Last week, tennis superstar and MAKER Serena Williams announced she is "evolving away" from the sport where she grew from child prodigy to one of the greatest athletes of all time. In a first-person Vogue essay, Williams shared that this tough decision was made in part to grow her family (she’s mom to Olympia, who at four years old is already a co-owner of a professional women’s soccer team!) and focus on her investment firm, Serena Ventures. She learned through becoming an investor that only about 2 percent of venture capital funding goes to women founders.
While we’re here to bow down — full stop, Serena Williams changed the sport of tennis forever, with her unique combination of finesse, power, and unwavering passion and belief in herself — but also to acknowledge all the small moments that Williams described some of the everyday battles of working women: thinking about when to have kids as your career flourishes, finding new passions, being a role model for the next generation, and striving for perfection while balancing it all. “I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams said. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.”
Williams also stated that she did not like the word “retirement”, but rather that she viewed this next phase of her life as a transition toward other things that are important to her. Psychology experts have praised this framing and her ability to pivot. Through all the different life changes, from big shifts like becoming a caregiver to small resets like starting a new morning routine, our experiences expand our views of ourselves and the world. In these evolutions, we more fully understand how honoring and supporting each of our unique stories can give room for more hope and possibility for everyone.