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Why People Show Up For Your Character, Not Just Your Content

It’s not always about the content you create, but the person you are. 

This is what fosters progress and genuine connections with others.

It’s much more than what we say or create, it is what is engraved within us. This is how people become familiar and decide if you’re right for them.

This article was sparked from a recent conversation when YATM started live events in 2016. Matt King asked me ‘Did people come to the first event because people knew you or because of their early connection to YATM?’

It makes me realise we have to look beyond the, ‘just be yourself,’ mantra but figure out what are the characteristics that are presented to other people, so they can commit. It then provides the opportunity to lean into them.

Why We Still Matter

Growing up, we are told who we can be and who we shouldn’t be. We’re told what to say and what not to say. 

Over the years, character traits shape who we are. It’s not about how we’re told to be. cre

At YATM Creator Day, Dodge Woodall, shared how the progress of his podcast, Eventful Lives, ties back to how he has always behaved.

Dodge’s podcast is always in the top 10 of business podcasts in Spotify/iTunes and has built a sizeable audience. 

Dodge’s character has been the mainstay of his progression and shared with the audience what he attributes to, ‘curiosity, aggressive patience, risk and simplicity.’

The dictionary definition of character says, ‘the particular combination of qualities in someone or something that makes them different from others.’

It’s the qualities from Dodge that make him stand out, particularly in the podcast space. His YouTube channel has 126k followers.

Character Doesnt Mean We Pretend

When you have a character trait, it doesn’t mean you create an alter ego to your real self. It’s the values of who you are that you can build on, so other people see.

You want people to think of your traits, that is in the work they see.

Let me explain.

The person who writes the YATM newsletter every week puts on events and finds ways for people to gather is a character called Mark Masters.

I am the person who writes and finds a way to gather and share my thoughts. I am the only person who writes, when I do it, I am the character called Mark Masters. If what you read, doesn’t sound like me, then I am taking a shortcut with ChatGPT. This is not about looking to portray a separate version of myself that pretends to have all the answers, it’s me as Mark Masters being of use to people from a wider community.

You can never build something of value or reputation when you are inconsistent. How you deliver and what people see is who you are. 

Character is something you build over time and the longer you keep going, the more transparent you become. For instance, my character traits have been built around persistence, creativity and connection. It’s only over time that I have learned to lean into this. It’s not apparent when you start.

This is where many people adopt a conventional approach. They lead on what other people should know, rather than allowing people to know more about them. Over time this builds trust.

People Show Up For You, Not Just Because Of Your Content

Going back to Matt’s question at the start, ‘Did people come to the first event because people knew me or because of their connection to YATM?’ 

The only way I can answer is to go back to the people who came to that first YATM Lunch Club in 2016 and ask them.

Gordon Fong was there at the first event and today is very much a central part of the YATM. I asked him why did he attend? 

Gordon said, “I first saw Mark Masters in action at a local business event and he stood out massively from the other speakers. Frantic pacing up and down, the volume of his voice was up and down, left and right also, but it was what he said that resonated.”

“Outwardly we are poles apart, but after many years in the YATM community, I also know that we are very similar inside, as we all are. So, when Mark did the first YATM Lunch Club, I signed up before any self-doubt from being unmasked as a marketing imposter in what I thought would be a room full of seasoned marketing professionals. 

This was the start of my journey from the back of the room, to the front on stage, all made easier in a room where everyone was learning together generously.”

Finally, Gordon summed everything up, “Whilst the content is the most important thing of value, if the person associated is not relatable or where you feel you cannot support with time and money, you won’t go.”

This provides a good starting place. If you are looking to pursue an initiative, it doesn’t always have to be based on what you know but the person you are. The word “character” originates from the Greek word meaning, “I engrave”. 

Character is something that shapes us by the experiences we face and the identity we form. The objective doesn’t always have to be the next content idea but the tuning even more into the people we are. That becomes the attraction for others.

