“Platform” is a buzzword that many use to describe building a personal brand. I think anyone with something to say needs one. Influence is a powerful tool when handled wisely. Michael Hyatt has written the book Platform and started the school on it.
A platform is a powerful tool for leading a tribe around a common belief or vision, but I think we have a problem. Too many people say they are building a platform when they are just building a soapbox. A platform is something you build so others can stand on it with you. A soapbox is something you create to elevate yourself. To have a soapbox all you have to do is shout louder than everyone else. To build a platform you have to build a community.
4 Questions to ask yourself before building a platform
1. Who am I doing this for?
This is a tough question to answer honestly. When I started writing a book, it was to fulfill a goal that I had, yet the only motivation to finish the book was thinking about those that I believed the book would help. It’s the same reason I launched a podcast last week (that you can listen to and subscribe to right here). I realized that I could use the platform that I have been given to put tools in others’ hands. There is no greater gift that someone can give me than to listen or read and then apply and make life changes because of the words I said and the tools I gave.
2. Why am I doing this?
Money? Fame? Both are things that everyone thinks would make his or her life better but in the end just makes you want more of it. Being trusted with a platform is nothing to take lightly. As Andy Stanley puts it, “Leadership is the stewardship of influence.” Your “why” is the foundation that will keep your platform from crashing to the ground. It’s really easy to look to others to define success but be reminded that no one else gets to define your “why” for you!
3. What am I doing to keep from being a jerk?
I love what Ed Young Jr. says, “When pride walks on the stage, God walks off the stage.” Standing on a stage that you have been elevated to you have two choices. One – you can remember JLo’s advice that she’s still Jenny from the block. Two – you can fall into the trap that you did something epic to get here. Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to knock you off your soapbox when you try to climb up there.
4. When am I going to pull someone else up?
No seriously… like when? I remember the first time I was at a concert as a kid and the only way to see the stage was to get on my mom’s shoulders. To build a platform you are going to have to climb on some shoulders, and some people are going to have to climb on yours. The sooner you can leverage your platform as a tool to empower others the better. If you do that, you just might end up changing the world.