DIANE GOTTLIEB

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Interview With Meryl Koslow

Meryl Koslow is an amazing woman with tremendous confidence and positive energy. She has definitely been on a rediscovery journey and has become a very successful real estate professional who is in love with her career and her life–and is not planning on slowing down any time soon! Meryl has generously shared her thoughts on the value of  saying “No More,” dealing with loss and grief, embracing and learning from failure,  the importance gratitude in her life, and the beauty of “be-ing.”

Please join us for the interview! And if you would like to contact Meryl, here’s where to find her: Meryl Koslow P.A. Global Real Estate Advisor 954-401-2296 [email protected] Sotheby’s International Realty

 

Diane: Welcome, Meryl, to WomanPause. You’re my first interview of 2022, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year!  What I do here is talk to amazing, inspiring women over 50, who have rediscovered themselves or are on that journey in work, in relationships, in anything in life. I think you fit the bill.

Meryl Koslow: Thank you.

Diane: How do you see yourself on a rediscovery journey?

Meryl: I think rediscovery has a lot to do with values and wisdom. When I create new friendships, I want the friendships to fulfill me, and me to fulfill them. We match: value-wise and ethically. Even in business—I sell luxury real estate, so I list and sell high end properties—and when it comes to values, I attract sellers that are of like mind to me. I don’t pull in sellers that are nasty, greedy, and micromanaging. Actually, my clients are delicious! They are great people, philanthropic, kind. But years ago, when I was going through my divorce and I needed money, I tolerated a lot.

I got divorced in 2010. In 2012, I drew the line. It was the last time I worked with horrific sellers.

 

“It Wasn’t Complete Until I Completed It. Until I Said, ‘No More!’”

 

Diane: I love that you drew a line, and we’ll talk about that, but I’m interested in how you attract sellers who are wonderful. It reminds me of the Law of Attraction—remember that from back when? I believe that we read each other energetically and often attract people of like energies. When we don’t, it’s often because we need to learn something, and the Universe is providing. Can you talk more about the Law of Attraction in your own life?

Meryl: Let’s go back to the time when I really needed the money. I take full responsibility for how I pulled in the type of a seller who would call me 7:00 AM every single morning. And how I would pick up the phone and allow myself to be micromanaged. We can’t point the finger. The finger has to get pointed at me, right? I allowed it. I was vulnerable. My self-confidence was lower. When you put out the energy, “Oh, I need this deal. Oh, I’ll put up with someone being rude to me. I’ll put up with someone raising their voice to me.” That didn’t just happen; I pulled it in, and it wasn’t complete until I completed it. Until I said, “No more!”

Diane: I think we’ve all been there—it’s hard to be a woman in this culture and not have been in the place of accepting things we know are unacceptable. How did you learn to say no?

 

“To This Day, My Strength Comes from Pushing Back”

 

Meryl: The lesson I needed to learn was how to say, “No. I will not tolerate disrespect.” And God, or the Universe, kept giving me opportunities to say, “No, thank you.” To this very day, my strength comes from pushing back. “No, I will not take this.”

Even from the man I love. I live with someone I love tremendously, but sometimes he may speak to me in a tone I don’t like. I’ll push back and say, “You know what? That tone doesn’t work for me. Can you say it in another way?”

Another thing I won’t do is play the blame game. When we were dating, he said, “Oh, it’s your fault that blah, blah.” And I looked at him sweetly, and I said, ” You know, I don’t play the blame game.” He didn’t know what I was talking about, so I told him: “Well, you see how you blamed me for what just happened. I don’t accept that.” After the first few months of dating and living together, we don’t play the blame game. He doesn’t even for one minute go, “It’s your fault.” Not for one second.

So, imagine ladies who are reading this, because women so easily take the blame. Game over. It just doesn’t work. Teach your people, your children, your aunts, your uncles, your parents that you don’t play it. Like my mom. My mom is 93, God bless her, and she’ll say, “Meryl, you have to do this, and you have to do this.” And I’ll look at her sweetly and I’ll say, “You know what, Mom, I really don’t. This is what I did. Can you live with it?” And she’ll say, “Oh, okay.” Teach the people to interact with you. The Universe gives me that opportunity every single day.

