Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Coming from the humble beginnings of a town that had a population of less than 500 over two thousand years ago it is remarkable that Jesus is responsible for a movement that numbers in the billions and spans five continents today. And most of this growth occurred without the use of Twitter or Facebook.
This worldwide movement was kicked off by a man, by Himself, in the wilderness, fasting for forty days.
Though I am not suggesting that you should launch your platform by going on a prolonged fast, the principles behind Jesus’ fast are important to study as a key entry point for you:
- By Himself means that this was a private time where He was away from the public
- and the wilderness represents a separation from everyday distractions and temptations
So the starting point for Jesus was a time of separation from everyday distractions and temptations that gave Him a focused period of private reflection. You need a similar process to prepare yourself both mentally and spiritually to share your gift with the world.
This reflection needs to happen before your tribe grows because it is the foundation of your brand.
The purpose of your reflection
The purpose of your reflection time is not to formulate goals and strategies about your platform though – and it is not a time to seek concrete answers to the millions of questions you have about how to build it. Use the time to acknowledge your temptations and clarify the key themes that you want to to be your focus.
Acknowledge your temptations
If we look again at Jesus, we see three encounters with Satan that illustrate the level of focus He had in the wilderness. They address three common temptations you may need to bolster yourself against before you begin:
- Bread from stones – the analogy to bread in this scene is money. When you release your focus from the temptation to find the fastest way to the financial resources that will be required to fulfill your vision; and you focus on how you will diligently serve your tribe, the path to resources will become clearer over time. An example of this temptation in the context of platform building is the blogger who spends too much time trying to monetize her blog instead of creating irresistible content that will draw her tribe in. ;
- Authority and splendour – the analogous temptation in this scene is that of seeking power or influence through the wrong avenues. In the building of your platform, your influence will not come from ‘bowing down’ to the latest trends that seem to be popular at the time. Instead, reflection gives you the opportunity to really examine what components of your message, product or service are unique and how you can fill an existing gap without artificially creating demand. ;
- Entitlement – do not make any assumptions about what your tribe should think about your expertise, qualifications or status. ;When you begin, the humility of knowing that there are no shortcuts because of any titles or certifications you have will serve you well. Jesus knew that his mission was larger than using His position as the Son of God to save himself – He did not need to put God to that test.
Clarify your themes
Themes are not goals, they are the overarching guides that will help you to create goals – but unlike goals which can be adjusted when circumstances change, themes remain constant. At the same time as you meditate on the temptations you want to avoid, you should solidify three to five themes for your platform.
The good news is that you have probably already formulated your major themes. Private reflection will primarily help you to bring them to the surface where they can become your focus.
Jesus already knew His themes before going into the wilderness.
- Serve God
- Humble Myself
- Save Man
He clarified them by using them as the counterpoint to Satan’s temptations.
In the same way, your themes will help you to avoid traps along the way as you grow in influence.
For an idea on what themes might look like, here are mine.
Getting the most from your reflection
Finally, there are three things that can help you be fruitful in your private reflection:
- Take your time. This is not a process that you should rush. Alternatively, there is no minimum length of time you should spend – and if you are already in the middle of this process you may already be close to clarity. ;You may only need a day or two.
- Keep it to yourself. Now is not the time to share with others about your ideas and vision. Trust that what you need is already inside you and all you are doing is baring it down to its simplest form.
- Unplug. We are so hyperconnected today that we don’t have any space for reflection. Take some time away from you electronic devices and do some writing with a pen and pad as you reflect. You will be surprised how freeing this is to your creativity.