UAC 163 | Community Roles


More than anything else, what we need now in this world is unity and community. The question is what role can you play to help bring this unity about? In this episode Thane Marcus Ringler takes us back to a recent keynote, where he shared a story that illustrates the role of community in promoting individual and collective welfare. There is sheer power in bringing our unique gifts together in a collective effort towards growth and transformation. It’s time we show up and ask ourselves what we can do to contribute.

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163: What Role Do I Have To Play

Have you been feeling a lack of hope lately or am I the only one? We all could use a little more hope. Hope is a spark that ignites our world, fuels our progress, and spurs us upward and onward, helping us stay the course. Hope is essential. Why does it feel like there is no hope? Why do we feel hopeless? What can we do about it? I believe hope is readily available to any and all who look for it, who strives to find it, who work towards embracing it? Hope is there if only we would search for it. If there was ever a time in my life that we needed hope, that time is now. This is why I wrote Catalysts For Hope. My hope for this book is that it can reignite your passion for life through renewed energy, optimism and empowered perspectives. We each had the ability to choose hope. It’s time we started doing it. You can get your very own copy by going to buy canibus Lyrical law and signing up there. Here’s to hope.

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[bctt tweet=”A community is impossible without individuals playing their role within. ” username=”upandcomersshow”]

Without further ado, let me get into this talk that I gave. The title of the talk is What Role Do I Have To Play? A couple of years ago, I was in the midst of launching my first book. In the midst of launching a new book and then growing a budding speaking career, the number one thing that you tend to do more than anything else is networking. I’m trying to reach out and connect with as many types and places and people possible. Anybody and everyone who could possibly support my endeavors and provide a platform for me to speak, the more the merrier. I was reaching out to them. Through this period, I got connected with a guy named Brian Larrabee. Brian Larrabee is a tall, winky, white guy with some shaggy black hair, a little scruff and always has a smile on his face. He’s one of the most lovable guys you’ll ever meet. He wouldn’t know, but he played professionally in different basketball circuits across the country.

Brian Larrabee was who I got connected with. I was told that Brian had this mentoring group and he could have an opportunity for me to speak. I reached out, we got connected, and ended up meeting up in this trendy event in LA, which as you can expect, is in a back alley. That’s well done, so hipster looking, and all the things. I walk up to this table, there are two couples and their kids sitting at a table. I get introduced and start getting connected with Brian, his lovely wife, Allyssa, and their beautiful baby boy. As you might know, if you were talking to anybody at a table and there’s a baby or an infant present, you have about 50% of the conversation that you normally would have had.

It’s about 50% focused on you and the other 50% focused on keeping the baby alive. It’s difficult to have full-on conversations. That was the nature of this one. I have about 50% conversations with Brian, get to give my spiel a little bit, and talk about what I’m doing, what I love to do, and hear a little bit about his. He said, “I don’t have a place for you to speak necessarily, but I do this mentoring program and we’d love for you to come and check it out.” I left that conversation feeling a bit disappointed that it was about 50% of the conversation that I wanted. Feeling a little bit discouraged because it wasn’t this outlet or opportunity to speak and feeling a little bit skeptical, I didn’t think that this chance of mentoring or coming alongside high school students could be something helpful for me or them.

I was quite the knucklehead in high school and I thought that most high schoolers are arrogant, hardheaded, and rebellious like I was so what’s the point in being involved with them. That was how I came away from that initial meeting with Brian Larrabee. As I thought back on this story, it’s a common experience for most of us as humans. If we’re honest, we get into a thing because of what that thing can do in serving, protecting, or promoting our own interests. It’s from self-centered or self-promoting place. Most of us are often guilty of this and even if you ask my wife about this, you can find out that I’m still guilty of this almost every day.

UAC 163 | Community Roles

Community Roles: What we need most right now is unity and community, which go hand in hand.


It’s something that we easily fall into. If you think about what our communities, our relationships in life, these outlets, avenues, or communities bring, a lot of times they bring energy, optimism, resources, connections, collaborations. The relationships in our life, they bring community. If the set and setting around our lives or our daily interactions whether it’s our work, church, family, or neighborhood, if they’re oriented around community, then what does that mean for you and for me? The beautiful thing is that handful of things that were mentioned that these places and communities provide is that they aren’t possible without you playing a role in it. They aren’t possible without you playing and being an integral part of it. A community is impossible unless there are individuals within that are making it into a community.

If you look at this word ‘community,’ what does community mean? One of the origins of community is a Latin word ‘communis.’ Communis means common. It’s a group of people holding something in common. This could be intent, beliefs, resources, preferences, location or an activity. There’s a lot of things that it could be, but it’s simply something in common, a group of people holding something in common. The thing I like about the word community is that phonetically, it’s a mashup of two words, common and unity. Common-unity, community. It’s a group of people united, pursuing unity around a common thing. If you zoom out and look at our climate, our world, and culture that we live in, what do we need most right now?

