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Why You’ve Got To Let Others Have A Go

Giving up control and handing the torch to others, means the entire effort becomes stronger.

If you are looking to grow an initiative where you build an audience and nurture a community, it is safe to say that you can’t do everything yourself. You can end up being burned out and start to become disillusioned when it is all on you.

Highlighting the opportunity where others can lead is rarely documented, but a worthy approach in community building. This is about progression and wider responsibility.

How can people benefit each other?

How can everyone develop?

How can a project be propelled to a new space?

How can doors open for everyone?

Let’s look to answer these.

Setting The Scene

You Are The Media was a project I started in 2013. For years it was driven by my agenda. 

When anything starts, it is always founded on someone else’s intentions. What I am now finding is that giving up control and letting others lead represents a unified drive. What happens is that actions are propelled, visibility increases and word starts to spread.

It doesn’t mean that I step aside, more that the door is open for people to make things happen.

I like the intentions around servant leadership (and thanks to Simon Swan for pointing this out). In servant leadership, it is about the people who are a part of the ‘club’ and grow and (according to Forbes) ‘in all areas — their profession, knowledge, autonomy and even their health.’ I guess from the YATM side the health side may be a bit too far, but we have discovered sea swimming on a Friday!

The shift to servant leadership is from the direction of one person to the accountability of many. I am finding that it is better to step forward, hand in hand.

Everyone Has An Opportunity To Get Involved 

The worse thing you can do is ignore people. Whether they subscribe or pay to attend an event, you have to make them feel a part of something, not just treat them as part of a faceless audience where you are the one who benefits.

If you want to show people there is a space for them to gather around and feel involved, either online or offline, then you have to provide ways for them to contribute. It also helps when they see that you have been carving the path, over time. 

When you ask others to step up and own a piece of land, it’s not about holding the fort while you are away, you have to go all in. It’s about starting something that you haven’t delivered so someone else has to opportunity to make it work. 

Once you make a shift for encouraging others to lead the way, the positive actions encourage others to do good work too.

The Proof For You

This approach to giving up control and others to deliver new initiatives from a central place is happening. Let me share with you the proof.

This began in 2019 when others from the YATM community hosted the YATM Lunch Club (this was an in-person lunchtime event). Trisha Lewis and Justin Cohen took the lead and effectively became trailblazers in this approach.

Matt King was asked to deliver You Are The Media Learning at the start of 2021. This was something we hadn’t done before, where we had a topic that related to creating and building that was in a panel format, on Zoom. People came together for an hour to learn and hear how others have delivered and figured things out.

In March 2022 Liam Toms delivered the first YATM Game Nite, read more about how to make work not feel like work. Again this was something we hadn’t done before where people came together to play games. 

In July 2022 we started YATM Good Bad. This is a LinkedIn Audio Event every Friday where people come together to share how their week has been. Each week someone from the community hosts 30 minutes to have a break in the day and to check in with each other. 

We are also looking at restarting YATM Bristol (our in-person event in another town/city). We delivered our first event in February 2020, just before the world shut down. This would be led by those who live around the Bristol area, but are still a part of the YATM community.

Each example represents the beginning of something that hasn’t been done before (apart from the relaunch of YATM Bristol). There is no expectation to live up to something or follow a rulebook, apart from the values of YATM. It’s about figuring out and joining in together.

A Community Still Needs To Be Lead, But Others Can Take The Reigns

The longer you are invested in an initiative, it is inevitable the identity changes. 

What was once all about me and proving to people that they can build an audience and not be over-reliant on social media, is now becoming about others stepping up.

It doesn’t just have to be focused on serving those around you, but serving each other. What happens is that other people start to grow their presence, association and reputation via the links they have with the original source (YATM). Allowing others to step up and ‘have a go’ helps to provide opportunities for them, to share their talents, form stronger connections, practice their presentation skills, experiment and expand their own network. 

It is a win for everyone involved. 

Why It Works

Here is what I am learning when you start to give up control to make everything stronger and you make that step onto something that feels much bigger. 

Collective skills are encouraged 

When you look at your audience, you have a resource of many talented people who can shine. For instance, Liam Toms should be a game show host, Jackie Goddard who has presented a YATM Good Bad, has the best radio voice that feels so calm and composed (whereas I can become a shouty ball of energy). A rising tide does lift all boats!

Push what we can do 

Doing everything on your own is very hard. I found launching Bristol in 2020 difficult, I found the YATM Conferences in 2018 and 2019 extremely challenging. What has made a huge difference is surrounding yourself with others who want to get involved. The outcomes are that you feel motivated, supported and push yourself that little bit further than if it was all on you. For instance, the idea for restarting YATM Bristol was from Catherine Adams.

Support should never be underestimated 

It is so important to lean on others. I have often shared ideas with Gordon Fong, more as a way to vocalise what I am thinking. When there are moments you feel insecure, there are people who believe in you, more than you believe in yourself. When you have an open conversation with those who are in your community, it can ignite new thought patterns.

Sparking ideas 

Related to the point above, when there is a team of like-minded people with you, it can help formulate new plans. When we launched YATM Game Nite this was 100% Liam Toms idea to revisit the pub we went to after the disaster of the last event of 2021 (you can read that story here). It goes to show that you cannot sit in isolation thinking that it is on you to come up with ideas and then garner support. In the book, The Wisdom Of Crowds, “If small groups are included in the decision-making process, then they should be allowed to make decisions.”

Everyone becomes accountable 

Allowing others to step up starts to change the dynamic where others have responsibility. It means you both work together to make something work, where you can monitor and be reliant on each other. That is such a powerful place to be with a shared sense of duty to each other.

Let’s Round-Up

Allowing others to participate and lead is what keeps people coming back. Community building is about having something that can form its own identity, is independent and able to aggregate people.

Handing ownership to others is like keeping the oil levels on a car continually topped up. People give back, and bring their skillsets to the front, so the drive and the ecosystem keep going.

What starts to happen is that what you began starts to grow with a diverse set of perspectives. This can only be a good thing as people support each other. 

The build-up can be messy or look unorganised, but that is ok. A healthy democracy has to be able to show the path where others feel comfortable and motivated to join in and make it even better.


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