Observing elite performers, like Serena Williams, can help boost your own success. More than an athlete, Serena is a personality and celebrity instantly recognized by a single name.
As you watch on court or follow headlines, here are five lessons in greatness from Serena to inspire your own.
1. Carve your own path. Your path is yours and yours alone. Embrace it. Serena has never gone by the script. Trained by her father in Compton, California, Serena largely avoided the junior circuit—the conventional path to tennis success. Since her arrival on the scene as a teenager to embracing her physical power and chiseled physique, Serena never conformed to others’ expectations. As she told Robin Roberts in an interview: “I don’t have time to be brought down… I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that’s what I’m here for.”
2. Adapt well. To sustain success, you have to embrace change. From the blazing heat of the Australian Open hard court to the slippery clay at the rainy French Open, and the fast grass at Wimbledon, Serena proves her versatility. Her versatility virtually means that her environment is not a factor. It also means that she digs down when she needs to. Being able to recover quickly from adversity is part of adaptability.
3. Relish the moment. When it comes to the greatest pressure point, Serena appears to enjoy grabbing the chance to separate herself from the competition. Does she ever have doubts? Yes, she says. “I just embrace it and I bottle it up and I throw that bottle away. I just go for it.” Her mentality is one we can all embrace.
4. Find your work-life fuel. Bring your full self to everything you do. I believe that Serena finds ways to tap her inner strength on the tennis court because she has found a balance with her life outside of tennis. That sweet spot of work-life balance is highly public: she is a minority owner with the Miami Dolphins, designs her own line of clothes and footwear (called Greatness, naturally), headlines her own foundation, and is a wife and mom. These outlets feed who she is as a person, and keeping a balance translates into optimal focus and results.
5. Never stop competing. Serena has been winning major titles for pretty much half of her life. What this says to me is that she wants to win at her core, and she needs to win for as long as she can. When asked about saying a farewell recently, she said
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Serena Williams shows us how to remain true to ourselves, trusting in our unique gifts and talents. Never measure yourself by your competition. Maximize your energy source by minimizing energy drains, and always keep pushing to distance yourself to the best that only you can be. There’s only one Serena, and there’s only one you.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.