The first event was helped because of Lee Taylor. It was Lee who suggested to have the event in the lounge area for where he worked. 23 people turned up, I was happy with that. I asked Lee, what he bought into, the idea of YATM or me?

Lee replied, “I bought into, first and foremost, Mark. I could see that the world needed a space where we could all come together to figure it out together.

That first Lunch Club pitched perfectly the dilemma’s we all face in our business. You were honest and transparent. You didn’t come across as a ‘know-it-all’. And that resonates with lots of people around the world.

“Through that a group was built. A tribe. A following. A community of strengths. A community that can collectively all help each other in figuring it out.”

From Lee’s perspective, it was character first and then over time belief in what YATM was about.

Ideas To Take On Board, Your Side

Today, YATM is much more centred on an idea and bringing people together, perhaps I should have been more observant about me and my traits when I started.

If I had started YATM again, this is what I would have heightened, so people could find that balance between message and character.

1. Consistency matters

Treat everyone with fairness and respect, regardless of their position or relationship to you. When I began, I wasn’t clear on my audience, I believed it to be senior marketing people, I was wrong. Consistency in your behaviour strengthens your character.

2. Reflect on your choices 

You have to look back on your decisions and actions. Blindly progressing doesn’t always work, I have found that out on many occasions over the years. Are your actions aligned with your values and principles? Reflecting on your choices helps you grow and develop as a person of character. 

For instance, other people now host YATM Lunch Club, that is because these are people whom our values are mirrored. It’s good to feel a part of something with others.

3. The relationships you build are everything 

It pays to invest time and effort into nurturing meaningful connections with people. Whether in good times or bad, prioritise building strong and supportive relationships. Over the years, I have learned to be appreciative of every person who commits. So, whether that is a thank you on email or in person, the more people can see you and not automated the better.

I want people to know I took some time out to reach out to them. That’s the person I am.

4. Practicing humility goes a long way 

It pays to stay grounded, even in moments of achievement and success. It means a lot to acknowledge the contributions of others and recognise that we are stronger together.

Getting to know people over the years and sticking together means a lot. For instance, people always remember that first touch point. They have said to me, ‘I’ll never forger that email/video you sent.’ This is what I mean, it’s not always about the industry knowledge but the person you are.

5. Perseverance in adversity 

It is only natural that setbacks or obstacles appear, you have to keep pushing forward. Resilience and determination are essential qualities of character that help you overcome adversity. 

From 2021 to 2022, YATM was in a delicate place, in terms of clarity on the role it plays for people. This is why character grows with time. You have to face the challenging times head-on, so the traits start to become magnified. Introducing Creator Day was about realising we can do more together. That is very personal for me.

6. Embrace diligence 

To make a change, people have to see the work and they have to see you at the forefront, particularly when you start. It’s easy to start and then lose interest or sporadically appear where people can’t quite join the dots between your work today and what you have previously produced.

That way they can’t make that association between you, your idea and why it matters to them. Character is magnified through repetition and dedication.

7. Extend a helping hand 

The support you provide others does come back to you. It’s about embracing opportunities and to see where the future lies.

A helpful hand is not about what you can take from someone else but to see how a relationship can progress. For instance, working with the college and the YATM Creator Lab and time with the students now means a new confidence for the team to progress with their own work, plus feeling a part of the wider YATM community. 

Lets Round-Up

Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.’ It’s about who we are, what we do and why we do it.

One thing I wish I knew then, that I know now, is that we don’t need to be fixated on demonstrating knowledge. Your character traits are what help other people feel at ease and recognise you are worthy of their time. 

It’s for someone else to feel comfortable and that their commitment is time and money well invested. It could even be that what you share and your perspective is a journey that is sensible to follow. Over time, you amplify your character traits, thus aiding others in achieving their desired results.

It isn’t something we pretend; it’s engrained within us, defining who we are and how others perceive us. 

Ultimately, it’s your character that leaves a lasting impression, inviting others to connect on a deeper level and joining in on the journey.

Our topic for the September 12th, You Are The Media Lunch Club is ‘character.’ Book here.

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