However big (or small) your platform is, you’ll get so much more out of it if you use it to do good in the world.
Sadie Robertson Huff became an accidental influencer before the term was even in common use. Between 2012 and 2017, she starred in her family’s reality show Duck Dynasty, about their family duck hunting business.
Since then, Sadie has claimed the spotlight in her own name, occasionally in a literal sense: She came second on Dancing With the Stars in 2014. She’s also a motivational speaker, YouTuber and author. Her most recent book, Live on Purpose: 100 Devotions for Letting Go of Fear and Following God, was published in September 2021.
Rather than coast on her family’s fame, Sadie takes her work and her platform seriously.
“Your page is not just a page: it should represent your life. It should be something that brings joy to people, and represents who you really are,” she says. “I love being an influencer, I just want to be one worth following.”
On this episode of SUCCESS Stories, Sadie tells SUCCESS’s Madison Pieper about how to make a stand, why you shouldn’t assume you know where your career is headed, and why you should see your differences as superpowers, not flaws.
You can’t predict your path.
Don’t write off a future career path based on past experience. If you keep an open mind, you might be surprised by where you end up.
For example, Sadie never thought she’d write a book—let alone multiple books. She has a form of dyslexia and always found reading difficult in school, not to mention writing.
It was trying to speak that made her realize she conveyed her ideas better on the page. Her first experience of public speaking was a disaster: “People asked for their money back,” she says.
Sadie knew she still had a lot to say, and she turned back to writing to express herself. And her writing career has made her more in demand as a speaker.
Even your failures can present opportunities—you just have to be open to them.
Use your platform for a purpose.
Everyone has influence, it’s the scope that varies. Your platform might only extend to your friends and family, but you still have the power to change their minds—and the responsibility that comes with that. Use it wisely.
When you have the chance to use your platform, consider how you’d like to make a difference in the world. Ask yourself:
- What’s the message you’d like to spread?
- What’s an issue you really care about?
- Have you been through something you can share that could help other people?
- Is there an issue that’s caught your eye that you think isn’t getting enough attention?
Having a platform is ultimately meaningless unless you use it to do good. Reach out and share your experiences and ideas. You can make other people feel less alone, and raise awareness of issues that matter.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Nothing can make you question your accomplishments and decisions like looking too long and hard at someone else’s life. Especially the version of their life they’ve curated for Instagram.
We’re rarely as critical of anything as we are ourselves. We don’t compare sunsets, or ocean waves, or even other people as harshly. We allow them to be different and still beautiful in their own right.
Instead of listing all the ways being different from other people makes you inferior to them, embrace those differences as the wonderful traits that make you an original masterpiece.
Your life might not look like what your friends and family are doing—or that stranger on the internet. Not only is that OK, it’s inspirational. By following your own impulses, you lay down a new path, and you might just give other people new ideas by doing so.
Have the courage to act on your convictions.
There are two key ingredients to forging a path that is true to yourself: convictions and courage.
Conviction is deciding to follow your own beliefs, or the values you were raised with, instead of doing what everyone around you is doing.
You also need the courage to act on those beliefs. That’s especially difficult if you’re the only person prepared to speak up.
“Even if people don’t understand you, it’s always worth it to stay true to who you are,” Sadie says.
Once you do, you’ll probably be surprised to find out how many people agree with you and didn’t have the courage to be first. After all, being an influencer means taking the lead.