Serena Williams has risen to become a feminist icon, from winning a Grand Slam tournament while secretly pregnant, to speaking out on sterotypical depictions of women of colour.
So it should come as no surprise the tennis champion has penned a thoughtful, articulate essay to mark International Women’s Day, putting pen to paper for Fortune.
You should read the entire piece, but if you’ve only got a minute, these are the three quotes we’ll be thinking about all day.
“I want to make it clear that perfection is an impossible goal and should never be a true pursuit in life. And this is something I’ve had to come to terms with myself. Now that I have Olympia, she is my absolute priority—spending as much time as possible with her every day is so important to me. But I’m still training to win Grand Slams and sometimes I have to make hard choices about how I spend my time. I’ve cried over Olympia so many times that I’ve lost count. I cried when I stopped breastfeeding. I sat with Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it, and I told her, “Mommy has to do this.” I cried when I missed Olympia’s first steps because I was in training. I’m honest about my struggles as a working mom because I want other women out there to know they are not alone. We have to show ourselves and our female counterparts compassion and reality.”
“When I was getting back into training last year, I needed a lot of physical recovery. But not only was the work taxing on my healing body, it was emotionally draining too. I felt overwhelming guilt whenever I wanted to take “me” time, with the nagging feeling that any extra moments should be spent with Olympia. When things were at their most challenging, the unwavering support of my mom, sisters, and friends helped me through. I want to remind all women reading this about the importance of supporting one another through the highs, lows, laughs, and tears, and always asking for help when it’s needed. Trust me when I say: we’ve all been there before.”
“My dreams are just beginning and being a mom is a part of that now. I want Olympia to see and remember her mom winning a Grand Slam title. I want her to know that my work fulfills me, that I’m proud and passionate about what I do even if I’m not perfect at it, and that she should never give up on her dreams. I want her to see a world of possibilities at her feet and to believe in those first steps she took when I was training, every time she takes a leap toward her goals— however big the risk.”
Williams’ close friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex marked International Women’s Day by leading a panel of female thought-leaders, including former Australian PM Julia Gillard.