Whether she’s on or off the court, 5-time Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams is a pro when it comes to living a healthy, meaningful life.
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From achieving greatness as a tennis superstar to being an advocate for women’s rights to starting her own clothing line and interior design business, the 38-year-old athlete exemplifies exactly what it means to be a Stronger Woman.
Williams, who recently partnered with Systane Complete eye drops for dry eyes, spoke to LIVESTRONG.COM exclusively and shared her top tips for being her most confident, powerful self.
Tune Out the Negativity
One of Williams’ top tips for being the best version of you? Tune out the negativity! “I don’t do well with negativity at all,” she says. “I think people respond better to positive feedback as opposed to negative feedback, whether it’s a coaching situation on the court or a business situation behind closed doors. For me, I can’t tolerate negativity — it’s just too much. I recommend tuning out negative vibes as much as possible.”
In order to love herself to the absolute fullest on a physical level, Williams also avoids any negative thoughts when it comes to her body. “I think I’ve had the opportunity to use my body for something positive, so instead of focusing always on what I looked like, I was able to actually focus on what my body was doing for me,” she reveals. “I’m always an advocate of young women playing sports because it builds confidence and your focus is on what you’re achieving and not always focusing on what you see in the mirror.”
Know Your Worth
Another one of Williams’ top tips for living a confident life is knowing your worth and what you bring to the table. An advocate for women’s rights, Williams famously fought for equal prize money at Wimbledon’s iconic Grand Slam event, ultimately changing history and winning the battle. “You definitely have to know your worth, and if you don’t know your worth, just pretend you do,” she laughs. “At some point you’ll figure it out, but you have to treat yourself as if you believe in yourself, even if you don’t. Make decisions that you would make as a confident, proud person.”
And while life can certainly get difficult, Williams reveals that much of her strength comes from within. “For me, the word ‘strong’ is mental and physical because I need both for what I do. I have to be physically strong and train, which takes discipline, and you need strength to get through that because mentally you have to push yourself. I need a lot of mental focus to push through my own barriers.”
Williams is a proponent of self-care, revealing that it plays a crucial role in her life. “I have to practice self-care on a daily basis, mainly because my job requires me to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” she reveals. “From everything I eat, getting enough sleep, working out and even having to take care of my eyes.”
The tennis pro credits Systane Complete for helping her dry eyes — an issue she’s struggled with for years. “I’ve suffered from eyes that are so dry that it made it impossible for me to play professional tennis, so the eye drops are so important,” she says. “It’s very exciting for me and for everyone who suffers from dry eyes because they know what that’s like to have limitations because of your sight.”
To add to her self-care regimen, Williams says that she trains anywhere from two to four hours in order to feel her best. “I also get into the gym once or twice a day, and I can be there for one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours, so that takes up a lot of time,” she adds. “As for food, I don’t really eat breakfast unless I’m playing a match. If I am, then I eat either a fruit or smoothie for breakfast, and lunch is when I eat my heaviest meal of protein and carbs of some sort. A lot of times I’ll do a protein replacement with a lot of acids and B vitamins to try and help with recovery and build muscles. I’m a vegan, but I cheat sometimes, so I call it ‘chea-gan.’ I’m doing my best out here, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Have a Strong Support System
Having a strong support system can be a vital part of one’s life, especially when it comes to health and wellness. In regards to staying consistent and holding herself accountable, Williams credits her younger sister, Serena, for playing a huge role in her overall well-being. “Serena is my sister, but she’s also my friend, my confidant and my supporter,” Williams says. “We’ve been there for each other through it all, so our relationship is so much deeper than just a sister or a doubles partner. It’s so important to have someone by your side who just gets you on so many different levels.”
As for the most recent advice her sister gave her? Have kids! “Recently, I asked Serena, ‘Do you think I should have kids?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, you really should! It’s a lot of fun.’ That’s the most recent advice I’ve gotten from her, so we’ll see what happens there.”
Follow Your Passions
While tennis is Williams’ first priority, she also has her own interior design business and clothing line, EleVen, which she says is crucial in order to stay happy. “It’s very important to follow your passions,” she says of her multiple companies. “You work a huge part of your life, and you want your life to be exciting and fulfilling, so you look forward to it and enjoy it. So following your passions in as many parts of your life as possible just leads you to leading a fulfilled life.”
So what advice does Williams have for young women who strive to be like her? “I would say that they could be much better than I am in their own way. Everyone can start somewhere and be inspired by someone, but you could totally surpass them. More than anything, go ahead and live your dreams — and that’s happiness in itself.”
What Do YOU Think?
Do you have any advice when it comes to tuning out negativity? Are there any tips from Venus Williams that you’ll include in your own life? Sound off in the comments below!