Life

5 lessons in confidence from a spoken word poet

At times, confidence can seem harder to find than a seat on the central line. We asked spoken word poet Maria Ferguson to share her tips on how she finds the strength to bare her soul on stage…

Feeling strong and confident enough to be your full, unapologetic self can be difficult. 

But when it’s literally your job to do so, you pick up a few tricks along the way.

We asked spoken word poet Maria Ferguson to share her top lessons in confidence. Here’s what she said…

1. Know yourself

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“Getting to know yourself as a person – what you like, don’t like, what your boundaries are, what you want in life and what’s important to you is key for gaining confidence.

“If you are secure in yourself, it will ground you and you will feel more strong, comfortable and confident in who you are.

“By getting to know myself better I improved not only as a performer and a writer, but as a friend, a partner and a person.”

2. Focus on your strengths

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“We all have a habit of focussing on the bits we don’t like about ourselves, but that’s only going to feed our insecurities. 

“By focussing on the things I like about myself, whether that be an aspect of my personality, a recent achievement or what I’m wearing that day, I feel more able to stand up on stage, in front of a camera, or even just walk down the street with my head held high.”

3. Speak your truth

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“Being honest with yourself and other people is so important when it comes to confidence,” explains Maria.  

“If you stay true to yourself and your beliefs, even when that’s tough to do, you’ll feel so much better than if you’re pretending to be something you’re not. 

“It is tempting sometimes as a writer for me to create work I think other people want to hear, or that will be popular, but being genuine and true to myself has to come before all else, and usually results in better work anyway.”

4. Have a mantra

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“This one sounds a bit cheesy but it’s really worked for me. 

“I have go-to sentences I can say to myself when I’m having a low confidence day or not feeling myself. 

“Something as simple as ‘I am enough’ can work wonders, especially if I’m nervous before a show or struggling to write a commission. 

“You can even say it to yourself in the mirror if you want, though even I find that a bit much!”

5. Share your gifts

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“We all have talents and gifts, even if we don’t think they’re immediately obvious. 

“By recognising and sharing what you’re good at you can help and inspire others to do the same. 

“Not everyone can or wants to stand up on a stage and perform like I do, but we all have our own individual strengths. 

“Some of us are born performers, public speakers, team leaders, some of us are great listeners, makers, organisers. 

“Whatever it is that you’re good at, own it and share it with the world. You’ll feel so much stronger and more confident for it, I promise.”

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