I’m taking a BREAK! You should too.

Recently Darren Hardy hosted a call titled SUMMER SURGE: 10 Strategies to Beat the “Summer Slump” and Keep Your Productive Momentum. A bulk of the call was geared towards taking non negotiable time for rest and relaxation. Darren emphasized this wasn’t about “finding our bliss.” It’s about the necessity to unplug completely from our work so that we can recharge our batteries. When we don’t do this (and many of us don’t), we fail to be able to operate at full capacity.

If you’re a big TonyinChicago fan (which you are, right?) you may have noticed there wasn’t a #ShoutOutTuesday post this week. It marked the first time I had missed a consistent post since first starting thie section three months ago. And I’ll be honest – I tried writing a shout out. About three different times. After several failed attempts and a lot of frustration, I gave in.

My batteries were drained.

Lately my schedule has consisted of five days in a row of internships and work. In between there are my beachbody coaching hours, auditions, and other projects I take on either from home or on the go. It’s a lot. And you know when my first day “off” is after that? Tuesday.

And guess who struggles to come up with all of these positive, awesome, inspiring and AMAZING blogs on a Tuesday after all of this?

“Tony….did you really just call you blogs amazing?”

I mean, I think they’re alright….

Here’s the thing: I don’t have a boss. I don’t get paid for this. But I want to someday. So I treat it like a job.And it’s been feeling like a job….except not a fun one….and the whole reason I started doing this was because it was fun! So I’m taking a page out of Darren Hardy’s book and taking a break.

One month off from updating my blog. After that? We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled Thursday posts. We’ll also have a #ShoutOutTuesday….though it may not be on Tuesday….which means I need a new hashtag…

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Not that this blog keeps me from sleeping….but I plan on doing some sleeping next month

There’s a misconception that working long hours and late nights will get us success. In reality, there’s a point where we hit a wall and stop being our most productive selves. This leads to operating at less than 100%. Whereas, if we have time to charge our batteries, we can get back up and refill our creative tanks.

Take time for you before you burn out, friends. I’ll see you in August 🙂

“BUT TONY. What if I really actually think your blog is awesome. What can I do in the meantime?

Great question. I’ll still be doing my periscopes and Sunday videos! Follow me @_tonyrossi and get a notification every time I do a periscope. Alternatively, you can catch up on my previous videos on youtube channel.

Also, sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh perspective from someone else. I recommend checking out blogs from my own life coach, Courtney Rioux, who offers help to both artists and entrepreneurs.

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Photo stolen lovingly from Gretchen Kelley Photography

And if you’re really looking to switch things up….head over to hulu and see her as paramedic Courtney on Chicago Med 😉

Have a great month, my friends. Go get ‘em.

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The problem with a “crazy, awesome” life

I used to be a big fan of the phrase “crazy awesome life.”

Lots of money in the bank. Taking frequent vacations. Doing work that doesn’t feel like work. And best of all, time to spend with those who matter most to us.

I think the bullet points are all important pieces to the puzzle we should aim to put together for ourselves. With that, I’m rethinking the phrase. There are plenty of people I know who would like a better life, but don’t necessarily want to put in the time or effort to create it. Instead they “settle” for what they have. And god do I hate that word….

How then do we share with others why it’s worth it to put in the extra work?

Recently I watched a video from Marie Folio. If you’re an entrepreneur, this channel is for you. Her tips are incredibly insightful. Her delivery is kind, quirky, and unapologetically herself – something I love to see in others!

This video was  on “How to Overcome A Devastating Setback.” In the video, Dr. Cathy Collautt uses a phrase multiple times that jumped right out at me: “In order to live a life worth living….”

A life worth living.

A crazy and fun life is more than just fun. It’s necessary. That means we have to put in the work. We have to go through setbacks. We have to spend time paying our dues now so that we can reap the benefits later.

There’s another story I’ll share from Jim Rohn’s “The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.”

A master gathers his servants and gives each a number of talents (wages). He tells the servants to look after them carefully. Two of the servants went out, traded, and doubled their talents. The third, being more cautious, decided to bury his. When the master later asks how they fared with their talents, the third servant must confess his actions. The story concludes with the master taking away his talent and giving it to one of the other servants. (Another lesson entirely – we’ll save that for a future post.)

We can take all our money and hide it so we never go broke. We can lock ourselves in our homes and avoid other people so we never get sick or expose ourselves to danger. We could stay single the rest of our lives so we don’t experience a broken heart.

