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CNLP 272: Kevin Jennings on How to Build an Authentic, Personal Platform That’s Not About You, How to Gain Traction Online and The Power of Focus and Strategic Quitting

Kevin Jennings has helped some big names build and grow their brand. Kevin talks about how to manage the tension of creating a personal platform that gains traction while staying true to yourself, making sure your personal brand isn’t all about you, and how to use AI to make your web presence more personal. Plus we talk about the power of focus and strategic quitting.

Welcome to Episode 272 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

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CNLP 195: Kevin Jennings on How to Help Your Online Platform Soar, How to Engineer a Successful Launch and Why Some Things Get Traction Online and Others Don’t

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The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community by Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof

3 Insights from Kevin

1. When building a brand, it has to be the authentic you, not a facade

In today’s modern world building a personal brand can be a great way to steward the giftings you have been given and get your message out to help more people. But not all platforms are healthy. The unhealthy platforms are created when people begin to build a platform to fill a hole only God can fill. It can be so easy to begin to feed off of online likes, clicks, and followers. Don’t fall into that trap.

Another major temptation you might face as you build your personal platform is to become someone else for the sake of growing the platform. Copying someone else’s platform may work early on, but if you start to scale an inaccurate facade of who you are, you build your own prison and become miserable because the whole world expects you to be someone that you are not. You can’t keep up a fake facade forever. If you want to build a healthy platform, build it off of the authentic you.

2. How do you build a personal brand that’s bigger than you?

There are many good reasons to build a personal platform. A big example of this is leaders of organizations like churches. Most people won’t trust an organization (or a church) until they trust the leader of the organization. People trust people. So as you build this platform, ask yourself; “What are the core parts of my message that people will find helpful?” and “What are the key principles I am made to talk about that can help people?” When you answer these questions you are starting to make the audience the hero of your brand.

Another huge part of building a platform that is not about you is to bake in opportunities to lift other leaders up. When your platform is done, you should be a platform where you’re standing on the bottom, holding up millions of people. Not a platform where you’re standing up on a mountain and everyone has to climb up it to get to you. Your platforms purpose has to be bigger than your own personal gain.

3. Want to succeed in life? Learn how to strategically quit

Vince Lombardi told us that “winners never quit and quitters never win.” Kevin disagrees, Kevin has seen that strategic quitters win every day. Beyonce was a full-time singer at 16 years old, already on television. Lebron James was practicing basketball full time at 12 to be inundated by 18 years old. If you are going to succeed in life, you have to be a strategic quitter. As leaders, we can get so attached to initiatives and projects that are not producing any results. For each of us, strategic quitting matters, because it frees us up to do what we’re really called to do and do it at the highest level.

There is a cost associated with having that person or two people on your team work on that initiative that doesn’t support the main focus of the organization. When you are misallocating those resources, you are actually preventing the main thing from being as good as it can be. There’s something in your life or organization that you need to strategically quit. What is it?

Quotes from Episode 272

Our ability to be the best at what we do, carve out our space and be true to who God created us to be in the body of Christ, actually is where we get our impact. @kevinbjennings2 Click To Tweet

If you do something long enough when nobody shows up, it prepares you for when people actually show up. @kevinbjennings2 Click To Tweet

Find anyone you admire in society. They locked in on their thing as soon as they found it and they cut everything else off. @kevinbjennings2 Click To Tweet

If you're hanging onto something that you should strategically quit, you are robbing other people of the opportunity to get even better than you would have been in that moment. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 272

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Get Your Church Growing (Again…or for the First Time)

Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.

It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you’re a church that isn’t growing, has plateaued, or whether you wish your church was growing faster than it is, I’d love to help you break through. That’s why I created the Church Growth Masterclass.

The Church Growth Masterclass is everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.

Naturally, I can’t make a church grow. You can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.

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In the Church Growth Masterclass I’ll show you:

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Next Episode: Ron Kitchens 

Ron Kitchens grew up so poor that his childhood memories include moving every time his mom couldn’t pay the rent and rummaging through Goodwill bins to find clothes to wear to school. Today he is CEO of a firm that’s created tens of thousands of jobs in Michigan and beyond and has been voted one of the best workplaces in America by the Wall Street Journal. Ron talks about how to create and sustain double digit growth year after year, how to find and hire the right people and much more.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 273.


  1. Dale Simmons on June 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I’m almost finished listening to the podcast, but WOW! I’m going to have to read the show notes. Kevin’s personal tactics for leadership are great. As a bi-vocational pastor, his insight helps me consider what is most important in the vast scheme of things. Also please warn me before you post another Luis Palau interview. It is difficult to drive and cry at the same time. What a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of our Lord. Carey, thank you for all you are doing. You help keep me focused on the mission.

    • Kevin Jennings on July 5, 2019 at 7:08 am

      Hi, Dale. Kevin Jennings here. Thanks for listening. I’m happy to hear our conversation was helpful to you. All the best in your ministry!

  2. Jesika Garcia on June 20, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Small groups are the answer. Especially for a generation that cherished authenticity so much.

    • Kevin Jennings on July 5, 2019 at 7:07 am

      Hi, Jesika. Kevin Jennings here. Just seeing your comment. I agree with you 100% as far as the community is concerned. I don’t believe there’s an online substitute for an in-person community or any ministry for that matter. The opportunity of a personal platform for ministry leaders to share the type of experience and community that exists at your church so someone knows they can find their group at your church. Thanks for listening and sharing.

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