 

“So Ladies, Please Get Comfortable Saying ‘No’”

 

Diane: Holding that line can be scary at first, but it gets easier the more practice you have.

Meryl: Yes. Much easier and it’s not dramatic when it happens anymore.

Diane: Do you think it’s also easier being a bit older now?

Meryl: Yes. A lot of young people, young meaning 30s, 40s, call me. I’m pretty well known, I have a reputation, I’ve touched a lot of people’s hearts, I don’t know how to explain another way. One day, this gal who I sold a house to 14 years ago DMed me. She said, “Meryl, so and so, and I are getting divorced. Can I talk to you?” I said, “Sure.” I listened to her cry about the breakup, heard her vulnerability. She had no power.

When she was done speaking, I said to her, “May I speak with you openly and honestly?” and she said, “Sure.” I said, “Listen, you are one powerful woman. You have two amazing kids. You’ve been through so much. What I’m not hearing from you is you saying ‘no’ to your ex-husband, or soon to be ex-husband. All you keep wanting to do is ‘Yes. Yes.’ Make it better, make it better. And what’s happening is you’re killing your soul. What I’m asking of you is to learn how to say no, and just let it be an N-O. No drama.” She took a deep breath. She later DMed me and said, “Meryl, I’m working on saying NO with my therapist. I just realized after speaking to you, I don’t say ‘no.’” So ladies, if you’re listening, please get comfortable saying “No.” No just means no. No big deal, right?

Diane: I have a good friend who says, “No is a complete sentence.” I love that. Right?

Meryl: Yes.

 

“Had I Not Had That Childhood, I Wouldn’t Be the Woman I Am Today”

 

Diane: You’re certainly a woman who has come into her power. Did you always feel powerful?

Meryl: As a kid, I did not feel powerful because I lived in a house where children could only be seen—not heard. We lived paycheck to paycheck. It was hard.  I’m grateful for it because, had I not had that childhood, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I just want to be really clear about it. But life was pretty tough for me, back then. My mom had a nervous breakdown, it was just a lot for a young child to cope and learn.

I studied hard, graduated high school one year early, at 16. I took scholarships and loans, which I was happy to do, because again, I was betting on me. But it was through the process of becoming a chiropractor, studying, having success, meeting wonderful people in chiropractic college, taking transformational courses, going to Barnes and Noble, and just reading every book I saw on finance and transformation. I used to just sit there and read and read and read.

When I was a kid, I decided my mentor would be Jackie Onassis. Never met the woman. Didn’t matter. I thought she was the most beautiful woman. I thought she was grace. So I would read books about her and look at her photos, and somehow, some way, that would mentor me. Throughout the years, I admired CEOs of companies, and read their books. That’s how I grew myself. And then I married a wonderful man, and he totally grew me, and his family was wonderful. So as life unfurled, I had great opportunities.

 

“I Work Out with a Personal Trainer Because You Need Consulting on Your Body Too”

 

I’ve always had consultants for my businesses because I knew no matter how successful I could be, I’m inside a fishbowl. You need a consultant who can look at you from the outside and say, “Okay, this is what I think we need to work on.”

Diane: Do you still use a consultant?

Meryl: Yes. I do. There are business consultants, transformational consultants, and life coaches. I have a business consultant who specializes in real estate, and I have a meditation consultant. We meditate 30 minutes, once a week. I work out with a personal trainer because you need consulting on your body too. And I have sources that are different types of consultants. I check in when I can’t figure things out or my life just isn’t working. Psychotherapy is also like that, right?

Diane: Absolutely. One of my favorite sayings is “It takes a village.”

Meryl: Absolutely.

Diane: No matter how successful you become in any field, there are always people to learn from, so, I love that you do that. Has meditation helped you?

Meryl: Oh my God, it’s amazing. I used to meditate when I was a chiropractor, but during COVID I wasn’t staying on a structure, so I hired a coach.

