There is the ability to create change by sharing ideas and calling people to collective action. That part is external and public. But there is also an internal element to it that can be addictive. When you discover you have the capacity to take the platform and influence others, it can be a peak experience of sorts. And if you’re not careful, your desire to create change can quickly turn into your desire to experience that same feeling again and again.
As you progress, you continuously have to employ the discipline of self-awareness. This will ensure your "why" doesn't become all about you—your wants, your desires, and your aspirations.
MY ADVICE FOR LEADERS IN PURSUIT OF THE PLATFORM
Don’t confuse the platform with influence. You don’t need a big platform to have influence. But you do need influence to build a big platform.
Don’t pursue the platform without some checks and balances. Hold yourself accountable to the reasons you reached for the platform in the first place. Write those reasons down and what you hope to accomplish if you reach the platform. Refer back to those often.
Don’t try to go it alone. Mentors can provide a guiding voice in the often uncertain path to the platform. If you have blind spots you can’t—or refuse—to see, your mentor will be able to point them out. Just be sure your mentor is actually mentoring you and not merely telling you what you want to hear.
Don’t think your platform will last forever. While your influence can last a lifetime, a platform is often temporary. The quality of your preparation will determine the length of your time on the platform. Make the most of the opportunity right in front of you.
Don’t allow the pursuit of the platform to lead you to make compromises in your character. This is the hardest piece of advice to hear, especially if you feel like you’re making the climb. If you sell out to reach the platform, your time will be limited, and your intentions will be magnified for everyone to see.
This is why I believe the journey to the platform is often a long road full of obstacles and challenges. Those things are what really tease out your true desires and intentions. While this journey to the platform doesn't always weed out people who seek their gain rather than to help others, it does force clarity around why you are headed down a particular road. And that clarity will either keep you moving down the road or cause you to abandon it altogether.
Selling out to reach the top never works out as you might have hoped. There are a lot of shipwrecked leaders on the shores of life. Stay true to the person God designed you to be and the unique problem you were created to solve. If you’ll do that, you’ll have an infinite number of platforms and will turn temporary opportunities into lasting influence.