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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

3 tips to win the numbers game in your job search

I don’t read the news on principle but I do like to get a decent news round on the state of the world every now and again...The Chatham House London Conference 2017 was just that.

I was reminded of the growing lack of trust globally in institutions, political leaders and the nation-state model…

Trust is crucial to life. Without it, we would never get out of bed; we would never venture beyond the safe boundaries of our known life.

To create something new in your life, you have to trust that good things are possible beyond your ordinary life.

Which brings me to this week’s theme.


Whilst I’ve been “lucky” in getting the jobs I wanted in my career, there was a bottle-neck phase in my early career… When applying for my second medical job, I experienced repeated rejection while everyone else in my cohort was getting on.

After a few tears and a lot of soul searching, I eventually got my dream hospital job spending a year in London and a year in Geneva, preparing for membership exams, as a fantastic stepping stone to public health…

Was it a numbers game? Maybe. But I don’t think so.

You see, I was advised to hide my interest in public health at interviews to get a hospital post, which meant I had to come up with an answer to the “where do you see yourself in five years’ time” question and invent an alternative career interest…in cardiology!

I’m a terrible liar so you can imagine the results!

The moment I decided to proudly fly the flag of public health was the moment I had an enjoyable interview and got the perfect job for me.


Yes, most people who are doers think that getting what you want (job/relationship) is a numbers game. To some extent that’s correct – you’ve got to get out there and throw your hat in the ring of life - but it’s not the full truth.

I believe that what made the difference in my job success was this: I gave myself permission to be who I am and be proud of it. I allowed myself to own my dream (of doing public health at a global level) and learned to speak about it compellingly in an interview.

In other words, I grew into a new identity: I was no longer a frightened, little medical student trying to give the right answers; I became an emerging leader in health on her way to big things and speaking powerful words.

From a neuroscience perspective, my brain habituated to the new way of thinking, feeling and behaving.

So, it’s not that the probabilities increased *just* because of the number of interviews; it’s that the trial and error allowed me to grow into a new identity that matched up to my dream job.

Allowing yourself to think, feel and behave in a way that matches up to your dream job, as if you were already in it (not at a superficial level, but a deep embodied level in which your subconscious truly believes it’s all ready happened) will enable you to make the most of the opportunities that show up as you keep throwing your hat in the ring and eventually reach your goal.


Meditate, meditate, meditate:

Meditation isn’t some kind of deep, esoteric practice. You might think of it as torture, since the minute you decide to sit down, all your demons show up for one big party at your expense. Meditation is time to reset your brain, relax your fixed thinking habits and allow for new possibilities…It’s a powerful tool (especially in combination with visualisation) for bringing a new future into your life whether it be a new job or something else.

Pay attention to unusual occurrences

As you allow yourself to envisage a new future including a new identity, you’ll start to notice things you may have missed before. These can be big things like someone suddenly emailing you with an unusual but interesting job offer; or little things like a sign of encouragement (for example, I was walking out of Waterloo station once wishing for a clue from the universe to support my impending career leap; and someone suddenly thrust the magazine “Coach” into my hands!)

Experiment, adjust celebrate:

You can probably relax and trust that what you want will come to pass. As the old axiom goes: if you can imagine it, then it is possible. In other words, if you have a dream, it’s there for a reason AND you need to get into action and be in the messy space between stories. So be in action. Try new things, approach different people as ideas come to you. Refine your approach as you gather information and celebrate everything! Celebrate your failures especially. If you’re not failing, you’re not living!

Play the numbers game with mastery and mystery.

Have a good week,


Transformational Coach and Consultant

MORE FROM DOCTOR AMINA Interested in a six month career and life transformation process to create a career and life you love? I work with a limited number of people and support them through a blend of deep coaching and strategic thinking.

Read on if you want more information. If you’re not interested stop reading, now! :)

I work with a limited number of people; and blend deep coaching with strategic management. Results from past clients include:

  • their dream job in medicine

  • better relationships and team dynamics

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  • making a higher income than ever before through promotions or consulting

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  • being more at ease and relaxed with their path.

See here for a range of testimonials.

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In other words, you trust that your dream can come true before it does by behaving as the person for whom it is all ready true. And that increases the probability that it will happen because your decisions align with the dream.

Of course, the pessimists (sorry realists) among you will say that you need to be aware of the risks and I’d agree. However, our brain has a negative bias (loss aversion) so it will tend to favour safety over exploration. In a society where fear dominates, you need to deliberately practise allowing for new possibilities. In other words, you have to consciously choose to get out of your comfort zone as your automatic pilot will try and keep you on the sofa in front of the TV.

If you don’t do this acclimatisation of your neural networks (expanding what’s possible for you) you’ll soon burn out or give up or settle because you don’t give enough credit to the learning that’s taking place or don’t even allow it in the first place (for example by beating yourself up when it doesn’t work out). What’s the lesson? How can you do better? Are you giving yourself permission to have the thing you want?

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