I know my meditation coach since the early 2003, 2004. She always shared how she raised her children on meditation. If the children had a headache, she gave them a meditation for a headache. If they had a stomachache, she gave them a meditation for a stomachache. And that always stayed with me. I always thought that was brilliant.

 

“The Money Wasn’t What Was Important. What Was Important Was That I Brought These Two Lives into This World, and I Wasn’t Home to Enjoy Them”

 

So, a while ago, when I was selling real estate, I would be melting down because I had some personal things going, and I would get on the phone and say, “Dalit, (her name is Dalit Moskona), I need 120 seconds of your time. This is the issue. This is what’s happening. Can you give me a meditation? I would be in a condo between showings.” And she’d say, “Sure.”

I’m very open. I’m very coachable. I close my eyes. She’d take me through, then I had access to be me, centered.

Diane: You are not afraid to ask for help.

Meryl: Well, we were raised not to ask for help, to do it on your own. But as you get older, it’s like “throw that thought out!”

Diane: That’s right. You were a chiropractor and then went to real estate. That’s a reinvention! Can you talk about that?

Meryl: That’s a transition. I lived in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. The practice was in New York City, and I owned a nationwide consulting company to the chiropractic profession with my husband. We had two children, nannies, housekeepers, personal shoppers. Imagine that whole world. But I had these two beautiful boys. I was making all this money, but the money wasn’t what was important. What was important was that I brought these two lives into this world, and I wasn’t home to enjoy them, to raise them. And that just didn’t work.

So in 1996, I said to my husband, “Listen, I’m going to sell the practice. We can move to Florida because the whole family is there. And I want to raise the kids.” And he went, “Okay. Sell the house, do what you got to do.” So we did.

 

“The Intrigue of Real Estate Is What I Love”

 

I can tell you on the day I packed up the office, I cried because I was losing my identity as Dr. Koslow. I was not going to be a doctor in the white coat anymore, putting my hands on people’s spines, listening to their lives, listening to their stories. So I cried.

We moved to Florida. All the fun stuff as mommy was great for the first 30 days, and then I realized, uh-oh the kids are in school. I have all this time. I’m a Type A personality. What do I want to do?

I always loved real estate. When I went to chiropractic college, I used to drive around Old Brookville, looking at the estates going, “If they can do it, so can I. If they can dream that beautiful home, so can I.”

One day I referred one of my chiropractic friends to my neighbor who had a real estate license, and he spent $2 million with her, back in 2000. My husband said, “What? She just made $60,000, because you referred someone.” He said, “You better go out there and get your real estate license.” And I went, “Okay.” And so I did. And that’s how it happened.

Diane: And you love it?

Meryl: Oh my God, YES!

I remember my first client, I said, “Hi, I’m brand new. I just want you to know, I’d love to rent you a house in Weston, but you’ll be my first client. I’ve never done it.” And they’re like, “Meryl, let’s do it.” And then of course, it took off. Every deal is different. The people are different. Nothing’s the same. Absolutely nothing. And the intrigue of real estate is what I love.

 

“I’m Very Grateful. I Do Gratitude Exercises in the Morning”

 

Diane: You have no desire to slow down.

Meryl: No. And it’s funny, as one gets older, people talk about retirement. There’s nothing for me to retire from, because I work for myself. It’s not like I have a boss. It’s not like I’m dealing with personalities. I don’t. I’m just having a good old time here. Everybody has a “why” for what they do. When my kids were little, it was for my kids. But now that my children are grown, my “Why” is because I can. My “Why” is because I love it. That’s why I do what I do.

Diane: And I know you consider yourself fortunate.

Meryl: Yes. I’m very grateful. I do gratitude exercises in the morning. Not every day’s perfect, and I don’t want to portray that I’m this happy go lucky all the time. Some days are just not great, and those are the days I might get quiet, and pull back and not do anything. But I do my gratefulness.

Diane: Do you have any other kind of spirituality or spiritual practice?

