International Diplomat and Olympic Medallist: Why we can all do better than first place

‘It’s all about results!’ ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!’ ‘Don’t be a loser!’ These phrases resound from the playground to the boardroom. But our laser-like focus on results is a fallacy. Athletes win gold and still feel empty and unfulfilled; business leaders reach the top of their game but feel burnt out and struggle to motivate their employees; pupils with armfuls of A grades find themselves ill-equipped for the workplace; politicians fight to win elections but seem unable to tackle the global issues of our time. UK Olympic medallist, international diplomat and business coach Cath Bishop investigates why our ‘winning’ obsession isn’t working, even for the winners. In The Long Win: The search for a better way to succeed, Cath draws on her personal experience of high-performance professional environments, tracing how the idea of winning has become a defining concept across sport, business, education and politics. She explores how our obsession with winning at all costs is holding us back in schools, workplaces, on sports pitches and at the ballot box, and offers a new, broader approach – The Long Win.

Long Win Thinking – A new way to define success

Tyson Fury spoke out about ‘the emptiness that followed his greatest victory’ and Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men on the moon, described his ‘magnificent desolation’ after returning to his life on earth. Winning-focused cultures were found at the core of the 2008 financial crisis. If winning isn’t working even for the winners, it’s time to rethink success. ‘Long Win Thinking’ advocates a broader way of looking at success to combat the toxic ‘winning mindset’, including the three Cs of long-win thinking:

Clarity –

Get clear about what matters. What’s your ‘why’? What does success today look like and how does it connect to your longer-term purpose?

Constant learning –

Keep developing even when you fail. Define success through your personal growth rather than external results.

Connection –

Prioritise your relationships. Collaborate and cooperate rather than compare yourself with others. We face more complex challenges in our lives, personally and collectively, that require a different response across education, business, sport and politics. The Long Win offers us a way to redefine what winning in the 21st century means for all of us.

About the author

Cath Bishop is a leadership expert and writer, bringing her unique experience in both top-level sport and international diplomacy to the most pressing issues facing businesses in the 21st century. She competed as a rower at three Olympic Games, becoming part of the first British women’s crew to win the World Championships and winning a Silver Olympic medal in coxless pairs event. As a senior diplomat, she worked on policy and negotiations, specialising in the stabilization policy for conflict-affected parts of the world. Cath now works as a coach, facilitator and consultant, advising global businesses on team and leadership development and cultural change, and teaches on the Executive Education Faculty at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University and other leading business schools. Cath is a regular newspaper reviewer on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House and has commentated on rowing for the BBC, Eurosport and BT Sport.