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Playing The Long Game: Building For The Future

If you can build over time, you own the process which people can’t imitate.

It’s the small steps you work on, that help you improve. It’s always about the progress to something more meaningful that matters and has a place for others.

You are not the sum of the positive feedback you receive on LinkedIn, you are the sum of what happens from the attention gained from people who matter, over time.

When we want instant gratification, it’s natural to gravitate towards quick wins. However, true value lies in the things that require time, effort, and persistence to build. By resisting the temptation for immediate results and investing in the long term, you’ll craft something of greater significance and lasting impact, which other people will find, is not easily replicated. 

Taking a longer view and creating your own space, where you can address people, gives you more room to play and win. This could mean bringing your audience to a point of commitment or being flexible as you keep playing and introducing new initiatives. 

Thinking long term means that time can become an ally, rather than working against it.

What We Lean Into (And It Keeps Us There)

In the short term, the pursuit of attention can feel like the ultimate goal. 

We equate likes, follows, and shares with success, using them as metrics to validate our worth. However, this fixation on superficial metrics can distract us from what truly matters – building genuine connections and being able to create an impact.

When we prioritise short-term gains, we often sacrifice long-term growth and sustainability. The relentless pursuit of scale can overshadow the importance of building trust and credibility. Instead of focusing solely on external validation, we can establish ourselves as trusted sources of information and insight.

However, when you are in the moment, it can be quite stressful as you haven’t quite figured it out. If something you are working on has potential, the worst thing to do is to quit.

We like to hurry up, we want the excitement, and we get hooked on the buzz. To do something that works, it takes time but it can also feel laboured. We are impatient and we want a quick return. Why wait and keep working at something for a year, when you can do something now and get an immediate, but slightly watered-down return?

If people only see short-form ideas, or you do what everyone else does, you limit your manoeuvrability. In-depth work gains meaning when it’s worth getting involved with.

A Project We’re Working On At The Moment

We’re working with Bournemouth University to deliver YATM Business Class.

The idea is to have an event that is just for students and made by students. Having a wider YATM world to tap into, it means that others can come in and share their expertise and experience on topics that relate to the first years after education and that introduction to the commercial world. 

When starting something new, I recognise that everyone is starting from zero. Students need to be interested in participating in something new. Ben Eggington, a talented student and a part of the YATM community, is delivering the events and is in his first year at BU. 

The start, this presents hurdles as it doesn’t come associated with a ready-made society that has people already in it (and feel familiar with). Perhaps, in time, it could become its own society, but to get there has to come commitment and proof.

Also, do students want more lecture formats (eyes on one or a few people at the front of the room) where they are in a classroom setting? How can an initiative be different from students’ weekly commitments at university? What can encourage someone to think, ‘This can be right for me’ when they may have no affiliation or knowledge of YATM? 

The reason I want to explore this and with Ben’s willingness to pursue this idea is that this is the path when I started YATM. Back in 2013, it was me and an idea, that was it. It doesn’t grow from a lecturer telling a class to attend, it starts with one person telling another with the bonus of a wider space to support and help. It’s the hand down from the community, reaching out to others and finding a way to share ideas as a team. 

To make this work, it isn’t just a case of Instagram posts and being published on other channels with every other event from the university, it’s about showing commitment to an idea and understanding how that is relatable to students and their progression in their careers.

This has everything about the tweaks, iterations and changes for the long term, rather than the number of people who book to attend an event.

Finding Comfort in Long-Form, Long-Term

I’ve always favoured producing deeper thinking and longer content. This is how I’ve grown YATM with the weekly writing, newsletters, and the effort it takes to bring people together. I doubt I could have done this if everything was centred around sporadic ideas, or just living a life posting on LinkedIn. I have to find threads that make a delivery worthwhile.

However, I understand that it’s being in the ‘now’ ideas and short-form content that becomes the bridge to the longer work. It’s my way to grab someone’s attention, a commitment to subscribe, and hopefully building trust so they stay with YATM.

In-depth work allows me to think aloud and start building more substantial projects, such as YATM Creator Day. This wouldn’t have been achieved if all I did was show up once a year and say there is an event. 

All the activity during the year helps to support the longer, more in-depth event. It’s the continual drips that help to make something more substantial in the long run.

The Now or Something More Substantial?

The small ideas and being present, in the moment, help to solidify stronger ideas in the future, where time becomes a friend.

The answer lies in finding stability with your efforts. The short runs build up over time to make the long run effective. Short-term thinking and spaces encourage us to be creative and keep going but not to be dependent on the hand that continually feeds you.

To get better, over time, how can you build methods and systems into your week? My writing is in a far stronger place today from when I started. It works by the process of coming back to ideas that relate to self-sufficiency and the habit of putting time aside to write and focus each week.

Week after week, you become more accomplished, even powerful. For our events, when we started were within a format that could be easily replicated. Through mishaps, delivering, learning and refinement, I know that a YATM event is something you haven’t seen anywhere else. So much happens behind the scenes, that over time, you measure and put effort into what has meaning.

Here are long-term metrics that matter to me where the short form leads to longer measurement.  

Audience growth (email subscribers).

It doesn’t have to be huge spikes in numbers but are you converting people who want more from you? Is your audience the right people and not think you have to attract everyone? Is your audience interested in what you say and do? Does your audience know they receive something from you that they can’t get elsewhere? When you make tweaks, will your audience stay with you? 


There has to be a commercial aspect to your work. How is your audience turning to sales? Are they receiving enough value that at some point they want to commit? For You Are The Media, conversion is measured from people who subscribe to people who want to dedicate more time to be with others and learn and work with a talented group of people from the YATM Club membership to the live events. 

Audience engagement.

When the time is right for someone to commit and progress from subscribing to being more involved in services (consultancy) or products (events, membership and sponsorship), this can take many months. The constant presence and being part of their week help in approaching them when the time is right.

Staying and being involved. 

If people feel part of what you share, they will stay, and business can follow. For instance, this could be people who subscribe to your newsletter and enjoy your work. It’s the trust built over time that encourages involvement. For me, it feels good to see people come to their first YATM live event and then come back again. What can you do to get people to come to you and then feel comfortable staying?

Let’s Round-Up

When you put in the work, trust wins in the long run. You start to see the results for yourself. 

When we resist the allure of immediate results and invest in the long term, we create something of greater significance and lasting impact. By owning the process and focusing on the journey, we cultivate stronger connections and mutual trust grows. 

So, while the allure of short-term gains, from just doing, may be enticing, let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. After all, it’s the small steps we take each day that lead to something far greater in the long run, that can make its mark that no one else can mimic.

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