Tony Trick: Let Yourself Be Negative

Wake up early. Eat something healthy. Read something inspiring. Prep for positivity.

There’s plenty of options to set yourself up for a positive day. Yet some days you just won’t be happy.

As someone who loves teaching others tricks to be more positive, I don’t hide that I still have my bad days. I share these days  because I know the frustrating trying to learn new behaviors. We badly want to emulate them, yet they seem out of our reach. All the while, it seems the teacher has some “magical power” which we can’t seem to utilize ourselves. So let’s debunk the myth that this has to be hard. Believe it or not, part of this process involves allowing ourselves to be negative.

Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t an excuse to be grumpy all the time. Rather, it’s to emphasize how acknowledging your current feelings can help reach the ones you desire.

For instance, this week  I’m  visiting friends and family in the Boston area. My friends will all tell you I love opportunities to visit home. My mood always improves when I have a trip coming up. Less than a week to go?  Wicked happy. On the train ride to the airport? SO MUCH HAPPINESS.

….except for this trip.

I hopped on the Red Line and was feeling rather tired. When I’m tired, I tend to focus on more negatives: My throat felt scratchy. Am I getting sick? My flight would be getting in late. That won’t help. Will I be too cold this trip? What if my flight will get cancelled? What if I never make it as an actor?

Note: Being sleep deprived is a terrible time to start assuming things.
Clearly I wasn’t feeling very happy. So what did I do about it? I gave in.

I realized I was trying to fight my fatigue. I was wishing and hoping that I would feel more excited. Then I’d get mad at myself for not feeling better. Once I acknowledged how I was feeling, I didn’t have to fight anymore. I wasn’t conjuring up magical feelings that didn’t match how I actually felt.

I switched trains. I got on the Orange Line. Suddenly… I was in a much better mood. I was going home!

…granted, this tends to happen when one departs the Red Line.

I’ll admit this might not work for everyone. We all operate differently. I personally struggle reaching positive emotions by fighting off negatives and pretending they don’t exist. Sure, sometimes you can fake it til you make it. But more often I prefer to check in with myself first. Then I can work on how to best switch my focus – not fight it.

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Doesn’t mean you won’t forget to dump your water before going through security though…

Your turn: What do you usually do when you’re struggling to be in a better mood? What tricks do you use to change your focus. I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Before you comment, know this: The concept of “I can’t make myself feel better” is bullshit. You can be happier. You just need to know what works best for you.

Go get ‘em.

#ShoutOut Tuesday: Darryn Glass

It’s #ShoutOut Tuesday!

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.

Today’s Shout Out: Darryn Glass

Darryn Glass

Have you watched any of the Chicago televisions shows? Caught a show at Steppenwolf? Seen an advertisement for some of your favorite national brands?

Darryn wasn’t in those. Not yet 😉 The guy is 48 years old and just getting started. He shared on a recent call with the “My Big Year” group run by Courtney Rioux that he “finally decided to pursue a dream.”

It breaks my heart seeing and hearing others who don’t go after what they want. Whether it’s age, location, experience, or job limitations, the excuses are abundant. Many people don’t have the mindset Darryn does when it comes to living a live we love. We settle for what we have and spend more than half our week somewhere we don’t want to be.

I’m not just giving him a shout out because I like him (though he scores Tony points when he shares my posts and tweets). I’m doing it to encourage YOU. Take a look at your list of reasons of why you can’t start pursuing your dream. You know, that dream that you’ve had sitting on your desk, under a pile of papers, for the past few years. The only thing stopping you from going after them is you.

Need more inspiration? Talk to Darryn. He’ll set you straight. Follow him on twitter or check out his website. Or go see him onstage. (Especially if you like baseball).  Or just come back to my page in the near future to read my, “I TOLD YOU SO” post when we’re sharing more of his accomplishments and resume credits.

Proud of you, Darryn. Thanks for being an inspiration to others.

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

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Be happy. That thing you’re worried about? Future-you isn’t even thinking about it right now 🙂 

 

What Happens When We Make Assumptions

I’ve shared a lot in the past about that negative voice who chimes in from time to time.

Sometimes this voice tells us we’re not good enough. Sometimes it talks us out of doing something we know we should do. Other times, it just makes stuff up.

Today was a day where that negative voice was just making stuff up.

I was training a group of employees as part of a non acting gig I help out with. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep the night before. Maybe it was being in an environment that had a lot of uncertainty. For whatever reason, the negative voice was being extra loud today. I was asking myself a lot of questions prior to getting there…and they weren’t too positive:

-Am I going to be good enough?

-Will the management dislike me and wish someone older/more experienced was here?

-Is this going to be one of those trainings where the employees can’t wait to leave?

I arrived with all of my materials and supplies…and saw two people were there.

-Oh god. It’s so quiet. They’re going to hate this.

-I’m going to breeze through this in two minutes and not have enough information to share.

-They’re totally going to expect more hands-on activities than I have prepared.