It’s blatantly obvious that what we need most right now is unity and community, which go hand-in-hand. There’s a beautiful thing that our pastor said and on this topic. He said, “Unity is only possible through difference.” This is an important point because as a kid especially, I thought that the world would be such a better place if only everyone else talk like me, thought like me, acted like me, or even looked like me. If only they could be like me, the world would be a better place. This is a very childish, foolish, naive and ignorant thing to think, but how often do we still fall into that mode of thinking? I know I can. We all can and we all do in many ways.

The fault in this way of thinking is that if everyone was like me then we’d be united. That’s not the truth. What that saying is we would all be the same which is not unity. It’s uniformity. Uniformity is not unity. We should not be pursuing sameness. It’s not good to pursue sameness. It’s good to pursue unity which is only possible through difference. By bringing a group of people together whether it’s in your job, church, neighborhood, community, whatever community that is that you’re a part of your family, there’s inevitably going to be some similarities that you share. Some things that you hold in common but if we’re honest, there are way more differences than we share in common. There are way more things that are different about each individual apart from that community than is similar.

[bctt tweet=”Without difference, there would be no unity, only uniformity.” username=”upandcomersshow”]

Every single person’s life experience is vastly different than the rest of ours. By that unique experience, we come in and bring a difference that’s important to a community and bringing unity. Back to Brian Larrabee. When I was walking into that school, APEX Academy, the first day of mentoring, it’s located right off of Hollywood Boulevard, a couple of blocks. It’s in the area of town if you’re not from Los Angeles. Hollywood isn’t necessarily what you think it is. It isn’t some glitzy glamorous place where all the movie stars go. It’s much more of a rougher area than it is as a glamorous area. I was walking into APEX Academy, which is one of four high schools on this campus in Hollywood. I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Brian circles up all the mentors. We get to share a little bit about who we are, and what we’re doing.

He provides a framework. You can see we’re all a little sheepish and not knowing what’s going on or what to expect. After that little preparation, Brian throws into the classroom with a bunch of high schoolers. What I quickly began to realize was that what started out as a pursuit of my own interests, goals, ideas, or agenda turn into a realization that this environment had nothing to do with me. I was not the point of this environment, or should I have been. My role was simply to play an individual part of supporting, encouraging, and listening as an individual within a greater community. I had no idea that first day, when I walked into APEX Academy how much the next several years would shape my life, how it would grow me, encourage me, and expand my own views, perspectives and character as a person.

I know that they gave me way more than I could have ever given them. There’s a story and I thought I’d share because it points this out very fittingly. Brian, before each mentoring time together, would provide a leadership lesson. This was simply a framework for us to talk through the ideas with the students and each other. These particular days, leadership lesson was on gratitude. As Brian framed it, he said, “Gratitude is finding the good in any situation, in any time, in any place, in any scenario. There’s always some good to be found. There’s always an opportunity to find the good and that is the power of gratitude. That is what gratitude is.” This is a powerful lesson. I was excited to get into small groups and dive into it with the guys.

We broke into small groups, girl to girls, guys to guys. One of the students, we’ll name him Adam for this story. Adam was a natural-born leader. He was a student that all the kids looked up to, both men and women. He was one of the best players on the football team and had the biggest heart even if he’s a little rougher on the exterior, he had the biggest heart of gold. Adam was a little bit somber, a little downcast sustain. We weren’t sure why. We hadn’t heard from him yet but as we got in the small group, a couple of us opened up and then Adam decided to open up and share what was going on. He said the night before, his sister had been shot.

UAC 163 | Community Roles

Community Roles: We need spaces and places where we can unite around a common goal while bringing in our unique gifts together for the collective good.


She was in critical condition in the emergency room and they weren’t sure if she was going to live. He broke down and was crying. You could tell that he was very sad, emotional, upset, scared and angry. We sat there stunned. We were shocked. We didn’t know what to say. What do you say? Where is the good to be found in that? This was a situation or time when there wasn’t any good to be found. There wasn’t some gratitude to be sought after. All that we could do was sit there, listen, empathize, cry, and ultimately pray with him. That’s what he needed. That’s what we needed.

As I think about the time at Good City Mentors in the last several years being a part of it, I wonder how would it have been different if I had gotten what I initially wanted, if I had been able to pursue my own interests, ideas, or agenda instead of coming in and being a part of the greater community? I can guarantee that it wouldn’t have been life-changing for anyone there especially not for me. What is the point of all this? The point is this. We grow in community and in pursuing unity. Careers aren’t life-changing, but the community is.

What we need in this time more than any other is each other. We need spaces and places where we can unite around a common goal while bringing in our unique gifts together for the collective good. We need community and we need unity. The question I want to pose to you in this time together is, what role do I have to play? How can I bring unity in community? How can I pursue growth collectively as much as individually? How can I do that here in now in my local community, in my neighborhood, in my office, in my church, in my friendships, in my circle? Thank you.

This is Thane here following-up with one last thing to note. If you would like to get a curated list of all the content I’m learning from whether that be books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, quotes I’m pondering, or even some sermons I’m enjoying, InThane is a monthly newsletter that brings vetted content that I know you’ll enjoy. Go to to sign up and you’ll be sure to receive the very next one. Each edition of InThane is released the first Sunday of the month. Again, this is a once a month newsletter that I hope you enjoy and benefit from as much as I have. Here’s to learning and growing one day at a time.

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