“I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”

He said it! There was no way in hell he was going to lay his 2.5 metre tall body into a Perspex coffin on what the hosts were calling “The Wheel of Death”. 

I was participating as a stand-in (basically someone who does the “dummy run”) for celebrities on the popular UK version of the reality show “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”. For those who may be unaware, this is a show where a group of celebrities live together in extreme conditions. They get very little food and creature comforts. That was how it was for us stand-ins. We slept in the bush, in the open air on hammocks (being kamikazed by bugs all night was probably my least favourite part,) with meagre rations. Water had to be gathered from the creek and boiled before drinking and a tiny portion of uncooked rice and uncooked kidney beans was what needed to last us through breakfast lunch and dinner. 

Fun times.

On this camp we had a large in stature, big talking, American. He was a great guy with a lot of love for those around him but there were certain challenges that he would refuse to do. 

On one of our final challenges, we were told nothing about it but what they had decided to call it. 

“For this next challenge, you will be placed inside the “Wheel of Death””. 

That was all we had to go on to decide whether we would go through with it or dip out by saying the words “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here.”

I hate confined spaces. I can’t even sleep with my feet under a blanket. It’s weird because I used to love spelunking in my scout days. Now I decidedly hate being in a tightly enclosed space. Something in my brain told me that that was exactly what I would be experiencing if I went through with participating in this challenge. 

I switched off the part of my brain that was saying “Aw hell no! Say no!” and told myself, “My own risk assessment involves understanding that I’m on a highly scrutinised and well managed TV show with consultants, security, OHS officers etc. that have all gone over and over this challenge. I’m in safe hands. 

My heartbeat was a drum roll and inside my gut churned a cyclone but with a drought-stricken mouth I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.”

They laid me inside a tight Perspex “coffin.” Not so bad. I was right about being constricted and as I could barely move my arms, pretty much constrained, but at least it was a transparent casket. 

The next thing that they did was slide in 2 panels, to segregate my legs from my torso and my torso from my head. 

Then they laid the lid on top of my transparent sarcophagus.

On this lid were 3 small sliding doors – 1 for each section of my compartmentalised body. As I lay there in bare feet, shorts, a singlet and goggles, (the attire required as the producers wanted exposed skin to amplify what we were to experience,) the first sliding door was opened near my feet. Mud crabs were placed on top of my toes; toes that had decided to stop wriggling in anxiousness and stand frozen. I wasn’t about to give these large crabs the idea that my toes were the enemy. They had some mighty strong pincers. Note: After the game we discovered that the crabs had their claws tied so that they couldn’t actually chop our toes off. All we felt was their little legs running back and forth across our legs and exposed feet. To that point I had never wanted to be wearing a groin cup more. 

Then the second door opened and dirt, molasses and meal worms were poured all over my torso. Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle. They look like short garden worms but with harder bodies and tiny little legs that feel “pinchy” when they crawl all over your exposed skin. Lovely. 

With my head trapped in a position where I couldn’t move from side to side, my blurred peripheral was all I had to give me warning about what was coming next. I saw a pair of tanned leather, steel-cap boots stand next to my enclosed face. Then I saw a bulky hessian sack that was somehow moving in a weird, dance-like manner. Something was inside. The sliding door to my face was opened and 2 pythons were gently placed on top of my nose and mouth. 

The challenge was to stay in that position with these creatures making themselves at home on our flesh, for 5 minutes. Then we had to use the limited room that we had to find a locking nut that was near our hand and awkwardly screw it on to a bolt. This action would take another few minutes and would lead to our release.

I did it, I got through it. I faced my fears and not only that, but I won the challenge. The fastest 5 got to enjoy a banquet of biblical proportions rather than the meagre allocation of rice and beans. I like to think that even if I hadn’t been the quickest to escape after the 5 minutes was up, I could still consider the fact that I completed the challenge, to be a win.

Fear is normal. There is no bravery if fear is absent. Bravery is not, not being scared. It’s about feeling fear and going for it anyway.

