What’s the secret to Serena Williams’s success? Does she have something magical that helps her work harder, push herself further and become the best at what she does? In her own words: ‘All I know is that I do work very, very hard. The other day I was on the court for four hours with my coach and everyone was like, “OK, are you crazy?” No, I’m just really intense. I work really hard. As long as you’re willing to do hard work, you’ll have everything.’
She’s right, pushing yourself hard is the only way you’ll have what you want. There’s a beauty in struggling for something and then achieving it. With hard work, dedication, and the right mindset, you can achieve anything.
We put Serena’s daily plan in our Getting Stuff Done planner to see just how she continues to be the Greatest Of All Time, turns out it’s a lot of pushing yourself and training, plus a healthy mix of eating the right food, drinking enough water and pushing yourself to go harder always. You need to go one step bigger than last time, every time you train, and you can learn some lessons about how to do this from Serena.
Serena gets up early to begin her day, she tries to spend time with her family and get a nourishing breakfast in first thing. On Sunday the family has pancakes together, but if she has a tournament she’s known to go vegan and stop eating sugar to try and push her body harder. It might seem like a lie in compared to some women, but on a tournament day, Serena is up and at ’em early. Plus, she goes to bed at midnight usually so she gets around seven hours sleep on an average day. With her daughter to take into consideration now, it’s all about creating routines and spending as much time as possible together.
You know that there’s no way Serena doesn’t train every day. She’s usually on the courts in the morning usually with her sister or her father. She’s been pushed to work hard for tennis her whole life, so she feels most at home on the courts, perfecting her game.
“I actually love dancing as well. I’ve been taking dance classes because it’s actually super challenging. I have a lot of friends that take it with me. I make fun of them, and they make fun of me in the class. We do it year-round, and we always see who’s improved the most, then bam, put on a show, which is kinda ridiculous but really fun.” Serena knows that to perform her best on the courts, she needs to work out all areas, which is why she mixes up her workouts.
She also trains her core, regularly completes strength training and more so that she’s in the best fitness she can be. She trains harder before a match, but by training all the time, she can stay at the top of her game. To stay on track, Serena keeps a journal of all her goals: “I always say that I hate losing more than I love winning. I wrote in my journal that my goal was to be seeded at the U.S. Open by August. It’s virtually impossible to do that in three weeks. But I worked really, really, really hard with my trainer. He put me in the pool to get the strength back in my lungs. I remember feeling as if I were going to drown. But it worked. I kept winning, and I was ranked 29th for the U.S. Open.”
TIME WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS
“Tennis is just a game, family is forever,” Serena is quoted as saying. And it’s true, although she takes the game extremely seriously and hates losing, she’s also serious about her family and friends. Everyone knows the story about her being flown to Italy by her husband because she was craving Italian food. She’s worked hard to get to where she is, and now with her daughter and her husband, she’s allowing herself a little more time to enjoy every moment.
In the evenings she’ll have a meal with her family and spend time with them, enjoying every moment. She’s been very open about how she missed her daughter’s first steps because she was training, and how she was devastated to hear that, but she does her best and tries to create a balance of training and life.
SOCIAL MEDIA WORK
Serena Williams is pretty active on Instagram. In the evenings she checks in with her social media accounts, she uses the hashtah #thismama to explore her struggles and joys with motherhood, has an Instagram account for her daughter, and an Instagram account for her daughter’s doll that regularly gets posted on with graphics, and mini-stories. Serena is passionate about a lot of projects so it’s important to her to spend some time in the evening doing the work that doesn’t require her to get physical.
Serena has been open about her struggles with sleep, so open in fact that she co-founded a company with LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Pitbull called Sleep Sheets, which they promoted as a natural sleep aid featuring melatonin. She sleeps quite late in the day, and explains her inability to shut down at night by saying she’s, “constantly on a natural high, high on life and happy, happy, happy and working.” When she was pregnant, sleep came much easier, but now she’s back on the go, she finds it easier to sleep if she’s worked out just before bed.
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