How "Other" is My Brother

Our badges for the Houston Business Journal's "40 under 40" event. May 2011.

My brother is also an entrepreneur. The Houston Business Journal named us both to its "40 under 40" in 2011.

I'd love to interview my brother for this site someday. We are very different entrepreneurs.

That's no value judgment--we're just very different people, and very different entrepreneurs as a result.

And when you're very different from someone, you can see them at the distance needed to truly appreciate who they are and what they offer.

This is a love letter to my brother.

My brother is a true extrovert.

People gravitate to him. When my brother enters the room, his personality is bigger than the space. Everyone benefits from his energy, his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, and his benevolence. He has always had an entourage--people who feel being in his presence is better than anywhere else.

My brother is 100 percent comfortable with himself.

Confidence may seem synonymous with extroversion, but it's not. People who are extroverts can still be insecure. Not my brother. Not even in the slightest. He knows who he is, he likes himself, and he doesn't care if anyone else has a problem with it. He’s not perfect, but he's the first person to point out his imperfections--and to indicate that he's not going to apologize for them. I could probably count on one hand the number of people who can say the same.

My brother believes things into being.

Self-help gurus tell people to live as though they’ve achieved their dreams--that acting like they're already the reality will make it so. My brother lives this way naturally--without convincing himself or giving himself pep talks. He makes things happen by believing they will happen. Straight out of college, he told my mother and me that he wouldn’t take less than a certain salary. The stated salary was exorbitant for fresh diplomas. Know what? He got that salary. Plus some.

My brother takes risks.

Perhaps because he believes in himself so strongly, he has few inhibitions and few fears. He rushes headlong into what seems to be the unknown without hesitation. This is true in his hobbies and true in his business life. Where most of us would cringe in the face of fear or possible defeat, my brother charges forward--and he’s never defeated.

Me? I'm an introvert who's better one on one than in large groups. I feel socially awkward most of the time and hope no one notices. I doubt myself too much--and I'm often too scared to take the really big risks.

I'll never have my brother's amazing qualities--and I'm okay with that. But there are many, many things I should try to emulate. Appreciating him is the first step.

Love you, bro.

My brother at I at the Houston Business Journal's "40 under 40" event at the House of Blues. May 2011.

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Reader Comments (5)

An amazing family.

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Pora

Aw. Thanks, William! I think we're pretty good. But I'm biased.

July 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

Aww! My sister is the best sissy EVER! So how is my sister other? (this doesn’t work nearly as well as “brother” and “other”). Let’s discuss that and a few other tidbits.

I keep hearing from my sister how she is this introvert (both in person and in print). Ladies and gentlemen- DO NOT believe the hype. She tells you how much better she is in one on ones than groups- also a falsehood (although I love to hang with her one on one). Sure, there was a time when I had to ask for the ketchup for her at McDonalds- but those days are long gone. This ‘introvert’ had the courage to move to Memphis, then Baltimore, then Chicago, and then London- and all along the way the introvert disappeared.

She had the courage to run off and move wherever- and I think that some of that lends itself to her starting out as an introvert. She was much less reliant on friends, and therefore wasn’t intimidated about leaving them behind. I can’t say the same for myself. I love my friends, and even the ones that moved away I am slowly convincing to move back to Houston. I was always too afraid to be without my social network- but she never had such fear.

Through all this adventuring she did, she learned she couldn’t live life as an introvert. As such, she worked hard to come out of her shell and get comfortable talking to anyone and everyone- and I think she is better at than me at this point. I never took the time to “hone” my skills at networking for example, because I never had to. Being social and outgoing came natural, and so I never appreciated the skill enough to try to get better at it. These days you can find her at galas, social functions, parties, and networking events with a swarm around her. Not only are people interested in talking to her because of her striking looks, but she is engaging and charismatic.

It’s time to drop the self- described introvert label- and I need everyone’s help to call bullshit on her when they hear it.

Leslie is the single most principled person I know. This can be a fault at times (it results in a stubbornness one has never seen before on earth), but it gives her a resolve beyond anything I have ever had. To my example above, she decided that she was going to be more outgoing- and she made that resolve a reality without ever considering that it couldn’t be done.

Many of you will never believe this, but there was a time about 15 years ago that Leslie was a terribly unhealthy eater. She also NEVER exercised. She was basically the same as I am right now (and have always been) except not only would she eat bad she was picky too. There as even a time when all she would eat was McDonalds cheeseburgers with no bun… no other cheeseburgers, only McDonalds. Then one day she decided she was going to eat better. She force fed herself veggies until she liked them, and then started branching out to all kinds of exotic foods (she is just as gastronomically adventurous as I am- although I am more so on the carnivore side and she sits solidly in the adventuring omnivore camp). She now is a health food nut- with the exception of chocolate- and you wouldn’t have bet a dime on that 15 years ago.

This is where it gets really depressing for the rest of us unprincipled couch potatoes. Yes, we have all decided to “get in shape”- usually around January 1st- at some point in our life. She decided one day to get in shape, and the rest was history. She started jumping rope, then running, and now she does ridiculous human torture events she calls exercise, like the Texas Relay. Oh, and by the way, she used to HATE mornings and stay up all night (I still am like this)- but that wouldn’t accommodate the lifestyle she just one day up and decided was right for her, so now she gets up every day at 5 am with no caffeine involved. That shit is ridiculous.

Reader, this is your cue to feel bad about yourself.
My sissy is one of the most impressive people I have ever met. She is smarter than you are, and is prettier than you, and she has no idea (well she has some idea on the smart part). She is an extremely empathetic woman, with the emotional side to go with it- although she will never let you know unless she wants you to.

I just with Sissy knew what everyone else does. Much like the ‘introvert’ image she labels herself with, there is a serious lack of self-awareness regarding her self-awesomeness (I think I just made that word up). As everyone knows, she is gorgeous. She has a striking beauty that sets her apart from everyone in the room (she got that from Grandma Gladys… I got Grandma’s love of carbohydrates).

She is totally childish (is this way we are VERY alike). Should you ever be fortunate enough to witness a perfect stranger injure themselves in front of Leslie (i.e. slipping and falling on ice)- watch out, she may not stop laughing for an hour. Or just ask her to tell you her Snoop Dogg joke. She likely won’t be able to get it out because she will start laughing before she can tell it. She has just the most wonderful sense of humor.

My sissy kicks your sissy’s ass.

August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Brother

Leslie this is the BEST post! You two are so blessed to have one another. ((hugs))

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy W

Aww. Thanks, Amy! I'm definitely a lucky girl!

September 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

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