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 😉 

How to make life easier

I’m guessing you’re a busy person, so I’ll just give you the answer here: Stop making it harder.

Okay, obviously we don’t intentionally want life to be harder. But I’ve found there are two areas where we might be taking action towards a goal or emotion hoping it will make us happier, only to learn it actually makes the job harder.

Allow me to share two of my own examples….

I wanted abs.

Up until a few months ago, I thought the answer to getting abs was simple: Cut out a serving of carbs from my nutrition plan and add in an extra ten minute ab routine. When I started a new workout program, I opted to just follow the workout calendar and eat the recommended amount of food – carbs at all.

The result – Less time exercising, more food consumed….and better abs.

Have you ever tried to customize a plan? Maybe it was something created by an expert. Or maybe it was something that’s been shown to work from other successful people in your field. When we recreate the wheel, we end up putting our own take it on based on ideas in our head based on assumptions – not facts.

Make things easier on yourself. Trust the pros, following the plan, and avoiding any extra work.(Again, you’re busy. No need to be busier.)

Also – if you’re like me and like your carbs, these meals were some of my favorites I enjoyed while getting my raging six pack (not really raging…but still….)

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Toasted avocado and tofu sandwich with Ezekiel bread. Side of blueberries. Obviously not plated yet…

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Quinoa omelette! Side of apples, peanuts, and peanut butter. 

 

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Eggs, veggies, and sweet potato crips. I cut up a few slices, throw some paprika on them, and throw them in my air fryer for 5 or 6 minutes. (If you don’t have an air fryer, I’m sure an oven will do the trick.) 

I wanted answers

A few months ago I was venting in the #MyBigYear2016 facebook group  about an uncomfortable situation I was in. It was a time set aside for our coach Courtney Rioux to answer some of our questions. She quickly pointed out that I was focusing on problems and that instead we should focus on solutions.

Another way we make things harder on ourselves is by complaining. We often think we’re sharing ways to find an answer to a problem, when really we’re just expressing thoughts about how unhappy we are. Venting does not lead to answers –and  I’ve had to learn this the hard way.

Many personal development leaders emphasize the importance of asking the right question. If we ask the question, “Why am I always so unhappy?” we’ll come up with a laundry list of reasons to be unhappy. On the flip side, if we ask,” What are some activities I can start doing more of that will make me happier?” we’re leading our brains toward the things we actually want.

Start making things easier by asking better questions and focusing on solutions versus problems.

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From “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” – John C Maxwell

 

Do you have any ideas that help with making life easier? Or some areas where you’ve caught yourself making life harder than it needs to be? Share ‘em below….I could probably benefit from it (and I’m sure my friends could to).

Until next week, my friends.

Let’s go get ‘em.

My Last Minute Audition Story

It was one of those “I have less than 12 hours to prepare” auditions. I wasn’t expecting it.

And when something unexpected happens that throws off your plans for the night/following morning, you naturally start to think certain things:

 

There’s not enough time to prepare.

There is definitely not enough time to prepare.

I have how many sides to learn?

This time slot is really cutting it close to when I need to be at work.

Wait, there’s a monologue too???

I thought they were sending out audition confirmations last week? Why did I get mine tonight?

There’s not enough time to prepare.

 

And then the inner critic decided to pay a visit. So kind of him…

 

The last few times you went to one of these auditions, you didn’t do so well. You probably won’t do well at this on this either.

You’ll probably just embarrass yourself.

If your friends from class knew you were going for this, they’d probably think it’s stupid of you for even thinking you’d get it

They’re going to want someone with more experience with [oh so many things….]

There’s really no point for you to even be –

 

“NO. THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH.”

 

When the critic creeps in, he thinks he’s protecting us. Often that protection comes across as negative and condescending. Next time he shows up, feel free to use that line. Then follow it with this:

“…sorry for shouting.”

(I mean, you don’t wanna be a dick.)

“I see what you’re trying to do. But I’m going to do things my way anyway. Because the truth is….”

(You get the idea. Here were some of mine: )

 

The truth is….

