It's not easy to faze tennis icon Venus Williams, and she says that's a major reason why she's experienced success, both on the court and off.
"Not too much bothers me," Williams tells CNBC Make It. "So even in the worst situations, I'm pretty calm and collected."
Staying calm has been key for Williams, who has been in the public eye for her tennis skills since childhood. Now 39, Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion and an Olympic gold medalist who has been playing professional tennis for 25 years.
Williams is also an entrepreneur who serves as the CEO of both her own interior design firm as well as the athletic apparel line EleVen. Williams and her sister Serena are also part-owners of the Miami Dolphins, having bought a minority stake in 2009, and the sisters have also invested in the mixed martial arts company the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In addition to running multiple businesses and regularly playing in high-stakes tennis matches for more than two decades, Williams has had to overcome her share of health setbacks. Williams struggled through chronic wrist pain from tendinitis that nearly derailed her career in the mid-2000s, but she worked through the pain to win Wimbledon titles in 2007 and 2008.
Williams was also has Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can lead to fatigue and joint pain. After skipping multiple tournaments to rest following her diagnosis in 2011, Williams returned to professional tennis in 2012. She reached the Australian Open finals in 2017 and she's currently 53rd in the WTA rankings.
"I roll with the punches really well," Williams says in describing the mindset that's allowed her to remain one of the world's best tennis players despite her illness.
In trying to balance being a tennis player and an entrepreneur, Williams simply "staying on top of things" is one of her biggest challenges.
"In order for things to be successful, you have to be a part of it," Williams says of her business pursuits, which she has to avoid neglecting in favor of her tennis career. "So I just make sure that don't get too much tennis ball fuzz in my head and that I stay on top of my emails, which is easier said than done."
But to keep her peace of mind amid the craziness, Williams says it helps to be able to understand what you can control and what you can't.
"I think part of it is, you know, you'll do the best you can [and] everything you can for the situation," she tells CNBC Make It. "And if you can do no more, then you have to kind of let it go … There's only so much you can do in a 24-hour period."
If you're overly worried about factors out of your control, those concerns can end up distracting you from your goals.
If anything, Williams' busy schedule can actually help her achieve that calm mindset, she adds: "Being productive, accomplishing things, gives you peace of mind [and] gives you confidence." And having confidence and peace of mind are building blocks for success, she says. "Everything adds up."
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