I’ve known Rick Randolph for more than half my life.

We first met when I was 17 years old, the summer before my freshman year at Cal Poly. I was a camp counselor at Vaughn Hitchcock Wrestling Camp. Rick was a camper. This was the summer before his senior year in high school. We worked out a few times together that summer, then went 16 years before crossing paths again.

In 2008, he was a police officer in the Roseville Police Department as well as a professional MMA fighter, and I was a mortgage broker. I had fought MMA for a few years and still liked to spar and train. A workout buddy of mine invited me to come train with his “cop buddy” who was training for a fight. That cop buddy was Rick and we reconnected.

We trained together a bunch over the next couple of years. Then one night after a workout, Rick asked me a question that would change the trajectory of my life: “Do you want to come coach the Roseville High School wrestling team with me?” Rick was a graduate of Roseville . It turns out that RHS needed a new coaching staff and wrestling season was just months away.

The decision to start coaching wrestling with Rick is one of those choices I look back as an important pivot in my life. At the time, I was in a bit of a rut. I had a good job but I wasn’t really doing anything that pushed me. I wasn’t doing work that I was passionate about.

Rick and I coached together the next four years and became close friends.

Rick is one of those natural leaders. He’s an alpha male that other guys seek out. He is stubborn as a mule, and will often disagree just for the fun of the argument. He thrives on confrontation and physical discomfort. In the last couple of years, he was a decorated police officer a defensive tactics instructor for one of the leading training companies in the world, a self-defense instructor, and a CrossFit coach.

Rick exudes the kind of confidence born of having survived countless dangerous situations. I’ve never told him this before, but our first year coaching together in 2009, he was my role model for the confident leader. Here was a guy who would speak up, and would do the right thing regardless of who he pissed off. This was a time in my life that I needed that sort of example. I had struggled with anxiety and depression just a year or so before and hadn’t gotten my mojo back yet. Rick set an example that I could follow.

A year later, in 2010, I had the confidence to quit my day job and devoted all of my effort to building my fledgling leadership company, Forging Leaders. Rick was one of my key allies in preparing me for that.

Six months ago, in the spring of 2014, Rick told me that an injured shoulder was getting worse and that he might be forced to retire from the police department. He was distraught; he loved being a cop. Rick wanted some support in figuring out what he wanted to do after retirement. Over the next few months, we met and talked. He realized that the thing he loved most about being a police officer was the coaching and counseling he got to provide to people. He wanted to continue doing those things in his next career.

Ultimately, he realized that he wanted to become a leadership coach, and I realized that if he came to work with me at Forging Leaders, we would both make each other better.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17.

So, Rick is coming on as the first Forging Leaders coach besides myself. I knew that if he joined my team, it would push me to raise the level of my own coaching. Rick and I have a friendly, collaborative,  yet extremely competitive relationship. I have already started seeing the positive results of his joining.

You will start seeing Forging Leaders articles and videos from Rick Randolph. I am stoked to have him on board, and I can’t wait to see what he does with this.