You Can’t Find What You’re Not Looking For

I was biking and I was in a great mood.

I was focused on the fun night I had, as well as my final stop I before getting home. It involved pizza. Before getting there, I stopped at an intersection. I started to proceed, when I noticed another biker was heading in my direction

…relax. It’s not that kind of story 😉

Neither of us came remotely close to the other. I was just surprised because I admittedly wasn’t on the lookout for bikers and was more focused on cars. Furthermore, this rider was biking on the sidewalk –  the last place I was expecting to see him.

I’ll fully admit I’ve found myself frustrated whenever someone comes “out of nowhere” and into my path.  “Why didn’t they see me coming?!”

And that night on my ride home, I figured out the answer: They don’t see me coming. They don’t see me coming because they’re not looking for me.


On the other hand, if you know you’re looking for pizza, sometimes you’ll find yourself going home with extra slices, on the house…thanks Big G’s! 


What are you looking for?

With anything in life, you can’t find what you’re not looking for. And yet, we constantly find ourselves frustrated when we don’t make progress with our goals. The truth is, a lot of us don’t know actually know what we’re looking for. We have a general idea of what success means to us. We then hope it comes our way. If it doesn’t, we get frustrated.

Why this doesn’t work

There’s no direction. It’s vague. We make the mistake of hoping for success to just show up. While this may be a possibility, it leaves us with wishing and hoping.

There’s no path for us to take. If we’re wishing and hoping, we’re essentially hoping to win the lottery of success. We’re sitting there waiting, rather than taking action ourselves.

You can see why this mentality leaves us frustrated with a lack of confidence.

Some examples

During my waiting tables days, I scored a phone number from a cute girl. I was thrilled. After a few exchanges, it didn’t appear anything was going to come from it… I was less than thrilled. I expressed my frustration to a coworker. “Well Tony, what are you hoping comes from this? What is that you want>” he asked me

….I didn’t have an answer.

I was just wishing and hoping something awesome would happen. Maybe she’d ask me on a date. Maybe it would lead to a fling. Maybe her mom was one of the top talent agents in Chicago (that would have been awesome.) I had no idea what I wanted.

To give a more practical example, I see a lot of this happen with actors: Many theatre and film artists who are “struggling” are actually very talented. That said, they lack a sense of direction. They’re hoping for success without knowing things like what field they want to pursue (stage, film, etc.) Knowing what you specifically enjoy about acting and how you want to pursue it will give you a sense a direction. This allows you to take action while you’re waiting for that top talent agent in Chicago to call you back. (You can always take a break from submitting and try dating…)

It’s incredible how we don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want. And if we don’t know what we want, we won’t know where to look or what to look for.

So friends, let’s all do our part to gain a better perspective. Figure out what you’re looking for. Once you do, you’ll feel a confidence boost just knowing that you have action steps you can take.

Go get ‘em.


#ShoutOutTuesday: Elise Spoerlein

It’s #ShoutOutTuesday!


I’m on a mission to be my most positive, healthy, and creative self.

I’ve decided to expand on this mission by shouting out cool people I connect with. These are people who are doing something with their lives who not only inspire me to be my best, but are doing cool work that I think others should know about.


This week’s #ShoutOutTuesday: Elise Spoerlein


Elise Sp


Who is Elise?

Elise Spoerlin is an actor and writer living in Chicago. She’s the Associate Artistic Director with Broken Nose Theatre – one of Chicago’s only “Pay-What-You-Can” Theatre companies.

If you’re an artist in Chicago, you’re probably no stranger to Elise – particularly over the past month. She wrote her first full length play, “A Phase,” which ran at the Den Theatre for a month through last weekend. She also played the lead. (And played it brilliantly.)

“Hey! I heard about that show! It was all over social media.”

No surprise. Elise and the Broken Nose team did a great job promoting it. To clarify, “great job” doesn’t mean getting the word out there. I think we’ve all seen examples of others who maybe post too much of the same thing over and over. (Election 2016, anyone? 😉 ) I even received a personal invite from Elise with an invite to the show. It wasn’t part of a group thread where I’d be getting extra messages from her high school friends about how they’d be working for the first four nights of the show, but might be able to make closing weekend.**

(Side note: I’d actually be fine connecting with Elise’s friends from high school).

Bonus points

As the run came to a close, the show was selling out left and right. For closing weekend, a few tickets opened up for Friday. I got another message from Elise – who remembered I had said I was going to try to make it that evening – offering me a ticket. I graciously accepted.

This ticket could have easily been snagged regardless. Yet she reached out to me. And no, we don’t hangout on weekends. (Though I’ve already bugged her and her boyfriend Spenser about meeting up for coffee.)

Your turn!

How you can help:

-Did you see “A Phase?” Give her a shout out of your own. Whether it’s a personal message or tagging her in a facebook status – let her (and others) know that you appreciate her work.

