I’m currently working with Tara Mohr on her facilitator’s programme for coaches, so I can learn more tools for working with women. Since reading her book, Playing Big, a few years ago some of her key concepts have really stuck with me so I was really looking forward to delving into her approach to working with fear.


Fear is a natural human emotion, and depending on how we use it, it can either propel us forward or hold us back from achieving our goals and fulfilling our potential. While fear can be a powerful motivator, and back in the day it used to save us from being eaten or trampled on by dinosaurs, it can also be a crippling force that prevents us from taking risks and exploring new opportunities. 


In the Playing Big book Tara introduced the concept of two types of fear that are often discussed in religious and spiritual contexts: prachad and yirah. Prachad is a fear that arises from a sense of danger or threat, while yirah is a fear that arises from a sense of awe or reverence. Prachad is often associated with negative emotions such as anxiety, panic, and dread, while yirah is associated with positive emotions such as wonder, respect, and admiration.


Prachad can be a useful emotion in certain situations, particularly when it helps us to avoid danger and protect ourselves from harm. For example, feeling afraid of a wild animal or a dangerous situation can prompt us to take necessary precautions and avoid unnecessary risks. Similarly, feeling anxious about a job interview or an important presentation can motivate us to prepare thoroughly and perform at our best. Which is why sometimes fear can help us and it’s not always negative.


However, prachad can also be a hindrance when it prevents us from pursuing our goals and dreams. For example, if we are too afraid of failure or rejection, we may avoid taking risks or trying new things, which can limit our personal and professional growth. If we allow our fears to control us, we may miss out on valuable opportunities and experiences.


Yirah, the other type of fear, isn’t as well recognised, especially in today’s society where we spend less time reflecting and connecting with ourselves. It can be a powerful force for personal growth and spiritual development and when we approach life with a sense of awe and reverence, we are more likely to be open to new experiences and ideas, and to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around us. Yirah can inspire us to be more compassionate, empathetic, and humble, and to cultivate a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.


Yirah can also be a challenging emotion to cultivate, particularly in a culture that values material success, individualism, and instant gratification. It can be difficult to find moments of quiet reflection and contemplation in a world that is constantly bombarding us with distractions and demands for our attention. It can also be hard to balance the pursuit of personal goals with a sense of humility and gratitude for the gifts and opportunities we have been given.


More often than not prachad and Yirah can work together, like the moment you realise you realise exactly what you want to do, and maybe it involves stepping out of your comfort zone, so just as the excitement, awe and wonder of what could be possible for us starts to evolve, we get that pang of worry that shoots in, making us feel scared and thinking about all the things that could go wrong, all the things we could lose. That’s prachad and yirah working together to entice us and check in with ourselves to see if we really are ready to take that leap.


So, it’s not as easy as just dismissing our fears and ignoring them in order to move forward. It’s more about working with them, acknowledging them and working out what’s valid and what’s imagined. Fear is a complex emotion that can both help and hinder us in our pursuit of happiness, success, and fulfilment. While prachad can be useful in certain situations, it is important not to let our fears control us and prevent us from taking risks and pursuing our dreams. Instead, we could strive to cultivate a sense of yirah, a reverence for life and a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world around us and work with prachad to help us navigate those choices about where life could take us. By doing so, we can find greater meaning and purpose in our lives to become more fulfilled in what we do and to make a great impact in the world.


If you haven’t yet read Playing Big, I’d really recommend it, especially if you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and start taking the steps to equip yourself with the tools to thrive and make the impact you know you’re capable of.

And if you’d like to explore what’s possible for you and your career, and take a look at some of the Playing Big tools, then get in touch at jo@jooogarah.com to arrange a free 30 minute discovery call to see how I could help you explore all the possibilities.

Jo Oogarah

Career Empowerment Coach


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