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Persistence Pays Off: Why Showing Up Matters More Than You Think

If you know your work feels right for someone else, the worst thing to do is quit.

The work we do was never meant to fit into what others have done. It is possible to pave a different path. However, it is filled with insecurities and uncertainties. 

When you can change the agenda, you can’t walk away. It’s just that when you are on the journey, it can be hard to know that others are going to feel a part of the team.

This article centres on why you need to keep going when there is meaning to what you do.

Putting It Into Context For You

In 2022, I shifted the conference format to one where attendees spent more time with each other rather than spending a whole day listening to people in front of them.

I called it YATM Creator Day. Before that in 2018 and 2019, it was called YATM Conference.

There was no event in 2020 due to covid and 2021 was also a topsy-turvy year as live events were tentatively introduced from July, when people were allowed out, around others. People were wary at the time and they realised they got time back so didn’t necessarily need to head out.

This became the challenge to reset and ask a new question.

How can people feel comfortable, as well as surprised and excited by shifting the mandate for a business event?

This is how the progression looks for Creator Day:

2022 – 80 people attended

2023 – 130 people attended

2024 – 200 people attending

Where we are for Creator Day 2024 is a lot different from when this new format was introduced.

Back in 2022, from the initial excitement of trying something new and presenting an idea for people to get to know each other and heighten the spirit of feeling a part of a community, it was still a very new idea. The justification to attend in-person events soon after spending our lives indoors took a backseat. 

It made me think to myself that people are more used to a conference format, so give people what they know. However, with the needle shifting after the pandemic it also presented an opportunity to reset rather than tread a well-worn path. By this I mean, people pay to attend an event and listen to a full day of presentations (9.30am to 5.30pm), interspersed with breaks. 

Creator Day 2024 is going to be on April 25th and with a theme tying the day together, this format is now very much around the experience of what it feels like to be a part of a community. For instance, we started a podcast eight weeks before the event, introduced a WhatsApp Group and has a real mix of people coming onto the stage, to either present from the attached theme or encourage everyone to join in.

The lens has moved from people as part of the transaction ie. paying to attend an event, to the importance of joining in. I know this is a format that will become even more prominent as people decide what is worthy of their time and money for business events. It is a big ask to travel and be committed, it has to be worthy of the investment made.

What is about to happen still feels me with a sense of trepidation, but it’s better to live a life knowing you had a go and you delivered what feels right to the people who care, rather than stick to a format that the rest of the work has delivered for decades. 

While competitors are preoccupied with imitation, you have the opportunity to be different.

The easy thing to do is play it safe. When work has a place for others, we have to push ourselves beyond what we are used to. It does not mean reinventing the wheel, it is more about your creative shift on existing ideas.

Let me share the justification for just showing up, perseverance and the ability to keep going.

The impact never reveals itself immediately.

This is all about a journey of twists, turns and iterations.

Creator Day 24 is a lot different from Creator Day 22 in terms of structure, confidence and delivery. Some elements are still in place, such as a workbook but what you want to happen doesn’t necessarily emerge when you want it to. What happens is that you are taken to unforeseen destinations. For instance, working with young adults from Bournemouth and Poole College as part of the Creator Lab programme, they come into the space feeling confident.

Conventional rules have to go out the window.

When you believe in what you do and its role to impact others you encourage people to come closer, you have to stay true to yourself and your convictions.

When you are starting out with a new angle that you want people to buy into, ideas need to be ignited and encouraged, rather than the pursuit of metrics. When metrics become your barometer, you stay in the lane of what others have always done. For instance, the pursuit of a headline industry name to draw in attendees. Do you, always, as Jason Miller says. This encourages you to take action that feels right and where you are led by convictions not repetition.

Progress is a gradual process.

When you see merit in exploring further from what you are currently doing (in my case from conference to community), you have to accept slow evolution.

Just because you are enthused and see how it all fits together, it doesn’t mean that other people recognise it. What works is the simplicity of the idea and to keep repeating, it carries from one person to another.

Patience is such a value to have and if you can find ways to pay the bills, this keeps you going as the transformation unfolds the longer you are committed (and it resonates with others).

Discomfort is a catalyst for growth.

When you are making that step into doing something new, one of the biggest challenges is that you have to figure out a lot for yourself.

You can’t fall back on what has already been done. This is what can wrack you with apprehension and fear as it’s you delivering the final output in front of an audience who have paid. The longer you keep going, it doesn’t feel as uncomfortable as first experienced and new opportunities start to emerge. For instance, for Creator Day, familiarity becomes the catalyst for people to tell others. The more you keep going, innovation thrives.

Acknowledge your limits.

It is the ambition and drive that keeps you going, but it’s also safe to know that you don’t have all the answers.

You have to be open to learning and adapting over time. For instance, when you deliver a milestone event in the calendar, you can’t do everything on your own. You have to open up and ask for help. For instance, in 2019, there was a problem with the projector at Shelley Theatre.

We now have an AV team for Creator Day so the technical side is catered for. When it comes to learning I want to put on an event that puts the community at the heart of everything, rather than a group of people to present to. That involves a shift of thinking, this is what I mean by the importance of keeping going. It’s not about the now, it’s about the possibilities of what can be done.

Value every interaction.

This is where collaboration takes centre stage and where the offer is there to participate. Everyone who books on for Creator Day, this year, gets a thank you email straight away. It isn’t automated and a small way to say to someone that their involvement matters.

What stands out for me is that people are travelling down to Poole from around the country and that can’t be taken lightly. It is a big decision to make and however I can acknowledge people with a thank you, I want them to know that they will feel at home and looked after. 

It’s all a journey of discovery and growth.

The ability to keep going proves that all this is a continual adventure. If you don’t veer off and keep on track, progress often comes through dancing with the challenges and finding answers.

Every experience contributes to your development. If we can get better over time, in knowing what matters to others and allowing them to play a role and be seen and become involved in your work, that becomes the ultimate sign of commitment, trust and loyalty.

Let’s Round-Up 

If you can envision that your work is intended to progress and make an impact, then only a foolish person would choose to hide.

Creating original work that people enjoy, value and feel a part of, does take time. The easiest thing is to imitate. When you recognise you can create your own unique strategy, it gives the impetus to keep going and improve with the modifications you make. You don’t have to mirror the goals of others, you create what is right for you. It could be freedom, it could be acknowledgement, it could be progression. 

When your work reflects your creative interpretation, it is rarely straightforward. Yet, it’s the twists, turns, and detours that lead to growth from the commitment you make. 

The importance of keeping going is not about reaching for an endpoint, it’s about relishing the journey, learning from every experience, and striving to make a meaningful impact. Keep innovating, and above all, keep believing in the power of your vision that is right for others. Original work that you created is worth pushing forward with. 

Come to Creator Day on Thursday 25th April. If you haven’t booked yet, you can read all about it here.

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