Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time, if not the greatest. On Saturday, July 11, she won her 21st major by collecting her sixth Wimbledon title. This past weekend she completed the second ‘Serena Slam,’ making this her fourth consecutive Grand Slam win and giving her the achievement of holding all four titles at once. Serena is also on pace to make history in September. If she claims the U.S. Open title, she will be the first player to win all four majors since Steffi Graf. She is one win behind Steffi for most major titles won by a player in the Open era, and two wins behind the all-time leader, Margaret Court Smith.
From the moment she and her sister, Venus, took the tennis stage, we knew that they came to shake things up. Through all of Serena’s triumphs and challenges, we have been able to learn something new. Check out the five most valuable lessons that Serena has taught about greatness over the years.
1. Have an intentional vision for your life.
Serena was once asked, “If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?” She replied, “I would want people to want to be like me.”
There was no doubt in her mind that she would win major titles and play the sport she loved. I’m sure she left some room for the magic, but for the most part she knew she would be here. We all need a vision for our lives and we need to intentionally go after them every single day.
2. Never give up & work hard
For Serena, giving up has never been an option and there is no doubt that she’s put in the time and effort to achieve this level of success. She has overcome everything from racism to injury to continue winning. Serena once said, “It's a little difficult. All my life I've had to fight. It's just another fight I'm going to have to learn how to win, that's all.” But it doesn’t matter if you never give up, if you don’t work hard. . You must put in the work! Achieving greatness requires a heavy dose of resilience and perseverance.
3. Don’t believe your critics
Serena has been criticized for everything from her tennis skills to her body type. A recent New York Times article insinuated that Serena had an unfair advantage because she was built like a man. Despite being booed on center court and marked as a target of racism and misogyny for her accomplishments, Serena still wins. If Serena can ignore the critics on a world stage, we can ignore the critics in our lives.
4. Play the game by your own rules
In many ways, tennis was and still is a game for the elite. From the time she busted on to the scene with her braids and beads, Serena has played the game by her own rules. She has never tried to fit into the mold of a tennis player in terms of looks or game play. Don’t be afraid to play by your own rules. Believe in yourself and simply go for it.
5. Have fun
Greatness demands a tremendous amount of effort. There is the dedication of long, sleepless nights, early mornings and the restricted schedule that keeps a person bound to pushing forward. In between the hectic aspects of life, be sure to take the time to have some fun! A balanced schedule of work and play can be managed with a little bit of organization and discipline.
Greatness is usually overstated and this is definitely not the case for Serena. Being a witness to all that she has overcome and accomplished is inconceivable. Serena is a role model for millennial woman for ages to come and her list of achievements is nowhere near done!
Are there any lessons that you have learned from Serena? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments. We would love to hear about them!