My mother, in the words of Maya Angelou, is a phenomenal woman. My father soaked up the spotlight as a larger than life character who created two tennis phenoms, but it was my mother who was the backbone and driving force behind both him, Serena, and I. She provided the balance and stability, both emotionally and spiritually. She raised all of her daughters to be strong, confident unrelentingly successful women. Not just on the court, but in life as human beings. I’m forever grateful.
Here are a few gems straight from my mother that I’m sharing with you so you may also be phenomenal, unrelenting and successful!
V: Who is the most influential woman in your life?O: I admire her a leader in the 1500’s, Queen Elizabeth I. Being Queen at that time, when they thought little of women as leaders. She had a lot of obstacles to overcome, men trying to take over and kill her!
V: What do you feel is the most important skill for a woman to master in order to be successful?O: How to communicate and how to maneuver your way through a man’s world. There’s a different language men speak, and we have to learn it. You have to know how to go through the games that they play…. In order to survive in a world that they created, we have to acquire the skills that they have.
V: What is your biggest lesson learned in motherhood so far?
O: I’m still learning that lesson, motherhood is a continuous structure. But I love being a grandmother, because of all the things I know now that I may have not known when raising my children. So I’m more relaxed, or worried about what their future may be like. The most important thing is to teach them about god, about themselves, and being happy with who they are and being comfortable with who they are .. If you don’t recognize who you are inside, you can’t fix yourself. You have to be honest with yourself, be objective, and realize your faults. If you can’t realize your faults, you can’t improve.
V: What does being confident mean to you?
O: Being confident is just being sure of yourself. No doubts. No fears. If you made a decision, own it, it may be the wrong decision, but those are the decisions you learn from. We need to grow so we don’t go back and make the same mistake. It’s part of maturing. If you’re maturing, you’re going to make mistakes.
V: What if you don’t feel confident?
O: If you don’t feel confident, you need to train yourself to feel confident. It’s like if you have a habit of putting things down, but you don’t remember where you put it. You train yourself to remember. Training is not just physical, it’s mental. We have to train our minds to be strong, to remember, to be confident, to love, to see what we need to see and to be honest. You can’t change if you’re not honest with yourself.
V: What’s your biggest achievement?
O: My biggest achievement is my children. I have very good children; I was blessed that way. I love all of them, but I’m proud of all of them too!
V: Would you say that Venus Williams is your favorite daughter?
O: (laughter erupts) Well now you want to start trouble!
At EleVen we celebrate strong women:
"Here's to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them."