Maria Sharapova on the Keys to Building Grit and Discipline

Maria: I mean, Andre Agassi had this goal; you don’t have to better than everyone else in the draw when.

Maria: I mean, Andre Agassi had this goal;
you don’t have to better than everyone else in the draw when you go out on the court. You have to be better than someone that’s
across the net. And whether that is at a very high level,
whether that’s at a low level, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. You can’t be great every single day. There’s only a handful of times where I’ve
gone on the court and felt like I did everything well. Tom: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Impact Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe
[00:00:30] that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential
is not the same as actually doing something with it. So our goal with this show and company is
to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today’s guest is one of the greatest
tennis players of all time, and her real-life story reads like a work of Russian literature. Her mother spent several months, while pregnant,
living in the literal shadow of the Chernobyl disaster, and after moving to the U.S. [00:01:00]
during the collapse of the Soviet Union when she was just six years old, her will, determination,
and skill began to capture people’s attention immediately. Despite not speaking a word of English, five
minutes on the court with the six year old wunderkind convinced an elite tennis camp
to give her a scholarship, and the string of both good and bad luck that followed is
truly stranger than fiction. But she worked her ass off day and night,
year after year, her father sacrificing and doing whatever he had to [00:01:30] to make
sure she could blossom into the player that he believed she could become. And my God, was he ever right about her potential. She turned pro at just 14 years of age, and
her love of the sport and absolute maniacal focus on winning pushed her forward at blinding
speed, and she erupted out of obscurity at 17 with the victory over Serena Williams in
the Wimbledon finals. While some relax in victory, she does not. Her hunger to win only seemed to increase
with each victory as she climbed the ranks, ultimately [00:02:00] becoming the first Russian
woman to ascend to the sport’s top ranking in 2005, a position she has held many times
since. Almost certainly assured a spot in the Hall
of Fame, she has already won five Grand Slams, a silver medal in the Olympics, and spent
an untold number of years as the highest paid female athlete, period. She’s worked with iconic brands such as Nike,
Avon, Evian, [Porscha 00:02:25], and many more. So please, help me in welcoming the tennis
[00:02:30] icon and author of Unstoppable, My Life so Far; the [indominable 00:02:35]
Maria Sharapova. Maria: Thank you. Such a great intro. Tom: You’re welcome. My pleasure. Maria: Thank you so much. Tom: Thank you for being here. Maria: I feel like you should have written
the intro the book. Tom: Put me up next time. Maria: I was like, so well said. Yes. Tom: Well, speaking-
Maria: For the next one. Tom: Yes, definitely, which-
Maria: A few years. We still have a few years. Tom: I truly hope you will write. That would be amazing. Maria: It was a long process. I told myself I’ve definitely [00:03:00] giving
myself a few more years until I ever write another one. Tom: I think that’s pretty fair. Maria: Yeah. Tom: Speaking, though, of the intro to your
book, I think a cool place to start would be do you remember the quote from Nelson Mandela
that you put? Maria: Yes. Well, I start with a Nelson Mandela quote
because I’ve always believed that his quotes were about living life not through just the
idea of success, but through the eyes of someone that is knocked down many times, faces adversity,
and gets back [00:03:30] up. It’s a very singular, direct quote. But it really resonated as I was writing the
book, and I didn’t have a title at the beginning of when I started the book, and as I was writing
and I was speaking to my father and all the figures in my life and all the obstacles that
we have overcame, it just seemed inevitable that Unstoppable was going to be the title. Tom: That’s an awesome title. Tell people what the quote is specifically,
and especially now in this part of your career, why was it so resonant? Maria: [00:04:00] Specifically, word for word,
I don’t know, but don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by the times that I fell down and
got back up again. Tom: Yeah, exactly. So now, obviously, what you’re going through,
you’ve struggled with injury, you had the suspension, your back … How do you want
to be remembered for that period, and then what have you been focused on to get going
again? Maria: You can’t really form other people’s
opinions of you. [00:04:30] I became successful at a very young
age, and from the first day after winning Wimbledon, you would think the teenager wins
Wimbledon, but not everyone was positive about it. Everyone wanted to know the story and blaming
my parents for having their child to go through this crazy journey, and working hard and not
having a normal childhood. Everyone is always going to find something
in your success or in your story or upbringing that will try to [00:05:00] knock you down,
literally. Whether it’s their purpose, whether it’s a
news outlet, whatever it might be; you never know the intention. But yeah, I don’t want to form people’s opinion. I just want to be, and live, true to who I
am every day, and then that’s the only thing that I can do. You can’t really control what other people
think of you, or how they end up remembering you. Tom: That’s a good point. You’ve talked about that, not wanting to get
