The Worst Case Scenario Is….

Funny how we stress out, isn’t it?

If you don’t find stress funny, allow me to share a story.

I was having a good day. A really good day. Nothing crazy. Just a productive day with lots of positives to focus on. I love days like this. What could go wrong?

I checked my bank account really quick before dinner.

*SOUND OF RECORD SCREECHING*

And that, my friends, ended my buzz.

There wasn’t anything abnormal. Just a wake up call. I realized how I didn’t have as much coming in as I hoped. Next month? Not looking much better. What was I going to do?

When we stress about things that haven’t happened yet, we often assume the worst. The negatives are magnified. All we can focus on is how gloomy the future looks. Funny thing is, we could just as easily think about what could go right.

When this happened with me, I wasn’t thinking about what could go right. I wasn’t thinking about how much I’ve saved over the past two months. How it’s more than I’ve saved in a long while. I didn’t think about all the last minute jobs that tend to show up. And I wasn’t thinking how every single time I’ve had a money setback, I’ve made it work. Yes, there was sometimes stress. But I made it work.

It’s tough to visualize how something will work out when you don’t know how it’s going to work out. On the other hand, we sure know how to visualize how bad things will go, don’t we?

The Worst Case Scenario Routine

We’ll use me as an example. If I don’t pick up the work I need in order to pay my bills, what will happen? I could ask my family for money. I’d be embarrassed and it would affect my confidence. But I could do it. Although, this is the worst case scenario, right? So we’ll say that’s not an option. A medical emergency happened there aren’t any Tony Rossi funds available. Now what? I’d apply for a fulltime job? I’d probably hate it (this is the worst case scenario after all), but it would get me rent money. But wait! There’s no jobs to be had in Chicago. All the other struggling actors snagged ‘em. Looks like I won’t be renewing my lease as planned. Time to go back to roommates….and since it is the worst case scenario, they’re probably going to be murders, infected with disease. There’s a 90% chance I’m going to die in this apartment…

Translation: If I don’t make it work out financially next month, I’m going to get murdered. (Or die from infectious diseases.)

We have a tendency to do this. We jump to the worst case scenario thinking about how awful things are going to go. Yet, if we take a step back and observe what’s going on, we realize how irrational we’re being.

So let’s try this together:

This will go right.

I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again.

I f***ing deserve this.

And…c’mon….I’m not going to die.

You with me?

Let’s go get em, friends.

A cool trick, plus acknowledging when life’s hard

Earlier today I read a great blog post by Andrea Shulman.

It recommended checking your mood prior to “checking in” on your goal. If you’re not in a good mood, hold off on checking the goal. I loved this concept. I even jotted down a few to incorporate this with my fitness groups.

Later on, I sat down to write this lovely blog….except I didn’t check my mood. (It wasn’t positive).

Instead of writing, I checked facebook. I purchased a ticket to a show, checked my inbox to see how many messages I needed to get back to, and checked the Red Sox schedule to see how much longer I needed to wait to hear Joe Casitiglione’s voice. The last thing I wanted to do was write and tell all my friends how awesome and positive life is.

What’s the moral here? Actually, there’s two. They’re both important.

1) We can use the “check in with yourself” approach in any scenario.

I’ve caught myself thinking that I’m happier than I am because I know that’s how I want to feel. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not honest and can’t figure out how you actually feel, you’re not going to reach the better mood you’re striving for.

2) Reading positive books, eating better foods, and exercising daily is a great way to set you up for success. Just remember that you’re human and are still prone to bad days.

When reconnecting with friends, many comment on my positive posts, videos and statuses. I’m grateful they’re affecting others. At the same time, I fear I give off the impression that I’m always smiling, in a great mood, and eating raw vegetables.

You guys…

I have bad days.

I cry sometimes.

I often question whether I’m doing things right.

I catch myself comparing myself to others (when I know I shouldn’t).

And I really like cheese.

Going after goals is hard. There’s going to be a struggle. You’re allowed to struggle.

Check in with yourself. If you’re struggling, give yourself time.

And then, get back up.

Go get ‘em.

How to Handle Fear Without Getting Rid of It

UPDATE: Between reading, audio books, youtube videos, and team calls, I get in a lot of personal development. Because of this, I get a bit confused sometimes on where I learned the theme. I’ll start keeping better track in order to give credit where credit is due. 

As it turns out, this analogy was used in “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

….I have yet to read the book (but it’s on my list!) I’m guessing I heard the concept on a team call, hosted by Ali Goodman. She’s always giving me gems on our team meetings. It’s also possible I heard the concept from a recent call for Courtney Rioux’s #MyBigYear2016 program. 

….can’t you tell I’m surrounded by awesome people? 

While I’m grateful to have these BRILLIANT words posted here for all to read, the credit goes to these folks for this one. Read on! 

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I always needed a ride somewhere growing up: School, rehearsals, summer theatre workshops, band practice, you name it. I needed to be there. (I was very important as a child).

