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How fear can keep you stuck in a mediocre life

Posted On Jul 23, 2021 |

Fear stops us from stepping into bigger things - don't let it keep you stuck in mediocrity.


The main thing that holds people back in life - whether personally or professionally.

We’re afraid of speaking in public.

We’re afraid of flying.

We’re afraid of embarrassing ourselves in front of others (or worse, being rejected by them)

We’re afraid of being “caught out” 


We’re afraid of living a half-life, one that when we look back at, we think “Well, that was a waste!”

We feel that we’re not living the life we want to be and are afraid to pursue it because we don’t think we’re courageous enough. We believe that we don’t have what it takes to have what we truly desire. We believe we deserve mediocre and so … we stay stuck.

Change is scary and more often than not, it’s what really holds us back from making the changes in our lives we only dream about. Fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of the outcomes and the fear of becoming more than we ever thought possible, all hold us back.

I’ve just recently read Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr and one of the biggest takeaways from the book was an older but newer way of looking at fear. Her research led her to the book Be Still and Get Going by Rabbi Alan Lew, a great spiritual teacher. He describes that the Hebrew Bible uses two different words for fear, that could possibly change your life.

The first type of fear is pachad.

This is the fear of projected or imagined things. It’s the over-reactive fear that stems from worries about what could happen and that may appear to be real, when in fact they’re only imagined.

This fear is the one we are most familiar with. And we often try to escape this fear for fears of isolation, rejection, embarrassment. It can also cause us to act irrationally as we enter the “fight-or-flight” mode.

The second type of fear is yirah.

This fear has three different meanings:

  1. It is the feeling that overcomes us when we inhabit a larger space than we are used to.
  2. It is the feeling we experience when we suddenly come into possession of considerably more energy than we had before.
  3. It is what we feel in the presence of the Divine.

The fear of awe, appreciation and upliftment is the sign that you’re on the path of change to become more of what you are truly meant to be. 

You’ll feel both and possibly multiple times a day. The key is telling the difference and then choosing to act accordingly.

A good way to differentiate between the two would be that you’ll feel pachad mostly when your inner critic is at play or your ego has the potential to be wounded. You’ll feel yirah when you’re on the doorstep of stepping into more of your authentic and higher self.

Over the last few months, I’ve been feeling more and more yirah fear. My previous coaching niche (helping introverts tap into their unique strengths) was based all up in the pachad type of fears, and it was leaving me unfulfilled. I knew I was meant for more. After having been through SO many life changes (and the courage that goes with that) I felt deep in my soul that there was work to be done around helping others embrace their fears and go after the lives they wanted. But first, I had to embrace more of my yirah fears and make the change and transition, into being a transition coach.

Pachad fear is to be quieted, managed and overcome with grace and love for self.

Yirah fear is to be delighted in. To embrace and to embody. 

Propelling yourself to a life that you love will evoke both pachad and yirah.

When we let pachad fear get the better of us, we do not grow and evolve past our limiting beliefs.

When we ignore yirah fear, we get stuck in a life that does not fulfil us and reflect our true authentic selves.

In my private and group coaching sessions, we tackle fear by exploring all the ways in which you’re experiencing pachad and yirah. We’ll look at thoughts, beliefs and emotions that come up because of both types of fears - because each has a lesson within it. Together, we’ll define fear practices that you can take to shift out of pachad fear and learn to embrace yirah fear.

Here are some quick journal questions you can use to get started:

  1. Recall a recent experience where you felt pachad.
  2. What was it like and what triggered it?
  3. Looking back, how would you respond the next time you were in this situation?
  4. Recall a recent experience where you felt yirah.
  5. What was it like and what triggered it?
  6. Looking back, how would you respond the next time you were in this situation?

We all need a fear tool kit because fear is part and parcel of living a life that offers your freedom, peace and alignment. Hopefully being able to differentiate between these two types of fears will help you.


Categories: Change & Transition, Fear