too obsessed with legacy or thinking about that. Maria: Yeah. [00:05:30] It’s a question I get asked a lot
about legacy; how do you want to finish your career? I don’t know, I’ve been fortunate to set my
life up in a way now where I’ve achieved a lot. And maybe when you’re young, you set goals. In order to prove myself, and what I can do,
I want to win a grand slam, then I want to back it up, and I want to get to number one
in the world. But eventually, you need to play for other
things, and I don’t see myself saying, “This is when I want to stop; I want to reach [00:06:00]
that.” Because that’s also scary. What happens if you do? Are you limiting yourself? For me, it’s not about a particular goal. It’s an evolution. Tom: What are you playing for now? What is that driver? Maria: I think it’s an internal feeling. Happiness for me is … Of course, lifting
a trophy, it’s a goal and that’s what you want, and your team and yourself, you work
towards getting that. But it’s not always … It’s the moments,
maybe the days after, where [00:06:30] you’re just by yourself, and you wake up, and those
first few moments where you realize what you achieved, and your body is so sore, and you
feel like you’ve just given everything you could, physically, to get to that point. It’s so rewarding, ’cause you see this little
replica next to you of a trophy, and it’s nice. Those are the feelings. I don’t know if an internal happiness can
be taken on a picture, you know? Our whole life is surrounded by pictures and
smiles and [00:07:00] frowns and good angles of a face or a filter, but it’s very rare
that the people in those pictures are truly happy. So I don’t know, I don’t want to identify
those moments. I think sometimes they come as a surprise. But I do … One of my wishes for myself is
that I notice those moments, ’cause sometimes we don’t. I look back and I think, wow, I was … I
built a home a couple years ago, and it wasn’t a welcoming party, but I had people [00:07:30]
over, I moved to a bigger home, and it felt like … I was getting ready, I had my music
on and I was dancing around in my room by myself, and internally, I was so extremely
grateful that I was able to invite all these people and they were coming to my home and
we were going to party, and that. But in that moment, it almost felt like every
other day. So sometimes I wish that I recognized … I
think recognize is the right word, that this is a pretty special moment. Tom: Why do you think you don’t [00:08:00]
recognize it? Is it that you’re just caught up in what you’re
trying to do? Maria: I think so. My life is very busy. Sometimes I don’t think I settle down, and
I think about what is actually important. Tom: It’s interesting. I’m super conflicted about that, because as
somebody … Reading your book, it resonated with me in ways that I can’t begin to tell
you, from the title of just wanting myself to be unstoppable, and I’m going to read a
quote from the book in a second, but I’m somebody that I always want to move the goal. [00:08:30] Once I’ve accomplished something,
just like you were saying; you win that first one, now you want to win another Grand Slam,
you really want to keep just going bigger and bigger. But I love that. I like the way that makes me feel. Not even the having it. Having the guts to want it, having the guts
to go after it, to constantly move the goal post. Maria: Well, what if you had a goal and you
didn’t achieve it? How would it make you feel? Tom: Because I always think of, one, to understand
that one of my fundamental [00:09:00] beliefs is that it is possible, maybe not likely,
but it’s possible I’ll live forever. Because I think like that, I always … and
the reason that I allowed myself to become obsessed with that is because it always meant
that there was going to be time, right? That there’ll always be time. If I fail this time-
Maria: An opportunity, right. There will be a chance. Tom: Exactly. So I may have failed now, but I can get up
and do it again. My team knows very well about myself. I don’t judge myself by what I accomplish. I judge myself by what I’m sincerely willing
to pursue. Maria: [00:09:30] Exactly. Tom: And that’s where it gets exciting. But I want to read a quote from your book,
which when I read this, I was like, all right, she’s my kind of peeps. “I can get fancy and sweet about it, but at
the bottom, my motivation is simple; I want to beat everyone.” Maria: Yeah. I think that was a little bit of my Russian
character coming out. Just straight to the point. Really, that’s what it’s about. I’ve had several conversations [00:10:00]
with different people in my life, and when they ask me about goals and victories, and
even when I interviewed the coach that’s coaching me now. I didn’t know him very well. I knew that he was a coach that’s been on
tour for a long time, but our first conversation, he asked me, ’cause he had a long-time job
in which he was comfortable in, he was making good money. He didn’t really need the change. It wasn’t so much that I needed to convince
him, but he also didn’t want to be part of this farewell tour, ’cause [00:10:30] I’m
toward the end of my career. So, he asked me what I was still playing for,
is it another Grand Slam or is it just to get back to number one and just call it quits,
end on a high note, and I was like … I thought he asked me a silly question, because I was
like, what do you mean? I just want to win. What do you mean, what I’m doing this for? I just want to win, if that’s … no matter
where that is, a Grand Slam. And that’s the attitude that I think it’s
important for me to carry on as I continue, [00:11:00] is that of course Grand Slams are
important. That is where I want to be, that is where
I want to perform at my best. But people that buy a ticket in the middle