Meryl: I have lots of them. I like the crystal bowl meditations. A lot of my friends are healers, so we might do a shaman ritual and then end it with crystal bowls or clean the aura. A lot of times I burn sage in my house to clean the energy in my house or burn sage around me to clear my aura. I sit quietly in my home. I sit on the floor. I like it.

 

“Grief Taps You on the Shoulder When You Least Expect It”

 

As a chiropractor, I’ve been trained in a lot of techniques. I really don’t want you to think I’m woo-woo. But I have crystals, I hold them, I clear my energy with them. I have friends that are brilliant with that. I can’t do what they do, but I spend time with them because they make me feel better when they do what they do.

Diane: What do you have to say to women who might be going through a divorce, a breakup, a loss of a spouse, or any kind of change that rocks them?

Meryl: Let’s talk about divorce or loss of a spouse. You have to give yourself time to grieve. That’s number one. You’re going to grieve. And grief taps you on the shoulder when you least expect it. So, if you have someone who specializes in grieving around you, talk to that person. Number two is your friends. When you get divorced, you lose a lot of your married friends. Because you’re that single woman, they might be intimidated, think you might take their husband. Trust me, I’ve seen all this nonsense.

What I did was become members of boards, because I figured, “You know what, I’m grieving, but I know who I am. Let me give it away.” I’ll never forget, when I joined the Women’s Chamber of Commerce Miami-Dade, they said to me, “Meryl, what can the board do for you? What can the chamber do for you?” And I said, “I didn’t join your board to take from you. I joined to give to you. My entire skillset, whatever these women need, whatever you want to do, I’m here for you.” You should have seen the room light up when I said that.

 

“Every Human Being Has Their Process They Need to Go Through”

 

That’s what I did. I started morning networking, connecting women to women. I did a ton of transformational seminars to work on myself. Oh, I also dated a lot. I went on all those websites for dating and must have dated 100s of guys. My friends would say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re doing it again,” because there are a lot of frogs out there, ladies. I just kept going. And then, I developed really close single women friends. We had a blast.

Diane: Did you ever feel like giving up?

Meryl: Yes. Right after the divorce, even on the day of the divorce, we were sitting in front of the judge and my ex says to me, “You know, Meryl, you really don’t have to do this.” I’m like, “Yes I do.” Right after that, I just stayed in my apartment. I was broken. After the divorce, my soul was broken, my mindset was broken, my heart was broken. My kids didn’t talk to me for a while. It was a hard time, but I had my friends. My friends were everything. I didn’t have a lot of friends calling, but I had my select, and they had my back. I was scared, very, very scared. So there was a lot of that going on.

Diane: With the power of friendship and women supporting each other, you can get through pretty much anything.

Meryl: If you allow it. Sometimes women shut down. They close. If the phone rings, they don’t answer. If the knock on the door comes, they don’t answer. They’re just shut down. There’s no right or wrong with that. I think every human being has their process they need to go through, right?

“You Don’t Have to Say Anything to be Respected. It’s Your Being-ness”

It’s through our weaknesses, our failures, that we become good. Without failures, you can’t be successful. I’m sorry. Failures are great. They may not feel good. But when you get through those failures, you go right into your successes. So fail, fail, fail, because you know, your successes are coming!

Diane: What’s next for you?

Meryl: What’s next for me is real estate. I may branch out into other states. I have a son in Denver and a son in Scottsdale.

Probably more buying and flipping. Maybe a second book. I have to meditate, honestly, and figure it out.

Diane: Tell us about your books.

Meryl: The first was Self-Made: Generate Your Wealth Like a Millionaire. When we had our consulting company to the chiropractic profession, our clients were wonderful chiropractors but didn’t know much about business. We taught them how to set up their practices, their systems, how to train and develop their employees. They became very successful. That book encapsulated all those years of coaching and consulting.

The next book I write will most likely be on women’s empowerment.

