By Zach Burkes
Later this week, my little brother will begin the next step in his journey as he leaves for college.
Of course, as his big brother, I want to give him everything I can to ensure a smooth, successful transition. I know he’s facing an array of emotions ranging from excitement to fear.
I gave him gift cards to Target, Uber/Lyft credits, and most importantly, I tried to impart some wisdom.
So… I put together a quick list of “Keys to Remember” in a letter that I think matter most in 2019 for someone embarking on a new journey.
As I reflected back on what I sent my brother, I realized these are applicable at any stage in life.
Whether you’re launching a new business or eyeing retirement in the next year, there is something for everyone below.
Here is the letter I sent him:
Dear Little Brother,
I couldn’t possibly fit everything I wanted to say into a tiny Hallmark card, so I thought I’d type it out and stuff it inside.
Where do I begin?
First, you should know how proud I am of the man and human you’re becoming.
Your maturity, confidence, and easy nature is impressive for your age. The ability to have a genuine conversation is a dying art — never lose it.
I used to tell everyone when you were growing up, “My little brother is going to grow up and be the best kid there ever was.”
I like to think you are.
Anyway, instead of saying “congrats” and leaving it at that, I thought I’d do something different. You know me.
You see, this is just the beginning… When one door closes, another one opens.
Richard Branson once said, “Opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
Here are some thoughts to help you on your journey and capture the opportunities that come your way:
Push outside of your comfort zone
Every bit of success I’ve been fortunate to enjoy has come from pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. It can be weird, awkward, and it might even hurt — that’s okay.
This is growth.
Always give yourself permission to fail in everything you do and NOTHING will stop you.
Stick to your commitments
When I was younger, I often dodged and flaked on my commitments – not recognizing the damage I was inflicting.
It was lame, it damages relationships, and ultimately stunts your ability to grow.
If you commit to something, go all in. None of that half-ass stuff.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself
When I was in my early 20’s, I often felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. That’s not unusual. When you’re young, you’re trying to find out who you are.
That takes time… But always remember to give yourself the freedom to find who that is.
You won’t be perfect, you’ll mess up, and that’s okay. When you do, own it and move on.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
A lot of people go through life worrying about little things here and there… I can tell you right now, it ain’t worth it.
I’ve never looked back and thought, “I wish I would have gotten more sleep that night back in college.”
So, enjoy college! Rush a fraternity and have fun at parties. Just remember #2 above when it comes to being a student first.
Most importantly, when the little things are adding up, you’ll think your world is ending.
Keep pushing forward 🙂
Comparison is the thief of joy
President Teddy Roosevelt once said this, and it’s still relevant today. He meant by comparing ourselves to others, we are robbing ourselves of joy.
Inevitably, there will be someone bigger, stronger, faster than you. Who cares?
Don’t get caught up in the social media fueled, selfie-obsessed culture we live in.
Every problem has a solution
This mindset is the difference between the many who struggle and those who continually succeed.
Every problem has a solution.
You can overcome anything if you keep an open mind and seek the solution.
Furthermore, if you don’t have any problems in your life, you’re not following the above principles.
Above all, work hard, have fun and enjoy this next step in your life.
I know you’ll crush it.
In your corner,
Your Big Brother