Why there’s nothing wrong with you (even though you think there is)

I recently had a class with Robyn Coffin.

Robyn is a Chicago actress best known for playing Cindy Herrmann on Chicago Fire. She’s a teacher at Vagabond School of the Arts and just an all around delightful human being.

And perhaps most important of all, she’s also had the honor of being the first ever guest on the Tony Rossi Show Podcast. (It’s like, a really big deal…)


Last week in class, Robyn shared a powerful lesson on how we all learn lines differently – some are auditory learners. Some are visual. And some need to be sitting in their favorite chair with a glass of wine, while visualizing the day that, they too, are an honored guest on the Tony Rossi show. (She’d didn’t flat out share this last point, but it was pretty obvious through the tone of her voice…..)

We also discussed how different things may be challenging to us due to our nature. For example, she shared how hard math was for her because she was a lefty!

What this really highlighted for me was how we’re all different and we each have different learning styles….

And yet – how often do we try to “fit in” by assuming that there’s a one size fit all approach??

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach” – Robyn Coffin. (Who said this in class and I wrote it down but she might have said it differently so don’t please don’t anyone sue me….)

I tried fitting in a lot in high school….and quickly realized it wasn’t working. I was a skinny male, loved musical theatre, never had a serious girlfriend, and didn’t look like any of the popular kids….so naturally I just put two and two together and realized I might be gay…..

…even though I was never attracted to men.

One of my favorite things about being involved as a member of the Chicago acting community is that I get to hear the perspective of my peers. They too have their struggles. They too feel like they’re “not enough” at times. They too wonder, “Is this acting thing ever gonna work out?”

Guys. We are enough. And we’re enough regardless of whether or not we’re “like” anyone else.

As Darren Hardy recently said on one of his darrendaily’s – if something is popular, there’s a good chance it’s not worth pursuing.

So relax and ENJOY that you’re different. It’s okay to have your own style. And realize that there’s others just like you who are going to love you for being your unique, awkward, and #notperfect self.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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Hey! Did you check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast yet? 

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow


1 Reason You Don’t Need a Standout Resume

The following shares how I felt after booking a job with one of my favorite Chicago theatres. It was originally written for Backstage.com. Read on, my friends 🙂  

Have you ever had an audition where you thought, “There’s no way I’m going to book this.”

I recently had an audition for one of my favorite theaters in Chicago. I didn’t care that it was an understudy gig—it was my type and a chance to work with people I love. I wanted it.

After reading the script, a few thoughts came to mind, compliments of my inner critic. I call him Fred. Fred proceeded to tell me the following…

“There’s no way you’ll book this.”

“You’re so not right for the part.”

“That character they want you/me to read for is how old? Oh god. Ha! Good luck with that.”

I told friends I wouldn’t book it. I told my parents I wouldn’t book it. I figured this would just be a chance to meet some decision makers who would consider me down the road.

And then I booked the gig.

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I was a little excited to work on this new Calamity West play! 


I’m fairly certain after reading the offer email that I scared away half the customers at the coffee shop I was working in. I was thrilled! I hadn’t even had my second cup of coffee yet but immediately knew it was going to be a good day.

Of course, it wasn’t long before Fred chimed in again…

“They probably just had a low turnout.”

“This is just their B cast. They don’t actually expect you to go on.”

“It’s not a big deal. I’m sure the other friends you saw at the audition booked it, too. You’re nothing special.

As a result of working with coaches who I believe to be experts at personal development, I stopped listening to Fred. Mentors including Courtney Rioux, Dallas Travers, and DaJuan Johnson have all helped me remember that I do deserve it and I am perfect for the part. Even if it was a low turnout and the rest of my friends booked it as well, I’m still awesome. I’m still enough.

Careful of your own Fred. He means well, but he’s not as smart as you. You are awesome. You are enough. And you don’t need a standout resume for that to be true.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂 

Wanna see more? Check out my actor website or YouTube channel!

Wanna make sure you never miss a post? Click the “Follow” button in the right corner to enter your email and subscribe! 

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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. 


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? 


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. 


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.

What Happens When You Focus On Highlight Reels

So I have no television.

Having no television means you don’t watch a lot of the things you used to. When I get the chance, I’m a sucker for watching baseball highlights.  They show the pros at their best. The announcers are excited. There’s music playing in background.

I love ‘em. But they give us a false impression. This is especially the case if they’re focused on a particular individual.


As if the pic isn’t great enough…it’s from a site called “Chowder and Champions.” 