….none of that to me sounds very fun. Certainly not a “life worth living” in my book. There are even studies showing that companionship and love leads to a longer life!

I say it’s more than just “nice” to live a crazy, awesome life. It’s necessary. I’m going for it.

There's no way

Wanna join me?

Let’s go get ‘em, my friends.

#ShoutOutTuesday: Robyn Coffin

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 work that I think others should know about.

Today’s Shout Out: Robyn Coffin

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The year was 2011. It had been less than a year since I moved to Chicago. I found myself cast in a play about baseball called “Black and Blue” by Factory Theatre.  I was thrilled. Though I had no clue this would be more than just a credit on my resume.

Not only was there a solid cast of cool artists,  the company members were often present and incredibly friendly. This community was just what I needed, having not made many friends. After this experience, I’m happy to say I made many. One of said friends includes Robyn.

At the time Robyn was an actress who was also waiting tables. Today? Admittedly I haven’t asked her how she pays the bulk of her bills. But I’m pretty sure serving isn’t in the picture.

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Many know Robyn for playing Cindy Herrmann on the hit NBC show Chicago Fire.  Some also know her as an acting instructor at Vagabond School of the Arts. Or if you’re friends with her on facebook, you know her from these gigs, her frequent bookings, but above all – her friendship.

Robyn gets a shout out not because of her resume (though it’s pretty spiffy too). She gets a shout out because of who she is with that resume. Anytime she enters a room, she gets everyone either smiling or laughing. Often laughing. Please, someone tell me of a time where Robyn Coffin’s wicked sense of humor didn’t make you laugh!

So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with Robyn, now’s the time 🙂 Check out her IMDB page (above) or her private coaching and classes she offers. Or, if you’re like me and enjoy podcasts, give this a listen.

 

Robyn, you’re a great example of what Chicago is all about: A great person, does what she loves, and adds value to others through your work friendship.

Keep going, my friend. We’re all rooting for you 🙂
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Be happy. That thing you’re worried about? Future-you isn’t even thinking about it right now 🙂 

How I Stay Positive When Things Are Negative

 

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of negativity following a tragic event. As someone who focuses on positivity and sharing that message with others, it’s challenging to make others happy when many are sad or angry.

Allow me to share some #TonyTips on how to avoid falling into a hole of negativity hole.

Avoid the news

Don’t won’t watch it. Don’t listen to it. Once you’ve been informed – you’re informed. No need to immerse yourself in details that don’t change the situation or allow you to do anything about it. Most of the time, you don’t need updates. You don’t need stories on the upbringing of the people who caused the tragedy.

This doesn’t mean you don’t care. In fact, it’s okay to give yourself days or times to feel sad about it. When you’re spending downtime on a break from work on on your way home to see family, that’s often not the time you want to feel sad or angry.

Instead, wait for the stories of warmth that come from the situation. Or learn more about the people it’s affecting. You can pick up details this way, plus learn ways to help. Or perhaps you’ll hear about others who are doing taking things in their own hands to help. Reading stories like this are bound to put you in a better mood.

Hide people on facebook

I do this. A lot. (Sorry guys).

I’ve shared before how I think we’re all doing social media “wrong.” Seeing comments about how terrible the world is takes a toll on us after a while. Investing too much time into a story about a terrible person does the same. Reading angry rants and opinions? Well that’s not going to do anyone any good. The more we limit the amount of negative opinions, the better our day is going to go.

Focus on the positives results from the negatives

A year and a half ago, one of my childhood friends passed away. It was a sad week, and has had sad times that have followed. Yet from this situation, an out pour of love and support have come towards the family. It’s also affected my own life in a lot of positive ways.

This doesn’t mean I’m glad it happened. Rather, I’m choosing to focus on the good that’s come from it. And yes, I still have times I’m sad. Thinking positive allows you to focus on the good – when you’re ready for it.

 

Below is a picture and post I made on facebook earlier this week:

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Being positive doesn’t mean being in denial.

Bad things happen. Bad people exist. Bad situations will occur.

Being positive means you still believe in good despite those things.

And tonight when I saw a pride flag hanging up from a church, I saw another example of how good things are happening. Doesn’t mean bad things aren’t. But I like to focus on the good as we work toward fixing the bad.

 

Go get ’em, friends.