of nowhere in a country at a smaller tournament or at an exhibition want to see my name with
the way that I play, and the way that I compete, no matter if it’s a Grand Slam or a smaller
tournament, or an exhibition that doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day. And maybe it’s also ’cause I just don’t know
how to play any differently. It’s just, this is me and [00:11:30] this
is what you’re going to get. Tom: I love that. Maria: And that’s really the way that … As
I wrote the book, that’s really the frame of mind that I wanted to have, and I think
that’s important, especially when you’re writing a memoir. Tom: So talking about your frame of mind,
which I found really, really interesting, and you’ve talked about it, saying, “I have
something else. It isn’t just the work ethic.” In fact, I’m going to paraphrase, but this
is going to be really close. “Everyone that plays tennis has work ethic,
so that isn’t what separated me from everybody else. What separated me from everybody [00:12:00]
else was that other thing.” What is that other thing? Maria: I always think there are things that
just can’t be measured. I don’t know if they’re in thin air, or they’re
on another planet, or what, but … And a lot of sports are measured by numbers, so
you have statistics and you have all the point percentages, and I’ll talk to my coach and
he’ll show me actual patterns of a player or where they [00:12:30] serve, so I’m aware
of it in a match. And all that is important. But when you’re deep in a match or you’re
deep in a third set, so much is … you rely, or I do, on my mind and what I believe is
right in that moment and my instinct. Whether it’s the repetition that I formed
with all the years that I’ve played, or it’s the discipline that I formed, or it’s just
the experience that will kick in. Numbers are important and you must rely on
them, but there are things [00:13:00] that you don’t … Andre Agassi had this goal;
you don’t have to better than everyone else in the draw when you go out on the court. You have to be better than someone that’s
across the net. And whether that is at a very high level,
whether that’s at a low level, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. You can’t be great every single day. There’s only a handful of times where I’ve
gone on the court and felt like I did everything well. You know? It’s impossible. Tom: Yeah, that whole concept of any given
Sunday, [00:13:30] right? No matter what the odds, if you can at that
moment dig in and outperform, and that, to me, really does come down to mindset. Maria: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tom: And you’ve talked about building your
mindset. Reading the book, though, there are some examples
where I was like, whoa. This is like a little kid showing a level
of grit and tenacity that I have never seen. I didn’t have … At that age, I was ashamed
of myself. I’m going to be really honest with you. Talk to us about when you ripped off your
fingernail, and how you reacted. [00:14:00] And how old you were. Maria: I think I was around five, five and
a half. I know. Tom: Bleeding everywhere, by the way. Five and a half, rips her fingernail off. Maria: My father and I, we were headed to
my morning practice, and we were living in Sochi, Russia. We were going to the public bus transportation,
and it’s a 20 minutes walk from the apartment building to the bus. I don’t know, the roads are not great there. They’re better now, [00:14:30] but still not
great. And I don’t know, I slipped, I fell, and I
got back up again and then I just see blood everywhere, and I look at my nail, and my
fingernail is not there. I was like, “Hm, well, this is a problem. But we have practice.” And my dad’s like, “No, we have to back.” He was like, “Your mom’s going to be so mad
at me if I take you to practice with blood everywhere.” And I was like, “No, we have practice. We have to go and do it. I just walked down that hill, I’m not going
back up the hill just for [00:15:00] nothing.” No one really told me that I have to commit
myself to the sport or I have to go and practice, but I did enjoy it, and I did like it. At five years old, there’s not much that you
know of a player or who they can become, but I think you do have a mindset, and no one
really told me that I had to think that way. Tom: It’s interesting. A lot of times, when people [00:15:30] play
at a really high level, they actually have … They almost believe that they just are
a certain way. And one thing that I saw in some of the talks
you’ve given, and even just now, you’ve said things like “develop” instead of “I just am.” And one of the things you said in the book,
which is really fascinating, was the repetition created discipline. Maria: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tom: What did you mean by that, how have you
leveraged that in your life, and how does that serve you when you’re [00:16:00] down
and you just have to keep playing your all in every set? Maria: I do think that with … and it’s not
just in sport, but with other things, I do believe that the more you repeat certain things,
whether it is writing, working on your … whether it’s cursive letters or whatever it is. When you work on something and you keep doing
it over and over, it’s inevitable that it will get better. And by that, you’re creating this feeling
of repetition, [00:16:30] which leads to discipline. You know you can do it over and over again,
and that’s … One of my first coaches, Robert Lansdorp, who I speak about in the book, that
was his philosophy, is you … I would take a lesson from him, and his philosophy was
just hitting and grinding. It wasn’t about patterns or anything, which
I could get from somebody else. But what he gave me is that feeling that I
