Rick Burris



If my life and career could be summed up in just one word it would be TRANSFORMATION. As I reflect on my life, I can see the important role growth and change have played. Ever since I can remember, I have pushed myself to overcome challenges. I suppose it started even before I can remember since pneumonia nearly took me out before my first birthday. As a kid, I possessed very little natural athletic ability or coordination. But being the youngest of seven meant sports was not optional form me. I wasn’t good at them initially, just determined to keep up and keep improving. Wrestling became my outlet for physical growth and athletic expression. It helped me experience the sense of fulfillment that comes from setting and achieving goals and I ended up competed in the sport through the Division I collegiate level.  From the little leagues through college I always had a desire to positively influence my teammates. It is hard for me to think of a single team in either baseball, football or wrestling where I was not chosen as a team captain. I share that not to impress you, but to impress upon you how passions emerge in life. Along the way, I began to understand how striving for outward goals requires inward growth. While the physical part of competitive sports wasn’t a natural gift, the leadership aspects of it were.

The most profound influence on my inward growth began at the age of 17. It was the death of a close friend that brought me to faith in Jesus Christ. Along with everything else that means to me, this relationship is undeniably the source of the unceasing development of my character. There is absolutely NOTHING I would trade for it.

It was also at the age of 17 that I got my first job as a camp counselor in a YMCA camp. That summer ignited a spark that burned for the next 30 years of my life. It was amazing to witness how much a week or two in a residential camp environment could impact a child.  It effected me enough to complete a bachelors degree of Outdoor Recreation and make camp directing my career. Three years as a full-time Y camp professional only whet my appetite for changing lives in the outdoors. I was captivated by the personal transformation that can take place in a natural setting but I wanted to go deeper. I had a strong desire to lead extended wilderness trips.

I found just the place for that at a therapeutic wilderness camp that serves as an out-of-home placement for troubled boys and helps them reunite with their families with healthy stability. In this group living environment, boys live in small campsites where they design, build and maintain every structure.  They get all of their education from hands-on experience. (Which is why I got my masters degree in Experiential Education.) As a part of the learning process, they plan and execute 20 to 35 – day wilderness trips. Most importantly, they learn to take personal responsibility for their lives and their behavior and practice problem solving continually.

The eight years I spent in therapeutic camping gave me the great privilege of seeing first-hand the incredible transformation that can take place in a person’s life when they are intentional about change. It was also this intense setting caused my own leadership skills to blossom exponentially.  I learned many principles of life-leadership and group dynamics that have benefited me as a husband, a father. These principles also served me well in my return to Y camps where I eventually led a financial turn around as Executive Director of both the fourth and fifth largest Y camps in the country – both seven-figure operations that required difficult measures to return to greatness.

I have always had a goal-oriented approach to leadership with a bias toward action. But the eight years I spent as an Executive Director in Y camps helped me understand my real strength is as a methodical strategist. I discovered my ability to combine the passion of my right brain and the intellect of my left brain to produce better results. When a series of life events brought my camping career to a halt in 2015, it was this understanding that made leadership coaching a natural fit for me.

I became a certified coach with the Lifeforming Institute. I also became a certified coach, teacher, trainer and speaker for the John Maxwell Team.  In addition I am an agent with Worth Unlimited a company that specializes in debt elimination and wealth building using a highly-sophisticated algorithm. I also spent several months helping the non-profit.  Living Legacy get established in Greenville, South Carolina. It was during this time that the desire to start my own leadership development company began to emerge.

I started Leaders Fuel in October of 2016 as a platform to empower others with products and services for personal and professional transformation. The creation of the Life Leaders GPS has been nearly a year in the making, but in truth, it is the culmination of three decades of helping others grow through life. My purpose for creating the Life Leaders GPS is to help others tap into their own resourcefulness and use their strengths with both passion and strategy to benefit others. You can learn more about it HERE and get FREE access to the first step by completing the contact form below or  on my homepage.


I married Kate in 1996. Micah was born in 2001 and Jonah in 2004. Sprout and Twig are our cats. As a family we enjoy many outdoor activities, being adventurous eaters and traveling. One of my other life passions is Spanish speaking. That mostly happens at an orphanage in Honduras where we have made annual family trips since 2012. The boys and I took up the martial art of Aikido in February of 2016. It has been an excellent laboratory for personal growth.