Last Thursday, the Career Development Office (CDO) hosted what many believe to be their best workshop in the past decade. They invited business expert and LinkedIn superstar Xavier Foust to come speak on campus. Widely known as “the man who mastered LinkedIn,” Foust is famous for traveling the country and swaying the hearts of countless students with his deeply inspirational life lessons, so it was a surprise to discover that the CDO could even afford to bring him to Vassar. But everything was paid off, and the workshop became the most heavily attended event of the semester.
“When I got to Rocky 200, the entire place was packed, and everyone was dressed in their best attire. You could tell that all the students were excited to meet him and maybe even get a chance to add him on LinkedIn,” said one enthusiastic junior. He was sporting a sharp-looking Louis Vuitton blazer with matching cufflinks and a clean pair of khakis, which he insisted was his “casual attire.”
When Foust finally walked into the packed lecture hall, the entire room quieted down and gazed earnestly toward their well-dressed speaker. It was at that moment when he calmly walked up to the blackboard, picked up a piece of chalk and wrote the word “LEADERSHIP” in huge, bold letters.
“Leadership!” he exclaimed, which he punctuated by underlining the word with one quick stroke of his arm. The entire crowd immediately fell silent. Seeing the word written out and hearing it simultaneously had a chilling effect that instantly gripped the audience.
“It was just so powerful. It really spoke to me, both mentally and spiritually. At that moment, I think everyone understood why people call him the ‘LinkedIn Master,’”recounted one student.
According to sources, Foust let his message linger for a few moments, allowing it to sink in. He smiled, knowing he had his listeners’ complete attention. “Leadership…It’s such an important word. It is impossible to even quantify how important it is. Now, I have been on LinkedIn for 10 years, and countless people have asked me how they too can be successful in everything they do. I’ll tell you the same answer I told them: If there’s anything I’ve learned from browsing LinkedIn, it’s that leadership is the key to success. It’s what separates the truly successful individual from the average person. ‘What are the signs of good leadership, and how can I become a better leader?’ These are the questions I ask myself every morning, and if you also want to be successful, they’re what you should think about on a daily basis.”
Foust proceeded to write “LEADERSHIP” two more times on the board. He then turned and tapped all three words with the chalk. “Remember the three L’s: Leadership, Leadership, Leadership. I promise you that if you do, you’ll go far in life.”
Some members of the audience nodded solemnly as they took his words to heart, while others took out their iPhones to take pictures. Most of the students in the room had pulled out their notebooks and were furiously writing down what was on the board.
Foust continued, “Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a very powerful word. You’ll find that whenever you’re stuck in a situation, the answer is almost always leadership. Writing a resumé? Emphasize all the different leadership roles you’ve had. Want to do well in a job interview? Talk about how your natural leadership skills make you the perfect candidate. Failing an exam? Write down ‘leadership’ in the blanks. As long as you understand how important leadership is, know that you’re on the right path. Take charge of the situation, and be a leader instead of a passive follower. If you don’t, then no matter what you do, you’ll miss your chance at happiness and success. Live life without regrets. Make a difference in the world. Be a leader. Buy my Deluxe Signed Limited-Edition copy of ‘How to Succeed in Literally Everything: A LinkedIn Master’s Guide to Leadership.’ Thank you.”
When Foust finally set down his chalk, the entire audience gave him a standing ovation, and many of the students couldn’t help but tear up at his words.
“It’s all so inspirational. I’ve had troubles with grades and making friends all my life, but I never realized that it was because I wasn’t acting like a leader. I’m buying 10 copies of that book,” asserted one teary-eyed Vassar student.
During the Q&A session, students finally got the chance to ask questions to which they were dying to know the answers.
“Mr. Foust, thank you so much for coming to our campus. Could you tell us specifically what we can do to be a great leader just like you?” asked one student.
Foust nodded and looked directly at the student. “Leadership.”
The audience burst into another round of applause, and the student sat down, fairly satisfied with the answer. Another student stood up to ask another question.
“Mr. Foust, who are some of the leaders in society that we should try to emulate? I mean, besides you, of course.” she asked with a smile. The audience members laughed, and even Foust himself let out a chuckle.
“You raise up a good point. One of the best ways to be a great leader is to study what they do and integrate their actions into your own life. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg is a fantastic leader. And if you look at his daily schedule, you’ll discover that he spends roughly nine hours a day on Facebook. So, if you want to be a great leader like Mark Zuckerberg, you should spend nine hours on Facebook every day, too. Likewise, I also consider Elon Musk to be a great leader. That’s why I make sure to do whatever I can to bankrupt my business and make outlandish promises that I can’t keep.”
At the event’s conclusion, the audience members left after one final round of deafening applause. For some, it felt as if they had attended a rock concert. For many, it was a turning point in their lives. As one enlightened student aptly stated, “All these years, I thought people who spend time on LinkedIn were all pretentious fakers who pandered to strangers in order to fake their way to success. Xavier Foust taught me that I was wrong all along.”