I love to learn! I often tell my students that no day is wasted if you learn three new things. I try to live by that also. These days, learning for me takes the form of reading, researching, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. This past week I was fortunate to attend the online Influence and Impact Summit hosted by Michael Hyatt.

Twenty-two best-selling authors from various fields (Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell, Jen Hatmaker, Andy Andrews, Donald Miller, Jeff Goins –to drop a few names) were invited to share for 30-45 minutes about how they got started, what they are working on, how they handle fear, what three things they would tell others starting out, and more. I was already familiar with, if not a fan, of about half the speakers. The other half I am now also following. I learned something new from each one of the twenty-two “Influencers.”

Here are my top-15 take-aways (in no particular order):

  1. All spent at least 2-5 years building their online platforms before seeing the results they wanted.
  2. All are extremely transparent, both professionally and personally (Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income even publishes his monthly P & L statement online so his followers can see how he does it, and Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery.com said she gets up every morning and writes her “truth-i-est truth”).
  3. All have a product or service that adds value to their customers.
  4. All are giving back through charities or their own non-profit foundations.
  5. All agree money is not the end-goal, service and people are their top priority.
  6. All network with others in their field, as well as mentor up-and-comers.
  7. All prioritize family and faith before work.
  8. All dominate social media.
  9. All do public speaking
  10. All of them admit to struggling with fear (of speaking, writing, creating new products or services, failure, etc.), but they all agree that to be successful you must feel the fear and do it anyway. Once speaker said if he doesn’t feel any fear he knows he’s become too comfortable and it’s time to do something new.
  11. All know exactly who their audience is, although most of them weren’t sure in the beginning.
  12. All have written at least one book, most have written best-sellers. John Maxwell has sold over 20 million copies of his books.
  13. Most have “teams,” paid or volunteer, real life or virtual, who help do the things that don’t require their personal touch. (Dave Ramsey now has over 500 people working with him.)
  14. Many mentioned participating in Toast Masters and/or watching comics to learn public speaking skills.
  15. Many of them never intended to be a person of “influence & impact,” they just kept doing “the next right thing.”

I thought it interesting that these people who are on top of their fields, not only struggled with fear but still have to address fear. Every single one of the twenty-two offered an anecdote and a hack to subduing that monster. I found that very encouraging.

In Kristen Lamb’s blog post to writers yesterday she wrote, “Very often we are stuck because we fear pain.” I get that! But not only do I fear the pain of offending or publishing bad pieces –I’m about over that, but also because I’m struggling to find my true topic/tribe. As a fiction writer, I don’t want to write about writing or reviewing others’ books because it’s being done by so many people more competent and experienced. I want to blog about issues that are important to me: human trafficking, invisible disabilities, religious freedom, and literacy/universal education. I fear those topics are too disparate to find a loyal following; however, those are the topics that are breaking my heart and working their way through my stories.

I’ve learned my three things each day this week, thanks to Michael Hyatt and his guests. I’m still mulling over what I’ve learned and how to apply the lessons. So, what have you learned today? What have you learned about fear?