In her book,
, Jody B. Miller describes two ways people move through life. Many drift: they grow up, work, and have families without asking themselves if they are making the most of their lives. Other individuals, by choice or by chance, move outside of their comfort zones; they become happier, stronger heroes of their own lives and those of everyone they meet. The author introduces readers to a number of such people. Before relating their experiences, she tells readers the premise behind her book: that each of us has something to offer to make the world a better place. Her book is divided into four major parts. At the conclusion of each chapter, there are Takeaways: inspirational lines like “You matter, even if no one ever tells you that you do.” Part One: Why Shift? Life events may or may not be going according to plan. It is not our purpose to lead a humdrum existence. When people shift, they get a clearer picture of the world—and place greater value on joy and a feeling of accomplishment. Among these individuals is Serita, who spent her early years in a foster home and learned that no one really cared about her. When she attended high school, things began to turn around. Compassionate friends and a physics teacher who insisted Serita take an international examination now set her on the road to success and the fulfillment of a long-held dream. Then we meet Reid, an easygoing boy who grew up in a rural area. He learned well in his one-room schoolhouse, and—since tuition was free in his native Canada—decided to break with family tradition and attend college. Reid chose the prestigious McGill University, where he met Serita. Even though he was quiet and serious and she was sociable and vibrant, the two discovered they had much in common. The future they built together after graduation led to a level of happiness neither could have predicted. The author sums up the couple’s experiences by saying, “pay attention to what you see, hear, and more importantly, imagine. The capacity of our brains to realize our desires is strong.” Part Two: When to Shift According to the author, when a shift happens is often the result of life event: a health issue, the birth of a child. Listening to one’s “inner voice” can help a person to know when the time is right. What is important is to have constant faith that everything will work out for the best once the shift occurs. Andy is a prime example. The ski resort CEO was an avid skydiver—until he made a bad landing. His paramedic training helped him realize how he was injured and kept him calm while he decided how to help himself. Andy’s arm was seriously and permanently damaged. Even though athletic pastimes were no longer an option, he found a new purpose: improving the lives of wounded veterans. In short, Andy found a new normal. Part 3: How to Shift It is not easy to get the shift right the first time. The important thing is to keep at it even if we find ourselves drifting or needing to refocus. The bottom line is that however quickly or slowly the shift takes place, it is vital to keep moving forward. Sloan’s father came back from World War 2 severely traumatized and prone to fearful and angry outbursts. As a result of her difficult childhood, Sloan battled with depression. Inspired by a religious sister and friend, she began to believe prayer was a source of help and strength. After college, Sloan—who had not wanted to teach—got a teaching position in a school where many children spoke Spanish. The young woman enjoyed her work and thus found her place as a bilingual teacher. To add icing to the cake, Sloan married a wonderful man. Life was good until health issues—and their inability to have children—threatened to disrupt the couple’s idyllic existence. Rather than give in to despair, Sloan and her husband moved forward with their lives. Sloan firmly believes that the Almighty has always heard her prayers and provided her with the strength necessary to face and overcome every challenge. Part Four: After the Shift There is nothing better than knowing we are loved and not alone. Indeed, happiness, a feeling of worth, and happiness are present in the shifts described in every story. No matter what causes the shift, those undergoing the change become better for the experience. Now What? The author believes that the important thing is to be happy. Shifts can lead to this state of mind, but adjustment to the new reality may take time. Jodi B. Miller has an impressive resume. She is the CEO of a corporate job placement and employment consultation firm. In addition, the author is a career and life coach. Both of these positions have put her in a position to hear countless stories and help people find a fulfilling and happy place in the world. Because of these occupations, and executive posts in corporate, advertising, and broadcasting firms, she speaks with an authoritative voice. The author’s vast experience and her desire to help people in all walks of life achieve their full potential shows through on every page. Whether relating the challenges facing corporate executives or indigenous peoples living in the Amazon, Jodi B. Miller is focused not only on the difficulties of the past and present but on solutions for the future. And she has the ability to pique a reader’s interest from page one. By asking questions like “When was the last time I really felt alive?” and including personal anecdotes, the author makes people want to keep reading. Both insights and stories are written in a conversational, readable manner. Every story is followed by “Takeaways,” inspirational messages relating to the account that readers can apply to their own lives: “Live a life of love and joy no matter what you have to face.” “Appreciate life. Embrace it. You matter in this world.” “Regardless of what capacity you have, live your life. Don’t have regrets. The clock only moves forward and so must you.” “Prayer can heal you. Try it.” When I initially saw this title, I was not sure what to expect. As someone who (like many people) has experienced periods of drifting and shifting throughout life, I thought this might be one of a countless number of self-help guides out there. While From Drift to Shift falls into this category, it is unique in that in addition to providing guidance, this book inspires. Readers cannot read the author’s introductory and concluding remarks and the stories without being encouraged to look into themselves and determine where positive changes can be made. And she accomplishes this feat without being preachy, making readers feel that her method is superior, or claiming that there is only one way to achieve success. For those wishing to learn more, there is a chapter-by-chapter list of sources at the end of the book. This valuable addition adds credibility to the author’s premise. There is only one small drawback. In her introduction, the author tells readers what she believes this book can do for them. Seeing the title, printed in bold letters, repeated at the beginning of each paragraph, I had the feeling that she was “selling” the ideas contained therein. However, this does not detract from the quality of the book. Therefore, I give From Drift to Shift
4 out of 4 stars.