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Venus Williams on What Tennis Taught Her About Life, Power and Business

want.Having spent her life in the public eye, Williams has felt this pressure on a much larger scale. She has the media, fans and self-proclaimed tennis experts all chipping in with opinions on her career and even her personal life.Despite this deluge of attention, Williams says she’s always played tennis for herself.“My parents taught us early on that you have to do this for yourself: you’re not doing it for anyone else,” she says.

She regularly takes to make sure that she’s centering her own voice.“I found myself this year checking in with myself and realizing, ‘Oh my gosh: I’ve started to care about what other people might think of my results, or whatever it is,’” Williams says. “And going back to that freeness of really letting it be about you, and not everyone else.”People will have opinions, whether it’s about your work or your personal life.

That’s true even if you aren’t a world-famous athlete: It could be your family, friends or colleagues who are pressuring you to take a certain path that you aren’t sure about. Only you get to make the final decision.Proactively needs to be an ongoing process that you build on and maintain, even when you feel good.

Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis before adding tools to your toolbox.This is true for everyone, but especially for people who push themselves to . That includes entrepreneurs and other leaders, as well as professional athletes, especially in solo sports. It can be lonely being the person in charge.

Shouldering responsibility for your own success or failure frees you up from meeting other people’s expectations, but it also comes with a lot of stress. You need to be able to continuously. “I find—especially in those moments where you’re by yourself—that you need to

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Venus Williams