How Kindness & My Love of Turkish Food Create Fast Relationship-Building Magic (You Can Do This, Too!)

I just tortured a perfectly nice Turkish man who’d done me a favor, for my own pleasure. He was clerking the desk at the Embassy Suites where I’d been gifted these beautiful flowers from Caterina Rando‘s Shero Summit event. I asked him for some tape to secure them in their coffee cup. He over-delivered then I pegged his accent as ‘Stambouli and began talking with him about food – Iskender kabab, Beyti and Soltani kabab and my personal favorites, Karides Guveč and Imam Bayildi.

The poor man hadn’t had Turkish food in over a year and the look of a starving dog shown a meaty bone came into his eyes. He enthused about the different varieties of dolmas and his mother’s pilav, listing ingredients and writing down dishes I should try. I mentioned cacič and he almost came apart.

He got a faraway look, and a bit of gravel crept into his voice as he spoke of how his grandmother would carefully gather damask rose petals before dawn for the rosewater that flavored her special baklava. “Like this?” I said, showing him a picture of my last basket of rose petals put to the still. “Yes, exactly!” he said and turning to his fellow female desk clerk said “See? She understands! Ah if only I could get such food in America!”

Then I put him out of his misery by telling him about the most excellent Imam Bayildi, Iskender Kabab (happily, from his hometown) and Guveč at Cafe Baklava in Mountain View, and he kissed my hand in thanks.

“I want some of what she’s got” said the female clerk, looking a tad jealous. “I’ve been trying to get him to open up for a year and you just did it in two minutes!”

It’s not the longevity of the approach my friend, but the perception of safe space, fine-pointed focus and genuine interest that gets people to open up quickly. Also… I never ask them to. They always volunteer. Just extend kindness, that’s all most people are looking for, want or need. Just a little opening where love can be glimpsed. A genuine love of ethnic cuisine doesn’t hurt either.

And now I’m off to nail a plate of Karides Guveč or Imam Bayildi to the wall. Wish me luck!

Just extend kindness, that's all most people are looking for, want or need. Click To Tweet

How to Look & Feel Younger Plus…Cure a Bonked Noggin

Bonk, Bonk, onna head! I’m sharing in this HumpDay Helper a great way to look and FEEL younger, and the semi-embarrassing story about falling off a stool while filming and getting bonked on the head. Saw stars. And how I erased the pain and bruise that was forming so you can do it too. Try it, and let me know how you’re getting along!

A Difficult & Painful Story…For the Young Women We’ve Lost

I’m thinking about all the clients I’ve worked with this week, and all the things they’ve been telling me about how fear, shame, guilt and self-sabotage waylaid them for years and kept them from getting their brilliance out there, from helping the people they were put on earth to help, from having a life they loved.

It threw me into memories of how it was for me a handful of years ago. Because we have safe space in here, I want to share a difficult and painful story. It’s about:

Feeling excluded
Feeling shamed & laughed at
Feeling invisible & marginalized
Feeling like those we love don’t support us
Feeling “less than” another person or group
Feeling afraid to fail

It’s about your health being attached to the health of your business. It’s vital that both are in synch. And if something goes wrong with your health…your business will suffer too. This more than goes for mental and emotional health as well as health of the physical body.

All of these have come into play in my life, and maybe yours too…

A handful or two of years ago in a galaxy far, far away….I was losing the weight I’d gained while lying in bed paralyzed, was getting my diet figured out and was back in the gym. I was starting to look better and feel great, and a hundred and twenty-five pounds slid off me with the effort I was putting out. My energy was high and I was getting more clients, and a lot of props.

But then…as my relationship creaked to a close a few years later, the weightloss also ground to a crawl. It didn’t matter how many hours I put in at the gym or how great my diet was. Plus which, my face had started to show visible signs of age. Slowly, no matter what I did, some of the weight slowly piled back on. Midlife hormones had finally hit.

And a strange thing happened.

It was a little thing, but it was everything. At the gym, in the women’s locker room, which is always full of middle aged and older women along with the younger gals…my appearance was held up to criticism by two smug, thin, and younger women.

One said to the other: “I hope I’m never old and sad looking like some people” and flicked her eyes at me. Her friend laughed. I thought I had misheard. But then they both laughed, looking just barely past me, and rolled their eyes, giggling. I looked away. I didn’t know what to think. And what did she mean by “sad”? I was in a great mood at the time…or had been.

I have a hugely healthy dose of self-respect and always have, but I’ve had my challenges feeling worthy, loved and respected just like anyone else. I don’t feel or see myself as old today, and certainly didn’t years ago when this happened.

And as a woman who has spent much of her life overweight from the effects of being bedridden when a paraplegic, fat-shaming no longer affects me. I did my work on that ages ago. But being shamed for the natural process of aging…that was something new, horrible, and tremendously diminishing.

Even worse, when I told my friends later, they said I should get over it and not be so sensitive. I was humiliated by the incident, then again when I shared with women who should have supported me. I haven’t shared this story since, until now.

It was the first time I was made very firmly aware that I had lost my place at the table of Relevance and Inclusion. It was the first time I was aware that others viewed me as older, not in my still-relevant thirties or even early forties. Relegated to the “quaint but harmless” category.

