I wasn’t very popular in high school. Yes, I knew people, but it was never my goal to be liked by a whole bunch of people. It was always more important to be liked by certain people. I guess that’s why I am baffled by LinkedIn and Facebook sometimes. For some people I feel like they treat these social networks as an extension of our juvenile existences and scream out everyone like me!
Whoa! This is quickly becoming one of those posts where my husband would say: “Are you sure you want to say that?”, but before I virtually put both of my feet in my mouth, stick with me till the point.
I have never wanted to be popular. Not in high school, not in my career and not on the Internet. I’ve always wanted to be the best. When you are the best but not popular you can quietly make your money without having to worry about the paparazzi. Unfortunately, entrepreneurship requires a little bit of self promotion, and our global economy is becoming more and more focused on who can advertise themselves- so, the best is becoming antiquated to the most noticeable.
When I was 14, I worked as the campaign manager for a friend of mine running for student body president. I was not a big talker in those days, but even as a young teen I had a knack for the copywriting.
I was a band geek. I lived behind my saxophone. Unfortunately this meant sitting second chair to a loud and very popular junior who did his best to ignore me. As first chair he was responsible for leading his group of saxophone players, helping us with difficult music, and keeping us in tune. For him, that leadership role meant overplaying the entire section, leaving us to struggle through our parts, and pretending like he was the only saxophone player in the band. Yes he was good, but I wasn’t far behind him, and I was 2 years younger.
His disdain for me was so blatantly apparent that I still get irritated thinking back on it. So when he announced that he was running for student body president, I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t challenge the most popular person in school, and I was ineligible to run, but I had to do something.
What my solution ended up being was finding someone to run against him and making them run. This was easier said than done, because seriously, everyone but me loved this dude. I found a shy trumpet player – a first chair junior who would give the shirt off his back for anyone- as his opponent. I then planned his campaign, wrote his slogans, designed his poster and hung them around school. My shy candidate reluctantly went along with it, softly saying “I don’t know Jenn, he’s pretty popular” and I calmly replied: “You are the better candidate, and that is all that matters.”
On a slogan of “Those who talk the loudest say the least” we won that election, and I learned a very important lesson.
Being popular can take you very far in life, but in the end, if you don’t have good content, even the most popular people can fail.
So, bringing it back- I have no interest in adding every random person on LinkedIn to prove I know people. If you want to build a connection, do it the old fashion way- email me. I’ll write back.