5 Lessons I Learned from my Older Brother

There are few people in this world who have had as deep an impact on my life as my older brother, Chris Jenkins.  He has been my best friend, wisest council, and biggest supporter since the day I was born.  After 33 years of observing and learning from my brother, I have learned five powerful lessons I think everyone should hear:
1.  Believe in People
Chris has always been one of the first people to believe in me and encourage me in all of my endeavors.  I don’t think there has ever been a dream of mine that I have shared with Chris that he hasn’t believed I could accomplish…And I have some pretty outlandish dreams, which many of you know!  He is supportive of everyone around him and always sees the best in people.  I think he exemplifies one of my favorite quotes from former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, “Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is.  Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
2. Forgive Fast
have never met someone who can forgive like Chris.  I have seen Chris forgive people in one day for things that many people hold grudges over for their entire lives.  His ability to forgive fast and often has always been astounding to me.  It is a true gift to those he forgives, but also for his own emotional and physical health.  Bitterness and anger towards others is poison to our own bodies.  I once heard that, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Sounds like a bad strategy to me J. 
3. Be a Friend for Life
If there is one thing that my brother is above all else; he is a great friend.  This has been demonstrated by the shear number of weddings he has been in!  Once my brother makes a friend, he considers them a friend for life.  He cultivates deep and lasting relationships like no one I know.  In my life plan under the friendship category my mission statement reads, “To be the kind of friend people know they can call at 2am when they need to.”  Chris lives this kind of friendship everyday and has been my key role model in this area. 
4. Bring Your Best and Don’t be Afraid to Fail
For anyone who knows the Jenkins brothers or has ever seen us play flag football together or one on one basketball against each other, you know we are hyper competitive!  This is definitely a gift (and sometimes curse), I picked up from Chris.  My brother has pushed me and challenged me since as early as I can remember to bring everything I had to the table.  Whether it was battling it out as Niners vs. Raiders in Tecmo Super Bowl, arm wrestling, boxing, or intellectual debates, he always pushed me to my limit.  He taught me that life is not worth living if you aren’t going to play full out and it is something I carry with me everyday now.  He also taught me to not fear failure.  I always remember striving to have my brother’s competitive mindset.  He always wanted the ball when the game was on the line and wanted the chance to take the game winning shot.  I was always afraid of that moment, but remember when his role modeling finally rubbed off my Junior year of High School. For the first time of my life, I wanted to be the final hitter to try and win the game in the quarter finals of the baseball State playoffs (a chance I didn’t get as the hitter before me struck out).  It was a turning point for me that opened up a whole new level of competition and excitement in life. 
5. Manners Matter
remember picking this lesson up from my brother in my early teens.  He drove me to school every day for two years in High School.  I still remember how important giving the “thank you wave” was to him when someone let him over to their lane.  He always held the door open for people and always said thank you when other people held it open for him.  I am still baffled at how few people say thank you when someone holds the door open for them.  Seems pretty basic to me, but from my experience far less than 50% of people say thank you for that gesture.  My whole life I have watched my brother demonstrate the importance of treating people with respect and dignity and demonstrating manners in all areas. 
I hope these lessons prove as valuable in your life as they have for me.  Life is short, so bring your best self today!
Dream Big.  Act Small.