could hit the ball from any part of the court and feel like I could do it with closed eyes,
and make it, and know exactly where it’s going. [00:17:00] For me, it started at a young age. My mom would make me memorize this Russian
literature that I did not appreciate at five years old. It was very difficult, and I didn’t know what
it meant, but I would do it, and I would memorize it, and then I would feel that I accomplished
something. I don’t know why, but the repetition led me
to this discipline, and I think that helps with mindset. Tom: [00:17:30] Hearing you talk about that,
it is inescapable to hear your story, whether you’re telling it or you’re just looking from
the outside. It’s really inescapable to not talk about
your parents. Your dad is such a cool figure in your memoir,
and I think the scene that really, where I wanted to stand up and clap, is when he talks
the guy into the visas. One easy question to ask if why was he so
hellbent to get [00:18:00] you into tennis, why did he believe so early that you could
be great? Even if he saw talent, it’s still a huge stretch
that you’ll become the best in the world, right? Even forgetting that that plays out for a
second. How does he actually get … We’re in the
collapse of the Soviet Union. He walks into to get a visa, which they don’t
give out, and he convince … And you literally give the dialogue. He convinces the guy to give him the visa. What is it about your dad? The [00:18:30] tenacity, being convincing
… What has he created in himself that’s allowed him to go as far as he’s gone? Maria: I must have been four or five years
old, and he was reading an article about Anna Kournikova, who was back then a very popular
figure in Russia, and one of the first few that really brought tennis on a map then. ‘Cause tennis was not popular at all, and
one of the reasons why we left to the United States. But he saw in a newspaper, and it was a short
paragraph, it said that Anna [00:19:00] Kournikova won some tournament somewhere in Florida. And he looked at that and he’s like, “My daughter
can win this tournament.” Part of it is his competitiveness. I had already started playing tennis, and
he’s like, “My daughter can be better.” Then I think it was also going to Moscow for
a clinic that Martina Navratilova held, and she was a legend, and is a legend. Getting her to single me out, out of so [00:19:30]
many kids that were there, and saying to my father that, “Your girl has talent, and you
should do something about it,” I think was very eye-opening for him. Then going back to Sochi, realizing that there
was no potential of growth there for my tennis career. And then reading about Florida, all the academies
that were there, all the players that were developing their games from other countries,
and that was his sign. He believed in signs, and he still doesn’t. It’s the Russian superstitious [00:20:00]
mentality. Tom: Do you think your dad’s a dreamer? Maria: He doesn’t strike me as a dreamer. That’s not how I see myself. Tom: He doesn’t strike me as a dreamer. Obviously I don’t know him, but reading about
it, he doesn’t strike me as a dreamer. But what is so … Your story is so weird. Maria: The reason I say he’s not, ’cause a
dreamer doesn’t resonate to be a realist. I think a dreamer sometimes goes around in
this make-believe world. [00:20:30] My dad was very much a realist. He was very smart in understanding the reality
of things. But he also took a lot of chance, and he gave
himself to give that chance. ‘Cause if you really thought about it, you’d
think that he’s crazy, and he was crazy. So think of himself as stupid. So he really didn’t want to think about it
too much. He was like, “This is what I believe in, and
I’m going to go for it.” Tom: What you said in the book is, “It’s gut
over the head,” right? [00:21:00] Like you said, if he had stopped
and thought about it, he would realize, okay, this doesn’t make any sense, so I’m just going
to trust my gut. But what’s so interesting, and this is why
your story is so crazy and it reads like a Hollywood screen play, the visa officer that
he meets has a daughter who plays tennis. Maria: Right. Tom: So, he says, “Look, I think my daughter
is great, but I don’t think that she’s a prodigy. How are you sure you’re not just looking at
your daughter with the eyes of a father?” Maria: Yeah. Tom: So, how do you think your dad had the,
[00:21:30] what I’ll call guts, to keep pushing at every turn, to just keep … It’s so entrepreneurial,
is the word that I would use. Maria: Yeah. I guess in this day and age, you could say. I would say that he also struggled with working
different jobs and trying to find a better way and a better opportunity for his family,
and there’s no doubt that he saw an opportunity in this as well. [00:22:00] But on the other side, he knew
he had to go into that visa office and convince this individual. So if he had a chance, he had to be strong
and he had to stand up for himself in that moment. Tom: So you’ve obviously become very famous
for treating tennis like it’s your job, that the locker room is your office, you’re there
to get work done. Maria: Yeah. Tom: How have you cultivated that mindset? You had a coach, if I’m not mistaken, who
said, “There’s your game, and there’s your game.” [00:22:30] And that you got very good, very
young, at both. What did he mean? What are the two games? Maria: I think when I first arrived in the
states, I was very isolated from the rest of the kids. Because when I was always younger than them,
I would always play up in the divisions. When I was boarding in the school, I was boarding
with girls that were three, four years older than I was. We just didn’t have much in common. I never felt like it. So I was never, [00:23:00] ever part of this
