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…)

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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

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Consider This When You Don’t Get the Part

What’s up my friends?! This post was originally written for and published on Backstage.com

There are two factors that always help remind me that I am enough, regardless of what my resume says:

  1. When I practice self-care, a non-negotiable in my book.
  2. When I get hugs and encouragement from friends booking the jobs I wanted to book.

This happened recently while on a three-day shoot. I was an extra. My talented friends, on the other hand, were principles.

One of these friends was named Andrew, who I had met a year prior during my stint as an intern at a casting office. I specifically remember Andrew because he walked into the casting office and crushed his audition. And he nailed the callback. All signs pointed to him booking the role. Spoiler alert: He didn’t book it.

Between takes, Andrew and I got a chance to catch up. We discussed the audition where we met and he even inquired as to who had booked the part. I didn’t know, but I was able to tell him that they ended up casting someone who wasn’t even at callbacks that day.

After Andrew’s callback, the decision makers on the project chose to make Andrew’s character a little bit older. As a result, Andrew was out of the running. They held a third round of callbacks and made a new choice. Of course, poor Andrew was left in the dark about all of this.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I book the room but not the part, my negative chatter (I call mine Fred) can get a little aggressive.

“You totally didn’t say the lines right.” 

“You should have worn something different.”

“You didn’t actually do as well as you think you did. In fact, you should probably call your old boss because you’re clearly meant to be a waiter the rest of your life.”

The thing is, you probably did book the part. You probably did a great read with the lines. But in this business, there are often factors that are out of our control. There certainly are things you can control that do warrant some focus and self-talk, but let’s also recognize and accept the plethora of other factors we need to let go of.

To all the Andrews out there who are talented, funny, and charming as hell on set, keep it up. You’re doing great. There are people who realize it, even if they can’t give you the part right now. It’s only a matter of time until it’s your turn. When it is your turn, let me know on Twitter so I can give you a shoutout!

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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And when all else fails – take a break and unplug from the biz and see a Cubs game! (That’s Andrew on the left) 

 

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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

Your Artistic Struggle Doesn’t Have to Suck

What’s up my friends?! 

This post was originally written for Backstage.com. Which you know because you already follow my posts there….right? (RIGHT?!) 

Sorry. Read on. 

It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon and I couldn’t wait: in a few hours, I’d be attending my first-ever opening night performance and after party with one of my favorite big Chicago theaters. Mind you, I hadn’t purchased the tickets—yours truly is in credit card debt and waiting to book that national commercial. These were comps. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be going to this premiere event.

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It was kind of good. 

Speaking of finances, I knew I had to check my accounts and go over a few things before I left for the evening. This absolutely was not my favorite part of the day (see above), but it was necessary. And that day, it was extra necessary.

You see, I had made a grave error while attempting to make a small credit card payment the night before. Instead of making a small one, I made a very large payment, accidentally paying off the entire thing. I quickly called my credit card company but they couldn’t do anything because the payment was still “processing.” So I called my bank and got the “We’re experiencing a higher volume than usual” message before waiting on hold.

To add insult to injury: I had to message my acting coach about the check that she wouldn’t be able to cash because of my mistake. Why did I hire a coach? Because I had recently auditioned to attend the School at Steppenwolf, a move that would cost another several thousand dollars.

So here I was with a negative bank account, credit card debt, waiting to let my acting coach know if and when she could get her money, and wringing my hands over whether I’d get accepted to the school. Needless to say, it was not a relaxing day. Luckily, I had a trick, one I learned from thought leader and author, Preston Smiles: ask empowering questions.

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I stole this photo – with love, (duh), from Preston’s Smiles Facebook page. He credits @jennaphillipsballard with the photo. That’s all. Carry on! 

During challenging situations like this, we can ask, “Will this matter three years from now? What good is here that I currently cannot see?”

I didn’t know how this issue would be resolved. But no, it wouldn’t matter three years from now. And the good here is that I can tell this story to inspire others who will realize I didn’t just make it big overnight and with ease. This takes work. This takes nerves. This takes mistakes and over-drafted bank accounts and bounced checks.

So what’s your challenge? Finances? A broken heart? Frustration with the industry? Will any of it matter three years from now? (Hint: Probably not.)

Let me know. Let all of us know. There might not be any evidence of your triumph yet but believe in yourself now anyway. And then when you’ve made it to the top, shout it to the rooftops.

