field passions that brought the Clinton Presidency and the Congress center stage for the last years of the Clinton administration.

Today, President Barack Obama might be shifting. His decision to support Gay Marriage, clearly a progressive agenda item that his archetype should favor, is evidence that he is attempting to “man up” and own his values, making decisions consistent with his value system, and not solely for political expediency. Authenticity is a key post-shift value for many men, particularly those around President Obama’s age.  If this is the first step in his shift, perhaps he will turn into a statesman – the first to hold the office of the presidency since George Washington.

What about Mitt?  Has he shifted as well? Pre-shift, a venture capitalist with a strong belief in small government might sell the Grand Canyon to Exxon Mobil under the motto of “Drill, baby Drill”.  That same venture capitalist post-shift, would still identify with the same values of small government, but might work with congress to change the C corp legal restrictions on officers acting solely for shareholder value to act more like “B” corps that are able and required to act on all stakeholder interests. He might then sell off those National Parks to companies like Disney or create IPO’s.  The net result is the same but the results are critically different. In both scenarios, the Federal government exits operating parks, turning it over to private enterprise. In the first situation, the parks are destroyed, big industry rules the day, and what is left of our country’s beautiful natural heritage is obliterated. The latter situation, created by a man acting in accordance with another post-shift  value, god’s will in their life, or PURPOSE or, if you prefer, the needs of all people, allows for positive inclusion of business to intersect with the rights of the individual, working together to preserve what is arguably our most precious resource.

From this perspective, it is even possible to assert that President George W. Bush shifted while occupying the oval office.  It was, after all, God who told him to invade Iraq.   But as fans of Oh God, you Devil know, the voice of God and the voice of Satan sound the same. What does it take to discern the difference? Awareness.

So, how do we know if we are aware? Men, post-shift, the focus is often on authenticity, listening to God’s will, trying to live in accordance with an identified purpose, focused on family, spiritually connected, and striving for a sense of personal peace. For women, post-shift focus often centers on personal growth, self-esteem, happiness, forgiveness and spirituality.  But back to the question at hand – how do we know if we are aware? The fact is, if we have to ask – we probably are not yet there.

This year America will elect Romney or Obama, or whomever, to be the next president of the US.  They may, or may not, be aware.  If they are, there is some hope that we will finally stop fighting with one another and make decisions based on what is good for all, or at least most, Americans.  But then there is always Congress, not much awareness there.  So it goes.

In the meantime, for those of us that have shifted and are aware, all we can do is become as healthy and fit and well as we can be. Focusing on creating lives, companies, and ventures that generate true prosperity for everyone we touch.  Eventually, as 80 million boomers shift, wake up, and live on purpose with happiness and forgiveness, acting as elders in society and giving back to the next generation, it will not matter who is elected or what congress does. We the people will create the America the founders envisioned. We, the people, will create what will serve us best.

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