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“Want to make God laugh? Then make a plan.” I wholeheartedly agree with, yet sometimes question this sentiment. Up until I entered law school, everything I planned went exactly the way I envisioned. I got accepted and enrolled into the college of my choice. I maintained a healthy grade point average throughout my tenure in undergraduate and graduate school. I also received every internship I applied for. I was winning in life (at the tender age of 18) and thought that by making plans for everything I wanted to do in the future, all of my dreams and goals would come to fruition at the exact time I wanted them to. Boy was that laughable!

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At some point during my third year in law school, everything went to the crapper. All of the dreams and plans that I had involving work offers after graduation, relationships, and even some grades did not pan out as I had planned. It was, honestly, the first time in my life that I had no control over how I wanted things to go and when I wanted them to happen.

Though this was the first time I remember feeling a sense of disappointment due to the continuous string of “let downs,” it would not be my last. Plans of purchasing my first home were thwarted a couple of times, along with those plans of never being unemployed. Additionally, my plans to work a 9 to 5 job, collect a pay check every two weeks, and retire from the same company I worked at for 30 years, slowly but surely began to dissipate.

My plans of procuring endless amounts of clients and work, once I finally accepted my lot in life as an entrepreneur, did not happen right away. The sting of not receiving the benefits from my well thought out and executed plans were debilitating at times to say the least.

Though things may not always go as you plan them, here are three tips to stay on course, despite experiencing any discouragement .

1) Accept the setback as an obstacle.

Everybody experiences an obstacle at some point in their career. It manifests as either stints of unemployment, failure to land an account, loss of an important trial or denial of a promotion. Whatever the setback may be, accept this small bump in the road as an obstacle that must be overcome. If you have visualized an end goal, stay the course! It’s a shame that I have accepted the fact that something will go wrong while I am seeking a goal. I, therefore, am not deterred when I have to address an issue that was not a part of my plan. If you allow yourself to accept the setback as an obstacle, you allow yourself to use your innate strength to find a solution to whatever is standing in your way.

2) Seek assistance.

Your help may either come from within, or it may come from an outside source, such as a co-worker or a family member. If you have recognized that the obstacle can be solved by the assistance of others, do not be ashamed to seek and accept their help. You would be amazed by what is considered a setback to you, may just be a simple phone call to someone else. If one road is closed, seek another route.

3) Learn from it.

I was having a conversation the other day with a dear friend and fellow entrepreneur. We were discussing the untold amounts of wisdom we have incurred while still in pursuit of our career goals. We have both learned lessons and acquired wisdom in re listening to our hearts, trusting our first instinct and valuing our products and services at a greater rate. These nuggets of wisdom, however, came at a price. We have lost clients, friendships, money and sleep while on our roads to ultimate success, which we are still seeking. I have learned that EVERY setback in my plans has been a learning lesson. Though it may hurt at that time, a temporary “no” is not the final say. You only lose if you fail to see the lesson in the “loss”.

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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3 Tips For Bouncing Back When Your Career Doesn’t Go The Way You Planned  was originally published on