Fears are a completely normal part of the human experience. Almost every human will feel fear regularly, from the time we are born, until the time we leave this Earth.
In the right amount, and the right situation, the right kind of fear can help keep us safe. But the wrong kind, in the wrong amount, or the wrong situation can paralyse us.
In this article, we’ll explore two different types of fear. And we’ll learn how one will keep you paralysed, while the other can help you flourish.
The two kinds of fear
My Personal Mastermind book group is currently reading author and coach Tara Mohr‘s excellent book, ‘Playing Big’ [non-affiliate link]. In it, she discusses two ancient Hebrew words which mean ‘fear’. They are pachad and yirah.
Pachad fears are the ones that involve cold sweats, worst-case scenarios, and unending awfulising. We’ve all been there: gripped by a sense of dread and terror, we struggle to move forward.
It’s irrational – and even when we know that, we can’t always find a way to free ourselves from the hold these fears have on us.
Our Inner Critic often trips off pachad fears in us – it tells us others will think we are stupid, or that we’re going to fail if we try something new. It keeps us playing small.
Check out this short video by Tara Mohr about pachad and yirah.
Yirah is a very different kind of fear. It can be subtle or strong. And it can arise when we have stepped into a new spaciousness or level of energy, or when we sense the presence of the divine.
But unlike how our pachad fears can hold us back and make us play small, we can use our yirah fears to inspire us to step out, step up, and play bigger.
Feel the fear...
…and do it anyway, according to the oft-repeated phrase (or title of a book) goes.
According to Tara Mohr, there are 15 practices that we can turn to when we are feeling pachad. Among them are:
- Tap into your Inner Mentor
- Get curious
- Talk with your younger self
- Come back to the present moment
- Visualise or look at calming imagery
Each practice is aimed at getting us out of the spiralling sense of doom that pachad fears can create, so that there is space for us to reappraise the situation and take action.
I’ve used each of these practices (and more) at various times of my life. And some of them have been game-changers!
Not every technique will work every time, but it’s worth experimenting with each of them to see which ones work best for you.
Lean into yirah
One area I wish Mohr had dug further into is what to do with yirah.
It’s one thing to sense the spaciousness, energy, and awe of our yirah fears, but it’s a whole other thing to lean into them, embrace them, and use them to fuel our creativity and bold action.
I have found several practices that help me lean into yirah, including:
- Mindfully savouring the emotion
- Talking through the experience with a trusted friend or wise guide
- Journalling about what the emotion brings up in my heart, mind, and soul
- Imagining what I could do if I had no constraints, unlimited energy, and divine help
And I occasionally turn to that age-old coaching question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”. There’s a reason that question has endured – it gets us to lift our thinking beyond our usual constraints, and inspires us to imagine what it would be like to play big in spite of our fears.
Want to face your fears and move forward?
Everyone experiences fear in some way, shape, or form – but sometimes we need a little help to get out of the stuckness created by our fear, and move forward with intention.
Working with a coach can be a brilliant way to get a fresh perspective on your fears, and to recognise the skills, capabilities, strengths, and resources you have at your disposal to manage your pachad fears and use your yirah fears to springboard you into success.
If you’re curious about what working with a coach can do for you, I offer a free, 30-min discovery call. In it, we’ll talk about where you’re at right now, your goals and dreams, and what you need to get from here to there. Book your call today.