Dear Actors…..

Hi. It’s Tony.

You might know me, you might not. (Either way it’s cool.)

I just wanted to share some thoughts with you as a 29 year old actor, still working day jobs, and very much looking forward to…not working day jobs. I’m not where I want to be yet. And I have my share of “Am I doing this right?” days. That said – I know I’m exactly where I need to be and exactly on the right track.

Three years ago, I started reading personal development books. “Tony… I’ve never heard of personal development.” Here’s the Tony-version: Personal development involves books, materials, and other types of formal/informal training that either give you a better understanding of yourself or of others. You’ll learn about these things in a positive and productive way. With consistent application, you become more realistic about your goals while remaining optimistic about the obstacles. 

Personal development has changed my life in a lot of ways. But if I had to sum it up in one word, it’d be this one: confidence. I feel better about myself. I feel better about how I look. I feel unstoppable when it comes to my goals. It’s pretty bad ass. And because of personal development, I’ve found I bring a better “Tony 2.0” to my acting career. I’m unapologetic for who I am as a person, so I’m unapologetic when I audition. I’m more confident when presenting myself. And if I mess up in class – eh. It makes me more human. Not a bad thing at all. 

This wonderful thing I found isn’t something everyone knows about. I see a lot of people who could be crushing it in their field, if only they had more confidence. But fear not, friends. I got good news: Personal development can be learned by anyone. In fact, you’re hearing this from a guy who use to loathe reading. (Unless the title started with “Harry Potter and….”) 

So if you’re not a reader, not into personal development, and haven’t yet gained that confidence that you year for, I’ll share a little secret with you that I picked up. This is just for you. And it’s this – You are awesome. 

Seriously. You’re a badass. Think about it: You’re purusing an acting career. You’re here for a reason. And unless you find yourself hating the stage, hating the camera, or dreading the thought of your friends and family all crowding on the couch to watch your debut on Chicago Fire, please know you’re doing the right thing and you’re on the right path. (Especially if you think you’re, like, way behind from where you should be.)

So do yourself a favor – realize right now – yes, RIGHT NOW – that you’re a badass and don’t need to apologize for any “imperfections” that may or may not exist. You’re not doing the class a disservice by bringing your weird interpretation to the role. You’re not bothering the casting associates who are sitting in for your general call. If they are bothered, it’s because they need a career change – not you. So take charge. Acknowledge your inner awesomeness. You. Fucking. Deserve it. 

It’s time you acknowledged it. Actually, you should have started this yesterday, but I’ll cut you some slack. So please. There’s a lot of people out there waiting for you to show up, be you, and even pay you for doing what you love. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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PS – If you’re a Salem State University student, please hear these words…but also realize you’re on the right track. After sitting in and chatting with you guys this past week, I’ve found that you guys are well aware of just how fucking awesome you are. Kudos, my 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 own terms.

He also loves to write 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 😉 

Strugging? Have a setback? So were these 5 MLB All Stars…

Whether you’re a fan of baseball or looking to become an All Star in your own field, this one is for you.

Being a die hard fan myself, I often think about how wonderful it must be to be an athlete. Sure, there’s a hectic travel schedule and you’re under a big media spotlight. But how cool is it that you get to work every day doing what you love?

Last month I watched the 2016 All Star Game played in San Diego. (From my studio apartment. In Chicago.) I couldn’t help but notice there were a few athletes playing who weren’t exactly living an all star life in their recent past.

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Jackie Bradley, Jr: This season he’s been on fire for the Red Sox. The guy is a becoming a fan favorite in the Boston area after his impressive 29 game hit streak. I’m sure many fans aren’t thinking about how only a year ago he was struggling at the plate and endured multiple visits down to the Paw Sox – a Red Sox AAA team. I even doubted whether or not he’d be in Boston in 2016.

Will Meyers: This man got a standing-O practically every time he was featured in the All Star game. He was representing the Padres in their own ball park, much to the delight of the fans. Speaking of fans, anyone remember the time he got heckled relentlessly by Red Sox fans during the 2013 playoffs after a fielding blunder?