I slunk out of the locker room trying to blend into the wall. I felt everyone could see my fat, wrinkled, old-ass self and looked down on me…even though I know that’s not true and I have been fondly regarded by everyone I’ve met there.

I was just getting my new business out there and was starting to catch fire and go viral. Clients were crawling out of the woodwork to get on my waiting list. Everyone wanted me to partner with them in their next business venture. I was on every telesummit, radio show and podcast.

But when I heard those words “I hope I’m never as old and sad”, my heart sank, I fell into a horrendous cycle of self-hatred and despair, and couldn’t complete on any business assignment that involved speaking or being visible in any way.

Months went by and I actively avoided speaking engagements, conference keynote and breakout requests and doing videos.

I went into mourning for the young woman I had been, wondering when she had been lost along the way, and not knowing where to find her again or if it was even possible.

Finally, my business coach reached out to me in a “get real” session and we flat busted it back to normal Maryam…who found out that she is still attractive, still useful, still smart as hell, still young, fresh and beautiful within. Just with a more seasoned wrapper.

I cautiously began accepting speaking engagements again and realized that the people I was speaking to either didn’t care about my age or actively appreciated it. I became aware that my appearance was largely a function of the maturity of the person looking at me. Then I ceased to care what anyone thought of me. I made a video. Then another. Now I can’t get enough of it. I kept ramping up and the clients and speaking engagements increased and increased.

So if anyone makes comments on your appearance, or you’re at the point in life where your age is recognized and being negatively commented on, know that is just says more about the immature person throwing shade on you than it does about you as a person.

Don’t worry about what others are doing or saying. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of you – that’s none of your business.

BE focused on the service you are here to deliver, on the immense gift you are in the world. GIVE your Perfect Clients exactly what they want, and you WIN every time.

You’re just fine. You’re awesome just as you are. And this is True.

If this story resonates with you, let me know in the comments below. And give yourself a hug for me.

*** The 3 Most Important Business Questions To Ask Yourself ***

*** The 3 Most Important Business Questions To Ask Yourself ***

I’m sharing powerful life and business-changing lessons in my free FB Mastermind “The Changing Woman Café” (we’re in a cafe, as the winds of change depend on good cups of tea as well as food). Here’s the first part of one of the “Smack My Head – Of Course!” lessons from this week. To read the rest you’ll need to join us but it’s free, it’s all-women and you get real answers there – I make sure of it. Oh and if it’s Wednesday – join us for the Hump Day Helper Livecast at 12 noon, Pacific /3pm ET! 😉


I’ve been re-reading Tara Gentile’s “Quiet Power Strategy”. Grab a cup of tea and dig in with me – there’s a huge lesson here for us all.

If you’re a bit of an introvert, someone who has mad skills and talents that don’t fit neatly into a box, or you just need to do it your way, you’ll love “Quiet Power”. It asks two important questions that have guided me, but in the kind of work I do with my clients and myself, I’ve found there’s another, even more important.

The two important business orienteering questions Tara asks are:

* What do I want to Create?
* How do I want to Connect?

BUT…an even more important question to ask BEFORE these is:

* How do I want to Feel?

Asking “How do I want to feel?” is beginning with the end in mind.

Here’s why that’s important…

*** CRUCIAL info is in the second part of this lesson. To read it, join us at:

And make sure to answer the “business soul development” question I posed at the end of the post! It will completely frame your business in an entirely new light…one that takes the pressure off, and increase your joy a hundredfold. Huzzah and welcome! 😀

Tweaking the pervasive lie “I’m not Enough” in this week’s Hump Day Helper

We’re tweaking on the whole pervasive lie of “I’m not Enough” in this Hump Day Helper: Your Midweek Tweak. Join me every Wednesday a bit past noon Pacific time at my Facebook Author Page for your virtual oasis of sanity, business help and general relaxation. See you next week!

PS: If you’d like much more, and help to get more clients, promote yourself confidently and state your price clearly, join us at my free Facebook Mastermind, The Changing Woman Café – just click “Join”!

Basic reflexology

This is a wonderful rundown of basic reflexology. I took a refresher class in reflexology yesterday with my yoga teacher and got used as the demo model. So soothing I fell asleep! And foot reflexology is something I do every night before bed. Healthy habit!

Cognitive Dissonance

Guy at coffee condiment bar does reach-around for the cream, looks me dead in the eye and says, smiling, “So what you have to realize, is it’s not all about the metrics. Other things, like the human factor, matter just as much.” I quell the urge to be offended (since when have metrics been more important to me than the human factor? Never!), and perform a quick memory search.

Do I know this attractive young Indian gentleman with the man-bun? And is it a man-bun or is he merely an un-turbaned Sikh?

A thousand questions crowd in as he adds sugar, smiling, and says conversationally:

“I could definitely help you with that…if you’d like to mesh gears over dinner tonight.”

I fight the urge to pull age-rank on him and prepare to say “Look buddy, I don’t know what your trip is but we aren’t meshing anything anywhere…” when he does another reach-around for a napkin, pulls an earpiece out of his ear and pressing the mute, says “So sorry, didn’t mean to involve you in my conversation. Modern life. What can you do?”

Er. Let it go to voicemail and call back from the cafe bathroom like everybody else?

Feeling like a walking anachronism in a place too speeded-up for its own good…