The one, big lesson Serena Williams can teach business owners

I'm a huge sports fan. Since I was a kid I've loved watching and playing sports. I love the drama, the unpredictability, and the escape from the daily grind it gives me. There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing your team win a big match or being part of a successful side and feeling like you're part of a larger, shared experience. Every year I look forward to the important tournament dates in the calendar - Super Bowl Sunday, the NBA Finals, the World Series or the final round of the US Open.


This year I'm also looking forward to Wimbledon - even more than usual. There is one reason for this:can Serena Williams at last equal Steffi Graff and win her 22ndGrand Slam title?I'm fascinated by Serena's story: it's like a real-life fairy tale. Against the odds, she rose from humble beginnings to be the undisputed World Number 1 for over a decade. Still at the very top of the game in her mid-30s, with no sign of slowing down, she is a true inspiration.

What's her secret? One thing above all else that has driven her to succeed is her absolute determination and single-minded focus. On court she never, ever gives up. Even if her cause looks hopeless, she fights right up until the final ball has been hit. There are countless examples of her coming from behind to win. She never knows when she's beaten.

However, as us business owners know all too well - you can't win them all. In the last three Grand Slam finals, Serena has looked vulnerable, unsure and showed us she's human after all. She lost all three to players she would expect to beat on any other day, the pressure of the record weighing heavy on her shoulders. But, every time, despite these huge disappointments, Serena comes back fighting harder than ever - determined to prove that she has what it takes to win her next major title.

I'd love to have Serena's talent, sadly though my efforts on the tennis court are pretty terrible. A rally with me is more likely to endanger low-flying birds than win me a point. More than her talent though, the one thing I'd want is her

Single-minded determination

. The saying 'if you don't succeed, try, try and try again' could have been written about her. Just as you need that perseverance to be successful in sports, you need the same drive and desire in business too.

Over the years, I've had my fair share of failures and sometimes these have set me back. They caused me to question my judgement and my own ability. Am I really any good at this job? This is a very natural reaction. The hard thing is to

Act like Serena - stay positive, believe you can do it and keep going

. I can't say that when things go wrong I always take the 'Serena approach', but I'm making a conscious effort to learn from her. I try and take a step back, re-focus my thoughts and think about how I can make the best of the situation.

Over the years,Serena has come up with some great motivational quotes, here are just a few of my favorites:

  • 'If anything, I think losing makes me even more motivated'
  • 'Luck has nothing to do with it, because I spent many, many countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.'
  • 'I've had to learn to fight all my life - got to learn to keep smiling. If you smile things will work out.'

So will Serena win at Wimbledon? Well, there are no guarantees in sports, but I'm pretty sure that on the day of the Women's Final - July 9th- there is a great chance that Serena will be lifting that famous Venus Rosewater Dish and claiming her 22ndtitle.

I really hope she can do it and will be cheering her on the entire time.