In a world where societal expectations often dictate paths, Dr. Annie Mirza’s journey defies norms and embodies resilience. Originating from India, she faced a life-altering tragedy with her father’s death from Melanoma. Determined to honor his memory, she arrived in Chicago with scarce resources, navigating its winters with a hoodie from a goodwill store. Driven by a teenage promise on her wall, she transformed from an immigrant with minimal means into a trailblazing female surgeon, a rarity in her field.
This article delves into the remarkable narrative of Dr. Annie Mirza, exploring her journey from an immigrant in Chicago to a trailblazing female surgeon specializing in intricate dental surgeries. Join us in an exclusive interview where Dr. Mirza shares insights into her motivation for complex surgical procedures, the significance of goal-setting, and the evolving definition of success. Her story serves as an inspiration for those aiming to overcome obstacles, break societal norms, and carve unique paths to success.
In a world where dreams often collide with societal expectations, Dr. Annie Mirza’s story serves as a testament to the power of self-belief, perseverance, and the audacity to challenge the status quo. This is an exploration of a woman who dared to dream big, walked through the snow-covered streets of Chicago in pursuit of those dreams, and emerged as a symbol of triumph against all odds.
● Can you tell us about your journey from being an immigrant from India to running a successful dental practice in Chicago? What role did your father’s passing play in shaping your determination to succeed?
Growing up in the 90s, where traditions and gender roles were sharply defined, I, as an Indian girl, found myself navigating a patriarchal society. Men were encouraged to pursue their dreams fervently, while women were pushed to the realm of household duties, expected to fulfill roles as mothers, daughters, and wives. As I journeyed through the years, my family, with earnest sincerity, sought to secure my eternal happiness by adhering to societal standards and urged me to embark on the traditional path of marriage at the earliest opportunity, and they cautioned against venturing towards grand ambitions beyond my perceived capabilities. The world may have sought to categorize me, but I refused to be confined by labels. I knew that within me lay the power to shatter those constraints and rise above the norm. However, life had a different script written for me. My father was diagnosed with a rare form of Melanoma(cancer) with a mere six months to live. In that moment, my perspective on life shifted irrevocably. I learned the profound truth that life can change in an instant, and every minute, every second, becomes priceless. I vowed never to take a single moment or the people in my life for granted. In the face of such adversity, I discovered the power of perseverance – the ability to bear difficulties calmly and without complaints, to stand tall against all odds. I decided to focus on what lay before me, with unyielding determination. For two arduous years, my father fought in this relentless battle. Sadly, he ultimately succumbed to the grasp of cancer. His departure left an irreplaceable void. I vowed to honor his spirit by living a life defined by tenacity, unwavering determination, and boundless love. Today, I stand as a testament to the power of dreams and the resilience of the human spirit. As the girl from the 90s who defied conventions, I embark on each day with the audacity to reach for the stars and embrace life’s adventures with an unshakeable spirit.
● As one of the few female surgeons performing complex surgeries and procedures, what motivated you to get into this field? What sets you apart from others in your profession?
The driving force setting me apart and propelling me towards performing intricate surgeries and procedures as one of the city’s few female surgeons is my firm commitment to MASSIVE ACTION. I consider myself fortunate to belong to a profession where I hold the power to profoundly transform my patients’ lives, granting them the smile of their dreams, bolstering their confidence and self-esteem, and leaving an enduring impact. Witnessing the positive outcomes of my work proves exceptionally rewarding. So, you know how we all have dreams and goals? Yeah, those big, audacious ones that make our hearts race and our eyes sparkle! Well, “Massive Action” is the secret sauce to turning those dreams into reality! It’s not just about jotting down some fancy plans and calling it a day. We’re talking bold moves, decisive action, and a determination that could move mountains! You’ve got your eyes on the prize, and nothing’s going to stop you! But hey, buckle up, because this journey requires some serious commitment and discipline. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not about merely trying or attempting; it’s about making a relentless effort to overcome challenges and achieve the desired outcome. It’s a mindset that requires an ironclad belief in oneself and the vision, and a willingness to persevere even when faced with doubt or skepticism. So let’s seize those
opportunities, conquer those challenges, and tap into the incredible potential within us! This is the ride of a lifetime, and let’s make it count!
● Could you share some insights into the importance of goal setting and persistence in achieving your dream of becoming a dentist? How did you stay focused and motivated during challenging times?
Absolutely! Goal setting and persistence play pivotal roles in realizing my dream of becoming a dentist. Setting clear and specific goals is like charting a course for your dream. As a young 19-year-old, I boldly wrote “Dr. Annie Mirza, DDS” on my wall, a vision that guided me towards my ultimate aspiration. I would look at it everyday, multiple times a day. By defining these objectives, I had a clear destination in mind, which enabled me to take purposeful actions towards achieving them. The path to becoming a dentist was riddled with challenges. From humble beginnings in Chicago, I defied the odds. With a mere $2 daily allowance for public transportation, I instead chose to walk an hour each way through freezing temperatures and snow to volunteer at a local dentist office in a hoodie from the thrift store. My determination paid off as I saved enough to take the boards and I was accepted into one of the best dental schools in the country in San Francisco, California. Dreams do come true! During school, I worked as an Uber/Lyft driver to cover expenses, despite grave fear of navigating San Francisco’s steep, curvy streets. Additionally, I cultivated a strong support network, surrounding myself with mentors, friends, and fellow aspiring dentists. Their encouragement and belief in my abilities bolstered my confidence and ignited a fire within me to succeed. Above all, celebrating small wins along the way served as powerful reminders of progress and reaffirmed that I was on the right path. Each milestone, be it acceptance into dental school or making “Dr. Annie Mirza, DDS” a reality, added momentum to my pursuit.
So, hold your head high, stand tall in the face of adversity, and trust in your abilities. Believe in the boundless potential that resides within you, and let it guide you to greatness. Keep marching forward, and in the end, you will stand victorious, a living testament to the power of belief and perseverance.
● How do you define success? Has your definition evolved over time?
My definition of success has evolved quite a bit over time. In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, it is evident that many of us are constantly caught up in the pursuit of our dreams and aspirations. Whether it’s achieving career success, building meaningful relationships, acquiring material possessions, or fulfilling personal goals, the drive to accomplish our desires can consume our lives. The pursuit of dreams is a natural and often positive aspect of human ambition. It gives us direction, motivation, and a sense of purpose. However, the emphasis on constant productivity and accomplishment can also lead to an unhealthy obsession with chasing the wrong things. In this relentless pursuit, we may lose sight of the present moment, the people around us, neglect self-care, and sacrifice our well-being.
Ladies, It is essential to strike a balance between ambition and well-being. Taking time for self-reflection, mindfulness, and self-care can help in finding that equilibrium. Understanding that success and happiness are not solely defined by external achievements can lead to a more
content and fulfilling life. Ultimately, while it is essential to pursue our dreams, it is equally important to remember that our well-being, relationships, and personal growth are equally valuable aspects of a fulfilling life. We must find harmony between our aspirations and our overall happiness, making space for gratitude and happiness in the midst of our journey toward achieving our dreams. So, raise a toast to balancing ambition and well-being! Let’s savor every moment, enjoy the journey, and find our groove. We’re making it happen, one step at a time! Cheers to us!