You deserve to feel amazing exactly where you are today.

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

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What’s that? You want to hire me for coaching?!

Or maybe give an empowerment talk to your group or school?

Email me!  tony.rossi@gmail.com. Let me know how I can help.

Same goes for questions – you can ask those for free 😉 

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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 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

The bitch that is social media (and how to deal with it)

Isn’t social media a bitch?

Let’s be honest – because I actually love that bitch – we all like to show our highlight reels.

There are a few times a year when I’m shouting to the roof tops how wonderful my life is on social. These times are when I visit home.

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Shoutout to my friend Heather – whom I first met in Chicago – for getting me into FENWAY FREAKING PARK! 

 

I love my Boston roots. I love seeing the people I love whom I can only see a few times a year. I love driving through curvy, hilly, roads that so much more enoyable because you’re sitting shotgun. Follow me on social and you know what to expect during these trips.

This most recent trip? No different. A 26 hour visit that surprised family – and even myself!  It taught me a lot regarding how to best take advantage of the little time you do have on trips like these. In a future post, I’ll share more about that.

Truth be told, I hit a really, really low moment during this most recent trip. And I think it’s worth talking about for those who think I have my shit together during times like this – or at all.

The #notperfect morning

This is the part where I tell you I’ve been paranoid about being sick lately….because I keep getting sick. And that morning I woke up with a sore throat…

I was sick. Again. On vacation. After just having a cold on my last vacation.

The #notperfect process

“Maybe it’s just allergies,” I thought.

I attempted my morning workout….

“NOPE. Not allergies. I’m sick and this is terrible.” And because this had been a recurring theme for me, I wasn’t just upset. I was PISSED. I was frustrated. I was….honestly, a little hopeless. I had a breakdown of tears before my shower. And during my shower. A few more after. I felt broken.

The ultimate negative chatter

Now, I always hear those negative voices in my head telling me I’m not enough. But this time – I was the negative chatter. I was telling every one of my imaginary nice voices to STFU. I didn’t want any positive motivation. I was pissed. Nothing was going to help. I kept thinking….

I don’t care if there’s a lesson in this.

I’m F-ing sick of lessons through setbacks.

I don’t care if this is something I’ll appreciate five years from now

I don’t care that others have it worse than me (even though I know it’s true)

I don’t want to “just be positive”

I’m mad and I’m going to stay that way.

I don’t want to know “that it’s all going to be okay”

Okay fine. I did know deep down that everything was going to be alright. I just didn’t know when. When you don’t have a timeline – it sucks. When you keep having repeating patterns show up in a really short time frame – it really sucks. When you keep having that repeating pattern show up in a short time frame and it keeps showing up during your vacation? Don’t even get me started……

And then….

It was over.

No seriously. The pain was over.

Sure, my throat was still dry. But after taking some ibuprofen? I was literally fine. That headache I felt? Gone a few minutes later. Next thing I knew, I was having lunch with my Dad in his office, meeting his coworkers, and enjoying the largest salad that I’ve ever had. (I might have added a few extra pieces of chicken knowing that Dad was paying…)

The thing was – I wasn’t actually sick!

Now allergies, on the other hand…..that’s a different story. But I wasn’t low in energy. I wasn’t aching all over. And when I ended up going for a long walk in Boston later? I was FINE.

I had freaked out for nothing.

The point?

The point is I didn’t talk about this at all on social media.

Last my friends saw – I was a happy freaking camper using #BostonYoureMyHome hashtags left and right.

I don’t like dumping dirty laundry on social media….

 

Example: Screaming baby on my flight back?! FML….

The truth: You’re on vacation. You’re on a freaking airplane. You’re fine.

 

Example: I JUST GOT TOWED! WTF?!

The truth: You’re about to go through an inconvenient couple of days. You’ll pay a fee. And then – you’ll be fine. In fact, a year from now – you’ll be laughing at this. You’re fine.

 

Example: Why are people so annoying?

The truth:  You are so annoying…..and you’re not fine….)

(Sorry. That last one was just for me. And I’ve been that annoying person, so I’ll stop talking….)

While I don’t love dumping dirty laundry onto others, I also believe in being honest. But when it comes to my health – I’m more private these days. I learned that posting about so much as a head cold can result in your peers thinking you only have three weeks to live…..long story short, I’ve become more quiet about certain things like this.