Friends, an interesting thing happens when we start to assume things: We connect the dots ourselves. We create answers that are often false or exaggerated. The truth was, I was creating yet another gloom and doom scenario.I was also making up answers based false information the negative voice was feeding me.

So how did it actually go?

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-About a dozen employees were there in total.

-….they were delightful!

-Questions were asked, notes were taken, and their response was positive. 

-They also laughed at my jokes. (Always a win)

This wasn’t an acting gig, yet I left with a big smile on my face. I even had the courage to ask them to take a picture at the end – something I was sure that would make them groan and roll their eyes…

“Oh sure! We’d love to! Stay in our seats? Oh no, we’ll stand for you…”

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Making assumptions based on negative self talk and inexperience will just lead to stress.

Don’t do it. Remind yourself that you’re an amazing person who didn’t end up in your situation by accident. Instill belief in yourself so you can perform what you know, deep down, you’re capable of doing. 

Go get ‘em.

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You know you’re in a good mood when you take a selfie on the CTA!
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#ShoutOutTuesday: Shoebocks, Pinch Spice Market

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.

Today’s Shout Out: Shoebocks, founder of Pinch Spice Market

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“I started Pinch simply because of my love of sharing food with people.  It is amazing to think that it has been 5 years since this journey started.

I love every aspect of it, and wake up everyday excited to help my customers cook awesome meals.

My focus is on finding the highest quality spices and using them to create amazing blends and rubs. Anytime I make a blend, I do it right. I don’t cut corners add filler, or anything artificial like large spice brands.  I take pride in making everything by hand in small batches.”

(Quote credit: “About Us,” pinchspicemarket.com)

I met Shoebocks this past weekend at Williams-Sonoma in Lincoln Park. He was sampling some vegetarian chili seasoned with his delicious chili powder. He had a full set up with some other tasty spices.

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I admire anyone who starts their own business. What I particularly like about Shoebocks is that he discovered the traditional route of working a “dependable” job also has its flaws. And so, he took the entrepreneur plunge. Love it.

He also shared with me how he started out with a traditional shop. Later on, he discovered his product attracted a specific demographic. Today he bounces in and out of local farmer’s markets and events. In my opinion, there are more“dependable” companies who could learn from this marketing strategy.

Check him out!

Website

Facebook

Wanna order some? (free shipping over $40)

 

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

Want an update each time there’s a positive post up here? Subscribe!

Be happy. That thing you’re worried about? Future-you isn’t even thinking about it right now 🙂 

The secret to being a great leader

If you’ve never been to the Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo… it’s a pretty big deal.

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Fans and creatives come from around the country to participate in a three day event with others who share their passions. Hotels are booked. Passes are purchased. Costumes are made….with a lot of time, effort and additional money.

When I accepted a gig promoting “Yokai Watch,” I didn’t know much about it.  I quickly learned there was a pretty big fan base ranging from little kids to full grown adults. Funny thing about adults who enjoy a product geared towards younger audiences: Many approached me apologetically for something that made them happy. I decided for my Sunday night video that I would discuss this.

“Awesome!” I thought. “I found another area where I can teach a lesson to others.”

Fast forward to last night.

It was Steppenwolf RED Night for “Mary Page Marlowe.” An evening with my favorite theatre that celebrates millennials in Chicago. Free food. Cheap drinks. What’s not to like?

“Welcome Tony! So you’re the first one here….”

Soo…I chatted with the staff at the sign in table. Allow me to share a few phrases I uttered as I waited for more to show up:

“I’m such a dork for being here first…

“I’m actually almost out of RED credits. I’ve just seen so many shows….it’s stupid…”

“My favorite show so far? I mean, it’s Steppenwolf….I’ve never seen a show I disliked…

Suddenly I was the person apologizing for loving Steppenwolf. To the people who work for Steppenwolf.

Darren Hardy shares that bosses will say “Hey, you! Go do this….” Leaders, on the other hand,  say, “Hey, you! Let’s go do this…”

Friends. I’m in this with you. The messages I share are messages I’m going through myself. Furthermore, remember that the leaders and mentors you admire have gone through the same struggles you are going through. It may be easy to put them on a pedestal…but don’t do that. Realize they’re normal humans who have gone through your struggles earlier in life.

Sound good?

Remove the limitations. Those leaders you’re following are just as great as you are.

Go get ‘em.

#ShoutOut Tuesday: Brianne Beatrice

It’s #ShoutOut Tuesday!

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.

Today’s Shout Out: Brianne Beatrice

Brianne

 

When I was a junior in college, I took a course titled Acting II. When I heard that our instructor was the very Brianne Beatrice whom I had once performed with, I was pretty stoked. (And I’m not just saying that because she gave me an A….)

 

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You can see about half of my face. But you can see Brianne! (Photo credit: Michael Griffin.) 

What I love about Brianne is that she’s on her own mission just like me. She spreads positivity. She takes care of her health and well being (though I hear she likes wine. Someone get her a bottle for being awesome.) And her social media statuses on health, beauty, and love are just a small example of her wonderful creativity.

