I just picked up a great audiobook, Michael Hyatt’s “Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World” (Thomas Nelson, 2012. I’ll be referring to this book throughout the post). In it he talks about how to get heard or sell a product by building a “Platform” – which he defines to be the network of people that believe in the message or product being offered.
That’s my interpretation of the definition – “believe in” could also mean “willing to pay for.” This would signify that the network is, first and foremost, a sort of “support group.”
Hyatt lays down five steps involved in building a platform. You can check them out here.
Hyatt constantly refers to the power of social media, websites, and other Internet tools to create this network. In fact, he basically says that a functioning platform is impossible without them. Having a website, he says, is the number one branding tool. Having a consistent image through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. is also important.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is trying to “get noticed in a noisy world” – and indeed, it is noisy. I, for one, feel the pressure almost wherever I go, of young entrepreneurs like myself vying for attention, not to mention the bigger brands and their all-pervasive advertisements. Heck, just turn on the TV for five seconds.
But what I feel transcends all of the noise even more than the most smartly planned brand is a sense that the person with the message or the product is connecting with me. Consequently, this may be the hardest thing to achieve. I mean, when we feel that we can relate to a message or a product on an almost personal level, we don’t even have to think about subscribing or pressing the “Checkout” button – we just do it.
That level of connection is clearly laid out in “Platform,” but it’s also something that must happen outside of the Internet, outside of all the social media, outside of the virtual world… and that is personal interaction. In a world where so much is happening online, this ingredient is sorely missed.
Mark Hyman, M.D., writes about it in his brain-opening book “The Ultramind Solution” (Simon & Schuster, 2009). In the book, he says there are seven keys to what he calls “Ultra-Wellness.” The seventh key is “Calm Your Mind.” Quote:
A life of meaning and purpose, a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment, are essential for health. The overwhelming stresses of the twenty-first century, including social isolation, overwork, and disempowerment, create enormous strain on our nervous system, leading to burnout and breakdown. [Hyman, 36]
This key, which Dr. Hyman belives to be integral in the whole-package system of health, seems to be the one nobody talks about. It also seems to be the one that is the most important for any modern-day entrepreneur.
Hyatt speaks of a “tribe” in Step 5 of his five-step platform process. Quote:
Tribes used to be about geography, ethnicity, and a common history. Today they are about people who share similar passions. Examples include Apple, Dave Ramsey, and Harley Davidson. To build this kind of tribe you must discover your own passion and be willing to lead. [Hyatt, http://michaelhyatt.com/platform-overview]
Speaking with a few of my friends and even some of my family, I find that they have all spent the better part of their lives searching for this very thing: having similar people with which they can be themselves. I know for me, finding a “tribe” has been a constant, ongoing search, as well as one of my biggest frustrations.
In a conversation with one of my aunts last night, I found that she still has not found her tribe, even after living in the huge city of Chicago for 14 years. She has a steady job that she is happy with, a caring partner and ‘friends’, and has a great living situation, but still has not found those folks with the same values and similar lifestyle with which she can really resonate.
This sense of community simply cannot be undermined. If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the path of a creative life. You probably have something to say or sell. I know I do. But creative people need other creative people.
If you are certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have found your tribe, then I might want to ask you for some advice. But if you, like me, are still looking, I would hope that we can join forces. Better yet, if, prior to reading this, you didn’t realize that this is what you were missing, maybe you’ll consider starting the search.
We don’t have to feel isolated or that we are not “understood.” The world is too big for that, and there are too many other people who feel the same way. I suggest that finding a tribe, a community with which to rap, collaborate, and connect personally, should be Step One on the journey of a creative life.
- Hyatt, Michael. (2012). “Platform: Get Noticed In A Noise World.” Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
- Hyman, Mark, M.D. (2009). “The Ultramind Solution: The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind.” New York: Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.