Emerging Generations, Emerging Leadership

By Ben Hart, Shift Network Marketing Manager

In our last Catalyst edition, Stephen gave a snapshot of the recent Shift strategy retreat, in which we did some powerful visioning to the year 2050 and what could be co-created through this network in the decades to come.  As we discussed how best to move forward in our mission of helping to evolve consciousness and culture, one topic that came up again and again was how we can best support younger generations and emerging leadership. 

Thus far, in the three years The Shift Network has been in existence, the majority of our network has been 45-70 years old.  This is obviously a hugely important sector of society, offering great wisdom, leadership, commitment, resources and potentials that continue to be revealed.  I am heartened during every well-attended Shift event to see these generations leading the way as the first in history with large cohorts of evolutionaries. 

By necessity though, as we move forward in service to Shift’s mission, our work will need to expand and impact more of the world’s younger generations.  Creating a true shift will come as we learn to create a world where ALL of us are supported in evolving, and encouraged to contribute powerfully. 

In the last year, we have had a few initiatives focused in this ‘youthful’ direction, from the “Youth Rising for Peace Summit”, which featured young peace builders from around the world, to the ongoing Gen Y Shift series, a conversation series that I host for 20 and 30-somethings on personal growth and spirituality, to a few fun videos geared to this audience. These projects have been our initials steps in broadening our impact across generations.  Often during these projects, and still to this day, I’ve asked myself, what can this become?  What initiatives, education, media and events, will be most catalytic for my generation to evolve and shine?

As I mentioned, this question arose for us during our strategy retreat as well: What is our role as the Shift Network in supporting emerging leaders, young adults, and youth?

I invite you to see this issue of the Catalyst as a continuation of our journey in answering this question.  This edition is a glimpse into the genius, love and commitment of my generation as we cover a range of topics, from emergent community gatherings, to visionary art, to food systems and beyond. 

What makes me most excited about this edition though, apart from the diverse topics, is that it’s comprised of each of my peers sharing his and her unique perspective and wisdom.

I see this as the key for our future and feel that it is part of my personal message on earth - that all of us have unique gifts to share, which come through when we ground in the truth of who we are.

When I think ahead to what might be created to support younger generations, it is always initiatives that help us to release the fears that block our natural expressions and encourage us to relax into simply expressing the gift of who we are.  I believe this one of the most courageous and important acts for every human, to live as our true selves and bring our natural gifts to the world powerfully.  

With increasing numbers of us, of all ages, connected to our greatness and manifesting it in our communities each day, it will be the most radical and world changing snowball effect imaginable.  Having our collective genius, creativity and love flowing through society increasingly will absolutely evolve every human institution.

In this pursuit, I think my generation is waking up to the fact that we don’t need to primarily look toward the problems around us and try to figure out how to solve them, rather we need to support each other in fully knowing ourselves and being able to powerfully declare: “this is who I am and what I am called to create, express and champion”.  My sense is that this human family is diverse enough that when we each connect to who we are and express ourselves in action, all areas of concern will be addressed synergistically.  

So, you see why I am excited to share this catalyst edition.  As my peers and I ground into who we are, much comes out to be shared and created.  I’m excited to expand the channels for our voices to be heard and to grow the support structures for our gifts to be given ever more.  Much is to come in the years ahead.

I leave you with this timeless thought, the contemplation of which always brings me into gratitude:  It is our duty to know ourselves and courageously live it in the world.  At the same time, it is also our greatest joy.  

What a great deal.

May we do our duty and know our greatest joy.  Thank you for your support and commitment as we walk this path together.

Ben Hart is the Marketing Manager and Host of the Gen Y Shift Series at the Shift Network.  He has spoken internationally on spirituality and personal growth, led workshops on leadership and communication in colleges and communities and organized leadership conferences for young adults. 


You can follow Ben on Facebook here.



Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2013 Catalyst - Issue 7