Fear can also save your life. Fear is often a good instinct that can stop us from doing something so dangerous that our lives are in imminent threat of being lost. 

Where it is harmful, is when it infiltrates the mind and stops you from doing things that aren’t life-threatening but could provide great pay-off. 

If you fear public speaking, which is very common, you may miss out on networking opportunities, job advancements or even just giving a toast at your best mates wedding. 

Maybe you dream of travelling the planet, but your fear of flying is stifling that opportunity to explore the world.

If you are living with a fear that is so debilitating that you can’t function let alone progress through life, then please consider seeing therapist.

Other ways to face your fears include:

Evaluate Risks

Education and knowing a bit more about what is involved with a risk (as you see it,) can help to diminish the fear. It’s about creating intellectual trust.

For me, while I was going into unknown territory, I relied upon my knowledge that this TV show had professional risk assessment officers, maintenance, experienced first aid officers, animal handlers and more who had done a lot of prep work to make sure this was a safe exercise.

Thinking back to that fear of flying example that is damming your world travel plans; you could dig into the statistics around flying. You would realise that flying is an extremely low risk method of travel.

There’s an app that has been created called “Am I going Down” that calculates the likelihood of a flight going down and crashing. It takes history, the airline itself, departure, arrival and airports and calculates your risk of flying. 

An example of what you might find is this: If you were to take a flight from London to New York on a Virgin Atlantic Airbus 330, you would have a one-in-5.3 million chance of being involved in an aeroplane accident. So, in other words, you take the same flight every day, for nearly 15 thousand years, before an accident happened while you were on board.

Don’t confuse being scared with being at risk.

Create an Action Plan

What do you do before reaching a destination? You take a step towards that destination. 

What do you do before conquering or at least getting a handle on your fear? You take a step towards that fear.

I’ve talked in other blog posts about working at a large and popular water park in Queensland. I lost track of how many times a person (children and adults,) would get to the top of the ride and start to freak out. With the right coxing I could usually get them to get on the slide and go for a ride. What is also hard to count is the amount of times that same scared person would then be back for more. They faced their fears and found enjoyment in the thrill. Facing their fears helped them to have a much more enjoyable day than if they had never taken that first step, through the park gates. Then that next step, into the ride’s queue. Then that next step, sitting into the ride. 

Action plans are about moving forward. The fear won’t diminish as you get closer to what is feared. If you wait for the anxiety and worry to simmer down, you will never confront the dread. In fact the anxiety can get even more intense the closer you get. However, an action plan followed will help you stay the course. 

Verywellmind.com talks about creating an action plan by creating a “fear hierarchy”. It is basically saying that you start with small steps that knock off one portion of the fear at a time. They give the example of public speaking and using what’s called exposure therapy, share a list of steps that can help you beat that public speaking demon. *


  1. Stand in front of a mirror and give a two-minute talk.
  2. Record yourself giving a talk and watch it back.
  3. Practice the talk in front of a partner.
  4. Practice the talk in front of a partner and family member.
  5. Practice the talk in front of a partner, family member, and one friend.
  6. Practice the talk in front of a partner, family member, and two friends.
  7. Give the talk in a meeting at work.

What is showing great promise is the utilisation of virtual reality to overcome fears. You can load up a scenario where you are facing and getting involved with your fears in a space where you can remind yourself that it is all fake.

However you decide to face your fears know that by doing so, you will live a much richer life. You will gain in knowledge and experience. You will make new friends. You will have adventures and bring home great stories to tell. You will become a more complete person. 

To quote the “Lizard King” himself, the bewitching poet and Doors front-man Jim Morrison,

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”


What is that you fear? Do you have fears for the future? Are you concerned about job prospects? Do you fear progression? Do you fear inability to progress? Are you scared that if you return to education, you will feel overwhelmed and possibly fail, wasting your time, money and efforts? 

With Qualify Now we have the experienced Trainers who have seen it all and can confidently guide you down the path necessary to help you to achieve a qualification that can boost your job prospects, promotion opportunities, value to your organisation and more. 

Contact us now to discuss achieving your TAE40116, Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment.