The Best Category For You And Your Goals

CONGRATS!

This is big. You have an opportunity to cross a goal off your list. It’s been sitting there a while. Just having this opportunity is awesome. You share the news with friends and family.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you know their responses vary. They tend to fall into one of two categories.

Category 1: “Really? You got this opportunity? This is awesome! I’m so happy for you! Even if this doesn’t work out, I know you’ll get there eventually. This is such a great thing! Let’s do shots….”

Note: If your big opportunity involves something you have to do the next day….maybe skip the shots. (If you don’t have something to do the next day…maybe skip the shots.)

Category 2: “Really? You got this opportunity? Won’t that affect your job? This will probably cost a lot of money. Even if this does happen there’s a lot of things you’ll have to work out…”

We’ll talk about why these responses from Category 2 happen in a bit. First let’s address something big: If we listen to too many doubters, we’re more likely to give up before we even get started.

Fear not, friends. You should know by now this is a Category 1 blog. I’ll give you three tips on putting your energy in the right areas so that this goal gets crushed.

Read and listen to personal development everyday.

You might not like hearing this, but if you want to accomplish something big, this is a non negotiable. While I won’t use this post for how to best develop this habit, I will say it doesn’t have to be hard. Start finding times you’d normally listen to music and instead put on a personal development book on audible or even YouTube.

Whatever we expose ourself to plays a role in our thoughts. If the majority of our time is spent with Category 2 people, we’re more likely to focus on the struggle over the reward. When we listen to positive audios and spend more time with Category 1 friends, the reward is so vivid that the struggle is worth it.

See doubters differently

There’s usually two reasons why doubters exist: One is because they care. Because they don’t make personal development a priority, they naturally are prone to seeing the struggle. They know the risks are there and they don’t want you getting hurt.

The other is that they envy your opportunity. They’d create opportunities themselves, but they’re trapped too far down in their own fears and doubts to even try. It’s much easier to pull you down with them. Besides, if you succeed, this implies to them that they’re not doing enough with their own goals – which is usually true.

See doubters differently. Thank the ones who are genuinely trying to help. They care about you. Feel sorry for those who are jealous. If they don’t have the confidence to work on themselves, chances are they aren’t very happy.

Focus on the next step.

When our goals sit on top of a high staircase, it’s easy to focus on how far the top is. (Category 2 friends love bringing this up.) Realize that you can’t get to the top if you never take the first step. And you won’t reach the fifth step without going up the next ones. Put blinders on and keep asking, “What’s next?” You know what’s at the top. There’s nothing wrong with visualizing the top. Just make sure it’s bringing you up and not stressing you out.

If you do catch yourself thinking in Category 2, ask yourself this: Would you rather a life saying “Oh well, at least I tried.” Or would you rather ask, “Where would I be if I had tried?” Often the long term pain of regret hurts more than the temporary blow of failure.

Go for failure. Who knows…you might just win.

Go get ‘em friends. You deserve it.

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Be Happier. Do What Works For You – Not Your Friends

I needed money.

I was on the phone with a very kind gentleman for an interview. The beginning of the conversation went fine. I shared my experience and qualifications. Shortly after, I got asked a series of questions?

What makes a good teammate?  

Why is it important to go out of your way in order to provide a pleasant experience for the customer?

Have you ever had a time where you encountered a difficult customer?

Talk about a time you experienced a conflict with a coworker.

By the time I was done answering, I wasn’t thinking about how I really needed money. All I could think of was how much I really, really didn’t want this job anymore. I didn’t like answering the questions. It made me focus on how much I didn’t want to be working jobs like this. It also made me think about my acting goals. Speaking of which…

I continued going about my acting goals. Not only was I still frustrated about finances, I also was getting down seeing others around me succeeding. Combine the two, and it did not make for a very happy Tony in Chicago. (See what I did there?)

There’s two points here

1) When we’re in a negative state, we’re going to attract more of what we don’t want. We tend to get what we think about most of the time. When we’re constantly upset about money, our career, or how others are doing better than us, we become aware of all the reasons why those things are true:

-We’ll find more expenses to worry about.

-We’ll focus on all of the acting jobs we didn’t book.

-We’ll start to notice lots of friends booking the job that we want.

Worst part: We’re going to stay broke and continue to be a struggling actor.

Being negative puts our focus on the negatives. The more we focus on them, the more of them we attract. This doesn’t mean there’s some magic force raining down problems and debt on your head. That would be silly. Rather, your subconscious mind is going to find every single reason why what you’re saying is true.

The good news is, this works the opposite. If you start focusing on things you’re grateful for, you’ll find the positives in more situations. This in turn will attract more positives and help you reach your goals.

2) What works for you might be different than what works for me. Some friends love waiting tables while they go about their acting goals. I found that didn’t work for me. When we focus too much on what our friends are doing, it’s putting our energy in the wrong place. It’s much better serving to ourselves when we focus on what action we can take in order to be happier. This might mean our goals take a little longer, which I’ve learned to be the case with the path I’ve chosen. It’s making me happier as I work towards those goals. I’d rather be happy now.

 

Take whatever path it is that works for you. Don’t worry about your friends. They’re on their path. They have different preferences for what lowers and raises their own vibration. (And if the word “vibration” doesn’t work for you – no sweat. Rephrase it however you need so that you focus on things that make you happy.

Put blinders on. Focus on your goals and your goals only. Do things that make you happy. You’ll be just fine.

Love you guys. Go get ‘em.

