What You Can Learn About Life and Career Success from Serena Williams

Serena Williams won her 20th grand slam tennis title over the weekend. She won the French Open. I’m a big Serena fan. I’ve followed her career ever since she was a teenager. She is a ferocious competitor, especially in big matches. She has won 20 of the 24 grand slam finals she has played.

Sometimes she makes it look easy. Other times she struggles. That was the case in Paris this year. She was ill with the flu, dehydration, a fever and chest congestion during her semifinal match against Timea Bacsinszky. She lost the first set and was losing 3 – 2, down a break in the second. (If you don’t know tennis, she was in real danger of losing the match.)

But she won the next ten games, winning the second set 6 – 3 and the third set 6 – 0. Her coach said this victory was “stunning.” And it was.

After the match, Serena’s comments showed why she is a champion. “I thought, if I lose, I will lose with a fight. I tried. I tried. I found the energy. I don’t know where, but I found it and I won.”

Serena Williams could have quit when she was down in her semifinal match. She could have just played out the string, lost the match and blamed it on the fact that she was ill. She didn’t. Tweet 37 in my book, Success Tweets, 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less says, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”

In the French Open semifinal, Serena used her negatives, — sickness, being down in the match – and used them to win 10 straight games – an amazing feat, even for as great a player as her. She tried. She tried. She didn’t give up. If ever there was a time when it would have been easy for her to give up, this was it. The same held true in the final. She could barely get out of bed on her rest day, yet she went out on to the court and won.

She tried. She tried.

I know that Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” But in my book doing begins with trying. If you don’t try, you can’t do.  Keep this in mind the next time you run into a roadblock or a career setback.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to www.BudBilanich.com/join to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.