Another thing I admire about Brianne is the way she presents herself unapologetically – something most of us are too afraid to do. We are far too obsessed with worrying about what other people think. We hide parts of our authentic selves because we want to please our friends and family. Let’s not get started on how much we try to please people whom we don’t even hangout with – or want to, for that matter.

One last thing I’ll share: I’ve only been in love once. No…it wasn’t with Brianne 😉 (Though teenage Tony had a crush on a Brianne once…)  After this discovery of love, I went through a phase. I was obessed with the concept. I journaled a lot. And I listened to far too much Jason Mraz. Then, sadly, I slid into “Tony freaking Rossi” mode. I started taking myself far too seriously. I lost that feeling. Along with it – I lost part of my creativity.

Having just turned 28, I’m going through an interesting experience. I’m remembering that feeling. I’m regaining that creativity. I’m fighting off judgement from others in order to move forward with my goals. Being friends with Brianne has reminded me of qualities to help me stay true to my mission statement.

I’m grateful for your reminders, my friend. Keep them coming 🙂

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

Want an update each time there’s a positive post up here? Subscribe!

Be happy. That thing you’re worried about? Future-you isn’t even thinking about it right now 🙂 

Warning: Sometimes You Just Won’t Feel Happy

We don’t have to be actors. We get to be actors.

With that, even the best of occupations still come with their difficult moments.

I recently attended an audition for one of my favorite companies. Unfortunately, they were only seeing union actors (from the Actor’s Equity Association).  I’m non-union, which means you get seen if there’s time. It can be a long day of sitting around, re-checking the list, and crossing your fingers as you sit on the floor and hope to be seen for a minute or two.

Regardless, I wanted to take the chance. And since I’m there, I decide to focus things to be grateful for:

-Grateful that I get to be considered.

-Grateful that my side jobs such as being an online fitness coach allow me to have a flexible schedule.

-Grateful that I get to see my union friends – the same ones who also inspire me to be my best artistic self and to think bigger.

After we’re informed that the non-union list won’t be seen before lunch, I decide to leave the building for a bit. One of the stores that I do coffee demonstrations at is nearby, so I decide to pay them a visit…and get a free coffee.

But then I remember it’s more than just the coffee that draws me there: The staff are great. Managers are wonderful. Even if it’s a place where I report to work, I enjoy stopping by. In fact, I was so happy to be there that I ask if it would be okay to stay for a bit and steal some wifi. They said yes 🙂

And then….a funny thing happened.

I wasn’t sitting on the floor. The room temperature was comfortable. I was enjoying my coffee. And I felt like a normal person.

Without realizing it, all this negative self-talk had crept in while I was back waiting to be seen for auditions:

-I’m tired of sitting on the floor.

-I’m getting envious of all these other actors being seen ahead of me.

-I feel silly for eating cold meals out of my bag. While on the floor. (Side note: I’ve saved a TON of money by packing my meals that also allow me to stick to my health goals. Message me if you want tips.)

Negative self talk often creeps in without us realizing. Even though, sure, I brought my laptop and was getting work done…I didn’t feel human. I didn’t feel like me. It was affecting my work, and sure as hell was going to affect my audition.

This is not a vent.

This is a reminder to be aware of how you’re feeling. Whether you’re an actor or entrepreneur in another field, you’ll likely be “paying your dues” as you work your way up. Focusing on things like “this sucks” or “it should be better” is a waste of energy.

If you catch yourself going there –no sweat. Now you can focus on something else. Maybe try changing your focus to something completely different. No need to force yourself to feel happy about something you’re not. Just pick something else 🙂

Acknowledge your feelings. And make sure to do what you need – within reason – to make sure you’re feeling your most confident self as you go about your goals.

Go get ‘em, guys.

#ShoutOutTuesday: Tony Howell

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: Tony Howell

tony howell

 

Who is Tony?

Tony is the founder of Get Creative Social Media.

“After several years in marketing at Music Theatre International, I founded Get Creative to help artists create their own opportunities, audiences and sustainable success.

I’m an expert when it comes to digital marketing for personal brands—especially actors and other creatives in the entertainment industry.” -Tony Howell

Pretty cool, huh?

Tony also is an actor. You might have seen him perform in the national tour of Evita. Apparently he made a stop in Chicago in 2013? (I swear I didn’t know him then. Otherwise I would have been there.)

What else you should know about Tony:

-He’s a contributor to Backstage. Perhaps you’ve seen some of his posts.

-Want some free #TonyTips? (I’ve tried to claim this hashtag, but I’m willing to share). He answers a new question regarding branding, social media, and having an online presence each week! #TellMeTony Tuesdays – they’re my favorite.

-Get Creative Social Media offers coaching with Tony, website building, as well as speaking engagements. (Who doesn’t want a Tony giving a speaking engagement?)

Other ways to follow Tony:

Facebook

Twitter page

Tony Twitter page (I like the sound of that)

 

#ThankYouTony for working in a field that helps other artists. You inspire us to think bigger and are a joy to have in our community, my friend.

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