 

#ShoutOutTuesday: Jonathan Broeker

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 work that I think others should know about.

Today’s Shout Out: Jonathan Broeker
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Photo: Stolen lovingly from polymyth.com/about/

 

Disclaimer: I met the writer/filmmaker/guy-who-does-marketing-and-communications at Polymyth last night.

I was attending the Chicago Acting in Film Meetup. The topic was networking. If your name is Tony Rossi, you may find yourself with some thoughts regarding networking and an evening towards it…

-I already know how to network

-Is this going to be a discussion on how to dress and behave? I really don’t want to buy more clothes…

-Is this going to be one of those things that’s better for other people, but not me?

-Are people going to notice my hair today? I think it looks pretty good…

Since I (ahem) didn’t get permission to share his thoughts, plus want to respect our rule of “what’s said in the meetup stays at the meetup,” I’ll refrain from sharing the pages of copious notes I took.

Needless to say, I had some different insights leaving last night…

-This guy is good

-This guy is really good

-I already knew somethings about networking. But not the way he describes it.

-He was on set how long today? How is his hair better than mine?

Jonathan isn’t just good at what he does – he’s a good person who cares about helping others.

I will share this: That was a big theme of his talk last night. Networking isn’t about selling yourself. It’s about helping others. I believe if more of us can grasp this concept, we can approach networking events and enjoy them more! If no one is selling and everyone is helping, what’s not to like?

 

Thanks for your insights last night, Jonathan 🙂

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Want an update each time there’s a positive post up here? There’s a lovely “Follow” button in your bottom right corner. 

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

Take Ownership. Be Happier. (Then Tip Accordingly)

I’m going to toot my own horn for a minute here: I’ve gotten pretty damn good over the years at saving money and time when it comes to food.

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Cooking in bulk saves time – leftovers! 

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Packed some food prior to flying home last week. Had some healthy options ready to go for my first couple days! 

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More packed meals for the flight home! 

With the exception of my amazing ability to empty my wallet by the second inning of a baseball game, I’ve learned tricks to pack meals and avoid inconveniences on the go. On visits home, however, it’s a different story. Family dinners and coffee with friends are a common occurrence. I enjoy these experiences, so I make time for them as I can. Below are a few experiences I had on my vacation last week that diiiiidn’t quite go according to plan….

 

What happened: I was budgeting, but really wanted to treat myself to breakfast. I ordered a couple of eggs, a side of veggies, and coffee. Next thing I knew, I was receiving a large plate of eggs, veggies, toast, and home fries. I ordered sides, but received the “combo.” This was going to cost more.

Taking ownership: If you’re looking to save money, you should avoid eating out all together.

 

What happened: I decided last minute to join family for lunch. I only had a short amount of time before meeting another friend for coffee. So we picked a spot right by the coffee shop with just enough time for dining. Due to an error….my food order wasn’t placed. My family had finished eating before my food had even arrived (I encouraged them to start without me). I was late to coffee with my friend.

Taking ownership:  If you’re on a set agenda, consider quicker food options (take out, just ordering drinks, etc.) Avoid sit down restaurants where issues like this can happen.

PS – I’ve been a server – I’m well aware of all of said issues. In a busy, popular place, there’s a lot that can go wrong very quickly J

 

Let’s be clear, here: None of these are real problems. I’m highlighting this because a lot of the time we get upset over delays and unforeseen circumstances. It’s easy to get upset and angry, when the mistake or delay shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Some thoughts on this:

1) It’s a waste of energy: Unless you’re going to ask the server (or whomever is responsible) for a change, the “letting off steam” to others approach is just going to drain you and make you more unhappy. Please keep this in mind over events that should be fun, like dinners and outings with friends.  (Side note: If you’re going to ask someone in the service industry to fix the error, tip accordingly. Even if they’re at fault, you’re causing a delay and more work to them, and possibly other staff and customers.)

2) Realize that problems are always a possibility. This isn’t a pessimistic view. Rather, it’s a chance to prepare so that when problems do arise, you’re ready.

There’s always a chance you could run into traffic. Consider leaving earlier, even if that means killing time beforehand.

There’s always a chance public transportation could have a delay. Either consider leaving early, or find another way of getting there. (This is a big reason I love biking.)

There’s always a chance your “supposed to be quick” meal could hit a snag and take twice as long. Considering packing a snack or coming up with a Plan B for food options. (Email me if you need tips! As I mentioned, I’m a pro when it comes to saving money on food.

