For a few years, Dalia Joudeh immersed herself in work, seven days a week, as a way to distract herself from unwanted thoughts.

Dalia, the 291st person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, had escaped a very controlling husband in another country, but had been unable to bring her young daughter with her when she escaped to Australia.

When Dalia was alone with her thoughts, pain and guilt would overwhelm her. So she used work as a distraction.

Sadly, Dalia has been unable to win custody, although she’s still trying. What’s helped her cope has been her ability to find a positive story to explain this negative event. Dalia, who is a person of faith, knows that this ordeal is part of a bigger plan Allah has in store for her.

One thing you quickly discover when you meet Dalia is that she’s a very strong, independent person. When faced with obstacles, she finds a way to overcome them. Partly, that’s because she’s a proponent of personal development and she works hard to improve her mindset.

Dalia has been going from strength to strength in her career. After spending the past two years as a practice manager for a large dental group, she’s been promoted to an exciting role as a talent recruiter.

As Dalia was describing her new role, I thought of the wonderful quote from W. Clement Stone: “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.” That’s why I know she’ll be very successful.

My lunch with Dalia was really enjoyable. We had a lot to discuss and the conversation flowed effortlessly, from love and money to goals and values. I’m looking forward to our next catch-up.