Wilson Ramos: This year the 29 year old represented the Washington Nationals for the National League. However, he endured a devastating struggle five years ago: Just after his rookie season, Ramos was kidnapped from his home in a hostage situation in Venezuela. Many were more concerned about his life – not the fact that he might never play baseball again.

Steven Wright: The knuckleballer for the Red Sox humbly accepted his first All Star nomination this year. After listening to him in a post game interview, fans got a chance to hear how he nearly quit baseball five years ago. Had it not been for the support of his wife, he probably would have. (Men, take note.)

[Source: The wonderful journal of Tony Rossi….but notes were from post game show on WEEI ;)]

David Ortiz: What’s not to love about David Ortiz? We’d be here all day if we were listing his accomplishments for the Boston Red Sox. All loyal Sox fans are familiar with his triumphs. But what about his struggles? Having just listened to a podcast, it was revealed that he broke down in tears after being released from the Minnesota Twins. He wasn’t sure he’d play baseball ever again.

[Source: Boston Red Sox Podcast – “A History’s Perspective.” Guest: Adrian Burgos]

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I miss the guy already. Caught him at Fenway earlier this season! 

Anytime there’s an abundance of evidence showing failure and setbacks, I tend to focus on more of them. I often see them in my acting career as well as my journey as a fitness and mindset coach. What I can’t see in those moments? The future. When we can’t picture an awesome future, it’s hard to get through the struggle

I love these stories. They share how a #notperfect chapter doesn’t dictate our final conclusion.

Go after that conclusion. The struggle isn’t all there is.

Go get ’em.

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.

Do work that you love (and don’t play the lottery)

I’ll be honest – I hate the lottery.

For starters, it implies that there’s an easy way out. It implies that life is going to suck unless we’re that one in a million person who had things “just work out.” I’ll stop here. It’s making me upset…I don’t like being upset.

Second, it implies that once we reach a certain point in our lives, then we’ll be happy.

I call bullshit on both these points. Especially the second one. Let’s talk about that.

I moved to Chicago to be an actor. These days I spend more time at my promotional job and working from home coaching others with their health goals. I don’t neglect acting, but I certainly spend more time in the other two areas. Once I have more time for acting (and trust me, that’s coming), I’ll definitely be happier. However, time is not the only indicator on whether or not acting makes me happy.

If you’re a member of the Thriving Artist Circle, you know that Dallas Travers does one-on-one coaching calls each month. More recently, she and Roz Coleman were coaching actors on their goals – and it wasn’t at all what I was used to. I was used to the “do what you need to do to be a fulltime actor.” With this call, it emphasized being an actor and doing the type of work that you truly and honestly love to do.

*Record screech* Wait, wait? I thought being a fulltime actor was the answer?

Being a fulltime actor would be fun because it would mean less time working JOBs and working on what we’re truly good at. Now let’s fast forward to that magical day where acting pays all the bills: What is it about acting that excites you?

-Is it sharing a message to others that they wouldn’t have otherwise learned through your work?

-Is it telling stories in a specific way?

-Is it the process of dissecting a script and getting to know your character?

Because of it’s any of those , I got some follow up questions for ya:

-Will doing industrials for corporate companies help with this?

-Will doing film work – where I have little to no rehearsal time – help satisfy my passion for character work?

-Is that one liner role on Chicago Fire going to satisfy my need for dissecting a script?

This isn’t to say that the answer will be no. In fact, my dream job is to be a full time theatre actor.  Yet all three of those examples are jobs that I would gladly take.

Tony stops writing for a moment to see if he had any missed calls/emails about said work.

…Sorry. Anyway, the point is to focus on what you do want and how you do want to feel. I recommend focusing on those things now, prior to that magical day where you have financial freedom and can do whatever you want.

If you watched my facebook video earlier this week, you say that it breaks my heart seeing people working jobs they hate. Life is too short. Go after what you love. And be sure it is, in fact, what you love.

Speaking of which…love you guys. Thanks for reading.

Go get ‘em.

Have a friend who would like this? I’m always grateful for shares or shout outs on social media. The more people we can reach sharing messages of positivity and support, the better =)