I shouldn’t have been surprised by how yet another Olympian managed to grab my attention with a passionate re-telling of their race to victory. Cath runs you through the brief minutes of her Olympic silver medal winning race before taking you straight to introducing her new focus – the long win.
Cath explains that when she retired from sport, she thought she’d left the world obsessed with winning behind her. I’d just come back from the gym where I’d set myself the task of beating the time on my previous run and the weight of dumbbells to lift – why is the need to win so ingrained in everyday life?
Cath says the dichotomy of winning is good, losing is bad simply doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of real life. As entrepreneurs, we know that our losses are what build character, help us learn and teach us to be better, but I’ve never shook off that innate will to win. Cath’s initial chapters take us through those common views of what winning means to many of us because of societal and cultural norms. For me, breaking down our obsession with winning – whether that’s in sport, work or personal life – was a particularly interesting exercise in self-reflection.
But it was Cath’s chapters on a new approach to winning and long-win thinking which brought me back to the type of person I’ve been trying to be for the past few years, albeit without giving it this label. And what a helpful thing it is to have a label – with it comes a clear definition so you can describe it to friends, family and colleagues. It gives them a simple frame of reference to either join in or at least cheer you on. Because with any long-win journey, you need the odd supporter to keep you on track.
If you felt like 2020 took longer to get through compared to 2019 (or any other year come to that!) – and when you’re reminiscing that maybe all those Brexit negotiations weren’t that bad after all compared to the never-ending to-ing and fro-ing of COVID-19 restrictions – just think how a long-win mindset could be valuable as say hello to 2021. Rather than solely focusing on winning, Cath poses the question, What might business look like over the longer term if the perspective focused on employees, the local community and wider society?
This book isn’t saying no to winning and certainly, as a former professional sportsperson and Olympian, Cath doesn’t advocate a lowering of standards, but she does challenge and ask you to reconsider the current framework surrounding winning and competition. It’s about preparing for and creating meaningful success.
The Long Win by Cath Bishop is available from Amazon priced £10.95