3) Realize that bad things can happen to good people. No matter how nice of a person you are, the Universe sometimes has “off” days. Again, not being a pessimist 🙂 It’s acknowledging these things that save you energy and keep you happier when they do happen.

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And then there are some people who always make you happy. An after dinner picture with my cousins Danielle and Samantha 🙂 

Sound good?

Good. Go get ‘em.

#ShoutOutTuesday: Nate McNiff

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 work that I think others should know about.

This week’s shout out: Nate McNiff*

*Includes the man, the voice, and the beard. 

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“Nathan is at the top of my list for voice over work. He has excellent range, he understands his audience, and there is so much character in his voice….I recommend Nathan for any job!” –Mary Bloand, CEO, Anchor Hitch Media (Stolen lovingly from Nate’s Website)

He’s a friendly guy, a positive thinker, and someone who appreciates all things Salem, Massachusetts. This gives him over a hundred Tony-points right off the bat, so the guy has an unfair advantage. But did you see him when he grew that epic beard?

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Yup. It was real. Just ask the talented Nicole Beauchaine (left) if you don’t believe me

Nate and I were buddies having worked the New England Pirate Museum together. We’ve reconnected more recently while bonding over chat about positive mindset and thinking big.

You know I like thinking big.

I’ll let Nate’s work on his website do the talking. He’s a creative artist who has found a knack for voice over work. Give him a quick listen if you have a minute and ten seconds.

But as far as his mindset goes – it doesn’t get much better than Nate’s. He’s positive, friendly, and can turn your day around in a hurry. (He gives good hugs, too).

I hope all of you get a chance to experience Nate’s friendship. Very grateful for you, buddy.

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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 🙂 

3 Things I Learned From My Angry Neighbor

Isn’t it fun to share something at someone else’s expense? Look at all the live tweeting from other people’s arguments and conversations that have gone viral. Stories like these provide a lot of entertainment and amusement.

….but that’s not what this post is about. Yes, it’s a story about someone else. But it’s not to poke fun. It’s to share a lesson. I don’t know what was going on with my neighbor – perhaps she was having a really bad day. I can only imagine what my neighbors are writing about me in their blogs….

What happened:

Some work was being done on the apartment next door to mine. Workers were dropping bricks and rocks from a high roof, and they appeared to be hitting some cables attached to the building. Shortly after they began, a resident from the building came outside. She informed the men that the power had gone out, and was quick to share that she believed it was because of them.  Comments including, “You guys need to be more careful!” and “Bunch of morons….” followed by a slammed door ensured. And because she likes to keep her windows open (as do  I), I heard her telling someone “I have no idea what to do!”

To reiterate – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted and cursed because of inconveniences in my apartment. (Unrelated to the building owners – they’re fantastic). I did, however, want to share three tips we can all learn from this situation:

1) If you want something, avoid confrontation.

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I was a bit confrontational that day…(Film: “Kidnapped and Hypnotized.” Writer and director: “Joe Campanella”) 

Have you ever wanted something from someone else and used anger and yelling as a tactic? (Yeah. Me too.) In the heat of the moment, being angry is the reasonable choice. That said, consider who you’re talking to. Often times, we’re yelling at someone whom we might want something from in the future. This applies to landlords, customer service reps, or friends and family members. The last thing you want is for them to fix the problem, resent you, and then find you need their help in the future.

2) Save your energy. Focus on solutions.

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Coffee, baseball, and journaling a great solution to most problems…

Ever had a time where you were so busy being angry that you completely missed the problem being fixed? (Yeah. Me too.) My neighbor was too busy venting that she missed the workers looking at the cables and determining whether or not they had caused the accident in the first place. When we focus on problems, we’re making ourselves more angry. When we focus on the next steps, we’re both fixing the problem and making ourselves feel better.

3) Remember it’s temporary.

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Book credit: “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” Author: Og Mandino 

Guy who underlined and wrote all over the book: Yours Truly

Weather. Traffic. Running late. Loss of power. It’s all temporary. It eventually stops snowing. We eventually arrive to our destination. We eventually find the power restored.

And we’re not going to die.

And to update you all, their power has long been restored. In fact, I noticed the same neighbor has left her light on all day/night…..seems like a waste of power if you ask me….perhaps I should call the building workers….

…kidding.

 

Go get ‘em, guys.