• Jeff Butorac

With Relentless Positivity!

I was lucky to have the chance to have a conversation with Macalester College’s Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Abe Woldeslassie. During our talk, he was kind enough to share some of his thoughts and insights about how he is developing his program, working with his athletes, and what they are doing to build something special.


One of the first things that I noticed and enjoyed about Coach Abe was his positive energy. He was upbeat and extremely engaging. When I asked about his mentality and how he likes to work with his players, he stated, “with relentless positivity”. The “positivity” he is speaking about doesn’t mean being happy go lucky all the time. It means finding a way to contribute to the team in a productive and positive fashion. It means enjoying the journey and growing the program in a positive way, lifting up your teammates, and savoring your time with them in the grind. This is what relentless positivity is all about.

Coach Abe doesn’t believe in setting “rules” for his players. Too many rules are like playing a big game of “I got cha”; having to make sure everyone follows every rule. Instead, he believes it’s better to have “Standards” that everyone in his program uses to play and live by. This way they know it is part of who they are as a team, and not just a set of rules for them to follow. These “Standards” are a great teaching tool for athletes while playing sports, as well as how they should carry themselves throughout life.

The Standards

1. Control what we can control

What can we control? Our attitudes and our actions. We control our training, diet, rest, work ethic, and attitude. We worry only about what we can control and try to do it in a positive fashion. We can control our thoughts and how we act to those around us. Are we being positive and productive?

2. Have passion

If you’re going to do it, do it with passion! It’s easy to be passionate and committed when things are going well, but how committed are you when things aren’t going your way? Are you willing to endure the struggle? Are you willing to go through the growing process with your teammates? If you’re going to do it, do it with passion all the time!

3. Be a great teammate

This is the understanding that everything you do has an affect on your teammates. This translates well into the real world as we are on many different teams throughout our lives, whether it’s work, family, or sports. How willing are you to sacrifice and help your teammates out? When you’re positive and productive, it helps everyone involved. Find a way to be a great teammate!

I believe that all three of these “Standards” are a great way for anyone to start to live their life. If you learn to have the ability to control what you can, have passion, and be a great teammate, then you are well on your way to being successful in your goals, as well as in your life! What more can you ask for?!?

I hope that these lessons will help you on your journey!

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