When I first started my public speaking career a multi-million dollar organization asked me to give a lecture to their junior staff. I was making no money doing this work, and I am really bad at negotiating, so at this point I would have accepted anything.

They negotiated me down to 500 dirhams (136 dollars), which I accepted. The next day they called me back to say they had spoken again and decided they wouldn’t pay me anything however I was still welcome to come and give the lecture.

Hearing those words was one of the lowest points in my life, a group of people who didn’t even know me had come together and valued me at zero, I felt worthless. This was work I loved, work I prided myself on, work I put my heart and soul into, and they said it was worth nothing.

I went home that day struggling to hold back the tears. My wife Salama and I had a conversation that day which changed my life. She said that when she married me it wasn’t simply for who I was then, it was because she saw everything I could become, the husband, the father, and the man I was going to grow into. She believed in me.

You see nothing hurts more than people saying who you are, or what you do, is worth nothing, but I promise you that nothing will make you feel better in this world than someone who makes you feel special, who sees your potential, and more importantly who supports and motivates you to realize that potential every day.

That was the reason I took Salama with me for my first ever event in the UK. She deserved to be there more than I did. What’s funny is when I told my brother that I was invited to speak in the UK he jokingly said “Khalid, you’ve made it”, my response was simply “No, she made me”.