“You might as well win in your own fantasies.” 

I don’t dislike work.

I wake up early on my days off. I exercise. I set aside business hours for acting, writing, and big picture goals. Unfortunately, most of this list doesn’t pay much. (Or anything.) I don’t dislike work. I just like a lot of work that doesn’t pay.

In January of this year, one of my part time jobs showed a decrease in shifts. I realized this would likely continue and that I would need to figure something out and soon. So I launched what I called my “creative income pursuit” – a search for day jobs working for people and places that inspire and uplift me. To no one’s surprise, there’s a lot more places hiring right now that would do anything but inspire and uplift me. And with each passing day, that negative voice looooves to chime in with his thoughts on my well being:

“Tony. You still haven’t figured this out yet. You know that, right? You can’t just keep doing this ‘work fun jobs’ thing forever. And if you really want to be happy, start dating, and buy new workout equipment, you’re going to have to, like, start making more money, And besides, how do you expect to be a well rounded human outside of acting if you’re not making any money? Seriously Tony…” 

Fortunately, I love distracting myself with positive and uplifting videos and audios. I found another good one shortly after one of my many spirals of negative thoughts the other night. It was from the monthly Dallas Travers Hot Seat Coaching Call that I get to from my Thriving Artist Circle membership. While coaching an actor, she shared a gem that she picked up from her spiritual psychology training: 

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I also like to write down cool quotes I hear and then hang them up in my apartment

Isn’t it fascinating how quickly we go to the negative? 

I often refer to that negative voice as a person. I call him Fred. Fred likes to “keep me safe” by pointing out all the gloom and doom scenarios that might or might not happen. Meanwhile, there’s another voice. I call her “cute girl who likes my hair.” What’s great about cute-girl is that she is much more kind and loving than Fred. 

“Hey you! First off, I love your blogs. They’re so funny! You’re adorable. Anyway, just wanted to say I noticed that you the other day you actually submitted for four gigs yesterday that you prefer not to work. That’s great that you’re taking action, even though it doesn’t exactly fall in line with your “creative income pursuit.”  Also, did I see you applied for two writing gigs and two talent agenicies in the past twenty four hours? Look at youuuu! Did I mention I love your hair…?” 

Let me be clear: Both voices are fake. Neither are real people talking…So…why not make up something awesome?

Let’s be happy.

Let’s go get ‘em. 

***   ***   ***

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to write first person blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him attony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

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How to (Professionally) Put Yourself First

 

Experience #1:

It was a shit day. And it was only 10:06 am.

My internet bill was unusually high. I had two emails informing me of projects I participated in that needed fixing. An employer was asking me to come in early. Oh, and then my bike got a flat….I wasn’t exactly feeling “authentically positive,” like I strive to be.

I got another call from the employer. They were requesting a new time change for the day.

“Oh sure! No problem.”

This wasn’t the answer I wanted to give. I don’t like changing my schedule. But I wanted this job. And I needed the money. After realizing the other things I needed to get done that day (not to mention a new thing where I had to fix my bike,) I realized this wasn’t going to work. I called back the employer, requested an alternative time, and worked out a compromise.

Experience #2

Different day.

I got a text before bed from a different employer. It said my weekend shifts had been reassigned and that I would now be working in the suburbs. Since I don’t have a car, I typically avoid these shifts. I replied back, respectfully declining the assignment. They answered with an offer to reimburse me for travel. I started to realize that not only was this a longer shift (aka – more money) but it could score me brownie points with the company.

I almost took it. But again, I remembered other responsibilities I had that day. I respectfully declined again….they offered me back my original shifts.

Putting yourself first

It’s easy to think we have to do what others want. I find this goes double when we’re younger and “working our way up” to some of our goals (particularly financial ones). We don’t want to upset or offend. We really don’t want to lose potential income. But in both these experiences, I realized that I could make double the amount of money I was currently making, but still go to bed stressed out with things like scheduling and less time on goals and personal projects.

I needed to take charge. Even if it meant earning less.

When you find yourself wanting to put yourself first – that’s okay. Remember to a) be professional, and b) be upfront with your communication. And c), realize that as you do this, you’re exercising a form of self care that will allow you to better serve others.

 

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Note: You can also put yourself first by going to the movies for the first time in six years…though you might be surprised that the seats have gotten MUCH nicer….also, “Hidden Figures” is awesome. 

 

Go get ‘em, friends.

****    ****    ****

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms.

He also loves to write first person blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire whether or not he can do some writing for you!  tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

I got shit done. It didn’t make me happy.

I woke up early. (It’s okay. I love waking up early.) 

I ate my favorite breakfast (chocolate oatmeal), listened to Wendy Braun tell me I’m amazing. Then listened to Mark Manson tell me to get my shit together. 

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I love my mornings like this – desk is cluttered (along with a Vitamin D pill), yet it’s got all the nutrients for the mind and body that I need. It’s awesome. It makes me happy. 

I went to Starbucks. 

I got shit done. I drank coffee. Then more coffee. (I love the gold card. I really do.) 

I went home. 

I got more shit done. (Not as much as I would have liked, but enough.) I listened to the Red Sox Spring training game. Tim Neverett retweeted me. I got an industry discount for a show this weekend. (My friends are awesome – thank you.) I texted friends. I exercised. I even went the extra mile and bundled up, got out my bike, and did a late night (for me) grocery run. 

Oh, and did I mention that I also saved money by skipping my original plan to take the train somewhere fun and creative like WeWork or Front Bar (where I would have paid more for coffee)? 

