When she’s not dominating the courts as a tennis champion and Olympian, Venus Williams is busy flexing her entrepreneurial and activist spirit. She’s the founder of the lifestyle brand EleVen and is at the helm of #PrivilegeTax, an initiative that aims to close the gender wage gap. She even served as an executive producer, alongside sister Serena, for King Richard, the critically acclaimed biopic that details how their dad shaped the sisters’ commitment to the game, making them household names on and off the court.
So, how does Venus juggle it all? The ability to welcome change comes into play. Here, she shares her wisdom for this season—and beyond.
Through your tenure as a tennis champion, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and activist, how have you been able to consistently reinvent yourself in new spaces?
VW: I was encouraged from an early age to diversify my interests and taught the importance of a determined work ethic. My endeavors—whether that’s been tennis, creating my companies EleVen, V Starr, and Happy Viking, or starting the Privilege Tax initiative to close the wage gap—all started as passions of mine that were honed by determination, discipline, and drive. When you love something the way l love tennis, activism, design and wellness, it makes all the challenges and hard work worth it.
From the outside, it seems like as soon as you’ve climbed a mountain, you set your sights on the next one. What does that process do for your character and your well-being?
VW: I like to think that my best moments are ahead of me. The work is never finished. Growing up training, I was constantly pushing to improve and it instilled in me a deep motivation that has since carried over into other aspects of my life, such as wellness and business. I am always aiming higher, in both my personal and professional life, and try to encourage others to do the same.
Do you have any advice for those who struggle with personal growth?
VW: I truly believe that everything starts from within. If you are taking care of your body and your mind, it puts you in the best place to succeed in other areas of your life. Once you take care of yourself, there is space to focus on other goals and improve elsewhere.
Is it important to you to reinvent and reorient yourself as the zeitgeist shifts?
VW: I don’t know if I aim to “reinvent” myself as I’m proud of the woman I’ve become and the accomplishments I’ve achieved through hard work, but I am always open to and excited by growth. As I said before, I’m constantly aiming higher and trying my best to avoid being stagnant in any area of my life.
What’s the key to staying malleable and open to rejuvenation?
VW: You have to keep an open mind. For me, the key is adjusting and adapting to new techniques as they become available. I’ve been blessed to have a long career in tennis and staying innovative, as well as finding passions outside of the sport, are some ways I’ve been able to keep my edge as the game evolved.