Show up, speak out and go hard are among the tennis legend’s kickass career and life tips.
Serena Williams is the mother of keeping the ball in your court.
The tennis legend returns to the U.S. Open in Queens for its 50th anniversary this week, almost a year after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Ohanian, Jr. last September. Williams is best known for being the queen of the court thanks to her 23 Grand Slam titles, six of which were won at the U.S. Open. And thanks to her success both on and off the court, Business Insider predicts that Williams’ net worth hovers around $27 million, with more than $18 million in endorsements from brands like Chase and Nike.
She has also made a name for herself as a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and dole out career and life lessons — especially after becoming a first-time mom. So in honor of her return to the U.S. Open, here are eleven of the most kickass pieces of life and career advice that Williams has shared.
Dare to dream.
To celebrate her comeback, Nike released an ad Monday with footage of Williams, now 36, training as a young girl, which features a voiceover from her father and coach Richard Williams. The film spot, which also celebrates the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” tagline, shows how Williams’ success is a product of her lifelong belief that she could make her dreams a reality.
In a tweet promoting her new Nike ad, the tennis superstar said, “If you don’t dare to try and chase your dreams, you’ll rob yourself the joy of doing it. Don’t just dream it. #JustDoIt.”
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 27, 2018
Keep tabs on your spending.
Williams credits Oprah with giving her the best financial advice that she’s ever received: “She said to watch every dollar that you spend,” Williams shared with the Huffington Post this past June. “If you have a company and people are using your money, look at every single expense.” Williams also urged others to talk about their finances through the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign to raise awareness about financial abuse. “I think it’s a really important thing to talk about, and not enough people are talking about this ugly topic or at least talking about how to make it normal to talk about it,” she said as an ambassador for the cause.
Show up and show out.
In December 2017, Williams’ sister Venus told InStyle that the best advice she’s ever received was from her sister, Serena. While recounting the 1999 U.S. Open, Venus, then 19, asked Serena, then 17, if she was nervous about competing against her own blood. She then shared her sister’s words of wisdom with the world, “No, I’m not nervous because we have to show up. And since we have to show up, why not compete?”
Make yourself heard.
“Speak out. Sometimes you’re not being heard, but speak out again — speak out louder — and continue to try,” Williams told the Huffington Post this June while discussing the pulmonary embolism she developed postpartum that nearly killed her. “Just because we aren’t doctors doesn’t mean we don’t know our bodies. For me, I told the doctor I knew something was wrong. They did listen to me, and I was fortunate enough to have a great doctor, but not everyone has that.”
Don’t let rejection scare you.
For women experiencing self-doubt, Williams encourages them to push past the limits they put on themselves. “Don’t be afraid of the word ‘no.’ It doesn’t mean it’s a bad result. It just means try again,” she also told the Huffington Post earlier this year.
Find time for your passion projects.
While debuting her HSN fashion line in 2015, Williams said, “You can do anything! You know it’s all about time management. You can manage your time well and you can be who you want and you can do anything. You know if I can do it — I’m no more special than anyone else, and that means they can do it too!”
Take things one stage at a time.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK for her June 2018 cover story, Williams remarked on her confidence and how she builds herself up when it’s low. “I don’t go into every tournament having the most confidence … I think that’s normal. How do I cope with it? I keep it to myself, I use positive affirmations and I try to believe in myself. Then I take things one stage at a time,” she said.
The reason Williams is one of the most accomplished athletes is because she puts so much work into her craft. Before having her daughter, Williams told Self magazine in August 2016 that she did two hours of training on the court, followed by two hours at the gym daily. “It’s intense” she said. Body and Soul reported that since giving birth, Williams’ workout regimen includes workouts designed by her trainer Machie Shilstone that are geared toward getting her back into pre-pregnancy shape gradually.
There are no limits.
After becoming a mom, Williams and her then-five month-old daughter graced the cover of Vogue magazine in February this year, accompanied by an interview where she talked about the lessons she hopes to pass on to Alexis. “I want to teach her that there are no limits. Women are sometimes taught not to dream as big as men,” she said.
Do what you love.
In a video released by Chase last August, Williams said the secret to her tennis success is loving what she does. “I love what I do, I’ve always loved what I do,” she said. In fact, she loves it so much that she didn’t pick up her paychecks her first year on tour — proving she wasn’t in it for the money; she was playing tennis because she wanted to be the best.
It’s okay to be frustrated.
Williams, like many moms knows what it’s like to feel frustrated along with the pressure to be the perfect mom. In July, Williams was training and missed her daughter’s first steps. She tweeted, “She took her first steps…I was training and missed it. I cried.” But just like when she’s on the court and something goes awry, Williams says she has to find a way to turn the match around. “So now, with motherhood, I’m trying to find a way to win, so to speak. That’s what my challenge is,” she told Glamour in April.
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