Thane Marcus Ringler is a former pro golfer turned speaker, author, coach, and entrepreneur living in Los Angeles, CA. After competing for nearly four years as a professional, he transitioned out of the world of golf into his new endeavors. In his current work, Thane's mission is to help others live and work better. He is passionate about speaking to the journey from the journey, and wants to empower this generation to take ownership of their lives and never settle for less than they are capable of. Thane is also the host of The Up & Comers Show, a podcast all about learning how to live a good life. To find more on Thane and his work, visit: ThaneMarcus.com
We talk to Thane about leadership, the different things that we need to do in order to lead others well, and he shares a few of the things that he has learned when it comes to personal development.
"...the base principle is it's doing what you need, or want, or know you need to do, regardless of how you feel in the moment. That's what discipline is. Because there's a lot of times where our feelings don't align with what we know we need to do. It's being disciplined to do what you've set out to do, to be the person you've said you are or that you want to be, and do that consistently on a daily level, living with integrity, and being disciplined and follow through regardless of the weather of the day, because some days are pretty cloudy."
— Thane Marcus Ringler
- John: Welcome to the CharacterStrong Podcast, where we have conversations on school culture and leadership. Today we're talking with Thane Marcus Ringler. Thane is a former pro golfer turned speaker, author, coach, and entrepreneur, living in Los Angeles, California. After competing for nearly four years as a professional, he transitioned out of the world of golf into his new endeavors. In his current work, Thane's mission is to help others live and work better. He is passionate about speaking to the journey from the journey and wants to empower this generation to take ownership of their lives and never settle for less than they are capable of. Thane is also the host of the Up And Comers Show, a podcast all about learning how to live a good life. To find more on Thane and his work visit ThaneMarcus.com. Let's get characters strong with Thane Marcus Ringler.
- Houston: All right. Welcome, everyone, to the CharacterStrong Podcast, where we have conversations on school culture and leadership. Our goal is to cut the fluff right to the stuff, and today we have someone who has been very good at that in his own life. This is Thane Marcus Ringler. He's someone who's doing some speaking with CharacterStrong, has written a book called From Here To There, and a former professional golfer. The guy is someone who is one of the most disciplined, thoughtful people I know. Serendipity and good fortune has brought us together here in Los Angeles. Welcome, my friend. Glad that you are here.
- Thane: Thank you, Houston. That's a very kind and generous intro. It's great to be here. Excited to just chat a little bit.
- Houston: Yeah. And today we want to to talk a little bit about this conversation around discipline, and you shared something right before we started recording, which I think is critical. We spent a lot of time talking about leadership. In order to lead others well, what's the first step?
- Thane: The first step that no one wants to hear is that in order to lead others well, you have to lead yourself well first. It's, it's crucial. We can only take people as far as we've come. That's kind of humbling, because a lot of times we haven't come as far as we think we have. So, being honest with how far we've come, that helps us know how far we can take others.
- Houston: Yeah. We say that leadership development is character development, and we also say that professional development education is personal development, so we got to be willing to do that work. What does that work look like in your life? What are some of the recipes for success that you've discovered?
- Thane: Yeah. Well it looks like a lot of different things for a lot of different people, but at the end of the day, the base principle is it's doing what you need, or want, or know you need to do, regardless of how you feel in the moment. That's what discipline is. Because there's a lot of times where our feelings don't align with what we know we need to do. It's being disciplined to do what you've set out to do, to be the person you've said you are or that you want to be, and do that consistently on a daily level, living with integrity, and being disciplined and follow through regardless of the weather of the day, because some days are pretty cloudy.
- Houston: Absolutely. When we talk servant leadership from James Hunter, one of our favorite quotes is, "Intentions minus actions equals squat." If you don't align those actions to the things that you want to be about, you're not going to get anything. He says on the other side of that is intentions plus actions equals will. Right? We're strengthening our willpower over time, and will and integrity have a pretty strong relationship to each other.
- Thane: They do. Yeah. And honestly that's the simplest definition for discipline is intention plus effort, because ... and I think that's what's so important about how we think about change even. I wrote about this with you guys too, is like powerful change always comes from powerful choices. The difference between a choice and a powerful choice is that intention piece, that intention plus effort, which is discipline. The only thing that makes a powerful choice powerful is making it regardless of how you feel, again. I think that, like you said, the willpower, the integrity, and the discipline, they're very synonymous in, in life. A lot of times we think about them in ways that we look at them kind of as like the teacher that puts us in timeout. Right? We don't want that parent or that teacher figure governing our actions, but really in order to create our best selves,, or our best work or whatever it is, there has to be a structure within which we create.
