"Be Fearless": Jean Case on having the courage to become a change maker

How to get courage and overcome your fears

A digital pioneer and philanthropist is trying to break the myths surrounding the road to success and changing the world. Jean Case, a former senior executive in the early days of AOL and now the CEO of the Case Foundation, is out with a new book called "Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose."  


"Everyone around the world, we found, has ideas about what they might do to change the world, but often they're stopped by the idea that maybe you need a special genius or wealth or certain connections or graduating from the right school," Case said Friday on "CBS This Morning." "Our research really uncovered that actually none of that is the case. And what I do in the book is I take readers behind the scene of famous success stories and not so famous success stories to point out that there's failures and fears along the way."

Among the stories she shares is one of Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely, who was wearing capri pants with sandals and wanted something with a slimming effect of pantyhose. She went on to create Spanx and now has an estimated net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes.

"She had no background in fashion. She didn't have an MBA. She was selling fax machines at the time. But she took her idea forward sort of point by point. She went to Neiman Marcus and went in the dressing room and tried them on for someone and they made a big order, and then Oprah chose her as one of her favorite things," Case said.

Among the other fearless leaders Case profiles are chef José Andrés, Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and Equal Justice Initiative executive director Bryan Stevenson.

Case also tells of her own story, jumping from a comfortable job at GE to a startup.

"People thought I was crazy to leave what was really a good career trajectory at GE to take this big risk on a start-up. But actually I believed in my heart that I could achieve more of the goals I'd set out for myself and make a bigger difference in the world if I had done it," Case said.

"I was totally afraid to make the leap. What we talk about in the book or what I talk to readers about is getting outside of your comfort zone. It's so easy to get locked in a place where you're comfortable and everything's okay, but it's not really the life we aspire to. I like to say no things that are great come from the comfort zone. You have to get a little uncomfortable and push yourself."

She said she was "totally afraid to make the leap," but she had to get outside her comfort zone.

"I like to say no things that are great come from the comfort zone. You have to get a little uncomfortable and push yourself," Case said.

"Be Fearless" is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS.