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5 Simple Leadership Lessons About Fear I Learned From Launching My New Book

You’ve probably got something you want to create—something you want to get out there.

Maybe it’s a new message series, a new program, a new direction, a book or blog you want to put out there, or a podcast you want to launch.

This week, I released my third book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow. I’m thrilled with how the launch has gone. The book has hit #1 in all of its categories on Amazon, and people have been so encouraging and supportive.

But every step of the way I had to push past fear and doubt to get the book to see daylight.

I’ve learned a lot that I hope can help you lead more effectively with whatever you hope to launch or create.

Here are 5 leadership lessons about fear I’ve learned from launching my new book.

lasting impact book

1. Fear will tell you to hold back

Anytime you release something new (again, as simple as a message series you’ve worked really hard on), fear shows up.

When I was finishing up the manuscript, I remember thinking “I’m not sure this is any good. Nobody will like it. I’m not even sure this makes sense.” Naturally, I had great editors and an amazing team to offer perspective, but it would have been easy to just say “let’s scrap this.”

It also would have been easy to hold off and say “let’s delay this for a year.” Which, of course, becomes two years, which ultimately becomes forever.

Fear never ships. Courage publishes.

2. You put yourself-and your heart—on the line when you take a risk

Fear never shows up when you’re phoning it in. It always shows up when you put your heart into it.

As soon as you put your heart into something, fear tells you to dilute it, restrain it, or abandon it.

This is true of your next message (you know that story you’re thinking about telling where you really open up?), your next meeting (you know that thing you need to talk about but never do) or your next project (what if people don’t respond well???) Fear has killed a million dreams.

But all truly great work features your heart, not just your head. The musicians you love the most are those who put their heart into their work. Ditto with art. Same with leadership.

The reason it’s so hard to put yourself out there is because you put yourself out there.

So…put yourself out there.

3. People will unfollow you when you ask them for something

I only started blogging (for real) 3 years ago. And when I started blogging, I started an email list. It’s grown from zero to over 22,000 leaders in 36 months.

Until this book release, I’ve actually delivered only free content to those 22,000 leaders for years.

My blog and podcast have always been free and always will be.

I even included free posts and insights in the email telling them about my new book. And, all I was offering was an $11 book with $150 in free bonuses. (Actually, you can still get the audio book for free now.) 🙂

And yet I KNEW the moment I told people that I was selling a book, people would get mad and unsubscribe.

And they did.

I even got a few people emailing me nasty things about people who sell books.

The day I sent that email I had my highest unsubscribe day ever. 170 people left my list. Over the month, almost 500 leaders unsubscribed.

And you know what? It kind of hurt.

I wish it didn’t, but you know how that goes. Talk to any author with an email list and they’ll tell you how much unsubscribes go to their heart (because we take it way too personally.)

And sometimes that’s all you see when people are walking away…the sad feeling of loss.

And sometimes that’s all you focus on…the people you lose.

Which is why you need to read the next point.

4. But far MORE people will be grateful when you deliver value

But something else happened in the launch period.

People expressed more gratitude than ever before. So many leaders were so thankful that finally a BOOK was coming their way.

I got far more messages of encouragement than criticism.

And something else happened.

The day I had the most people unsubscribe is ALSO my book jumped to #143 among ALL books on Amazon (up from #8,000 that morning) and climbed to #1 in all its categories.

Did you catch the correlation?

The day I apparently angered the most people is also the day I actually helped the most people.

It’s like that for you in leadership too.

You’re probably thinking of doing something significant, but you’re worried about the backlash you’re going to get.

What if instead of obsessing about who you might anger, you thought instead on who you might help?

Here’s what fear would have had me do: stop helping over 22,000 leaders because 170 got a little upset.

That’s just bad math.

Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you’re called to do!

And by the way, over 500 new leaders signed up for my email list in that same window of time.

5. Courage is a muscle

The antidote to fear is courage.

If you’re waiting for the day you don’t feel fear anymore so you can do something significant, you’ll wait forever.

Courageous people feel fear. They just push through it. That’s the difference between the courageous and everyone else.

And if you push past your fears, you’ll also realize that courage is a muscle. It gets stronger every time you use it.

Push past your fears today, and you’ll be more courageous tomorrow. Don’t, and you won’t. (Muscles get weaker with disuse as well.)

So flex your muscle today. Push past your fears and exercise some courage.

When you do, fear will lose its power.

Help Your Church Make A Lasting Impact

In the end, I’m so glad I pushed through my fears.

I hope and pray the new book is going to help thousands of leaders and their teams guide their churches toward a better future.

What’s it about? Well, Lasting Impact frames seven pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer change in your church.

You can place your order at

What’s Fear Keeping You From?

How has fear impacted your leadership lately?

And what have you done to combat it?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

5 Simple Leadership Lessons About Fear I Learned From Launching My New Book


  1. Brent Dumler on October 9, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Wow, those 500 unsubscribers didn’t devalue you or Lasting Impact at all. They simply defined what THEY value. I love this post and appreciate your authenticity, Carey. Lately, fear has a tendency to cause me to stop moving forward. I’m very much a type-A personality so I like to have all my ducks in a row before new things are started or decisions are made. This isn’t always the best practice, but I’m making progress.
    I’m praying Lasting Impact becomes just that for leaders. Can’t wait to begin reading it myself.

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