-Want to help out Broken Nose Theatre? Check ‘em out on facebook or their website. If you’re feeling extra generous, throw ‘em a few bucks.

-Don’t know Elise? Send her some positive vibes anyway. The point of these shout outs isn’t just to be warm and fuzzy (though I love my fleece Red Sox blanket). It’s to grow a network of positive, like minded people. Send her a message either here on the blog or on social media.


Way to go, Elise 🙂 Keep doing your thing and inspiring us.



Have a friend who deserves a shout out? Shoot me an email at with the subject “Shout Out Tuesday” and let me know!


**Disclaimer: I’m all for promoting your work on social media 🙂 The purpose of highlighting Elise and Broken Nose Theatre’s contributions was to say they did so and did it effectively. Despite that we’ve all seen others who, maybe, haven’t done so effective – I’m proud of anyone who goes out there and is on a mission to create something awesome.

Keep doing your thing, friends.

A Crucial Component To Help You Reach Your Goal


I’m working hard.

Even when I’m not at a job working, I’m working. I’m working on my acting career. I’m working on my health and fitness coaching. I’m working on inspiring others to live a life based on what they love instead of settling for what they don’t love.

I work my ass off for a life where work doesn’t feel like work. As my new statement reads on social media, “I’m on a mission to live my most positive, healthy and creative self. Care to join?”

That’s the goal. And that goal sounds pretty damn sexy. I can’t wait to feel more sexy.

…now how do I feel sexy before I get there?

(We can use a different work if you want.)

I often share the importance of hard work. I practice what I preach. And yet, I frequently find myself feeling stressed, burned out, and sleep deprived. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to be happy (or sexy) now, before I arrive at the destination of working jobs that don’t feel like work.

So when we find ourselves in this situation, what do we do?

Stop focusing on action. Focus on feeling.

The myth: By taking more action, I’ll get more results. When I get more results, I’ll be happier.

The truth: By telling ourselves the story of how more action will lead to the feeling we want, we neglect our present feeling entirely and end up unhappier.

There’s a plethora of personal development coaches and authors who share this message. Shawn Achor writes about it in two different books. My life coach Courtney Rioux talks about it in her blogs, workshops, and coaching sessions.

Reasons to focus on feeling happy (or sexy) now:

-If we neglect how we feel in the present moment, we won’t be happy once we arrive at our destination. As Achor describes it, we keep “moving the goal posts.” In other words, we continue to come up with a new definition on what happiness means to us. We keep setting the bar higher and what will makes us happy.

-Without being happy now, we might not get there at all. I’ve learned that when I’m unhappy, I’m usually unwilling to do the work required to get to where I want to go. On the other hand, I’m more motivated to do my work when I’m in a better mood, feeling more energetic, and have gotten more sleep. Happiness tends to be the centerpiece for me of having everything else come together.

So friends, if you find yourself putting happiness on hold while you work towards your goals, it’s time to reevaluate your map. Start finding ways to sneak in happiness into your work. Sometimes that might be taking more breaks or days off. Other times it’s finding the joy within your work that has to get done.

Oh, and when you’re happier, you totally look more sexy.

Go get ‘em.

There’s Always Time To Be Happy

You can thank my new favorite actor in the UK, Ross Grant, for this post.

I found Ross on YouTube recently and have been following him since. He periscopes three times a week sharing mind hacks and motivational messages. He also has a “book club” where he goes into specific chapters of some fantastic personal development books.

…so you can see why I like Ross.

On Wednesday he discussed time management and debunked the myth of “there’s not enough time.” (You can watch the replay here).

The best part of learning to manage your time is that we lose excuses (and you know I love that.) In this case, the excuse is “I don’t have time to do the things that will make me happier.” Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not we actually want to make a change.

Spoiler alert: If you’re unhappy, it probably means you’re unwilling to do things differently that will create change.

How about waking up early?

“Tony. I am not a morning person.” If you’ve said that before, it’s true – you’re not a morning person. Not only that, but you’ll never be one as long as you keep saying it. So stop saying it. Our brains are scanning for ways to prove the things we tell ourselves to be true. By saying this, you’re going to focus on the negatives that come from early mornings. Start finding what you actually enjoy and go from there. (Coffee, anyone? 😉 )

How about watching less TV?

I’ve covered this before: I used to spend hours every day watching Netflix. On the plus side, I knew a lot about Eric Tayor and the Dylan Panthers. On the other…..I wasn’t making much progress on my acting career. It might not be as fun to cut out your TV time. Consider the fact that this thing you “need to have” is coming from craving an escape from the things that are making you unhappy. By putting more time into your goals, you don’t need that escape. Instead, that time is your rest and relaxation time – and you deserve it. (Just not as much!)

And yes. I still watch TV. (Just not as much.)

So…What’s your decision?

Last Tuesday was election day in Chicago. And on social media, election days are always the same: “If you don’t go out and vote, you don’t get to complain about the way things are going later.”

