Why Your Platform Isn't A Pedestal (And How to Use It)

Why Your Platform Isn't a Pedestal (And How to Use It)

There is a lot of talk about ‘platform’ these days.

I think a lot of the conversation is excellent. I loved reading Michael Hyatt’s book on the issue, and am excited that the emerging reality of the online world gives everyone a potential platform. Writers like Seth Godin continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible for ‘average’ people today.

The bottom line? Between blogs, podcasts, websites and even more conventional means, almost anyone can have a platform in an online world.

But let’s push past that and ask a deeper question.

So what if your platform grows?

What if you become ‘successful’?

This is true not just for bloggers, but for pastors, ministry leaders, marketplace leaders, entrepreneurs – anyone who is in a place of influence and ends up with people following them.

What happens if it ‘works’? Your church grows. Your readership inches north.  Your influence expands.

How do you respond?

These two thoughts can help you stay grounded.

Your platform isn’t yours.

It’s a platform. Not a pedestal. (Thanks to my friend Casey Graham for that insight.)

First, your platform isn’t yours. It’s God’s. It’s not your church or your organization. It’s His.

You don’t have a ministry, but God does (and out of his grace he chooses to use you).

The more I remind myself of these things, the healthier I am.

Second, it’s a platform, not a pedestal. There is a world of difference between a platform and a pedestal.

Pedestals are about ego and adulation.

Platforms are designed to be shared and used for the benefit of others.

Leaders need to learn to navigate the difference between a platform and a pedestal.

So how do you avoid turning a platform into a pedestal?

1. Give it over to God (continually). You prayed a lot when you were struggling. You need to pray even more when you are successful. I know in those moments where I experience any level of success, I need to pray. Remember: it came from God, and its deepest purpose is only revealed when it’s used to glorify him.

2. Figure out how to help people with it. Pedestals miss the central Christian idea that power and influence are to be used to benefit others, not the person with power or influence. Ask yourself: how can I use what God has given me to benefit others? That applies to position, knowledge and money.

3. Share it. Platforms are shared. Pedestals aren’t.  Push other people into the spotlight.  Don’t make it about you. Make it about God and others.

4. Hold it loosely. What is given can also be taken away. It isn’t yours.

5. Pour your heart into it. This sounds like the opposite of the other four, but I think it’s actually a compliment to them. If God gave it to you, give it back to him. Help people with it. Share it. Hold it loosely. But pour all you’ve got into it with all the skill you have. Success can create an ambivalence. Don’t ease off when you’ve become ‘successful’. If you’ve got more to give, give it. You’ll help many and come closer to realizing your God-given potential. Leadership requires our full diligence.

What are your thoughts on platform and how to use it well?


  1. […] Any time you start to use a public platform for personal gain, you cross a line. You are there to serve, not to be served. I wrote more about how to ensure you don’t turn a platform into a pedestal here. […]

  2. Justin and Trisha on March 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Great stuff and a great reminder!

    • cnieuwhof on April 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Love how you are helping so many people with your platform. Inspiring!

  3. David on March 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    great post, very helpful and needed in today’s world of platform made easy

  4. Michael Hyatt on March 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for this post, Carey. The distinction between a platform and a pedestal is brilliant. I’m totally going to use it. I even promise to give you credit—the first three times. 😉

    • cnieuwhof on March 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Michael…thank you (and thanks to my friend Casey Graham for the pedestal thought). You need to know how much your writing and podcasts have helped me grow as a leader. So appreciate you!

  5. Charlie Lyons on March 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

    So good! I’m going through Hyatt’s Platform right now, and you’re right about it not being my own. Continually giving it over to God is of the utmost importance.

  6. J Calaway on March 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Love this! It is so helpful to hear how to handle success!

  7. Brent Dumler on March 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Hitting it hard and keeping the truth in the light…love it. This is such a huge topic today. Most anyone who blogs (myself included) feels like they have a message. They have experiences, failures and wins, to share with others. But those all came from God, which you reminded us of so nicely. In many respects, having a ministry blog is not much different than speaking from the pulpit on Sunday morning. Keep it up, Carey.

  8. Kevin Zimon on March 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for this Carey. Really Helpful

  9. Carey Nieuwhof on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks Greg, Mary and Grace. It’s just so important to keep this thinking front and center. And if we do, we won’t be front and center.

  10. Carey Nieuwhof on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks Greg, Mary and Grace. It’s just so important to keep this thinking front and center. And if we do, we won’t be front and center.

  11. Grace at {Gabbing with Grace} on March 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    love this so much. so good to know/remember/think on.

  12. Greg Martin on March 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for keeping it (and us) real Carey. Always good to be reminded that it’s about the message, not the messenger. Blessings.

    • cnieuwhof on March 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Absolutely Greg.

  13. Mary DeMuth on March 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Beautiful, helpful, insightful post. Thank you.

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