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I didn't peak in high school

Not popular

It's hard to imagine that this girl rocking the Benetton rugby shirt wasn't popular. Yes, I had friends. Two are still my best friends today and others have become closer in the decades since, (Social media is good for some things.) but a fluctuating waistline and even more fluctuating confidence meant that I wasn't exactly homecoming queen. My class had over 600 people in it and I'd venture to guess that maybe half knew who I was (and perhaps vice versa).

I was smart (A-track and honors, top 10% of my class) but we all know that smart doesn't typically equal popular in high school (at least not in the John Hughes cinematic universe).

I was funny, but back then fat boys could be funny and well liked. Fat girls could be funny but also mocked and bullied. My lab partner called me Moose all of my freshman year. Good times. (He was a racist and misogynist then, so I assume he stormed the Capitol on January 6th.)

I never had a boyfriend and the few times there was an opportunity I botched it because I could never fathom that someone would like me.

Come and get me boys.

You like me, you really like me

I think what truly astounds me today is that I am quite popular. This isn't said out of conceit, but it's a fact. I have a lot of friends. Because I'm a good friend. I'm a good person. I'm a good communicator. I make plans. I invite people places. I keep in touch.

But I think I'm popular mostly, because I'm genuine. I'm supportive. I have a vast and varied collection of amazing (mostly) women who I've worked with over the years, but especially since I started my own business. And often when I first met these women, they would be the very people who in high school I would have felt less than. I would have thought, they're too beautiful or cool to hang out with me.

But now I walk into a space and they wave from across the room. They turn to their friend and say "you have to meet Danielle." It feels amazing but it does make me sad for that girl in high school who could never have hoped to be spoken about in rooms when I wasn't there in a positive way.


With age comes wisdom (and a dose of IDGAF)

Part of this has to do with getting older and simply having a lot less f&cks to give. But a lot of this has to do with being more myself and finding the people who value that. I'm lucky to have that core group from high school who did that back then, but so many people lament the struggle to make friends as an adult. For me it's been the opposite. I find it easier.

Even when I worked in an office, I'd find my friend or friends. My work besties. My work husband. (I miss that guy.)

But with entrepreneurship it comes easier. Perhaps because I'm always meeting new people and since we share a goal, a struggle and a career path, we have so much to relate to. It's easier to connect. To make a plan to meet. To go to an event or a dinner. To come to a community or co-working space. But really it's because I'm me.







I didn't go to my prom, but I did go to a really nice dinner with my friend Liz. And yes, this was a linen two piece "suit" from the local "women's" store where people my mom's age shopped. #sotrendy

Be a go-giver

The generosity piece has to be one of the biggest components to adult popularity. Unlike in high school where everything around being popular was about what can you do for me? How can you praise me? How much do you worship me? As an adult, it's how can I help you? What can I do for you? Who can I introduce you to?

This is not to say I don't ask. But I give and give some more. One of the greatest things I've learned and now have gifted to several others is the wisdom of the three I's. Many of us shy away from meeting new people or networking because we worry we can't make an introduction. We don't have anyone to connect them with. But there are two other I's you can offer: an invitation or information.

I was at a fantastic dinner the other night that was basically networking with food, but so much more. The generous host created real ways to connect and facilitated the night so everyone not only got to know each other but help each other (if you're in NYC and interested, reply to this email). And she brought up how I introduced her to the three I's.

During the dinner I'd referenced a Ted talk about how to hack online dating, so when I got home, I sent the link to the group: Information.

I also mentioned Luminary, my co-working community: an invitation.

And I know some people who I might be able to connect to at least one woman there: an introduction.

It's not about all three, but the ability to bring more to the table comes from being popular.

From having more people and events to include people in.

And from the adult version of popularity - generosity.

I'm so glad I never peaked in high school, because peaking later in life, on your own terms and in your own way is so much better. Wait, scratch that. I still haven't peaked but I know my popularity will help me get there.

How can I help you become or leverage your popularity?


Speaking of an invitation...

You might not be sitting at the best lunch table yet, but in a few months you can start to meet more people, embrace the three I's and lean into whatever popular means for you and your business.

My new program allows you to work with me in a completely different way. It's part coaching, part content, part support, part accountability and part mentorship.

And the best part is it's asynchronous so you can get help when you need it, not at a prescribed time.

No Zoom.

No meetings.

Just an opportunity to talk through burning questions whenever the mood strikes.

I could just gush about this, but it's probably easiest if you just click this button for all the details.



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