I remember the call, one of the largest companies in the UAE called me in for a meeting to give a motivational lecture at an event they were hosting. I called my wife straight away and said this is it! I had been speaking all over the UAE, over the course of 8 months I made about 5,000 dirhams from speaking.

However this meeting was going to change everything, this was the big show. I pitched my proposal, when I had finished the event committee said “Khalid we like your proposal but we want you to do this for free, look at this as an opportunity for you”. Upon hearing those words every ounce of energy got sucked out of me.

When I got to the car I was close to tears, how am I going to make this a career when the largest companies won’t even pay one dirham for my work? At that moment I did something, I said no. I emailed and thanked them for the opportunity.
I should have felt like an idiot for walking away from one of the largest organizations in my country but for some reason I felt proud, I knew my value. I kept hosting my own events, doing what I could to get my work out in the community, and giving every event all my passion and energy, no days off.

One day I get a call from a senior executive at one of the largest banks in the region who simply said, “Khalid I have seen your work, I love it, and I would like you to speak at our event, send me all your requirements”. I sent my proposal and everything was approved pretty much immediately, it was so strange to me. What I didn’t know is that this senior executive had been following my work, attended some of the events I had been speaking at and watching my development.

I’ve learned that valuing yourself is so important and sometimes that means valuing yourself enough to walk away from the people or organizations that don’t fully appreciate who you are and what you are trying to do. When you work long enough and hard enough on your dreams people start to notice, people start to see the passion and love you bring to your work, people start to appreciate and support what you are trying to do.

If there is something you want to do in life go for it, work hard, don’t let the bad days hold you down use them as lessons, and don’t give up because it is usually when we give up that we are closest to the opportunity that we have been waiting for, the opportunity that can change your life forever.