If you’re unwilling to make a change, you don’t get to complain how your life is going later. You don’t get to complain about your job. You don’t get to complain about how there’s not enough time. And you don’t get to complain about celebrities or successful friends who are doing better than you. You can start taking action towards being better. Today.

Be happier.Spend your time wisely. Unless, of course, you’re happy with the way things are going. In that case, by all means, tell Eric Taylor I say hello.

Go get ‘em.

I’m Giving You Permission To Give Up

Today we’re going to talk about giving up.

This is different than when you’re in a bad mood and thinking irrationally. We’re talking, you had a great night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast, and didn’t hit any traffic on your commute to work. You’re want to giving up. You could literally let go of that big and awesome goal you’ve had for years right now, no problem.

Disclaimer: I don’t like this topic.

I want everyone to go after their crazy, awesome life. At the same time, author Brendan Buchard made me realize something in his book “The Charge.” (This is one of those moments where I’m quoting a book I haven’t read yet, so forgive me for paraphrasing. And thank Ross Grant for sharing this topic on his periscope recently.) Brendan talks about the different ways we “break out of the cage” and start taking action towards that crazy awesome life I’m always promoting. The part that really hit me was when I learned that “not everyone has broken free from the cage.” And then there was this part:

“….not everyone will.”

That phrase broke my heart. I believe all of us have potential. I will always promote going after your goals regardless of your current situation because there really are no limits to what we can achieve.

And yet, there are some who will still never, ever take these messages to heart. It kills me.

Some of you may have heard the expression that you can “lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.” So here’s my message to those of you who don’t want to take a sip of water. (Side note: You’re missing out. This is damn good water.)

That crazy awesome goal of yours? Just let it go.

Sure, it would be great to lose weight. It would be great to work a job that makes you happier. But let it go. You’re not doing anything about. So let it go.

Goals are supposed to make you feel good. If you’re thinking about a goal that you’ve been putting off for years, it’s lingering in your head and making you feel guilty. And let me tell you something about guilt: It’s heavy. You’re carrying it around with you all day and it’s not serving you. It might even be hurting your relationships because you’re resenting those who are actually doing something about it. Let it go.

Of course…..I won’t end on that note. Come on. It’s still me here who is doing the talking. You do have another option: You can finally do something about it.

You can take the plunge or start small. Hell, if you start small and keep up consistently, you’re going to have the wheels spinning before you know it. Eventually it’ll be more painful to stop than it is now to get started.

But if you’re not, do yourself a favor. Let it go and release the guilt that you’re carrying around all day. It’s not worth it.

The choice is yours.

Go get ‘em, friends.

How To Get More Stressed When Things Aren’t Working

I remember going through a phase when I was younger: I couldn’t get a girlfriend for the life of me….

*All of Tony’s friends start to chime in saying that it’s not any different these days -*

…and I blamed everyone but myself.

*Tony’s friends accept this answer*

In my mind, every girl that was interested in me wasn’t my type. All my friends were dating or had beautiful women throwing themselves at them (at least that’s what it seemed like). But not me. No sir! I was “the guy that always attracted the wrong girls.” It was very unfair…

You’d think with this mindset, I was clearly doing all the right things: Asking girls out, flirting with the ones I was interested in, and putting myself in opportunities to meet more singles. Surely I was doing all that…

…I wasn’t doing that. I was too busy complaining about the girls I wasn’t interested. I never actually considered that I was single because I was just sitting there waiting for “the right one” to present herself, rather than taking any action myself.

This silly story serves as an example of something many of us are guilty of – putting our energy into the wrong areas.

Ever apply for a new job? This one has stress written all over it.

When this happens, we might hate our current job or become desperate to get any job. If you’re really stressed, you’re likely to think a lot of negative things. (I know a thing or two about this.) We’re unable to get an interview.  We have several interviews with no bites. Or maybe our field isn’t hiring. Yet all of these situations are out of our control. What we can control is how often we check for jobs. We can control how much time we put into looking for jobs. And we can definitely control how much time and energy we put into finding a new job. (Sidenote – have you considered going the extra mile and doing something uncomfortable like making a phone call?)

Next time you find yourself not getting what you want, double check to make sure you’re not getting upset over the things you can’t control. It’s a waste of energy and you’re going to burn out. Instead, focus on the action you took and acknowledge that as a win.

“You can’t build on success you don’t acknowledge” – Dallas Travers

I like to journal my “Wins Today” before bed. Looking for a new job? Write down any applications you sent. Did you go on an interview? That’s a win too. Update your resume? #Wining. Putting your energy into this feels great. You’ll start to realize you’re a winner regardless of the outcome.

Don’t burn yourself out on things you can’t control. Come on. That’s not very fair, is it?

(I’m talking to you, younger TonyinChicago…)

Go get ‘em, friends.