- Thane: That's what produces the freedom. That's why I love Jocko Willink, former Navy seal. This guy is like so inspirational. He has a book called Discipline Equals Freedom. The point of that is when you look at an art piece, like this beautiful painting on your wall over here, you have to know what defines a painting. There has to be a structure for what a painting is for it to be a painting, for you to then create this masterpiece within what a painting is. That structure is so important for bringing out our best, truest freedom, our truest selves, and our best gift for the world and for our students.
- Houston: Yeah. That counterintuitive idea that constraint creates freedom, that we need systems in our life in order to pursue things consistently, which creates integrity. I think probably many of us know that alignment in our life, integrity in our life is a freeing feeling, because anytime we're out of alignment, there's something naturally internally torturous there. I think when it, when it comes to serving students, there's a lot of sort of cultural conversation around how this generation is lazy, that this generation isn't motivated, not willing to work hard. I really believe that this generation is very purpose driven, intention driven. But I think there are lost in terms of helping find some of those intentions and those purposes, which what a gift that we get to do that or help do that in the context of education.
“I didn't realize that the thing that brings the most power in any of these scenarios or situations is simply showing up. Showing up over the last five months, once a week for an hour, has been the thing that has made the biggest difference and the biggest impact on these kids' lives. It's kind of blown me away. I didn't really expect that to be my takeaway. But here I am, and I'm looking at this, and it's really not rocket science. It's as simple as showing up.”
— Thane Marcus Ringler
- Houston: I think that, and we know through experience, when we do things at CharacterStrong, like our character dares, for example, these systems that we create for repeated, consistent character action in people's lives, and what we've discovered time and time again, is if you create a routine and external accountability as an educator, students want to sign up for hard stuff. They're desperate to sign up for hard stuff. Let's talk about that in terms of both the educator perspective and serving students. How do we as educators effectively sign up for a hard things in our life and stay true to them? Let's start there.
- Thane: Yeah. No. I think that's hitting on one of the best ways to bring out our best selves is to take on responsibility, to really challenge ourselves. Right? That's what brings out some of our best work. I think it's easy when you're teaching or instructing those who are below you, in both age, and knowledge, and all of that, it's easy to assume the position of a arrival. We have already arrived, and so now we are imparting upon those who haven't arrived yet what we know from arriving and. It can subconsciously create this lethargy and also lack of integrity and alignment within our own lives.
- Thane: That's why it's so crucial as any educator, teacher, or person that's even mentoring younger people, is to first like really understand, am I living with intention? Do I have a reason for why I'm doing what I'm doing, or am I just sitting back in this arrival state and sharing from my higher position than someone else? You know? It's a very prideful thing, and we all kind of tend to fall into this. I think that's why it's so important to have intention. That's the intention piece. That's where if we can lead ourselves well, then we can lead others well. Well, leading yourself well entails knowing why you're doing what you're doing. If we don't intentionally do that, it won't happen. It doesn't happen by default.
- Houston: Right, Yeah. I think in whatever career we pursue, you start doing it long enough and you start to say, "I got the hang of this," or, "I've been doing this a long time. Don't ask us to change." Right? And get into those routines that while we might have arrived on some level, one of my favorite lines from a superintendent ever was, "You don't have to be bad to get better." We can arrive and still have room for a lot of growth in our life. When you say intention is the key ingredient, knowing why we're doing what we're doing almost always drives resilience. We know that through Angela Duckworth's research on grit. How do you set an effective intention? Because we're here in La and we talk about intentions all the time, but sometimes they're a little too loosey goosey. Right? So, what's an effective intention?
- Thane: Yeah. I think it really starts with self understanding. You know? We have to know. I love the question, who have you been created, equipped, and called to be? I think it's a pretty comprehensive thing. What is your like natural gifts and abilities that you were kind of born with? What have you been equipped with through your experience and the life that you've been given, both knowledge and experience? And then who do you feel called to be, like what is your purpose, or what is your vision before you? Kind of looking at the past, present in the future in that way can help us understand ourselves. It can help us then create an intention for ourselves that aligns with who we are and where we're going.
- Thane: That produces full alignment all across the board. Then from that powerful place is when we can impart powerful change on others, especially those that are within our school or our system. It takes self-discovery, and that's really it. We have to make the space for that to happen, because, again, that doesn't happen by chance. It doesn't happen by default. Life is full of inputs and stimuli that are constantly distracting us from knowing ourselves and knowing our true purpose in life.
