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My career goals and aspirations have changed significantly over the years. While matriculating through elementary and middle school, I wanted to be a news broadcaster and a ballerina. In high school, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and business woman, yet, I had no idea which industries interested me at that time. Once I reached college, I realized that I had no interest in finance and/or accounting; I just wanted to be an attorney at the end of the day.

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Fast forward to present day and I am still figuring out what motivates me in my career pursuits and goals I set for myself each year. One year, I wanted to work for a mid-sized law firm, collect a pay check every two weeks, watch my 401-k grow and enjoy the experiences that new litigation matters came with. However, the following year, I just wanted to work for myself, from home, and on whatever projects that came my way that fueled my interests, freedom and creativity.

Each year my motivation changes and I think this process will ultimately lead me to the career I want, even if it involves several different ventures. So what motivates you in your desires to advance in or change your career?

Here are 7 factors that may come in handy when seeking to put some pep back in your step while motivating towards your goals.


1. Necessity

I started my own legal practice out of necessity because I did not get hired immediately out of law school and I needed money. I figured if I spent all day looking for work, I may as well use half of that time drumming up some business to help pay some bills. So, because I needed to eat, I organized with the State of Texas as a PLLC, printed up some business cards, got a website made and hit the pavement. I met potential clients while volunteering for some non-profit entertainment events and also while just out on the town. Though I was not raking in a lot of money, this pursuit allowed me to not starve.


2. Visualization

When I would visit New York City, while I was living in Houston, TX, I would ride through Times Square and visualize my picture on a billboard. For what exactly? I had absolutely no idea. I just knew that a billboard with my name, face and/or likeness on it would be the epitome of success. This visualization of success in New York is what ultimately guided me to move here with no job lined up and limited funds. It was just enough to give me the morale boost, faith and confidence to just “go for it”.

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3. Faith

I wouldn’t consider myself a religious zealot, but I am definitely connected to a high power and I believe in prayer and stepping out on faith. Looking back, I can see where my just stepping out and making the first move, coupled with prayer, has allowed me to move forward, even if I had no idea where I would end up. Success or failure, lessons were learned along the way and definitely led me to the next big thing in my career.


4. Others Relying on You

My mother had me when she was 22 years of age and a recent college graduate. She was as single mother who started her career as a Vista Volunteer for the United Way in Norfolk, VA and throughout the years worked her way up to Sr. VP of Community Engagement and Alignment. She dragged me to meetings with her when I was a young girl and she pushed herself to become a leader in her community all, in part, because of me and my sister. Now she shares with us that we were her motivation to never give up on her career, because she needed to provide for us and also because she knew that we were observing. If others are relying on you, view this as a motivator as opposed to a burden. The reward will be sweet and you are definitely planting seeds for others to thrive in the future as well.


5. A Desire for Change

If you don’t like the way things are being handled on our job, with your family and/or in your community, seek to change it. Many people have gone on to have very successful careers in the not-for-profit and political sectors by just contributing to their communities. You never know where that volunteer opportunity may lead you.


6. Encouragement and Support from Others

I have had my share of doubts as a solo practitioner. Every hearing has not been decided in my clients’ favor and every job has not ended on a positive note. Whenever I doubted my abilities, I would always talk to a dear friend who constantly reminded me of my gifts and talents, which in turn kept me on task. I may not have 20 years under my belt as an attorney; however, I am timely, considerate and honest. Her encouragement has kept me going MANY times. Seek someone who pours positivity into you when you do not feel motivated. Their kind words of encouragement can be that motivation that you so desperately need.


7. Mistakes

Let me tell you something. I have made tons of mistakes both as an employee, and as an entrepreneur. One of my greatest mistakes as an entrepreneur was trusting clients to pay without a retainer agreement. Additionally, one of my greatest mistakes as an employee was indifference. Each mistake came with a lesson, which, in turn, has motivated me to be more concerned with the needs of others and to also get payment up front from clients.


So, let’s discuss. What other factors in life have you used as motivation for your career?


Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates ( She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.


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