The “Dark Side” of Becoming a Leader

There’s a dark side of becoming a leader. It’s something I’ve never heard anyone talk about. And it’s something that I only discovered when I began to earn the trust of a large group of people.

To be frank, I wasn’t prepared for it. And because of that, I went through a time where I had to make adjustments—where I had to grow… very quickly. These changes were not without pain.

If you don’t know about this dark side, it can undermine everything you are trying to do. So the key is to get prepared. It’s my goal to help you do that.

Not long ago, I led an online training for service professionals where I walked through the steps of how to strategize and build a system to attract clients. I call this system a Platform. A Platform (according to me) is a newsletter, a blog, a podcast or some other consistent publication you use to build trust with a group of people over time.

It is hardly a new concept, but as business evolves (especially online) it is becoming an ever more important one. A Platform makes advertising obsolete. A Platform makes selling yourself relatively unnecessary.

There are countless examples of successful business owners who owe that success to the power of their Platform. The radio shows of financial expert Dave Ramsey and political commentator Rush Limbaugh come to mind, but there are many more of all shapes and sizes.

Over time, a Platform positions you as a leader in your marketplace. And it develops a bond with your audience through which you can transact business. In our internet connected world, where just about anyone can shout about anything at anytime, getting noticed as a service provider is difficult. But a Platform solves that challenge very effectively over time. You “show-up” in advance and you eventually make every other choice your potential clients have irrelevant.

Having a growing and stable Platform puts you, the business owner, in a beautiful position. Business flows to you. You become a center of influence. And most everyone who shows up is already pre-sold on what you have to offer.

If you have never experienced this, what I’m describing might sound a little too good to be true. And that’s probably what I would have thought except that I experience this very thing each and every day with the Platform I’ve been building for the last few years in my own business. It is magical when you’re on the outside looking in.

Anyone who’s ever built a Platform, however, understands that this success does not come without a hefty price. And that price is paid in good old fashioned hard work. You have to do the work or nothing ever gets built. You have to do the work consistently or the work never really pays off. And you have to be consistent over a long enough period or the momentum never materializes.

In addition to the hard work required, there is another “downside” to using a Platform to get clients or customers. I call it a downside because, if you’re not prepared for it, all of your hard work to build the trust and attract the attention will go to waste.

When you add enough value to someone’s life so that they perceive you as a leader, you aren’t only receiving a benefit. You are also, at the very same time, incurring what you might call a liability in the form of additional responsibility.

When that subscriber of yours finally raises their hand and requests one on one help, they’re expecting that a leader is actually going to show up to help them.

That leader is you. And you must be ready to lead. That’s the responsibility you now have to your prospect.

As you begin to build your platform, understand that the clock is ticking down the minutes to the first moment that YOU will be summoned to lead your clients to some goal.

You can’t show up to lead the journey in need of validation or lacking confidence in your ability to make decisions and get to the goal.

In other words, you have to prepare yourself to lead or you are going to completely undermine the trust that your prospects have in you.

If you deal with self-confidence or self-worth issues, understand that building a Platform puts you on a collision course with being forced to deal with them.

You can either begin to prepare for this day now or you can wait and enroll in the “crash course” later.

The good news is that building a Platform takes a lot of work. Maybe even struggle. It’s much like pushing a large boulder up a mountain. It’s all effort for a while.

Eventually, you get that boulder to the peak of the mountain and you push it over the other side. And that’s when the momentum begins to build. And that’s when people start perceiving you as the leader.

It’s really a perfect example of the “overnight success” that was really years in the making.

All of this work and struggle is of enormous benefit to your future. So much so that you will actually learn to be grateful for it.

For it is during this time that you grow without even noticing. It is during this time when you create so much proof of your value that even you will finally be forced to believe in yourself.

It is during this time that you actually become the leader that your prospects are coming to meet. And once that happens, you will be unstoppable.

[Ed. Note. Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Client Letter, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has six kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.]