- Houston: I love that idea of that effective intentions are born out of clarity of self, so if we haven't made the time, which is always a critical distinction, making the time, if we haven't made the time for self-discovery, then setting those intentions is almost always going to be an outside job, when it really needs to be an inside job. It Needs to be informed by clarity of self. I love that idea of past, present, future. What was I created, what was I born with? What have my experiences granted me? Then what is my purpose? What is that future thing I'm working towards? I guess if we don't have clarity around those things then, yeah, intentions are going to be a fleeting and temporary, and unclear, and all those things that quickly help them fall apart.
- Houston: We talked a little bit about leading ourselves in order to lead others, but ultimately our work in education is helping lead others towards not only becoming competent in math, science, English and history, but also become compassionate human beings in the world. What would be one thing in terms of discipline, in order to help our students, what would be one of your tips in equipping them with discipline?
- Thane: Yeah. Trust me, I love like the five tips to do this, you know, the three ways to accomplish the steps to do this, all that stuff. I love it, but it's really a lot simpler than that I believe. I think it really comes down to the simple ingredient of just showing up. I've been doing some mentoring with a different program here in LA, And it's one day a week. You go into high schools and just be with the students. I was a little bit unknown or unsure of how much good I could bring or how much we could accomplish in one hour one time a week with these students. It's a pretty simple leadership program. But I was excited about imparting some wisdom and trying to provide some guidance and counsel.
- Thane: But I didn't realize that the thing that brings the most power in any of these scenarios or situations is simply showing up. Showing up over the last five months, once a week for an hour, has been the thing that has made the biggest difference and the biggest impact on these kids' lives. It's kind of blown me away. I didn't really expect that to be my takeaway. But here I am, and I'm looking at this, and it's really not rocket science. It's as simple as showing up. So, for educators with students, I think that's probably the simplest, but hardest thing to do is showing up, because when it's your job and when you're getting paid to do that every single day of the year, except for summer break, then it's gonna be really easy to do the actions, but maybe not intentionally show up every day.
- Thane: I would fall into that. I'm sure you would fall into ... It's going to be a natural thing for all of us to slide into. If we can show up everyday, like not just by attending our job, but showing up and being our job and doing our job effectively and intentionally, that's going to be the thing that makes the biggest impact on these students' lives, because that is being the change you wish to see. Right? That's leading yourself well, and they're experiencing that by seeing that, and witnessing that, and also receiving the benefit of that in your interactions with them on a daily level.
- Houston: Absolutely. I think that role modeling, that is such a critical gift. To show up with presence and intention daily is absolutely very different than than just ... Being present and being there are two different things, and I think in order to equip students with what they need to succeed, especially when we talk about the disciplined pursuit of character or relationships, I think as we were talking before, if there's one tip we could leave folks with that I love, is as you help students set character goals, outside of just activities or projects, especially when you're talking about student leaders or student athletes, I encourage those small wins that show up at whatever time it is. I think about the example of students who have made goals to show up and hold the door open. Sometimes it's not, "I'm going to hold the door open for an hour," it's like, "No. I'm going to show up at 7:00 and hold the door. If I can get myself there at 7:00, then that small win takes care of the rest of itself."
- Houston: I just signed up to start doing crossfit. It's really hard. I don't want to do it, but if I can show up at 8:00 AM, I'm going to finish the hour long class. I think some of the things you've shared, Thane, are so awesome in terms of the clarity around that, this big topic of discipline in our life, how it's critical for change, for educators, clarifying those intentions, and for our students showing up, but also teaching them that showing up isn't half the battle. Sometimes it's 95% of the battle.
- Thane: 100%
- Houston: 95%, 100%. it is 100% 95% of the battle. I love that. Well, thank you. This is Thane Marcus Ringler, an incredible dude. He's available to speak in schools with athletes, does really powerful workshops around discipline as it relates to to character development and kindness. Powerful choices lead to powerful change in our life. Thank you for living a powerful life yourself as a role model to others, Thane. Thanks for the gift you've given today to educators and students to lead this world better by first leading ourselves.
- Thane: Thanks for the opportunity.,Houston. I want to end with a quote from Harrison Ford to follow up. He said that there's no limit for better, and we're all in this journey, so let's strive well.
- Houston: Let's live better.
- John: Thank you for listening to the CharacterStrong Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to share on your social media. Please rate, review, and make sure to subscribe for future episodes on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. To learn more back here strong and how we are supporting schools, visit CharacterStrong.com. Thanks for listening. Make it a great day.
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The CharacterStrong Team is a partnership of educators, speakers, and students who believe in creating sustainable change in schools and helping young people develop the skills of service, kindness, and empathy.