Laila Ali can now add beauty maven to her already extensive resume. A former Super Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World, Ali recently launched her Laila by Laila Ali hair and skin care line. The 32-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali credits all of her success to careful planning and goal setting. On the eve of her appearance at the ESSENCE Women’s Conference, Ali spoke with ESSENCE.com about success and what every woman can do to unleash her own power. ESSENCE.com: What is your definition of success? LAILA ALI: For me success means three things: To feel whole and content with where you are in your life, to do what you love in life and being able to support yourself financially. The third one is having meaningful relationships with friends, co-workers and family. ESSENCE.com: Do you consider yourself successful? ALI: I do. I’m not where I want to be yet but on the path to get there, which I think is okay as long as you’re going in the right direction. ESSENCE.com: To us Laila Ali is exactly where she should be in terms of success. Where would you like to see yourself? ALI: We all have personal goals. I’m very happy with how far I’ve come because I’m a planner. I’ve done boxing; I wanted to be the champ, and I did it because I had a plan. Now I’m transitioning into something else. I don’t ever want to feel so content that I stop trying, so I always have goals for myself. I feel successful, but I still feel like I’m on a path and I’m not where I want to be just yet. ESSENCE.com: How do you lay out your goals? ALI: I definitely write things down and refer back to them. I have to because life starts happening and there’s always somebody else’s situation to deal with and then it takes time away from your own plans and goals. I always have to write things down and keep a mental picture of what I want. ESSENCE.com: How would you advise women to unleash their own power? ALI: I think people need to sit down and assess themselves, and their own situations. If you’re somewhere you don’t want to be, you have to sit down and evaluate how you got there so you don’t make the same mistakes. I think it’s important to take responsibility for any situation that you’re in and then map out a plan to get to your next destinations. You say, ‘This is what I want and this is how I get there.’ Map out short term and long term goals. It’s also about doing what you love, and not worrying about what other people think or what they’re going to say. ESSENCE.com: Who do you look up to? ALI: I really look up to Oprah because. For one, not only because she’s a Black woman and she’s so powerful, but because she uses her power and celebrity in a positive way. Of course, Michelle Obama for being a strong mother, a strong woman and she’s also so intelligent and beautiful. Another person I respect and aspire to be like in business is Kathy Ireland. She started off as a model and she was able to believe in herself and take a different direction and start this big empire. She’s not only a wealthy business woman, she’s also an excellent mother, and she has God in her life and she she’s not afraid to show it. So many people worry about being politically correct that they don’t want to publicly acknowledge God, but she does and I respect her for that. Laila Ali will be speaking about success and personal power at the ESSENCE Women’s Conference on November 4th. For more success stories and financial tips, click here.
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