Humility, Empathy & Clarity

By Coach Ron Wolforth-


Two years ago in our Summer Program, we started what we refer to as the Legacy Group.  It involves a small, hand picked group of returners and Ranch veterans that we, as a staff, wanted to empower and develop as servant leaders to our culture at large.  We utilized James Kerr’s book ‘Legacy’ detailing the inner workings of the two time world champion ALL Blacks Rugby team from New Zealand as our central text.  It was a rousing success.  This year we improved upon it and broadened it.


Every single day that I live on this planet, it is made more and more plain to me the desperate need for true leaders who exude and live with humility, empathy and communicate openly with a clear vision of their view of the future.


I am truly Blessed to have an absolutely incredible staff, from my wife (CFO) to our events coordinator (Samantha), to our office manager (Anna), to our office assistant (RaeNell) to our Director of Player Development (Flint), to our Durathro™ Coordinator (Ollie), to our Lead Instructor (Jonathan) and even to the student and coaching interns (Richie, Tyler & Casey)…we as a Ranch culture talk daily about…humility, empathy and clarity.  It is absolutely true that “All of us are better than any one of us.” 


It is more than just nice sounding phrases or warm and fuzzy rhetoric, it is a way of life at the Texas Baseball Ranch®.


You see, ‘Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood’; and ‘Striving to be a part of something bigger than yourself’; and ‘Sharing and communicating openly from the heart with no pretense, posturing or intent to manipulate’ is not only incredibly rare…it is almost always eagerly received and appreciated.


Some people come to me privately and want to complain about the current state of national, regional or local politics…which can include by the way…the inner workings of their travel, high school or college baseball team. Baseball operations can indeed STILL be a type of ‘politics’.  They expect me to bash one political party or the other…one coach or athletic director, or one parent or the other.


My standard response often shocks them.


“While I’m possibly as dissatisfied as you regarding _________, here is what I’ve learned in almost 60 years of life: We almost always get the leaders we deserve.  They are most often simply a reflection of our brokenness. That’s the bad news.  The great news is we are not stuck there.  We can simply refuse to accept that behavior and FAR more importantly… we can model, endorse and live into something completely different.  In the United States of America, we get to choose. ”


While we at the Ranch are FAR from ‘perfect’ and we don’t expect others in turn to be ‘perfect’, every single day here at TBR we get to ‘start again’ in our quest to live into and practice humility, empathy and clarity.  Some days we are exceptional in this regard.  Those are glorious days and my head often hits the pillow ‘beaming”.  Other days we fall short.  I fall short.  Those are the days I look forward to my opportunity to ‘start again’ tomorrow.


The Wolforth family is very much like everybody else.  We have experienced our share of poor decisions, behaviors we would like to take back and disappointing moments.  We, just like each and every one of you,  have had to deal with unsavory characters as well as duplicitous coaches, administrators and teachers along our journey.  Several times, including one very recently, we chose to simply extract ourselves from the environment even though it represented an extreme disruption in our lives.  We chose to leave.  It was not an option that we envisioned when be began our journey but the decision was unanimous inside of the family and it was equally fervent.


It is important to note here that at the end of the day, we most often get to choose our response.  Many times we decide to choose to live with the devil we know instead of the devil we do not.  Indeed, sometimes the best decision is to hold your ground and grind it out.  Only you can decide the best route for yourself in each situation. 


I highly recommend using the following 3 pillars as your foundation in decisions on a regular basis:


Humility: (expanded from Merriam-Webster) Modest in your own opinion or estimate of your rank, status and importance.  Refusing to believe that by the very nature of your existence or your societal status that you are somehow superior or above others.  Humility is the act of treating others as peers, brothers (sisters) and equals…especially those that happen to be at the moment of lower societal status or rank.  Humility is at the essence of being part of something bigger than oneself.


In Legacy we talk often about the critical distinction between being in a position of an ‘authority’ and thereby temporarily having power over people vs being a ‘leader’ and serving, supporting and assisting the progress of those around you.  In the case of the authority, people will do what you order them to do because you have power over them but that is no guarantee they will follow you when that power is removed.  People want to be lead and not managed or ruled over.  Aspire to lead and take care of the person to the right and left of you.


Empathy: (expanded from Merriam-Webster) The action or the capacity of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner;


In Legacy we talk often about the critical importance of routinely viewing things from the perspective and through lens of others involved.  It keeps us from being myopic, ego centric and self absorbed.  All of us dislike being ignored, taken for granted, disrespected, manipulated and/or disregarded.  If that is true then why would we do that to others?  Answer: We should never do that.  Thus we all know the golden rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do undo you.  Empathy and humility are central to applying the Golden Rule. 


Clarity: (expanded from Merriam-Webster) The quality of being clear, sharp, coherent and intelligible.


Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish


In Legacy, we regularly point out that performance doesn’t respond well to: vague, ambiguous, obscure, equivocal, fuzzy and/or mysterious.  Therefore we need to constantly practice communicating our vision in as clear and complete a fashion as we possibly can and from that point expanding our process and outcome every single day to becoming even more vibrant, clear and detailed. 


As Will Smith has famously articulated, “Our thoughts and language become physical in the universe.”


Don Mattingly once told a young group of Yankees at Spring Training that “The only difference between me and a lot of other players is that I have a very clear picture of what I want to accomplish and spend most of my day coloring it.”


This is the importance of clarity.


As you go forward as a player, a coach or as even a parent, these three pillars are critically important to your progress.


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At The Texas Baseball Ranch®, we strive to exude these qualities and instill them in the young men with whom we work.  

And there’s no better time to get started with The Ranch than by taking part in our upcoming Youth Pitchers Camp, Oct. 20 & 21.  This camp is designed specifically for pitchers 8-12 years of age.  For more information or to register, go to

Save $300 if you register by Sept. 1st.



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