rat-pack, and so I never developed these deep friendships at a young age. So I didn’t rely on them. I didn’t rely myself to put glue and sparkles
and all those things after I practice. For me, I had my homework, and I’d go to bed,
and that was the way, and I was okay with it. Yeah, it was definitely a lonely world, but
it was … I think it helped my mind focus on [00:23:30] what was really important, and
I didn’t rely on other people to make me feel better about a board that I was doing or something. That really carried through. I do see my office as the locker room, as
the tennis court, as the hallway. When I enter there, I’m in it. And I don’t know any other way, and it’s worked
for me. From my [00:24:00] perspective, it’s not something
that I want to change, because it’s worked. I know that I have to be … When I go back
home, it’s easy-going, I have friends and family, I have so many other great things
that I’m a part of. Total goofball, can’t take myself seriously. But when I get in the car to go to the courts,
get in the match, my coach knows, it’s Maria. That’s the way it is. Tom: All right. There’s another quote on this [00:24:30] topic
in your book, which I loved. “Before I even go out on the court, some of
the other players are intimidated. I can feel it. They know I’m strong.” How much do you use that to your advantage,
that they know where your head’s at? Maria: They know that I will not just give
them the match. You can beat me, but I will not give it to
you. I will work for it. That started at a young age. [00:25:00] We talked about numbers. I have never been the fastest, the strongest. I spent years watching the French open analyst
before I won the French open. The French open commentators after you had
a champion there speak about all the advantages someone that has that hits high balls and
moves well, and slides on the clay, and has all these attributes that I just didn’t have. That was not my game. And those words were like a hamster wheel,
[00:25:30] just going rewind, rewind in my mind, and as I was working in the gym or on
the court or on the clay courts leading up to the clay season, I’d think of that. And I wanted to find a way to show that my
game was capable of improving in order to be a champion at that tournament. I think there are definitely things that you
use as motivation, and they always change along your career. What I [00:26:00] played for and the things
that motivated me when I was younger might not be the things that motivate me today. Tom: Do you have a chip on your shoulder at
all now, coming into the comeback? Maria: I don’t. I mean, some of the things that I’ve been
through have been really challenging and tough, and I’ve certainly had to open up much more,
and by choice. It’s really allowed me and helped me through
the process of facing these tough moments through vulnerability and understanding that
that’s [00:26:30] okay. ‘Cause that’s also a moment where I have to
realize, it’s a good feeling to feel that, overcoming that, of sharing that with other
people and sharing. But now, I don’t know. I play it because I still really believe that
I have a lot more to give, and while I was away from it, I feel like the game itself
… I mean, as I look back over the years, it’s provided me a lot. It’s given me a lot. And I still feel [00:27:00] like there’s more
to give to the sport. Tom: You seem like you’re playing with hunger. You seem like you’re showing up to win. So you said that the things change over time,
but what is … Is there a red hot something that …
Maria: I think it’s internal. It’s an internal feeling of I’ve gone through
the shits. I’ve been through everything, and for myself,
I really want to do this. I want to put in the work, I want to make
my body strong, I want to make my mind [00:27:30] strong. I’ve had an incredible team that has stuck
with me for so many years, and I want to do it together. Tom: And what is the one skill, talent, I’m
not sure what word to use, that if you obviously forget just the ability to play tennis, what
is the one talent, skill, that you have that you think is most valuable to you? Maria: I don’t think everyone has the patience
to go through moments of [00:28:00] adversity on the court. ‘Cause you’re in front of thousands of people
and you make mistakes. When I used to practice when I was younger
and my mom would come to practice, which was very rare, but if I would hit in the net,
I’d come off the court and she’d be like, “I don’t understand how anyone can hit in
the net. The net is a few feet high. You have the whole sky, and you hit in the
net. You have so much room!” I was like, oh my God, there’s a reason why
my mom doesn’t come to practice. [00:28:30] If you think about it, for someone
that practices so much and yet goes into competition and makes mistakes, or things don’t go well,
you see it on their face. You see this anger, they’re unhappy, they’re
frustrated, they’re looking at their box. There’s so much emotion going on. It’s like reading everything right here. They don’t even need to explain it; you just
know. [00:29:00] So I feed off of that. Without even seeing it, I feel it with the
way that they carry themselves, and I’ve seen it as I’ve watched tennis on TV in the last
couple of years, as I was away. I notice it so much. And it started from a young age. I mention in the book, when you see the winner
and the finalist in a photograph, you know exactly who’s a winner and who’s the finalist. A finalist has this face like they’re about
to cry, and the winner has this huge, huge [00:29:30] smile, and from then on, I was
like, I never want anyone to know if I’m the finalist. Because I don’t know, I feel like I’m giving
them so much satisfaction. Tom: Is that something you change on the inside
