THE BLOG
09/09/2013 02:04 pm ET | Updated Nov 09, 2013

Today's Marketing Cookie: Beyond Fear

"There is no fear for the one whose thought is not confused."

2013-09-09-TodaysMarketingCookie20130828.jpgThe photo for today's fortune came from Manya Chylinski of Boston, MA. Manya is the President at Alley424 Communications, a B2B content marketing and content development company. Manya enjoys her work as a writer because she believes that every business has an interesting story to tell. I encourage you to follow Manya on Twitter: @Alley424

Today's Marketing Cookie is about seeing beyond your fears.

While I may be fearless in marketing, there's still many things in this world which scare me. Admitting your fears, is the first merit badge earned by bravery. Some people have a fear of failure, which stops them from finding success. Some have a fear of success, which prohibits them from enjoying their progress. As my mother used to say, "There are very few things to be afraid of which are deserving of the fear we have of them." It's true.

I've discovered an alphabetized list of 530 phobias on the web which I find fascinating. There is a documented name for nearly every kind of fear you could imagine. For example, there is "Geliophobia", a fear of laughter and "Gelotophobia", the fear of being laughed at. There is "Homichlophobia" and "Ranidaphobia" a fear of fog and of frogs. Some people have "Vestiphobia", a fear of clothing, while others have "Gymnophobia", a fear of nudity. It doesn't matter whether you have "Thermophobia", a fear of heat, "Spheksophobia", a fear of wasps, or "Pogonophobia" a fear of beards. Any fear, no matter how big or small, can be debilitating.

So, what are you afraid of?

For almost sixteen years, I suffered from a severe case of either "Aichmophobia", a fear of needles or perhaps it was "Trypanophobia", a fear of injections. I'm not sure what it was called, but it was very real. Although I had never been afraid of needles before, it all kicked off when our second daughter was born.

My wife decided that she wanted to have a natural birth, without the aid of any drugs or pain killers. As the intensity of the contractions increased, so with it, did the pain. Watching my wife writhing in agony and hearing her scream was extremely traumatic for me. I had never seen someone suffering like that before and was relieved when she finally requested an anesthesiologist come and give her an epidural.

Once she decided that she wanted the shot, she couldn't get it quickly enough. Every four or five seconds she barked at the nurses begging for the anesthesiologist to hurry up and get there. Soon, a mouse of a man with tiny reading glasses walked into the delivery room. He then attempted to explain to my wife and I, all of the risks associated with having an epidural shot.

By this point in time, my wife was sincerely disinterested in discussing anything with anybody. She grabbed the doctor by his polka dot necktie, pulled him close to her face, and shouted all sorts of incomprehensible things about how he was invited to hurry up and promptly give her the shot. Before that day, I never knew that my wife was so qualified to join the Navy, but I learned that she certainly can swear like a sailor if she ever needed to. This too was an extremely traumatic event for me to witness.

Flustered by her sharp demands, the doctor agreed to dispense with all of the standard proceedings and "get on with it". He took off his tiny glasses and replaced them with safety goggles. Then with callused precision, he opened his violin case and began to assemble his primary weapon. Just as James Bond might twist a silencer onto the end of his Walther PPK pistol, the doctor screwed the longest needle I have ever seen onto the barrel of his stainless steel syringe.

As he thrust the needle into my wife's spine, her screaming became a dull roar, my hands became as heavy as boat anchors, and I began to lose consciousness. I was quickly escorted out of the delivery room, and from that point onward, I've struggled to say the word, "needle." Although that needle was ultimately what removed my wife's pain, I continued to associate it as the source of her agony. My fear of needles then served as noise to prevent me from hearing my own sensibility.

Even ten years later, when my wife forced me go to the doctor for a check up, I snuck out before they could give me a blood test. How relieved I was that I had escaped! Even more ridiculous than that, my wife and I wanted to buy life insurance and it took two people to hold me down for the blood test. I went to the dentist for a cleaning about four years ago and they discovered the beginnings of my very first cavity. I never went back... not even for a cleaning.

This year, I decided to give up my fear of needles. I really don't know why. I just chose to give it up and went back to the dentist. In the time I had been away, the beginnings of a single cavity had already turned into four cavities. It might be weird to admit, but with each shot of Novocaine he gave me, I asked the dentist to show me the needle. It may seem strange, but what they say it true. Facing my fears, and yes, even admitting them to you, is the only way to conquer them.

The truth is, fear is stupid... or perhaps I should say, fear is ignorance.

We fear what we don't understand. When you grab your fears by the neck tie, and look them in the face, they shrink, they cower, and they can even disappear. Admitting, facing, and overcoming fear also brings clarity. Whether it be a difficult business decision, a risky career move, or any of the hundreds of phobias in the list, you must face your fears in order to see a clear path forward. When your roadblocks have been removed, you become free to move forward and more readily prepared to face your next challenge. As it says in today's fortune, "There is no fear for the one whose thought is not confused."