I don’t know where it came from, but as a young girl, I always had tremendous confidence. Some people are great singers or piano players, some people are this, that. For me, I had confidence. When I was in third grade, I could walk through school and kids would point at me and go, “She’s smart.” I wasn’t an A student. I was a B student, but that’s what they said. “She’s smart.” When you walk with confidence and carry yourself confidently, people interact with you and automatically respect you. You don’t have to say anything to be respected. It’s your being-ness. It’s how you BE in the world that is everything. When you BE, do you smile? When you BE, do you lead with your heart? That’s my biggest message, is to be yourself and be confident. And you don’t have to say anything, it is nonverbal.

Diane: That’s it. What more do we need?

Meryl: We don’t.

Diane: Thank you so much, Meryl. This has been wonderful.

Meryl: Thank you, Diane.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How comfortable are you saying “No?” Please leave a comment or send an email–and feel free to share on social media!

See you in February!

XOXO

Diane

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13 Comments

  1. Sarita K Sid on January 12, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you for another inspiring interview, my friend! Just what we need at the start of a new year.
    Well having a cancer diagnosis has certainly elevated my need to say ‘no’ & set more boundaries generally… #silver linings!

    • Diane Gottlieb on January 12, 2022 at 9:21 pm

      Silver linings, my dear friend. Love you

  2. Florencia Barquin on January 11, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    Dear Maryl, You are a Great Woman !!! Your optimism and kindness have made a very painful moment better, and you even left me a lesson! to say No! Thanks for sharing your light! You inspired me in one of the most difficult moments of my life, I cannot put into words, you will never know how much your help meant to me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! May God continue to fill you with blessings! Love, Florencia ❤️

    • Diane Gottlieb on January 11, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing your feelings for Meryl with us, Florencia!

  3. Sherry Danner on January 10, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    “No. I will not tolerate disrespect.” YES to THIS.

    Thank you, Diane, for sharing another amazing example of a brave woman who is practicing a NEW way for women to be truly empowered in this culture. We can’t hear this message enough as we all overcome our training to be “good” which generally means pleasing and/or silent. Meryl, I admire the way you pass your wisdom on to other women by being honest and direct. This is how we support each other in seeing the truth and taking back our power. Thank you both so much for this inspiring interview!

    • Diane Gottlieb on January 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you Sherry! And YES to NEW ways for women to be in the world!!!

    • Meryl Koslow on January 11, 2022 at 1:08 am

      Hi Sherry! It is nice to meet you. From your writing, you sound like a power woman and I admire you as well. Let’s stay connected.

    • Meryl Koslow on January 11, 2022 at 1:10 am

      Hi Sherry! It is nice to meet you. From your writing, you sound like a power woman and I admire you as well. This “good little girl thing” need to be tranformed to “bad ass”. Thoughts?

      • Sherry Danner on January 15, 2022 at 2:09 am

        Hi Meryl! It sure feels good to be called a “power woman” after aiming to be (and failing miserably at being) a “good little girl” for so long. Thank you! Nice to meet another power woman out there being a bad ass! One way we transform is by sharing our stories (thank you, Diane!) I got the courage to write about my not-so-good-girl stuff because other women were being brave and I wanted to join them. I stopped sacrificing my well-being to please others and that has changed everything. Knowing that other women were doing it, too, made all the difference.

        • Meryl Koslow on January 15, 2022 at 7:31 pm

          Sherry, I am speechless.
          You amaze me. Keep going!

  4. Nicky on January 10, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    I need to keep hearing it is ok to say no! It’s hard for me so thank you & Meryl!

    • Diane Gottlieb on January 10, 2022 at 2:54 pm

      Your and me both, Nicky!! XO

    • Meryl Koslow on January 11, 2022 at 1:15 am

      Hi Nicky:
      So many women want to “liked” and the truth is, we, people, want to see who you truly are as a woman.
      We think (old belief system) if we keep saying , “yes”, people will like us. Well, saying yes is good, until you cross the line of what you will and will not tolerate.
      So no more hiding, just “be” you! There is only one Nicky. Bring it!
      It is OK to say no. You actually train people on how to be with you when you say , “no.”

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