Community Coach’s Corner: Rediscovering the I in Team

    Coach’s Corner: Rediscovering the I in Team

    Nuun CEO Kevin Rutherford poses for a portrait in West Seattle, Seattle, Washington, USA, on Monday, April 8, 2019. Lindsey Wasson for iRun Magazine.
    Growing up in Ottawa, my Dad often told me, “Kevin, you are who you surround yourself with, so choose your friends wisely.” That advice resonated with me then, and it continues to shape my perspective today. I intentionally surround myself with individuals who challenge and inspire me. In return, I contribute my unique approach to elevate both myself and the collective group.
    Together, we embark on a journey of improvement and growth. 
    On New Years day, many trailblazing women created history as the first Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) game took place in Toronto. Astoundingly, the league and the players association signed and ratified an agreement on June 29, 2023. In just six months, they went from alignment of a plan to dropping the puck. This process normally takes two to three years. How did they do it? It took many key individuals to leverage their strengths and to interconnect with each other always with the collective goal in mind. People like Kendall Coyne Schofield, who led the players association through pregnancy and having her baby delivered on July 1st. Then there was Hilary Knight, possibly the most influential women’s hockey player on the planet, signing shortly after the bargaining agreement with Boston, which will surely give a surge in profile for the team and league. And there is Mark and Kimbra Walter, the owners of the PWHL (and LA Dodgers). The implementation all came together for game day, with Ella Shelton scoring the first goal in the league’s history.
    The identity of this league most certainly will be defined as one of courage, tenacity, and inclusiveness.
    Contrary to the popular saying, there is, in fact, an “I” in team. Consider the French translation for team—équipe—and there it is, the elusive “i.” I firmly believe that life operates as a team game, applicable to sports, business, and our everyday lives. Hockey legend Mark Messier’s assertion that “nobody wins alone” encapsulates this truth. We are all distinct INDIVIDUALS, intricately INTERCONNECTED with others, and it is through our collective behaviours that we IMPLEMENT change, crafting a IDENTITY for both ourselves and our team. These i-pillars define our respective worlds.
    As we step into 2024, let’s reflect on the identity of our collective groups in sports, business, and life. What defines us as a team? Are we intentional about surrounding ourselves with individuals who challenge and uplift us?
    Do we actively contribute to the growth of those around us?
    Allow me to kick off this introspection: In my world, I aspire to foster an identity centred around possibility. Recognizing that life is a series of ups and downs, my focus is on helping others see the potential in every situation and encouraging consistent steps toward realizing those possibilities.
    Mon équipe, let’s embark on this journey together! 
    Kevin joins iRun as a contributor for our in print, on line, and in person activation. Kevin is an avid endurance athlete, competing marathons and Ironman races. Kevin is the host of the Chief Eternal Optimist podcast, CEO @ Culture First Leadership, and former CEO/current Board member @ Nuun Hydration.