Why You Need a Platform – Part One

In Non Profit Leadership by Chris Marlow4 Comments

Platform

Story and platform are two words that seem to dominate the internet these days. One is sexy, cool and beloved. The other is suspicious, like a boy dating a teenage daughter (no doubt, a dad’s worst nightmare). We will never trust that boy, because we all know the reality of life, lust and love.

I spend a lot of time with passionate people — folks who want to start something that matters and live a life of meaning. However, many are stuck; they cannot find a way to move forward. I’m hoping this series will help to get you unstuck and to process the beauty of story and platform.

As with nearly everything worthwhile, there are risks involved also. Let’s face it — the internet is full of “wanna-be” leader types craving a platform so badly that it is like a train-wreck waiting to happen. The same can be said for musicians; they wants us to buy their album, but someone forgot to tell them that while they may love music, that does not mean they are good at it. You cannot always listen to your mom’s advice.

Often, folks are missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Sometimes, it is simply talent, but often it is an issue of story. They have yet to connect their tribe to a story that that matters.

I often meet amazing people doing beautiful work. The work could be cause-related, artistic or a product that is helpful. It is always tragic when these people can add so much value to the world but no one is paying attention. The world is moving fast and in a constant state of chaos. If you have a story that needs to be told, you better find a way to jump in the madness and help people to stop and pay attention. If you cannot do this, you will be frustrated, make all sorts of excuses … and eventually fail.

A story needs a platform and a platform needs a story!

Can Someone Please Tell Me A Story

Let’s face it: story is what moves us and inspires us to act. Humans were created to be connected and share life together. We cannot help but love stories because story is connecting us to a larger narrative. Simply put, we crave story.

How many of you:

  • Purchased a workout program online while watching an infomercial? You saw the rock hard abs, you heard the trainer tell stories of success, so you purchased DVD set.
  • Contributed to Reality TV’s spike in popularity due to the “real” life stories being played out on TV.
  • Cried at the movies or while reading a book because a certain scene connected deeply to your soul and it caused you to be sad, happy or angry!
  • Donated money because you heard stories of orphans or some other injustice in the world?

These folks inspired you to take action and they have one thing in common: a platform — television, a book, the stage or the internet. They all believe in the story they are sharing.

If you have a story worth telling, then you have a platform worth building. (Tweet That) You must embrace that or your hopes and dreams will never see the light of day!

The Dangers of Platform

Usually people are scared to build a platform because:

  • They don’t believe they can. (Lack of faith)
  • They don’t know how. (Lack of skill)
  • They don’t want to become a sleazy salesman type. (Lack of trust in self)

This makes sense. We lack self-confidence and often, we do not have time to learn a new skill. But in our minds, it is most tragic for us to be considered a “sleazy sales person.”

In the next few posts, we will discuss 1 & 2. But let’s face it — until we become comfortable with number three, it does not really matter. The truth is this: if you build a platform for the wrong reasons, negative things can and will happen.

We can become self-centered, arrogant, and greedy. We no longer do art for the sake of art; instead, we do art for the sake of money. We no longer care and want to make a difference with pure motives; we just want to grow our stature and organization.

There are plenty dangers to building a platform, and my advice to you is this: have trusted advisors who will keep you humble and focused along the journey. Of course, you will make mistakes; you cannot worry about that.

If you have a story to tell, then you have platform worth building. In the next two posts we will go deeper with the “why” and the “how.”

Comments

  1. Samuel Gray

    Thanks for sharing Chris. Some good reminders on what I need to step back and analyze on. Glad you are doing this.

    1. Chris Marlow

      Thanks Charles. I’m excited to flesh it out and see the potnetial impact that can be made. Grateful for your friendship.

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