They might love me.

These sides actually aren’t that long. I could totally learn these tonight.

Oh! I could have a lot a lot of fun with that one character.

They seriously might love me.

Why not me?

I work my ass off. That’s how I got this audition.

I submitted for this same type of role months ago. No such luck. I got the audition!

The truth is this is a kickass win

I am SO grateful I got this audition!

Seriously….WHY NOT ME?

 

The aftermath:

The audition? Nailed it. The doubts I had about what they were expecting from me? Didn’t even come into play. My chances? Well…that’s the fun part: IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is I made the most of what I could control. I prepared. I stayed positive. I was present in the room. I didn’t try extra hard to please. I made strong choices.

I had fun.

The amount I learned about myself during those 12 hours was worth it alone. Because if I can rock that audition in a short time period, well hell….what else can I do that I didn’t think I was capable of?

Takeaways:

  • Focus on what it is you can control rather than stressing about the things you can’t. I couldn’t control how little time I had to prepare or the amount of experience I had prior to the audition. I could control learning the lines and making strong choices in the audition room.
  • Be nice to yourself. Incorporate more positive phrases and reading material into your daily routine so that this gets easier. When you do this, these last minute scenarios become more fun. Besides, it’s hard to help those casting if you’re negative and stressed. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them as a thank you for calling you in.

 

 

“Tony. This is all great stuff. Did I mention how incredibly handsome you are?”

Oh right. My positive voice is sometimes a female. She’s kind of into me….

Have a great week, friends. Go get ‘em.

It’s not that you can’t lose weight. It’s that you’re choosing to keep it.

The first time I had a clarity session with Courtney Rioux, we chatted about my job as a server. I was miserable and couldn’t wait to get out. She asked me if I could quit. I answered something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be able to do that and still earn as much as I’m making now.” Her response wasn’t one that I liked:

“Okay. So you’re choosing to stay.”

Excuse me? Um, no. That’s not what I said at all. Was she not listening? I thought she was supposed to be helping me…

Of course, she was right. Sure, quitting my job and replacing my income would be difficult. But difficult is not impossible. And too often we confuse the two.

Think about it:

Work: Can you really not quit your job? Or is the thought of applying to a new one overwhelming? Or maybe you were in my boat and can’t imagine a job where you earn enough, yet have the same (or better) schedule?

Money: Can you really not afford new headshots? An acting class? Seeing a play at Steppenwolf? Or are you choosing to spend your money on Starbucks, take out food, and drinks on the weekend?

Weight loss: Are you really and truly incapable of losing weight? Or are you choosing to give into instant gratification, prone to skipping workouts when you get home from work, and unwilling to invest in a sustainable meal plan? (Note: A sustainable meal plan means you’re not starving yourself. You hopefully have a mix of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, while limiting healthy fats and carbs. But still eating them. More on that later. Or in my inbox later tonight if you need to know this now.)

I promised you a story.

Several months after that clarity session with Courtney, I finally pulled the plug. I quit my job. It was scary, but I knew I’d never have to be handed a dozen credit cards that were all paying the same bill, while I had four other tables also waiting for their checks. (Okay I’m stopping. It’s making me cringe just thinking about it.)

About a month later, I got a phone call from another job I had applied for as a brand ambassador. This introduced to the world of promotional events and in store demonstrations. It’s not always glorious, but most of these gigs either have a high day rate, or pay upwards of $20 an hour. I could easily replace my income from serving with this type of work. My choice to stay at my job was limiting me from exploring solutions that I didn’t even know existed.

This isn’t to say that any of the excuses I shared above aren’t justified. Almost all of those are ones I’ve said myself. Rather, with a consistent commitment to your own self-improvement, you’re capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.

So here’s my question to you: Why would you choose not to go after that life?

Go get ‘em, friends.

Wanna know how I started connecting with Courtney? She had just held one of her free calls, open to anyone. She doesn’t do these often, but she’s got one tonight (Thursday 10/29) at 6:30pm central/7:30pm eastern. I’ll be on. I hope you will too.