We all have a platform. Some are bigger than others, but we all have one – Malala Yousafzai
Impact of a Platform
After Taliban forces put a stop to educating girls in her village in Pakistan, young Malala Yousafzai refused to back down. Believing education is a basic right, she spoke out on the terrors of the Taliban, even at great risk to her life, which included an unsuccessful assassination attempt. But Malala pressed on. Intimidation from the Taliban did not stop her from moving in the direction of what she believed. As the world got wind of Malala’s courage and resolve, people rallied around her to help her dream to become a reality. Malala’s positive action teaches us that when we approach life with intention and commit to acting on our dreams, even fear, as powerful and intimidating as it is, must fall. Not only did Malala’s dream come true, but she went on to become a global advocate for girls’ education. She founded the Malala Fund, to ensure that all girls have access to 12 years of free, safe, and quality education. Her pain became a platform for others to reach their dreams.
Everyone has a Platform
The power of your platform is the ability to use your voice and reach to make a difference in your sphere of influence. Everyone has a platform, whether it’s a large following on social media, a blog, or a circle of friends and family. The key is to use your platform in a meaningful and beneficial way. When you do this, your life is impactful.
How can you use your platform in a way that is beneficial to others? These characteristics – sincere, encouraging, and consistent – will be the basis of our focus this month. Here is a brief introduction to each one:
Be sincere (April 13th): The older I get, the more I avoid buying shoes with laces. I appreciate slip-on shoes. I can put them on and take them off while standing. The exception is my running shoes. Laces, as in the case of running shoes, are crucial to ensure proper fit and function. They are designed to make the shoe perform as needed. Like laces improve the performance of a shoe, authenticity enhances the quality of our words. Authenticity gives our words proper fit, function, and form as they project compassion instead of destructive criticism. The filter of authenticity keeps our words grounded with sincerity which is a visible sign that we value others.
Be encouraging (April 20th): In his hard-to-put-down book, How Happiness Happens, best-selling author and Pastor Max Lucado says, “With the skill of rock masons, encouragers stack stones of affirmation and inspiration.” Encouragement calls out the best in people. It’s seeing the best in others when they cannot. Our words of encouragement can carve out of others what they never thought was in them.
Be consistent (April 27th): Character is discovered through consistency. Consistency requires courage. Most of the time, our courage is present but trapped in the cobwebs of fear and what others will say in response to what we do. We seldom discover how much of an impact we can make until our courage is freed from these webs and we consistently give what we are good at to add value to others.
For your platform to impact others positively, you must apply compassion. This is a superpower deployed best when we are others-centered instead of self-centered. Our platforms are supercharged when compassion leads the way. Compassion is expressed in small acts, but its ripple effect on the recipient makes it memorable. Another benefit of compassion is it strengthens relationships by building stronger connections. Compassion means pausing long enough to pay close attention, a needed trait in our hustle and bustle culture. It’s more than a feeling; it’s taking positive action based on someone else’s needs.
Final Thought: Your age or stage in life doesn’t determine your platform. Everyone has a platform, and how you use it determines your effect on the people around you. But without compassion, on which the rest of the characteristics of an impactful platform hangs, any platform is short-lived.
Keep on keeping on!