I’d like to think I am unique, imaginative, creative, different – and maybe I am all those things. But my deciding to tip-toe into politics is not a sign of that apparently.
Oh right, let’s go back a step. I am now a politician, more or less.
As of two days ago, I am a registered candidate for Town Council in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. I am running to represent Ward 5. (I doubt that many of you reading this live in Ward 5, Oakville, Ontario, but if you do please vote for me. I am pumped and inspired and promise to do an awesome job representing you if elected).
Heading into politics is new for me, completely. I need to figure out how to best connect with people, the logistics of putting up signs, the best way to handle campaign contributions and much more. I have a ton of career experience of course. I have worked on Bay Street, I was on television for a decade, I speak in front of conferences of thousands of people, I’ve written multiple books and I advise companies and governments on strategy. But this is different, which is one of the reasons why I want to do it.
When I was writing my latest book, Economorphics: The Trends Turning Today into Tomorrow (www. economorphics.com), I spent a lot of time looking at the way cities are evolving, and the way that policies need to adjust. I looked at cities and suburbs and exurbs and all the rest of it, and I have recently been speaking about those topics at conferences. As a consultant, I also crunch economic and demographic data on Canada’s towns and cities and neighborhoods. I like all of it – but at some point it occurred to me that I want to take my skills and knowledge and serve in a different way as well.
That’s right, I said serve. I have always rolled my eyes a bit when people talk about ‘public service, as of they are doing everyone a favor by taking office. All I can say to this is that I do want to serve – and that’s where I am not unique.
As a trend-watcher (some call themselves ‘futurists’ but that’s a bit sci-fi for me) one thing I have identified the past few years is a strong societal trend towards ‘giving back’. It goes along with the phenomenon of baby boomer aging and looking for the next stage in their lives (I’m an early Gen Xer, by the way, but clearly ahead of the curve).
I write about it in Economorphics too, this searching for ‘meaning’, after having had a successful career and maybe raising family as well. We are now experiencing a wave of people hitting a point where they want ‘more’, whether that means getting more involved in religion or spirituality, moving through a bucket list of things like travelling and climbing Mount Everest, or giving back to their communities in some way. As boomers (the youngest of whom are now in their early 50s) hit their retirement years, we are going to see even more of this search for a way to contribute, and to feel the pleasure that comes with doing so. As a society, we should figure out how best to use that energy.
Trying out local politics will be an adventure for me, and one that I hope ends with a mandate to do more.
And if you do have friends in Ward 5, please tell them to look for me on the ballot on October 27th.