What is it about birthdays ending with zero that prompts us to reflect on our lives and reassess where we are going? A single zero causes us to re-evaluate life so we can only imagine what celebrating a birthday with two zeros is like. My good friend Ted Holmes has been reflecting on his extraordinary life after turning 100 last week. He is the first centenarian I have known, so I have little research to go on.
I am honoured to add my congratulations to the Queen’s message to celebrate such a remarkable man. Small groups of his fans joined him for a week of afternoon tea celebrations in line with the current restrictions on gatherings.
One secret to his rich life is to be always curious and optimistic about the future. His future has always been bigger than his past. Ordinarily, it is difficult to get him to reflect on historical events. I often try to engage him about his illustrious career as a lecturer in Accounting at Melbourne University, where he witnessed how auditors and accountants transformed into playing strategic leadership roles as Chief Financial Officers.
But he would rather discuss the future and his latest plan to make a bigger impact in the world.
Perhaps the extra zero in his birthday caused him to reflect more than usual on the professional and personal turning points in his extraordinary life.
We have Ted to thank for developing clear and meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that transformed the business world. In the mid-80s, he developed a world first performance management report comparing the target and actual performance for all the significant aspects of an organisation. His insights from this work led to him lecturing on the global stage on the topic.
It has not been all plain sailing though. On the personal front, his life took an unexpected turn in 1997 after losing one of his daughters and then his wife twelve weeks later. He turned to writing poetry for solace and over the next twenty years, wrote and published ten books of his poems. In 2015, he was one of twenty poets invited by the Director of the National War Memorial to read poems for its War and Words program.
Celebrating his 100th birthday, he said his life has been in transition as his faculties decline, but a deeper understanding of reality emerges. He told me he welcomes, “….the dawn of extraordinary new and simple beginnings in my now emergent second century!”
Ted is my role model as he celebrates his 100th birthday and continues to create a future that is bigger than his past.
🙋 Who is a role model for you and why? 🙋♀️
Best regards, Brian