Had You Won The Power Ball, You Still Wouldn’t Be Happy

If you do non union extra work in Chicago, you might have heard the Rosemont story:

A group of us booked a job through 4 Star Casting (who are amazing, by the way). All we knew was that we’d be standing in line outside a convention center in Rosemont. After a long day of confusion, we got some cash for literally holding spots in line for collectors at a coin show. And it didn’t end there: We got the chance to return and hold more spots in line.

For more cash. (A lot more.)

This time, we’d need a good spot. A spot to get in early enough that we’d enter the show before the rest of the crowd.  If we got in, we’d get our hands on an item that was woth a lot of money.

And there were plenty of others who knew about it.

The next few days were hectic: Texts throughout the night, sleeping outside, getting soaked by sprinklers…you name it. Oh, and there were stampedes to get in line, threats to anyone who was cutting or holding a spot, and lots of other fun stories. It got bad enough that the final day of the coin show was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Money can do a lot. And there’s a lot of misconception behind it.

 

What doesn’t make you happy

Marcus Persson is a billionaire. Known as the creator of Minecraft, he made himself quite a fortune. Last August, Persson sent out a series of tweets sharing how he was lonely, unhappy and afraid to pursue future success.

Andre Agassi is a tennis pro. He won eight Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal. In less than a day after becoming number one in the world, he was roaming the streets, wondering why he felt so empty. He later was tested positive for crystal meth.

Money and fame isn’t what makes us happy.

 

What does make you happy

In my experience, the truly happy people in the world are the ones who went through a struggle. Rather than allow their dreams to suffer, they learned from the struggle and grew. Along the way, they grew even more and appreciated life better because of  it.

I’m not saying we all need to suffer in order to be happy. I am saying that struggles help us learn how we want to feel to truly find happiness.

I’ll use myself as an example: If I had more money, I’d be working fewer jobs I don’t want to go to. We’re talking, I can’t fall asleep because going to this job makes me so unhappy.

If I had more money, it would mean more time working jobs that are creative, fulfilling, and meaningful. It would mean more time creating experiences. Money would allow me to visit the Boston area. I’d see my parents, grandparents, and cousins more often.  I’d see my college and highs school friends that I only see once or twice a year (if that).

It would mean more time to pursue creative jobs onstage, behind the camera, and across the country motivating students to live their crazy, awesome life.

I want more experiences with others. I want more opportunities to add value to others though art and motivation.

Yes, a lottery ticket would help fund those dreams. But a paycheck from my agent that sends me to Boston for a commercial – that’s more special than anything I could get from 711. (Don’t get me wrong, grateful they were open late so I could buy cheese on New Year’s).

How do you want to feel? Base your goals off that. Then go after it. Seriously. There are too many experiences and people you care about waiting for you to put this off anymore.

Go get ‘em.

 

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How we can turn life problems into gifts

The other day I got a bill.

There were several unpleasantries about this:

  • I had no idea this bill was coming
  • I really couldn’t afford this bill
  • Other monthly bills are about to increase
  • Did I mention my hours decreased at work because the holidays are over?

Initial thoughts of “This is rather unfortunate,” quickly escalated to, “MY LIFE IS TERRIBLE AND I’M NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT AS AN ACTOR.”

While I never would have admitted this at the time, this situation was a great lesson for me. Here were some takeaways:

Take a break from the problem:

“The higher the level of emotion, the lower your level of reasoning is.”

Eric Thomas, “Secrets to Success”

When we’re upset, we create a lot of lies in our head. They’re evil. Don’t listen to them.

Take a break and step away from the problem at hand. As much as we want to try and fix the problem right then and there, our irrational minds aren’t going to handle things very well. Furthermore, if it’s a problem that we literally can’t fix in that moment, we’re wasting our energy. Save it for when you can focus on what you can fix, rather than dwell on what you can’t.

Be open to an easy solution

In the heat of the moment we don’t consider this at all. In fact, many of us don’t consider this option even when we are a bit calmer. Sometimes life has answers for us that are only available if we’re willing to see them.

Right before bed, it popped in my head that there might be payment plan options. Not only that, but there was a note on the bill I completely missed. It mentioned to call them if you were having any issues making payments. (Shocker I didn’t see this during my tantrum.)

Pain can be a good thing

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

– Tony Robbins

Ever fell off track with a diet? Stopped going to the gym? Started slacking on your acting goals? Chances are your current situation isn’t causing enough pain for you to do something about it.

This bill caused me pain. So much so that I didn’t take action on that one bill. I took action on several.

  • I called my healthcare provider and asked about cheaper options.
  • I chatted with Comcast about my internet package and asked about cheaper options.
  • I called about the bill and admitted I couldn’t afford to pay it.

The results were okay:

  • A rep walked me through new and cheaper healthcare options.
  • I negotiated my internet payment to only five dollars more a month. I also got cable included. We’re having a viewing party. (And I hope you’re okay with 60 of 75 channels in Espanol.)
  • I got things taken care of with the bill. I even paid it in full. Turns out….they made a mistake and it was about $200 higher than it was supposed to be 🙂

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I celebrated by crumbling the original bill and taking a selfie

Don’t get me wrong: Life doesn’t always give us the “Sorry, we messed up” card. That was just icing on the cake. The big takeaway here is that the pain of staying the same forced action that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken. It was only after this and stepping away from the problem temporarily that I was able to move forward and fix things. (Note: This becomes easier as you start to feed your mind with more positive books and materials.)

Above all else, just remember that when you’re stressed and upset, a bunch of lies will flood into your head. Don’t listen to them. I promise, you’re still awesome even when you’re stressed.

Go get ‘em.
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