In the movie "8 Mile" you witness Eminem's character go through countless personal and professional struggles as he attempts to become a famous rapper.
You witness his character build his confidence as he goes deeper and deeper into the movie and then his peak challenge is at the end of the movie in a "battle rap" versus the top battle rapper (Papa Doc) who has disrespected Eminem multiple times throughout the movie and you feel that going into this rap battle, that Eminem has all of the odds stacked against him.
Em is scared. He knows everything that Papa Doc is going to use against him.*
*If you don't know what battle rap is then Google "battle rap" so you can have some context
Then Eminem does the unthinkable.
He incorporates everything that Papa Doc was going to use against him into his rap. All of the things that normally Em's character was insecure about Em uses as strategy to beat his enemy to the punch. He own's all of the things that are going on in his life that one normally would like to keep secret and does so proudly sharing them in his rap. Then after he's done sharing about himself, Em goes on a verbal assault of Papa Doc leaving Papa Doc speechless and Eminem's character (B-Rabbit) the victor.
Em's character got vulnerable and in the illustrious words of Creed Branton from The Office, "he didn't give an F about nothin!"
So what does any of this have to do with your past?
Often times we shell up and protect ourselves from traumatic events that have happened in the past. I know that I have and there are things that I'm still working on moving past that happened to me many years ago.
I go back to 2014 when I took my first major step toward overcoming my fear of public speaking.
Ever since I was a little kid I was scared to speak in a room in front of a group, but this was amplified my junior year of high school.
We had to do a lip synch to whatever song we wanted to in front of the whole class. There was this girl that was a year older than me in my class and I had a MAD crush on her. I knew we had similar taste in music, so I picked a song that I thought would get her interested in me. The day of, I was all set to go. I was going to be on stage, look like a stud, and Jenna would dig me from here on out!
Or so I thought....
The problem is that I went up there and COMPLETELY bombed!
I forgot the words and then there was parts of the song where there were no vocals so I didn't even think of what I was going to do during that time so it went really, really bad.
Not only did I look like a fool in front of my crush, but the entire class.
That happened in 2002 when I was 16 years old. It stuck with me and prevented me from taking advantage of professional speaking opportunities all the way until 2014 after I had passed on speaking at a convention for a major certifying organization within the strength & conditioning industry.
I sat down with myself and got vulnerable. I had denied that memory all this time. I had denied that I was scared to get in front of people because I feared being judged as a fool.
I had finally reached my pain threshold and started to care a little less about what others might think because it was negatively impacting my opportunities to grow as a professional and it was hurting my confidence.
After that I hired a professional speaking coach and since then I've gotten tons better with public speaking.
Get vulnerable with yourself. You don't have to share it with others, but it's important that you're real with you. In fact, the more that you can make it about you and less about others the more success that you will have.
It's hard, but do your best to minimize your investment into what others think. Chances are, they don't care nearly as much about what you think as you think they do anyway. Not only that, you don't have control over what someone thinks of you anyway.