Birthday Greetings

It’s Jim’s birthday today and everyone at Serene Ambition would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the difference he has made in our lives. Thank you, Jim!

birthday, dear Jim. As you have transformed so many things in your life
and in the lives of others, I acknowledge you for now transforming our
notion of what it means to be 65. For so many in our culture, it has
defined the age of taking ourselves out of the action and retreating to
the sidelines…from being an active contributor to being subsidized by
those still working. Thank you for leading us…by your
example, through the Serene Ambition community, and through so many
other thoughtful and courageous actions to change our conversation of
“aging” …and for opening up new options for vital living as elders. Many blessings on your birthday, Jim."
~Don Arnoudse

the many thousands of people we come across during our lifetime, there
are only relatively a few that make a deep, profound and lasting
impact. Jim Selman is one of those people for me. He is the dearest of
friends. He was born a teacher. He developed himself into a being an
inventor, creator and entrepreneur. He swims in uncharted waters — and
continues to do so at 65. He is a difference-maker. And to top it all
off, he has a heart of gold.


remember several times when Jim asked me a question or offered a view
that totally transformed what I could see or say. With one single
statement or just one probing question, he would shift my reality. He
always did this with a twinkle in his eye and that impish smile. As
much as I initially wanted to strangle him for pulling the rug out from
under me, I couldn’t, because I always got his unconditional love for


One time as a young
man, I was venting about my difficulty in handling the extra weight
that my wife had put on. I remember saying, "I can’t help it, an
athletic figure just more suits my taste." Jim smiled and said, "Well,
change your taste." On the surface, that seemed pretty unsupportive and
definitely unlikely. Yet, over time, I began to see that he was right.
I could run my taste or my taste could run me. That statement gave back
to me the freedom to choose. I could see the possibility of "getting
off it". I actually began to re-define beauty. Jim has given me more
gifts than he could possibly imagine.


65, I wish Jim the happiest of birthdays. He epitomizes youthfulness —
in his thoughts, energy, actions, and in his state of being. (Well,
maybe his golf swing isn’t as flexible, but his mind is even more so.)
He is one of those people that many see as a shining light — I sure
do. I thank God for putting Jim Selman in my life."
~Vince DiBianca

"They say everything begins as an idea in someone’s mind…well, I saw
the possibility of a friend, business coach and ‘creative colleague’ in
my mind’s eye for many years. And to think Jim appeared in my life at
an informal meeting on Peak Oil that I almost didn’t go to!  Well, the
Universe delivers surprises every now and then…and he certainly
qualifies as a surprise. I
wish you the happiest of birthdays today, Jim. Thank you for sharing
your insights and wisdom, for being such a compassionate elder, and for
inspiring me to recreate myself and make a difference in the world. May
our conversations continue …."
~Shae Hadden

"I first met Jim at a
training course about the commitment-based approach to creating a
future that is different from what we have today.  His perspectives
resonated for me and I subsequently arranged a course for my management
team so we’d share a common language about how we were inventing the
future in our region … with excellent results.  After that, I
attended his mastery course in coaching and have become a coach for
other leaders.  Jim gave me a framework, a paradigm, to help me
understand what I was trying to do instinctively, a means by which I
could consciously engage others in far more effective ways. There is
something wonderful in knowing that limits don’t have to be limiting
and that anything is possible.  Thanks, Jim.  Have a very happy
birthday, my friend."
~Marilyn Hay

Marilyn Kentz is the outspoken brunette of the comedy
duo "The Mommies". She co-created and co-starred in the stage show that
catapulted her and next door neighbor, Caryl Kristensen, into stardom.
And she began that adventure at age 45! The Mommies’ swift rise in
popularity led to an NBC sitcom, which led to an award-nominated
Showtime Comedy Special, which brought about the ABC Talk show “Caryl
and Marilyn: Real Friends”.

Caryl and I were in the beginning months of performing the stage show,
Jim sat us down and asked, ‘Why are you doing it?’ We answered all
kinds of superficial things like, ‘It’s fun to make people laugh,’ and
‘We need to get out of the house,’ and even, ‘Because we like to wear
costumes!’ Jim continued probing. The more we answered, the closer to
the truth we came. And then, one last time, ‘Why are you doing it?’
‘Because we want women to feel like they’re not alone.’ There it was:
the nugget. And we held on to that ideal throughout the rest of our
career. Every decision after that had to fit that criterion. Does it
make women feel like they’re not alone? I am truly grateful to Jim for
the nugget. To this day, it is with me at every crossroad. It’s more
than a nugget–it’s my foundation. Thank you, Jim for such a precious
gift. Happy birthday!!!!!"
~Marilyn Kentz

first met Jim in the late 1970s when we were both participants in an
organization called ‘Growing Older.’ Then, about ten years later, I
joined his staff when he was the head of Transformational Technologies.
Listening to him coaching affiliates on the phone I knew he had
something very special to offer them. I was inspired by him then, even
as I have remained inspired by him over the years as I’ve followed his
career. I’m privileged to call Jim my friend and offer my
congratulations on his 65th, a birthday that testifies to his having
reached adulthood. My love to him now and always."
~Elizabeth Russell

"The old in the new
The new in the old
Jim turns 65 new years old
In a context that is 1 year old
growing young by growing old
New conversations unfolding from old
Elderhood leading the old
Bridging the gap from young to old
Transforming the future of the old."
~Adib Saikili

complacent sense of order first came up against Jim’s sere intellect
several years ago during training he was providing to our organization.
As a schoolboy in England, I was given to understand that the idea of
progress arose during the 17th century or so, as civilization turned
its back on the idea that the world was in a perpetual state of decay
and rot, and that modern thinking held that knowledge, invention and
improvement in one’s lot was steadily escalating on moral as well as
physical bases. In Leviathan,
Hobbes wrote of a certain joy that arises from the imagination of man’s
own power. He was thinking of course not of pathologies, but of the
infinite wonderful possibilities that an open mind may admit. Jim
reminded me of these elemental lessons imperfectly learned and long
since forgotten. Moreover, he altered my conception of the future. ‘We
can bring the future into being – and the thinking person will readily
appreciate this – by the power of our commitments, our promises,’ he
said. He influenced my perceptions of relationship-building as a competency, a re-framing of a complex process that assisted me better to assume responsibility for it.

remember reading once that the existentialist philosopher Gabriel
Marcel was asked how he came to change his attitude toward a personal
value question he had discussed during a presentation (I’ve long
forgotten what it was). His answer, surprisingly direct but exquisitely
existential, was that it was a personal encounter. Nothing else ever
makes us change important value assessments as powerfully as personal
encounters. Jim exhibits that authoritative power that operates through
the medium of friendship and trust that assists in understanding,
appreciation and moral discernment."
~Stu Whitley


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