Winning with Positivity with Paul Olsen, Legendary Head Track and Cross Country Coach

Winning with Positivity with Paul Olsen, Legendary Head Track and Cross Country Coach

Paul Olsen

Episode Summary

Do you know what it takes to have a winning attitude? Athletes compete all the time with skill and confidence. Notwithstanding the fact that they train hard for their respective sports, behind every team is a great coach. And great coaches fosters a winning attitude and culture that manifests to performance. Find out how Paul Olsen, head track and cross country coach at Augustana College, creates a winning team using positivity. 

“You are always going to enjoy and improve if everybody around you is positive” - Paul Olsen

Paul is an enthusiastic coach and has received several honors and recognition. He’s been producing winning teams and individuals since the 1960s. He loves sports and helping young people have a good experience competing. And according to him, winning in sports, just like in life, is all about the mindset you instill in people.  


When it comes to running his team and encouraging young players and athletes, Paul is big on positivity. He believes that a positive mindset is what shapes your experience, whatever it is that you’re doing. 

With all the doubters and haters in your life, having a positive mindset is what’s going to help you persevere. We are all going to fail at some point. But the important thing is to stand back up and thrive for success once again. That will not be possible if you don’t have a positive mindset. You have to stop trying to prove other people wrong, and you have to do everything for yourself.  

Freedom to Fail

Because of the positive attitude, Paul never sees failure. This concept is something that he wants his athletes to embrace. Paul would always say, “Athletes don’t fail, they just had a bad day”. And anyone can have a bad day, the important thing is you don’t lose confidence in your talent or ability. 

For him, failure is when you let people down because you chose to abandon your responsibility. If an athlete didn’t show up to practice because he went to a party, that is a failure of responsibility. Paul appreciates honesty in those moments, and encourages his players to admit their failures to the entire team. This creates trust, character and authentic relationships.   

Surround yourself with the right people

However, all of it will not be possible if you are not surrounded by people who allow you to be vulnerable and enjoy what you are doing. Surrounding yourself with people who love you and support you is key to having a positive experience in everything that you do. 

“Inspiration is contagious” - Paul Olsen

Show Full Transcript
Collapse Transcript