Have you ever had an episode of sleep paralysis? When you move into consciousness before the REM cycle has finished. Essentially, you are awake but your body is still paralysed.

I was having a very vivid dream; a movie of what fear looks like to me.

It was a person in a dark room, laughing – I couldn’t see his face. When I tried to leave and lock the door, I fumbled with the lock. I couldn’t get the keys in fast enough to keep it contained.

What does that image tell you about my fear?

For me, it is the worry that I cannot control or contain it. What will happen if it gets out? People will find out.

There’s a fantastic book called Fear Less by Dr Pippa Grange. She coaches people to overcome fear using the following technique.

  1. Describe an image of your fear.
  2. What do you make that image mean?
  3. What is the ultimate role of your fear in that image?
  4. Imagine yourself in that image. How can you alter that image to move through the fear or make it disappear entirely?

For example, in my case if that laughing man in the dark room appears I could walk out of the room and leave the door wide open. Invite him out into the sunlight…. If I’m fully exposed, there’s nothing left to fear.

Having processed my fear, I think this is why I am now so candid about the challenges I have faced in my life and career.


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