Tennis superstar Serena Williams had a message for mothers after her loss at Wimbledon: “I was playing for you today.” In an interview after the game, her voice quivering, Williams told mothers that she was playing for them at Wimbledon and they can achieve whatever they want to if they choose to return to work after having a child.
Tennis is a fairly aggressive and competitive sport. Just like a successful long lasting business, high performing athletes need to consistently wade through competition – old and new.
Serena Williams won her first major championship in 1999 and we are now approaching 2019. She still dominates international woman tennis. Creativity, innovation, discipline, risk-taking ability put together stands for her success and achievement.
Serena is not just known as another Tennis star. She has been a dominant brand for years. Just like any other career graph, she has seen her ups and downs. So what makes her success constant?
- High Risk taking ability – It was mentioned in an analysis by ESPN, Williams’ trademark “high risk” aggressive playing style, is defined in part by her serve — considered to be the greatest in women’s tennis history — balanced by her ball placement and ability to fire powerful shots with great accuracy. Recently she went through an extremely tough pregnancy which was also life-threatening and within no time she returned to the court with the same ambition, zeal and discipline.
- Constant and Strategic Innovation – Serena’s consultant Tony Robbins mentions, ‘Constant and Strategic Innovation is what separates the merely competent from the truly ingenious. By measuring and enhancing her natural strengths, Williams developed a killer combination that’s made her arguably the greatest women’s player in history and an icon studied by the entire tennis industry.’ She has made the best use of existing resources and developed her unique strengths beyond the basic hygiene required to be best in her field.
- Strategic Vision – A long-term vision for self. It quite confirms what I believe in – Work is part of life, not life. If there is clarity on this, work-life balance becomes non-existent. Serena also believes that life is more than tennis. Her family, friends and personal life are equally important. It creates the balance and gives the energy to focus on work as well. Work transcends into something beautiful which is more than a task.
- Looking Beyond the Odds – In her long career span, Serena faced a series of injuries, developed a blood clot in her lung because of which she was out of active tennis. She went through a span of depression as well. Recently, she had a life-threatening delivery. But she springs back. She always springs back. Beyond Tennis, she has faced criticism for her poor fashion sense, but Serena did not let that affect her. In fact, she became the first female black athlete to feature on the cover of Vogue in 2016.
That’s Serena’s mantra. What’s your mantra?
Competition, failures, setbacks, success is part of the game. Have you equipped yourself with vision, skills, drive, mentor, coach, network to navigate your success path in the competitive chaos?