What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

 Serena Williams had the come-back of her life… literally!

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Julian Finney/Getty Images

A few days after winning her fourth title at Wimbledon in 2010, while leaving a restaurant in Germany, Serena cut both her feet on broken glass. That lead to  multiple surgeries on her right foot. She then suffered from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism in February 2011, which required injections of a blood thinner. Those shots caused other complications for Serena, leading yet to another procedure. They said she wouldn’t be able to do the things she used to do, especially play competitive tennis. Today Serena accomplished the impossible. When the reporter asked Serena about her amazing comeback to win her fifth Wimbledon title (her fourteenth tennis major), Serena gracefully said, “I am thankful to be alive… AND what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The Athletic Mindset looks like this After many defeats over the last year she kept her head in the game. She said, “even when I was off the court, I practiced over and over in my mind”. Her work ethic went beyond the physical practice, and into the mental practice as well. Success comes with practice, both physically and mentally as we describe in The Athletic Mindset book. Your determination and willingness to practice over and over mentally helps you find “the zone” to succeed in whatever you want to do. Sure Serena faced many losses upon her comeback, but she accepted her losses with grace, and never let that stop her.  “Tennis is what I do best”, said Serena Williams, and that is what I want to do. Nothing would stop this great athlete from succeeding again. It is Serena’s true passion that helps her accomplish greatness in the sport of tennis.  In The Athletic Mindset we teach this same philosophy of identifying what it is you are truly passionate about, setting goals with purpose and carrying out this purpose with utmost integrity along the way.  Serena said in her interview, “Why not be the best you can be, at whatever it is you do”. She indeed showed desire, focus, grace, and humbleness to everyone along the way.  When the reporter asked Serena how she would define success vs. greatness, she humbly replied, “Greatness is what defines you.Never give up, Go up! Serena decided to never give up, even when facing near death. She accepted her health set-back not with defeat, but with new defined goals to continue her tennis career. Serena said to the reporter, “failure teaches us appreciation, and you must simply get back up, and keep going.”   We teach this process as part of our 2nd tool for success which we call the Awarenss Ladder. Even when you fall down, all you have to do is look up, and climb back up the ladder to a higher step, and before you know it you are at the top of the ladder showing love, gratitude and joy. Today when Serena won, she showed love, graciousness, and joy to all. As co-authors of The Athletic Mindset book, we honor Serena Williams for her amazing accomplishment today.

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