or the outside? It would be relatively easy to fake the external,
like, “I just lost, but hey.” Maria: Yeah, no. Tom: Going back to that Unstoppable, in fact,
when I was trying to end the intro for you, the word that came screaming to mind was [indominable
00:29:58]. Just [00:30:00] no one can get inside your
mind, nobody can break your will. They may beat you at tennis. Fair enough. But they’re never going to break your will. Maria: And I do have my moments of frustration,
and I look at my coach when things are not going well, when we have a plan and it’s not
working and you just want to blame someone. I’ve had my fair share of moments. But I think there’s something about … I
have a routine in between the points, where I go back and [00:30:30] look at my strings,
and just because when I was younger, I’d be ahead and I’d start looking around and be
like, “Oh, wow, there’s so many people watching me, how cool is this?” And next thing you know, you lose the next
game, you lose the next set, and the match is over, and you’re coming off the court like,
“Wait, what happened? I was so happy.” I know that I can be out there for as long
as it is, and if I can just dedicate myself to that time, I can let myself out of that
momentum when I [00:31:00] leave. But once I get on the court, that’s it. Tom: You’ve said in the book that your magic
is focus. Maria: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tom: How would you train … If your daughter
wanted to play tennis … Maria: I hope not. Tom: Really? Then before we answer that question, let’s
figure that out. Why do you say that? Maria: I don’t think I can do that again. Tom: Because you don’t want to go through
it, or because it’s … Maria: Selfishly. I think that I don’t … It’s a [00:31:30]
lot. It’s a lot. There are so many unknowns, and there’s also
the reality of it. There are sometimes moments where I come off
the court and the tough loss, and I sit there in the locker room and I think, why? Why am I putting myself through this, through
this emotional … I went through the physical training for it, I give everything I can,
and then I’m just sitting here with no rewards. But then the next day, I wake up [00:32:00]
and I want to get back on the court to improve. But not everyone has this mentality, and I
think the real answer is that it’s tough to train that mentality. I do believe that a lot of it, you have to
be born with, and not just because I’m a tennis player and I’ve done well in my career, doesn’t
mean that my future child will. But in terms of experience and helping them,
I would love to. But to go through it again, that would be
tough, yeah. Tom: [00:32:30] That’s interesting. Do you think about kids and what you’d want
to teach them? Maria: I think about kids. I don’t think about what I would want to teach
them. I think one of the great things is that when
your family passes down so much information to you, I think it would be such a gift to
be able to pass it down to that wealth of knowledge, or at least what they contributed
to you in your life, and be able to share it with your children. And once they get older, they branch out and
they have a life [00:33:00] of their own. But while they’re young and growing up, I
think that’s a gift that I will definitely want to … ‘Cause my parents sacrificed so
much and that we’ve developed a very close bond and understanding, and closeness that’s
very unique. I think it’s also something that I appreciated
as I got older, because I see a lot of kids that once they get to a certain age, they
want to spread their wings and be like, okay, now it’s my time to be on their own. I’ve never felt [00:33:30] the need to do
that. I enjoy being around my parents, I enjoy being
around people that are older than me as well, that have maybe more mature, more experienced. Tom: Let’s live in a fantasy world for a second,
where your physicality never deteriorates. Maria: Oh. Tom: How long would you play tennis? Maria: I don’t know. I don’t really have a goal. As long as I have this desire to keep getting
better. That’s important. Tom: That’s interesting. Maria: If [00:34:00] I don’t feel that I can
be a better player tomorrow, then … If I don’t think that I can have something to improve
in my game, or … I know that’s impossible. There’s always something you can do better. Tom: You happen to have said a quote right
along those lines, which I love when people give me quotes. I’m so obsessed with them. And you said, “If I wake up in the morning
and don’t want to be challenged and don’t want to be better at something, it would feel
like a wasted day.” Maria: Right. Tom: Is that what led you to Harvard? Maria: [00:34:30] Let’s not get crazy, it
was only a few weeks. Tom: Still, I find it an interesting story. You’ve got the down time, you don’t just sit
back and eat Häagen-Dazs, and chill out in the Bahamas. Maria: I did that, too. Yeah, no. Tom: I think you said you did that for a couple
months. Maria: I did. I did for a little bit, and then I was like,
okay. I wanted to branch out, I wanted to learn. I knew that during summer, there are these
courses that Harvard had going on, so I signed up for two, back-to-back. [00:35:00] Harvard business school, they teach
upon case studies. And I signed up three days before the first
class. So they email me these case studies, and there’s
about average 20 for 10 days, and I was like, whoa. I have to read these before I get to Harvard
and before the class begins. So it was intense, ’cause I spent three weeks
… I spent 10 days on campus, staying there and everything, and then we did the second
part of it in London. Tom: [00:35:30] And what’s your vision for
business post-tennis? Are you going to bring the same level of competitiveness,
