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Insights from Jean Case: How All Leaders Can Be Fearless

Leaders are often told that success arises from embracing risk and failure. However, the prospect of failing is not a goal most naturally lean toward. Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and chairman of National Geographic Society, debunks the myth of what it means to be a fearless leader in her new book, Be Fearless. Using storytelling and real-life examples, the book vividly illustrates that fearlessness is not the absence of fear but the courage to overcome it. This notion is highlighted through the book’s five principles:

  1. Make Big Bets and Make History
  2. Be Bold, Take Risks
  3. Make Failure Matter
  4. Reach Beyond Your Bubble
  5. Let Urgency Conquer Fear

Jean sat down with Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey to discuss these principles in depth. Below are key takeaways on how leaders can overcome and learn from obstacles to broaden their impact and change the world.

Innovation Requires Risking Failure

“Make sure you don’t get so caught up in what you’ve achieved that it stops you from taking that next risk or fearing failure so much that you won’t take those next big, bold steps.”

All Successful Leaders Have Faced Rejection

“It was very clear: these are ordinary people who do extraordinary things.”

Emerging Social Entrepreneurs Must Push Through Obstacles

“I can tell you at every step where a big opportunity happened to me—and it came out of a moment when I thought it was over.”

To learn more about Be Fearless, visit

Tune in to more of Jean and Cheryl’s discussion here.

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