My big brother Sean is a heck of a guy.
From the time I was little, I remember watching everything he did. Whether he was on the baseball field, interacting with his friends or talking to my parents, I watched how he did things and listened to how he spoke.
I vividly remember watching him mix his corn with his mashed potatoes one night at dinner back in the day. I immediately began doing the same thing. If Seanie did it, it must have been cool – and delicious.
As his little (and often annoying) sister, I am 3 1/2 years younger than him. For as long as I can recall, I have always tried to keep up with and emulate the examples he has set for me.
Growing up, I’m not sure I was fully aware of the tremendous impact he was making on my life. I just knew I wanted to be like him.
We’ve always had an awesome connection, but I’ve noticed that as we’ve both grown into adults, our connection has matured and become even closer. I know I can count on him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and I feel extremely grateful that I’m able to honestly say that, without hesitation.
Since he’s such a cool dude, I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to him. Here are 4 ways my big bro Sean inspires me.
1. He loves to be silly.
If you know Sean Cooley, you know he’s a goofball. In the best way. Growing up, he was a constant source of entertainment for my family and me – especially at the dinner table.
Sean constantly sings things instead of saying them, which is hilarious and always lightens the mood, wherever he may be.
He has a gift for saying and doing hilarious things at exactly the right time. My Mom would giggle, while my Dad would usually laugh and shake his head, wondering where this kid came from with a smile.
Sean likes to do a little jig and imitate people when you least expect it. He has a way of disarming tense situations through humor, breaking tension in a way that few people can do. Growing up, I always laughed when he did his Arnold Schwarzenegger voice or countless others that made me smile.
Though he is an extremely hard worker in his sales job, Sean is a silly goose and it’s awesome. It’s a trait that I really admire about him and try to emulate whenever I can.
2. He’s an amazing husband and father to 2 beautiful little girls.
Seeing my big bro become a husband to his wonderful wife Colleen and a father to 2 little girls has been an awesome experience. Not only does his silly side shine through so naturally in the way he helps raise these 2 little nuggets; he also guides them and coaches them in a loving and hands-on way that I love to watch.
He encourages them constantly and they light up when he’s around. They always want to hang with their Daddy when he’s not working hard to support them and their future goals.
I knew his girls loved him, but it became really clear when his daughter Coral recently said to me with a smile,
“I just watch what my Daddy does and I copy him.”
No wonder they’re so silly, thoughtful and amazing!
3. He is a natural born leader and steps up to the plate whenever I need him.
Whenever I’ve needed my brother, he’s been there for me. And I know I’m not the only person who can say that about Sean Cooley. Just ask his friends.
In my 20’s, when I was between jobs and needed coaching or even a few dollars to help me get by, Sean was there, without hesitation. What you would hope a big brother would do for you when you fall on your face – Sean does it, time and time again. It feels amazing to know that he’s in my corner in every area of life.
Last year this time, Sean was the officiant for my husband Ryan and my wedding. What a cool moment that was, entering into this next phase of married life with my brother standing up there with us.
He had always been there for me, and now he was there for my husband and me. And he killed it! So many people complimented him on how well he did – how funny he was, how sincere the ceremony felt and how articulate and proud he seemed to be officiating this special day.
As my parents looked on in the first row, I stared across at my wonderful soon-to-be husband and got rather emotional as I said my vows. I was so overjoyed and emotional that I didn’t know if I could pull myself together!
Just as a huge lump in my throat felt like it was going to take me down, my brother whispered,
“You got this, Bre!”
As always, my big bro came through in the clutch, gently reminding me that it was okay to be emotional and that I could get through it.
Sean is a natural born leader. People gravitate toward him and follow his example.
It’s a gift that I’ve always seen shine through Sean – from the time he was awarded the Ryan Lemmon award for “Most Inspirational Player” on his Varsity baseball team in high school to the present day.
He may not have been the biggest guy on the team or the fastest guy on the field, but he was the most hard-working. He had the best attitude. And he hustled.
That’s why Sean Cooley’s name is engraved in bronze on the Ryan Lemmon statue at Windrow Park in Irvine, CA. Because his spirit and leadership is that of a true champion, on and off the field.
4. He encourages and uplifts other people around him – constantly.
Whether he’s helping his daughters learn how to do new tricks in the pool, motivating his sales team and colleagues to push themselves or reminding a friend or family member that he believes in them, Sean is doing so from a genuine place.
Growing up, he was a constant supporter of mine on the softball field. He was always thrilled for me when I came through in the clutch in a big game. It felt awesome to know that he, along with my Mom and Pops, were 100% behind me, celebrating my successes and pushing me through my failures.
As I grew older and the softball field turned into the corporate office, Sean was still there on the sidelines cheering for me – and he still is, to this day. He coaches me the night before big interviews, runs through potential questions I may be asked, pumps me up and reminds me that “you got this, Bea!” (his nickname for me since forever ago). I know deep down that he truly wants the best for me.
He is super stoked when I excel on the job and is always encouraging me, telling me to keep up the good work. Sean reminds me to have thick skin, to be assertive but respectful and to ask for what I want in the corporate world. He constantly sends me articles he reads that he uses to better himself physically, mentally and emotionally. He never stops learning.
Most recently, I got a little bit down on myself about this blog. I honestly wondered if people were reading it, if what I was saying would actually matter, or if I was wasting my time. I stopped blogging for a bit, feeling semi-defeated by the doubtful voice in my head.
That’s when Sean intuitively asked me,
“How’s the blog going? Don’t you enjoy it for yourself? You should keep writing – it’s amazing and you never know who you’ll impact.”
My big brother’s words helped me get out of my self-imposed, short-term writing funk. He reminded me that what I say matters. I thanked him, and he said to me via email,
“You’re welcome! Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement. Goes a long way! Keep it up sis, proud of you.”
Well, I’m proud of you too, Sean. I’m proud to be your little sister and I’ll always look up to you. Thanks for everything you do for me – you da man!