are you really trying to build something big? What’s that vision? Maria: Yeah, I really am. When I had shoulder surgery in 2008, on my
third Grand Slam, I was playing really great tennis and started feeling something in my
shoulder. I was misdiagnosed a few times, ended up having
surgery, and I think it was really eye-opening for me, ’cause it was the first time in my
career where I felt like, wow, I wouldn’t be doing this forever. When you’re young, you [00:36:00] just kind
of follow through with things. You’re playing every day, and then from one
day to the next, it was like, wow, I might not have this back. So I started a candy business called Sugarpova,
and we started with gummies, and the way it started was I actually … Well, I love sweets. I grew up with my grandmother eating all types
of sweets. Kind of a bad habit, but what can you do? We all have them. Then [00:36:30] I started working with someone
that was knowledgeable in the field, [Jeff Ruben 00:36:33], who really just helped me
understand different products, trends, what works in certain places and doesn’t. And then I started doing research on packaging
for the gummies, realized that gummies was a 99 cent product that you buy in a store
as you’re walking out of the store. You’re eating, you’re throwing away, there’s
no meaning to it, and I wanted to create a premium product that looked great, that tasted
great, and that’s what we [00:37:00] did. Tom: So now is it global domination? I mean, you got involved in the UFC …
Maria: Yeah, a little bit. I own Sugarpova fully, we’re in about over
20 different countries right now, we’re online. Tom: Wow. Maria: Yeah. We’re expanding. We’re in chocolate as well, we’re doing truffles
soon. We’ve got-
Tom: Do you set specific goals, like, we want to be in this many countries, this much distribution,
do this much revenue? Maria: The thing with candy is that it’s really
a numbers game, [00:37:30] because there’s … It’s not a very high price point, it’s
like, $2.99, $3.99. Tom: Right. Maria: So it’s really about quantity, so distribution
is really important, and that’s the big lesson that I’m learning is the keys to distribution
manufacturers, getting the product. We’re also working on incorporating natural
gummies, as you see the shift in health and everything, so yeah. Our chocolate’s all natural, non-GMO. Our truffles are [00:38:00] going to be amazing,
that’s going to be a great addition to the line. It’s a fun business. It’s great taste testing. But just evolving it and seeing where it goes. Tom: Awesome. All right, before I ask my last question,
where can these guys find you? Maria: Social media, Maria Sharapova, Instagram. Every social media platform I have is quite
different. Instagram’s a little bit more creative. I love photographs, so I always use the 30
filters that they [00:38:30] provide. As one does, right? Twitter, very fan-engaging, so I re-tweet
a lot of my … speak to my fans a little bit more, and more newsworthy. And Facebook is a little bit more corporate,
so different things. But all are @MariaSharapova. Tom: All right. Maria: Yeah. Tom: And what is the impact that you want
to have on the world? Maria: I think impact, to me, is something
that comes from within. I always want to … I feel like I want to
[00:39:00] start in on the day being the best version of myself that I can be. I think we’re always impacted by external
things, people, life, situations, finances, job, all those things. And it’s important to always focus on you,
so you can be the best version to other people in your life. And if I can do that, I know that I’ll impact
others. Tom: Awesome. I love it. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Maria: Thank you, yeah. Tom: That was fantastic. All [00:39:30] right, guys. You have something incredible coming your
way if you dive into her mindset, and what she has had to do to become as successful
as she has become is absolutely insanity. Her story is unbelievable. It’s a story of not only work ethic. It is a story of building a mindset that truly
is unstoppable. I think that may be the perfect title for
her book. The things that she’s gone through, whether
it’s injury, whether it’s her most recent setback, always on the other [00:40:00] side
of that, you watch her rebuild herself into somebody that is to be feared, because it
is somebody that is willing to put in the work to do whatever it takes to come out the
other side better at whatever she’s doing. It is going to be utterly fascinating to watch
her translate what she has done so well on the tennis court to the world of business,
because if she brings that same attitude of I will outwork everyone, I will build my body,
I will build my mind, I will research, I will learn, I will do the things that [00:40:30]
other people aren’t willing to do, and I’m going to beat you in the board room before
you even walk in the room, which is exactly how she plays tennis. So it is going to be really fascinating. It was super inspiring for me to get a glimpse
into that mindset, which exactly the kind of thing that I want in my own life, because
at the bottom, at the end of the day, I want to beat everybody, and I love anybody that’s
got that attitude. All right, guys. Dive in. Let her inspire you. She’s going to blow you away. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Maria: [00:41:00] Thank you so much. Tom: Thank you guys so much for watching,
and if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe. And for exclusive content, be sure to sign
up for our newsletter. All of that stuff helps us get even more amazing
guests on the show and helps us continue to build this community, which at the end of
the day is all we care about. So thank you guys so much for being a part
of the Impact Theory community.

