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Dancing with Fear and Confidence

Book cover Dancing with Fear and Confidence: large image of a bright phoenix rising over a dark background

How to liberate yourself and your career in mid-life

Author: Laura Walker

ISBN: 9781907282942

Paperback, 158 pages – b&w with illustrations

Published: 12 November 2020

When you want to escape the drudgery and dissatisfaction of your current situation you need much more than motivational pep talks or superficial clichés.

You have many years of work ahead of you. Will you be more drained, more drone, more dread? Or will you become more fulfilled, more meaningful, more you?

But the odds are stacked against you.

You need to know what is really going on, the pitfalls to avoid, strategies that work and how to get a robust personal plan.

Laura Walker has transformed her award-winning academic research on mid-life reinvention into this powerful, practical guide. It reveals the hidden truths and tools you need to discover and step into the next chapter of your work and life—confidently with your head held high.

Laura Walker in conversation with Richard Hagen
What drove you to author this book?


This is the most readable and straightforward guide to leading a more fulfilling life that I have ever read. 
Helen Hyde, Executive Coach and Former Personnel Director, Waitrose. 

I once heard that inside every old person is a young person saying, ‘What the hell just happened?’ If you’ve picked up this book, you know what I’m talking about. Laura Walker helps you understand not only what’s happened, but how you can navigate midlife with some grace and purpose.

Michael Bungay Stanier, WSJ bestselling author of The Coaching Habit

There are plenty of motivational and self-help books out there for people of a certain age but this one stands out from the crowd. Firstly, it succeeds in being both a compelling read and incredibly well-researched. It also recognises the raft of factors that shape us, analyses them in a highly accessible way and then provides a holistic whole-life approach to fulfilling our potential.
Tony Watts OBE, Co-author of The Midlife Review, Director EngAgeNet, Chair SW Alliance on Ageing

Investing time in this book may be the best investment you’ll make all year. It provides a rare combination of insight and intelligence, with a human touch. So, let’s face the music and dance. And Laura’s book tells us how, with honesty, humour and hope.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement, Aviva

If you’ve lost your way, or you’re crushed by too many shoulds, then this is for you. I particularly like the holistic approach—this is about far more than redefining your work and career. This is about redefining your whole self. Sam Harrington-Lowe, Founder and Managing Editor, Silver Magazine

Addressing a crucial time in most people’s lives, mid-life, this book provides reassurance, practical advice and excellent tools to help you move through it with confidence and hope. A real gem for anyone wondering about their life, work and direction.

Dr Sally Bonneywell, Executive Coach

Dancing with Fear and Confidence is a gem­­—an invitation to delve into the murky waters of mid-life and come out the other side with breath-taking clarity, feeling reassured, refreshed and re-energised. 
Ruth Winden, Founder, Older Yet Bolder 

Reading this book felt like Laura had somehow been inside my head. The content is so relatable and easy to read, whilst reassuringly grounded in a wide portfolio of research. Everyone should read this book at least once!

Deb Pasley, Co-Founder/Director, The Midlife Hub Ltd.

A great guide for those people stuck on the mid-life hamster wheel, unsure of what to do next and how to break the cycle.
Paul McNamara, Partner, Eton Bridge Partners Ltd.

Laura explores the complexity of mid-life career change with candour and humanity.

Jane Artess, Visiting Fellow iCeGS, Former Chair NICEC.



1 Not a solo dance

2 More of me, more than this

3 Knowing about knowing yourself

4 The growth of meaning—in your work and your life

5 Standing still is not an option  

6 The pull of social systems 

7 The internal push-pull

8 Pivotal point in life

9 Rhythm of life 

10 Shifting stuckness and creating movement

11 Ready or not?

12 Time to pause and think differently 

13 Dis-covering 

14 Contextual influence and readiness

15 Dancing with fear and confidence

16 Your dance card

17 Ready to dance with fear and confidence