Of course, you can’t just assume Mom and Dad can take you everywhere. They have lives too. Luckily for them, there’s this fantastic thing called carpooling. Here’s the thing about carpooling as a child: You don’t have a say in who rides with you. This can be unpleasant if you’re riding with someone you don’t want to ride with.

Buckle up, friends. We’re about to get in a car with someone rather unpleasant:

…Fear.

Even when we want it to leave the car, it doesn’t leave when we ask politely. Understand that when this happens, we don’t have to panic. In fact, we can drive ahead with fear sitting there in the car. Here’s how:

1) Accept that fear is allowed to ride with us.

Fear is going to show up at some very inconvenient times. If you’re an actor, you might get scared before a big audition. If you’re in sales, you might get scared before calling up a prospect. If you’re a single guy living by yourself, you might get scared every time you pass by a cute girl in your building…

Regardless of the situation, fear often comes up when we don’t want it to. I recommend accepting that it’s along for the ride. Often when we don’t acknowledge our negative emotions, we’re not accepting that there’s a problem. If we’re not accepting reality, how can we fix it?

2) Don’t feed fear with time.

Do you have something on your to-do list that makes you really uncomfortable? Get it done and get it done now. The more time we give it, the stronger fear gets. It leads to a lack of confidence. While sometimes we need a little prep time, don’t mistake that with procrastinating. The sooner you can cross this off your list, the better.

3) Fight fear with confidence.

Fear might be allowed for the ride. But it sure as hell doesn’t get to drive. Fear sits in the back. The best way to move forward, despite the fear, is having confidence.

Once you start getting results on your road to your goals, you’re going to notice the fear less and less. Auditions are less scary when you start booking more projects. Sales are less scary when you start gaining more clients. And that girl in your apartment? Okay she’s still intimidating…but she’s less intimidating if you know her name and know she likes puppies. (That’s just a guess.)

The more confident we get, the less we listen to fear. Without results, you might have to fake it a bit in the beginning. Take this time to feed off of encouragement from those close to you. Even if it’s in an area unrelated to your goals. Use whatever you can to fuel your confidence until you start seeing results.

So understand these points as you go about your own road to your scary (but awesome) goals: Fear is allowed for the ride. Fear is not allowed to drive. It feeds off of time – so don’t give it any. Get the uncomfortable things done early in the day. Then do what you can to gain confidence.

Also, there’s a fourth option that involves no fear: You can avoid the scary road altogether and not get in the car at all.

…..but that would lead to living a crazy, awesome, and happier life now, would it?

Go get ‘em, friends.

What to do when you don’t want to feel better

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Ever have one of those days you just feel like being grumpy?

It’s one thing to be weighed down by our problems. It’s another story when those problems pile up. If they feel heavy enough, it might make more sense to just sit and sulk.

“Why bother fixing this one problem? It won’t fix the other five.”

“Right as I fixed my last problem, four others showed up. Fixing them isn’t worth it.”

“Fixing this problem in the past clearly hasn’t gotten me onstage at Steppenwolf. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard from my agent in a while.  Clearly the community hates me…”

Get the idea?

I caught myself stressing about a problem last week. (Don’t worry, Steppenwolf, it wasn’t about you.)  I was upset to the point that even doing my personal development wasn’t helping. I just wanted to sit under a blanket – a cold, wet, disgusting blanket of negativity. It wasn’t fun to sit under. Yet being under this blanket, admittedly, brought me an awful form of comfort. It almost made it okay to be upset, unhappy, stressed, etc.

While it’s okay to experience these feelings, it’s not okay to stay in this spot.  Luckily, I have an awesome life coach. Her name is Courtney Rioux. You might have heard me talk about her once or twice (or five hundred times).

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True story: I’m less grumpy after clarity sessions with Courtney

In our private facebook group for #MyBigYear2016, I confessed my problem and how it made me feel. Courtney’s response hit a chord. An awesome chord (Hence why I promote her work so much): “Let’s not focus on the problems. Let’s focus on solutions.”

When I’m under this blanket, all I focus on are problems. I don’t even want to focus on solutions. Yet when I heard her words, I saw a glimmer of hope. It made me aware of all the opportunities I had to solve my problem. It shed a light on things that – under my stupid blanket – I didn’t even want to look at.

It made me start to be happier.

If you’re not happy, you’re not going to come out from under the blanket. You’re going to focus on negatives and think about how you don’t have the strength to come out. You won’t see the solutions, and you likely won’t consider being happier.

Find someone you can talk to. Take a break from your problem and do something to put yourself in a better mood. Give yourself something to look forward to. Regardless of what you decide, do what you can to make yourself happier. It’s different for everyone. If all else fails, realize there are people in our lives who love us exactly as we are. Being happy will make them happy. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them.

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Saw my Great Uncle John last week in Boston! He definitely made me happy.

I don’t know what’s under your blanket. All I know is that if you’re reading this post, you’re someone who cares about doing something to make yourself happy. And that makes you awesome.

Don’t forget that.

Go get ‘em.