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The Power Of Fair Exclusion: Know Who Doesn’t Belong

You can’t serve everyone, drawing lines clarifies who your work is meant for.

When you fine-tune your message for the people it’s intended for, you start to carry greater meaning to what you do. 

You also realise that when you go out looking to attract everyone, it hampers the conversations and interactions with the people with who you are meant to be forming closer bonds.  

As Seth Godin wisely puts it, ‘it’s more important to be the best in a specific category than to aim for broad, generic appeal.’ Let’s delve into the idea of fair exclusion and that challenging our default mode of welcoming everyone might just be the key to achieving something truly meaningful.

When you make a space for others to join in, it’s for people with a common interest and shared beliefs. There will be people who find it suited and there will be others where there is no connection.

Our Default Is To Please Everyone 

You will never run out of strangers. 

That’s what we do when advertising, posting or convincing strangers that we’re worthy of their time, we work hard to please all. What starts to happen is that we become a version of ourselves that is similar to going to a party where the Spotify playlist caters for everyone. 

When we can appeal to everyone and have the platforms to rent scale it also means we lose the very essence of what makes you unique. You have to be ok that you can’t make your favourite song, everyone else’s favourite. 

What I Started To Realise 

People who share your vision, when the time is right for them, come closer to you.

I am starting to plan YATM Creator Day 2024, it’s going to be Thursday April 25th (you will be able to book during October). When you put on an event it usually means your audience becomes everyone. Our natural instinct is for everyone to come to our events, that is what justifies the time and energy organisers put into the whole build-up.

This is why organisers relentlessly post to hopefully attract as many people as possible. What I have realised over the years is that I want the right people to join in.

When people don’t join in, the whole experience feels different. It could be sitting right at the back, or swerving the conversations in the line for a coffee. For many of us, it does take a leap of faith to join in. When there is encouragement from others and support to join in, that makes a huge difference. 

My goal is for Creator Day to be an event where we all join in, make new friends and lean in. It’s for people who want to be better at building their own space where they don’t have to be always reliant on the algorithm or gatekeeper to open that door. The theme for 2024 is ‘building spaces.’ 

The old me wanted to include everyone, casting a wide net to catch as many attendees as possible. But now, my focus has shifted. I have come to terms with the fact that not everyone will find You Are The Media appealing. A lot of what we do isn’t bound together by a straight-laced B2B generic marketing rhetoric, it’s high energy, it’s fun, it’s creative. 

The focus is ownership, independence, experimentation, self-sufficiency and building this within a safe and supportive space. This means that the audience isn’t everyone. When you acknowledge that everyone is your audience, then it’s easier to say that you don’t really understand what you’re about and the role you champion.  

It’s better to close the doors to some and acknowledge that we’re not for everyone. This act of exclusion can actually help us identify and resonate with those who are the best fit for us.

The Questions To Ask 

Who we create for is just as important as knowing who we are not here for.

For instance, unsubscibers shouldn’t be seen as a place of frustration, but more an acknowledgment that your work was never intended for all. It just means that you can focus on the work for the people who want to stick with you. 

It’s important to know the following:

🤔 What makes your story different from everyone else ie. it’s personal, and links to you today?

🤔 What makes that attachment to what you believe in ie. a fork in the road you had to get over someone else can see themselves,?

🤔 What are you trying to convey that isn’t just rational but emotional too ie. the values you have

🤔 Why is your message important and why does it matter?

🤔 Can your curiosity help people identify ideas and approaches that they can use?

🤔 Can you look at what you do and say, ‘I am pushing myself to produce the most daring work I can do?’

This helps you recognise the role you serve and the work for the best people.

Making It Work To Open & Close The Door

Let’s get practical. Here are some steps you can take to embrace the power of fair exclusion.

Set Clear Boundaries 

This is when you can define who your work is for and who it’s not for right from the start. YATM is a place for people who want to build their own independent space that others want to come to. It’s about how we can have a presence on social media but bring people back to our own campfires. If you are a paid social company, then YATM probably isn’t for you. 

Create A Safe Space 

If your community is focused on specific audiences, ensure new people feel welcome and safe within it. This is about people joining in who align with your values and delivery. This means you can spend more time with them as there is a natural fit. It means they can see they have a space that is intended for them.

Always Come Back To Its Reason

When you have clarity on the role you serve and why you’re doing what you’re doing it becomes your anchor. It then gives everyone else a reason to participate. If it’s not for them, it becomes easier to step aside. It means you can focus on the right work, with the right people. When you come back to the reason that has clarity to you, you step aside from mimicking what the industry expects from you. 

Stay Focused

This means you stay away from well-trodden topics to where create work that is truly unique to you. If I kept steadfast within marketing topics, I’d be sharing ideas that you can find far more easily elsewhere. That means it’s easy to be replaceable. When you have a topic area that you want to explore and test out, it becomes easier to keep on a specific path.

Expand Your Perspective

When people can make that attachment to your work and the reason for it, it gives you the freedom to go broader and go beyond what is immediately in front of you. That is one of the reasons why YATM has events, so I can document how it alters over time and still remains relevant for the right audience. It means your work becomes even more defined when you are sharing as it’s in the public domain, so people can decide if it’s right for them. It’s better to be in tune with what’s happening now, than delivering what others have done for decades.

Break The Mold

If you deliver from a place you believe in, don’t be afraid to stand out. When you can demonstrate an alternative approach that can be more profound and meaningful, you carve your own space. This means it becomes easier for people to make that choice. People can see that a space has been nurtured just for them.

Let’s Round-Up

Don’t feel guilty about exclusion; it helps you connect better with the right people. When others look around the room they can see people they can feel at ease with, trust and know connection can become friendship.

In the grand scheme of things, we create communities and businesses to foster inclusivity, to bring people together. But here’s a paradox: in our efforts to include everyone, we risk diluting our message, our uniqueness, and our impact.

To truly create something that matters, you must be prepared to leave people out. Not everyone will understand or appreciate your vision, and that’s perfectly okay.

In a world that encourages reach and invites everyone to the party, consider this: it pays to be the host who curates their guest list, ensuring that every attendee shares the same energy and enthusiasm. That means we can all have a go on the playlist. 

Having the courage to define who doesn’t belong can be your most powerful step towards forging genuine connections and meaningful impact.

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