100 thoughts on “Maria Sharapova on the Keys to Building Grit and Discipline”

  1. She is so right about mindset and focus thing. One should be optimistic about what they can do and improving in it completely.. instead of beating bush around doing what trend says.

  2. Est ce que vous pouvez portez plainte contre ma famille il mérite une balle dans leur tete chacun sa vie et tu sais on jouera un jours ensemble

  3. She's smart but to bad she cheated for 10 years. 🙁 It's actually sad how she gets a pass because she's good looking. It's actually a disgrace they gave her that drug when she was beginning and that doctor knew as he said his drug is typical PED. Enhances endurance, you can practice more and stay fresh longer cause it increases oxygen amount in muscles.

    I actually can't believe the system works like that that you can cheat for 10 years make millions because of it and then you get "punished" by not playing only for 2 years.

  4. She has sullied the name of the sport through cheating doping and using performance enhancing drugs. She has sullied the efforts of those athletes who believed that ALSO through THEIR respective hard work and belief that the TOO could attain greatness or realised their true potential and make a real IMPACT ON THIS WORLD..,

    Yet you sit here asking these deep and meaningful questions whiles avoiding the real question.

    Why cheat others out of making an impact!
    Shouldn’t you have your earnings sequestrated?

  5. angeilina markelova annastisiya labedinac maria sharapova visit lion zoo and buy 5 lion tie with them 1km rope commensense. CIA

  6. All you need is determination and Meldonium No problem, till secret non disclosed substance was exposed in 2016

  7. The thing that I love about her is that she is so disciplined, and not distracted by the outer chaos, and she's just like, I just do it! Like you are unbreakable!

  8. The thing is when you fail, and sometimes it's so hard to put up facade, that everything is okay. Suddenly the muscles on your face seem to heavy to pull up a smile.

  9. I think we need an Impact Theory on Tom Bliyeu..This guy is amazing. Tom you have no idea that this show is so much helpful for me .. I can literally see my life changing .. Thanks man you are awesome …? Be Legendary

  10. I thing you should invite Robert Kubica, the F1 driver, to your talk. He's just incredible person, he's the true fighter.

  11. Should be a good match tomorrow. The never ending receding hairline vs the jealous drug cheat. Two hated players hating on each other. Tennis only has room for one villain. The sooner one goes the better.

  12. With her looks she probably could've been gold digging on some rich guy. Respect the fact that she wouldn't put herself down at that level ?

  13. Maria! Tom! Wow, amazing episode – thank you to the both of you for sharing. Maria, congratulations on such an amazing journey. Truly an inspiration! I also came from the former USSR, and we escaped as refugees. I have seen that tenacity in my parents, and I send my appreciation to yours as well. Once again, thank you to the both of you, and I wish you only amazing things! ?? Sacha

  14. Wow she is so amazing and smart. What a strong character. So much wisdom behind the talent. Great interview. Thank you!

  15. This chick is a tough cookie. Regardless of whether i like her story or not, I'd still like to ask myself, "What would it be like if I tapped into my inner-Shirapova?"

  16. про вчерашний покурю и постараюсь спать????.это я пошутил про юру.а вот про вас мать и дочь не обещаю???.сматря в каком форме будет Елена Петровна.???.чуть бабулю м белараша не забил.сибяби не простил??.какой лучще ааа?какой лучще Юрий,самной или с реисавиков за сталом.взял вивил дишланул вернулись.потом наабарот.все юра отпадает.каму я не нужен,и он мне не нужен.пшол вон Викторович.шлипина меня поймет.вот так.бс зарбо

  17. большое дело на капри застал наш реисавик нас.???в ибло не застал? ???раньше надо было думать о себе если в серез задумала штота.только на капри????.ты фучури ибиомат,што забила штолы?а ты про капри говоришь мне.гони бабки тваю мать блядь.бс зарбо

  18. yeah! love your questions its so engaging and gives us an insight about how her high level of focus and mentality and competitiveness makes her one of the top high performance athletes. And those legs wow…

  19. Really enjoyed! Love your work Tom always listen to you when I walk my 5km with the dog, no easy feat with MS.. but once upon a time I could only do a shaky 100m.. the inspiration of others you share is just liquid gold to my mind.. ??

  20. I reached internal happiness but dident reach a goal i set for myself when the goal wasn't necessary i overlooked my happiness

  21. Really motivating woman.. have been through so much tough things and still keep battling, giving your best. Love the interviews ❤️ Soon the next grand slam will come

  22. Maria is a very inspiring woman, a lot to learn from her ?It would also be great to have Simona Halep as a guest or Serena Willliams

  23. Great.. very nice interview Tom.. u really like the way u interview people.. wow.thank for sharing so much knowledge.

  24. I'm disappointed that Tom would actually invite her onto the show as she is a drug cheat. I will not be watching this episode.

  25. 31:04 OMG Why didn't you repeat her that question?, that was the most interesting one and ended up talking about her children 🙁 I'd love to know how does she keep her focus since I'm a very distracted person.

  26. Focus If Want?
    Because We In Biggest Signal More 2000++ Crew Satellite

  27. 책 제목이 UNSTOPPABLE

    Is she running for the Presidency of U.S.A , then?

    Probably Democrat?

    Is she too Progressive, then?

    I can't stop my question to her, too.

  28. "Maria Sharapova on the Keys to Building Grit and Discipline"
    tip nr 1: shout at the top of your voice at every ball hit, and make it sound like youre giving birth.

  29. I think she has just put it blunt, Tom.
    U've got to b born with it.
    10000 hours, deliberate practice and what not – sure – a must. But to want to do all that, one needs to have an inner passion for what they do.
    Masha, I love u. The picture of u was in my PhD student office for like a year! And I think it was on my desktop too! ?

  30. Hey she not mention her best way to success, taking meldonium! SHe is still lying even in pep talks lol.

  31. Did he just call Sharapova "one of the greatest tennis players of all time"? xD I love her, she's great, has got admirable determination and some good wit, but we don't have to exaggerate 😀

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