The famous basketball player, Michael Jordan has become synonymous with high performance when it truly matters. Yet surprisingly, when sports researchers looked at his statistics on game-winning shots in the playoffs, they discovered that he shot 47%. It turns out that more than 50% of the time he missed. So if he failed more often than he succeeds, maybe he shouldn’t have tried at all, right?

However, Jordan is considered the best of all time because he holds a different philosophy:

You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take.

– Michael Jordan

This quote gives us valuable insight into the mind of a highly accomplished competitor. You cannot succeed if you do not take a shot. It is better to valiantly try and fail than to never enter the arena in the first place.

But have you ever looked at someone’s bio or resume and wondered, “How did they get those opportunities?” And then you review their qualifications and realize that you have the same strengths and even experiences. This has happened to me before and I sometimes catch myself thinking, “What do they have that I don’t?”

It is easy (and dangerous!) to fall into this pattern of self-doubt. You start to think that you are deficient in some skill, trait, or connection. Maybe you start to question if you even belong or if you deserve a similar position. Pretty soon, you become discouraged and decide that the position isn’t for you.

In psychology, they call this imposter syndrome. This refers to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy despite having obvious success. Many accomplished people struggle with imposter syndrome and are unable to accept their achievements. We have seen this with some of our incredibly talented guests, like Mike Natter, who questioned whether he was fit to become a doctor after he was not accepted to medical school on his first application.

But I have some news for you. The people who have the job that you would love to be in are not that different from you. They are not a different breed of human or so much more vastly talented than you. Rather, they simply put themselves out there. They tried and, sometimes, they failed.

The bio you are looking at only tells you one story. It doesn’t mention how many times they applied to similar positions and were rejected. The Doctor Hustle guests have gone through similar struggles to get to where they are. But they showed grit and courage and achieved more than they had ever expected.

Here are some of the best lessons from their experiences:

1) Just Say HelloDr. Jay Sheree Allen (episode 15) recounts that she opened a door to her position as Assistant Medical Editor at Hippo Education just by saying hello. She had applied to a social media position at the company and was hoping to hear back. Sometime later, she found the Hippo Education booth at a medical conference. Rather than quietly stalk the booth, she boldly stepped up and introduced herself. She explained that she had applied to the position and mentioned that she would love to collaborate on a project. Next thing you know, she was offered an even better position.

2) Be PersistentDr. Roshan Sethi (episode 16) knew that he wanted to work as a medical consultant for a television show. The Hollywood bubble is notorious for being incredibly difficult for outsiders to join. So he did everything he could to get into the door, including cold calling and emailing over 30 screenwriters and gatekeepers. He only got one response and that opportunity was enough to launch his writing career. He helped create the TV show, The Resident, and has many more projects in the works.

3) Be PreparedDr. Wayne Moore (episode 2) looks at challenges differently. He has faced numerous obstacles throughout his career. Rather than being deterred, he reframes the obstacle as an opportunity in disguise. This is a chance to solve a problem that has not been solved before. And when he had an opportunity to visit the Assistant Public Health Commissioner of the District of Columbia as a resident, he did not waste it. He came prepared with ideas to help improve access to care for people suffering from substance abuse. And he walked away with a grant to start a company.

4) Be OpenDr. Herman Williams (episode 4) suffered cardiac arrest as an orthopedic resident. He had to give up his dreams of becoming a surgeon because of the danger posed with performing surgery and possibly suffering another event. He managed to change his expectations and dreams by being open to the possibility of reinventing himself as an corporate executive. Now he is able to help patients at scale by serving as Managing Director and Chief Physician Executive at BDO Healthcare Advisory Practice.

5) Take a Chance on YourselfDr. Diana Williams (episode 12) faced push back when she decided to pursue a second degree as an architect. She saw a vision of her future self combining the medical and architecture fields to create a hybrid-physician. Many of the people around her questioned her decision making. They said she could not do both. Yet she took a chance on her abilities and her dreams. Now she is regarded as an expert in a new niche combining healthcare design and medicine.

Opportunities come in a variety of disguises and forms. The key to identifying them is to be looking for them. The moment you shut yourself off from what is possible is the moment you shut the door to the solution you are seeking. From taking more chances to putting yourself out there to believing in yourself, there are a variety of ways to create your own luck and increase your chances for success. A new year is like a brand new canvas for opportunities. Are you ready to take advantage?


Enjoyed this article? Interested in learning more? One way to take advantage is by signing up for the monthly Doctor Hustle newsletter. At the end of each month, you will receive a recap of the interviews, blog posts, and other eclectic articles, books, movies, and ideas that I have found to be extremely helpful in my own quest for meaning, purpose, and impact.