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How Fear Drives Progress

How Fear Can Drive Purpose

Guest blog for LEAD, INC.

By: Klyn Elsbury, Best-Selling Author and Speaker & VIP Guest Blogger for LEAD, Inc.

It was early February when I was hospitalized for two weeks due to an infection from cystic fibrosis.  

These hospitalizations are relatively normal for me.  In 2016, I spent over 180 days inside these walls as doctors explained the prognosis from antibiotic resistance.  Determined to create something that would last long after I left this planet, I set out to write my first book. I expected my mom and dad to read it and then for it to fizzle down.

It was a book for future entrepreneurs on personal development and the struggles that come with extreme adversity.  

I started getting asked to keynote large conferences. Attendees would reach out afterward and want coaching programs, so I built that too. I started to learn more about sales, marketing, and what it takes to build a business. Completely unaware that as I was learning, I was becoming an entrepreneur. I was happily working through every hospitalization, glad that I had something to focus on other than the IV drip that reminded me how frail life is.  

And during my last hospitalization, I was chatting with a fellow cystic fibrosis person online, when he mentioned that he was bored and loved to play video games to pass the weeks when he was “held captive” in the hospital.

Which gave me a nagging idea that hasn’t gone away.

I tried rationalizing it. 
I tried telling myself I was an imposter. 
I wasn’t ready. 

Etc etc etc.

And it hit me… I wonder if other people with chronic illnesses want alternative career choices and to join the world of entrepreneurship. Maybe, they just don’t know step 1?

So I tested it with IG & FB polls. And over 55 people said they’d attend my training.

Then I thought- who in the WORLD is going to endorse me on this?! And I asked my fiance to ask people for recommendations behind my back because I thought FOR SURE nobody would approve of me teaching people with cystic fibrosis how to build online businesses.

And something spectacular happened, some of my biggest entrepreneurial idols wrote letters of endorsement, gave me branding advice, and helped me organize my thoughts.

All within 48 hours.

And that led me to the biggest mental health breakthrough of my life.  

I was afraid to act in the service of others because of fear, which boils down to two things: (1) fear of not being loved; and (2) fear of not being enough.

Both of these fears have kept me from my true purpose.  It’s easy to just keynote and coach others, occasionally having breakthroughs that help others.  It’s another thing to shift from building a business to creating a movement that has a social impact.  

Yet, you find your purpose when you help others find theirs. It’s time we empower the lives of those who are hungry for an alternative career path and just need step 1 to make it happen. I needed to let go of my fears and see what was in front of me this entire time.

I wonder how many of us are clinging to our fears because it’s comfortable?  How many lives we could positively impact if we just stepped up and believed in ourselves a little more than we lead on?  

Do not let your fears hold you back.  That nagging idea that won’t go away, is something for you to lean in on and not run from. Don’t limit the potential of someone else because you’re too afraid of your own potential.  


In response to the rising rates of mental illness, Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do, Inc. (LEAD) provides curriculum and training to schools, summer camps, and youth-serving organizations to promote mental health education and adolescent wellbeing.

LEAD “revolutionizes health education” by introducing topics like mental illness, substance use, and sexual violence into existing – and often outdated – health education courses in high schools. LEAD’s TryHealth curriculum supplement is currently being piloted at four high schools in two states and has already shown promising results including students being 2x more likely to report suicidal ideation in a peer after taking the course.

LEAD also provides innovative and evidence-based early intervention training and certification to adults working with young people and in high-risk communities. For more information or to request a free consultation, please visit or contact LEAD’s Executive Director at

How Fear Drives Progress

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