Venus Williams, former world No. 1 tennis champion, appeared with Veronica Figueroa, an Orlando, Florida-based eXp Realty broker and 3x ICON winner for a fireside chat during the second day of EXPCON, eXp Realty’s multi-day conference for agents, brokers and staff, being held in Las Vegas.
With seven Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledon championships and four Olympic gold medals, Williams is arguably one of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the history of sports and now, fashion and interior design. She is the author of the motivational book, “Come to Win,” which reached No. 5 on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
The conversation kicked off with a clip from “King Richard,” a movie about Venus and her sister Serena Williams’ childhood that premieres on Nov. 19. It stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, their father and tennis coach.
“Thank you for representing women, thank you for representing champions and thank you for representing diversity,” Figueroa said. “I’m legit emotional here. I know it means a lot to me and a lot of us out there.”
Some Takeaways From the Venus Williams Q&A:
- About entrepreneurship: “The key to owning and operating your business is having that vision and being able to stay true to it. I always feel like there’s enough room for everyone. But in order to be relevant, you have to have something to say. So as long as there’s something to say and there’s something to offer, then there’s space for you.” Williams also emphasized the importance of self-awareness, honesty, the ability to pivot, being enjoyable to work with and being willing to get feedback.
- How sports apply to business and life: “For those of you who do have kids, I always say, ‘Put them in a sport.’ It will teach them everything that you’re trying to get through to them and they’re not probably listening to. Just let sports teach that to them. It’s a beautiful way to learn things and things that you don’t know you’re learning – winning, losing, how to work on a team, how to have a good attitude, how to fail and get right back up, resilience.”
- About mental health: Williams emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself and letting go, trusting the process, recognizing that there are ups and downs, remembering self-care and training mentally. “You can’t just expect that when those hard times come, that maybe you’re going to handle it, maybe you aren’t. It’s thinking about those scenarios long before you get there and how you want to handle them, how do you want to feel in those moments?”
- About a winner’s mindset: When she was competing in the U.S. Open semifinals at 19 years old, Venus said that she was so nervous that she couldn’t perform. Instead, her younger sister won the tournament at 17 years old.
“I remember that loss taught me so much. And I thought, ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. And even if it’s scary at that moment, I’m going to do what the point requires.”
At the tournament, Venus remembers asking Serena if she was nervous. Serena replied, “No, I’m not, because you have to show up. Since you have to show up, why not compete?”