I. Crushed. My. Day. 

….and to be honest…it sucked. 

“Wait. Tony. You just just bragged about crushing it…why did it suck?.” 

It wasn’t until I did my late night grocery run that I realized how much I hate staying indoors all afternoon. I hate not having something to work on projects outside of agent submissions and day job gigs. There was a time when I loved to just lounge around and chill. That day is long gone. Today, I need something to do. Something meaningful. (Though, throw a script in my hands to memorize and suddenly I “need more down time.”) 

I realized that I’m wired in a way – or however the hell you wanna label it – that makes me want to do things maybe a little differently. I love my morning routine. I love getting work done from places outside of my apartment. But that’s not enough. Truth be told, I got revitalized by biking up the street to Aldi to get groceries in a sketchy part of town. I didn’t even mind that it took me a few extra minutes to unlock my bike because one of my lights needed fixing. (Don’t worry – I fixed it.) 

I like getting out. I like getting shit done. 

And it’s okay if you don’t. 

What matters is that you’re aware of what makes you tick and what turns you on.. In all senses. (Sorry, family friendly audience.) What matters is that you set a routine that’s obtainable and sustainable. It gets your own shit done and makes you happy. 

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I was my happiest self the week prior when I took advantage of getting some work done from WeWork….the coffee helps.

I hope you start to recognize that, my friends. Because you deserve to be your happiest self in the most authentic and awesome way possible. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

****    ****    ****

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

Be you. Not your friend.

Actor friends. Stop me if you heard this one. 

You did a show. It went great. You loved your cast. The show closes. Next thing you know, someone from your cast goes on to book a bunch of awesome things….

-A role with your all time favorite theatre company

-A speaking role on a Chicago television show

-Another speaking on a non Chicago television show. 

Meanwhile, you were…

-Working in more shows, but not ones that were getting the attention or publicity as your friend’s

-Continue to work day jobs that you don’t like. 

-Later find yourself in between projects and embarrassed to answer the question, “So…what are you working on right now?” 

I’m a big fan of Marie Forleo. She spoke about comparison in a recent episode of “Marie TV” (which you can watch in full here). I’ve included some of my favorite quotes: 

“There are not limited spots on the podium.” 

“[The comparison impulse] is addictive, deadly, and will destroy your happiness if you let it.”

“People say, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’ I’ve called it ’The hamburgler of happiness!’”  

When one person is succeeding next to us in our field, It’s very easy to get upset. But here’s the really crazy part of all this – most of the time we don’t bother to examine why that person is ahead of us. Personally I think our energies are better directed at our own goals and tasks, but let’s pretend “you can’t help it” for a minute….(For the record, I think that you “can’t help it” it’s bullshit, but I’m in a good mood and still have some coffee left, so I’ll play….)

I recently saw two different successful actor friends pop up on the internet for multiple theatre companies I want to work with. Wanna know what I discovered? They’ve been doing theatre in Chicago for a while. Like, a long while. We’re talking my list of top five favorite Chicago theatre companies when before they had hit double digits in age. Wanna know what I was doing before I was ten years old? Drawing pictures of baseball players. And watching baseball. Really anything that could make me believe that I was going to be a baseball player. 

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Sorry guys. 29 Year Old Tony is not going to be a baseball player. But he pulls off this Red Sox winter hat pretty well, in my opinion…

My friends. It is a waste of time to look outside your own lane. It’s yours. Besides, once I start booking roles with said theatre companies….is it really going to matter that I arrived at the same finish line as them just a couple of decades later? 

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In the meantime? I’m okay with being in the email newsletter for Broken Nose Theatre. They’ve been pretty cool to work with 🙂 

I think not. Who knows – maybe we’ll all do a show together. That’d be awesome. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

Get what you want…by not getting what you want

I like when things are perfect. 

While I promote being #notperfect on social media, I continue to get humbling reminders about how I’m still learning to be positive when a wrench gets thrown in my schedule. If things don’t go according to plan – like, exactly according to plan – I freak out and am convinced the day is ruined. 

Take yesterday morning, for example: I woke up. I found it wasn’t raining. I immediately decided I was going to bike to Steppenwolf Front Bar and do my work from there. I love Steppenwolf and knew I had to get out of my apartment to do work. Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it. I had my plan! I bundled up, put on my coat, packed my bag, and threw on my bike helmet. 

…and then realized it had started raining. 

#notperfect

I went back inside, contemplating what to do. I wasn’t pleased. But I had things to do. I decided to just start working from home.

…and proceeded to have one of my most productive mornings in a long time. 

Sometimes we get what we want by not getting what we originally wanted. 

Ever have your plans cancelled due to weather? Or perhaps a change in weekend activities when a friend bails on you? This is the concept in a nutshell. The cool thing is that not only does it teach us to control on the things we can control, but it can help us be more comfortable when this happens with bigger situations. 

I had an awesome plan to intern this summer at a place I really respect and admire. I thought it’d be great if I got it, and was pretty determined to get it. Long story short – I found out that the typical applicant is expected to meet some expectations that I didn’t meet. At first I was pretty upset. Until I remembered this concept. 

Here’s a way to look at your future change of plans, whatever they might be: “I can’t (work there this summer)? Interesting. I wonder what else is now available for me…

The more we grasp this concept, the better we can handle disappointments. The more we can handle disappointments, the more authentically positive we become. 

No bullshit. No faking. No suppressing. 

Doesn’t that sound fun? 

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One of my favorite reminders hanging up on my wall. (I kind of like sticky notes.)

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.