On September 12th of last month, Papi launched the 500th homer of his career into the bleachers of Tropicana Field. He was the 27th player in baseball ever to do so. When he returned to Fenway Park in Boston, a pregame ceremony was held in his honor. It even included a montage of all 500 of his home runs. As a diehard fan that adores David Ortiz (with a life goal of receiving a bear hug from the guy), I can guess watching it live was pretty neat.

Here’s the thing: That reel was a highlight reel. What it didn’t show was his slump of ’09, where it took nearly two months to hit home run number one of the season. It didn’t show when he was tested positive for banned substances shortly after. And as far as I know, it didn’t show the time he got ejected and beat the crap out of the dugout phone in Tampa (ironically, the same place he hit number 500).

This isn’t to take away any of David’s incredible accomplishments. Rather, it’s to emphasize that even the best have their bad days. These typically don’t get shown.

As an actor and entrepreneur, I know all too well the frustration of seeing others succeed at the goals that I so desperately want. I see their facebook page. I see photos from their second national commercial. And oh, they work with that agent I’ve been trying to get a hold of? Of course they do.

It’s easy to get frustrated.

Know this: Frustration and jealousy is a choice. It’s not necessarily a switch we can flip that suddenly makes us happy. It’s something we can gradually incorporate into our routine over time. (Message me. I know some tips 😉 )

Even the best have their bad days. Comparing ourselves to their highlight reel is a waste of time and energy. It leads to disappointment and focusing on what we don’t have. Look at what you’ve already accomplished on your own, unique, and individual path to success.

So…what are you going to do to make today amazing?


Jealous Of Successful People? Try This Instead

I’ve been chatting a lot with people regarding the topic of jealousy and comparing ourselves to others. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Your friend gets a speaking role on Chicago Fire. You’re still struggling to find representation. Clearly they’re doing something right and you’re not……right?


I’m going to ask you to put aside your thoughts that you “absolutely know to be true,” as well as your pride, just for the next few minutes. If you’re always getting jealous and comparing yourself to others, this could be a game changer.

Stop the comparison

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. I’m not talking about age. I’m talking about your specific beginning to whatever path you’re on. It’s your path. Just because someone reaches their goals before you is irrelevant. Stop paying attention to them. Start paying attention to you.

Stop focusing on the negative areas

A habit I’ve noticed that jealous people have is that they’re putting their energies into the wrong places. When they could be focusing on what they could do better at their next audition, they’re focusing on how unfair it is that someone else got the part they wanted. Not only does this lead to a bunch of negativity, but it’s a waste of energy. Literally, it’s exhausting. You need that energy so you can reach your own goals. Don’t worry about theirs.

Next, avoid the mindset of “they got the part because they’re better than me.” If you are an actor, start reading Backstage articles. Get involved with Dallas Travers and Courtney Rioux. You’ll very quickly learn that there’s a million and ten reasons why you didn’t get cast – and it usually has nothing to do with you.

But that’s a topic for a future post.


Start focusing on bettering yourself

I want you to try incorporating a new mindset: Your friend isn’t better than you. Usually they’re just merely having their “Aha!” moments at a quicker pace.

What’s an “Aha!” moment? It’s the moment where something just clicks in your head and you literally say “Aha! I never thought of it that way!” Having these moments can lead to overcoming obstacles and significantly less fear when chasing your goals.

For example, your friend on Chicago Fire may have had an “Aha!” that they learned in class. Maybe it was regarding something they were doing wrong in the audition room. Because they put themselves in an environment where they can better themselves (a classroom), they were able to move past this obstacle.

Actor or not, start reading personal development books and articles (Leave a comment below and I’ll message you some). Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people (I have another list for that). Avoid anyone and anything that will lead to jealousy or negative thinking.

No negativity

“Tony. This is amazing. I need more. What’s next?”

Here’s the thing: While I have resources, I’m not a teacher. I’m not a motivational speaker. I’m a guy with a blog on a free platform. Maybe someday I’ll conclude my posts with “For $200, I will be your mentor!” For today, you need to start elsewhere. You’ll need to consistently incorporate these positive traits in order for them to become a habit. Once they become a habit, they’ll be ingrained in your head.

And then….you’ll be awesome.

Being awesome - Renee

Find ways to incorporate this mindset on a regular basis. Start small. Then go bigger as you get more comfortable. But start today.

Still not sure where to begin? Comment below. I’m here to help. And won’t even charge you $200 (but will totally accept if you’re offering).