The May 2010 issue of Oprah Magazine arrived in yesterday's mail. The issue celebrates the publication's tenth anniversary, and is packed with interesting articles and features from some very inspiring women. As I flipped through the pages, I could not help but notice this beautiful paper, typography, and lettering illustration of the number “10,” created by Yulia Brodskaya, on page 69.
The question underneath the graphic, “What's Next for You?” is an important one. If you can't plan what's next, you could end up any old where. Identifying and then planning for what you want in life and in business is vital. Otherwise, your life and your business will live you, instead of the other way around. Who wants that? Not me!! Here are some of the things my husband business partner and I have planned for the next decade.
- 20 Years of Marriage. My husband and I love celebrating our wedding anniversary. We were raised just a few blocks from each other in Shepherd Park, Washington, DC. I met him when I was 16 years old, and we have a lot of fun teasing each other as we look at our photos from way back in 1979.
In May, we celebrated 10 years of marriage. In another 10 years, we'll celebrate a milestone of 20 years. That's a long way off, and I'm not rushing anything. But it is comforting and assuring to me that our plans include being together for a lifetime, no matter what.
- Kids Off to College. In 10 years, our children will be 16 and 18 so they'll be moving onto college and we'll likely be have the entire house to ourselves again. These days, lots of kids are moving back home after college. While we don't know exactly what will happen, we are planning a future that includes seeing them off to college and then helping them move into apartments or homes of their own.
- Move Back Home to Washington, DC. We enjoy Charlotte and we've met lots of wonderful people here. I expect we'll meet more over the next 10 years. Many of our friends from home moved to Charlotte around the same time we did, so there is no shortage of people we enjoy. But we miss home, and our plans include moving back to Washington, DC in another 10 years or so.
- Expand the Indie Beauty and Indie Business Brands. It's hard to believe, but IBN started 10 years ago this past January. It's a wonderful journey for me, and I am so grateful. I am having fun, doing what I love, and serving women. IBN is why I am here. It's my life purpose.
There's nothing better combining a life purpose — a calling — with making a living, especially in a family business. Over the next 10 years, I have plans to expand the brands in a variety of different ways.
- Become Active in My Sorority. I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a private, non-profit organization founded on the campus of Howard University in 1913. I pledged in fall 1983 with 12 other fantastic women. After college, my membership lapsed as I moved onto to growing a career, getting married and having children, and launching and managing a business.
Because many of my line sisters (that's the term for the women who pledge with you) are better at staying in touch than I am (thank you FaceBook!) all but one of us remains in good touch. Delta is a lot more than just the 13 of us though, and over the next 10 years, I plan to renew my national membership and become active in my sorority again.
- Travel. Thanks to a corporate job “back in the day,” I have traveled to just about every state in the union. I lived in South Africa for a while in 1999, and managed to visit for a week on a business trip in 2007. I've been to Botswana (where I went to the fabulous Mokolodi Nature Reserve), Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. I've been to a few different Caribbean islands including St. John, St. Thomas, and Barbados.
But I've never been to Spain, China, Japan, Italy, Australia, and a bunch of other places I'd like to go. I'm not sure if I'll fit all of them in over the next 10 years, but my plans include working in more international travel. My husband and I are excited about that.
- More Speaking and Writing. In case you can't tell, I love to write. If you have spent any time with me, you also know I love to speak. I think that must be a requirement of hosting a weekly radio show for 5 straight years.
I also love to inspire and encourage women who, like me, are determined to be economically empowered while simultaneously fulfilling our various callings and life purposes. I have learned so much doing this myself, and I get questions every day from women who want to follow in my footsteps.
I am looking forward to more speaking and writing on those topics. I want to reach as many people as possible with the, “Enjoy your life, build your business, have your way” message. I especially want to reach out to young mothers and women of African descent who do not have as many women in their families who set an entrepreneurial example.
These are just a few of my plans. I do not know the future. Life can change on a moment's notice. Plans are just plans, but without them, life has no direction and no purpose. I believe in using the talents, gifts and blessings I have been given to make plans to take steps to achieve great things — one step at a time. I am enjoying the entire process. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.
Question: What are your plans for the next 10 years?