Again – the point???

The point is don’t believe everything you see.

The point is don’t believe that those awesome, happy, successful people are like that all the time.

Just because someone is happy in one area of their life doesn’t mean they’re happy in all areas.

Just because someone is in love doesn’t mean they’re fulfilled socially.

Just because someone has landed their dream job doesn’t mean they have their finances in order.

Just because someone has a plethora of friends doesn’t mean they’re happy romantically.

Just because your mentors are the “smartest people in the world” doesn’t mean they have all their shit together…..

This isn’t to discourage you. This is to remind you that you’re not alone.

The pros that you emulate? They struggle too.

Guys. We’re all in this together. We’re all part of the huge traffic jam that you see everyday after work. We’re all the people who can be laughing hysterically one minute and crying profusely the next. And we’re people who can flip our emotions in an instant – for better or worse.

You’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s okay to not feel okay all the time.

You are enough. Especially if you have flaws and quirks.

Let’s go get ‘em, my friends.

 

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Got questions? Want to me to give an empowerment talk to your group or school? Email me: tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

***   ***   ***

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 instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Embrace Getting Older

I turned 30 this week.

It’s made me think a lot about how we think about age and the (often negative) meaning we give to getting older.

I found this gem on my facebook page from 2006. I was 18.

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Let me tell you something about year 18 old Tony – he did NOT like getting older…..

He didn’t realize that college would not be, in fact, where he “found” himself. (No offense Salem State – I loved you. Truly.)

He didn’t realize that he’d still have confidence issues after graduating.

He didn’t realize that not everyone graduates college – in fact, some people don’t literally make it past college.

18 year old Tony didn’t realize that life is precious and that it’s a privilege to get older.

Guys – I’m so grateful to be 30. I’m VERY much #notperfect when it comes to happiness and self confidence – so please don’t ever think I got this shit figured out. But I *am* happier and more confident than I’ve ever been. I enjoy life a hell of a lot more.

More so – it breaks my heart that there are friends of mine who didn’t make it to 30, or didn’t make it much long after that.

I hope everyone learns to embrace age and getting older – whatever that comes with. Health issues. Wrinkles. Gray hair (trust me – I have several already.) And whatever new insecurities that come up.

We’re alive. And we’re better for it.

I love you guys. Here’s to another 30  (Hopefully more, please.)

Let’s go get ’em.

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Got questions? Want to me to give an empowerment talk to your group or school? Email me: tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

***   ***   ***

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 instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

This year sucked so far….until it didn’t anymore (How things flipped in 24 hours)

“I’m over 2018.”

Drink if you’ve said or hear that so far this year. (Preferably something caffeinated. Not alcoholic. C’mon guys, it’s morning….)

While I think we give too much attention and energy to a calendar date in order to justify our feelings of a “shitty time” or “season of suck,” I certainly was not off to a good start this year. Between Christmas and now, I’ve caught three colds. I also banged up my rib cage which is causing a plethora of discomfort and preventing me from doing my favorite workouts. (Shut up. I like working out…) And sleep? Ha! Let’s not talk about that right now….#sleepproblems

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Thankfully my new memory foam mattress toper is helping….Beaker, not so much. 

 

So last Saturday, as I was finishing up some work prior to a dreaded day job shift, I got a missed call. And a voicemail. And a text. (When you have all three, you know it’s important.) Turns out it was my stage manager. And I was going on for the role I was understudying. In six hours.

Say whaaaaaat?!

By Sunday night, I had gotten to perform twice at one of my favorite theatres, stayed up wayyy past my bed time (at the same said theatre), and got an outpour of love on social media from my peers when they heard the news.

Suddenly I was saying, “Wow, it’s been a really good year so far!”

….wait a minute.

Didn’t I just say that it had been a crappy year so far?

Yes, the health setbacks were frustrating. But I was feeling perfectly fine and healthy for my performances. And now that I can list “performed” on my resume, not to mention the cool updates I get to share with agents and casting directors?! Woo-hoo! Suddenly I felt very abundant.

All this is to say is that you never know when things can change unexpected. This also can go reverse. While this isn’t a reason to “wait for the other shoe to drop” when things are going well, it is a reason to be grateful for the good things as they come.

So, my friend, if you’re going through a struggle right now – I hear you. I really hear you. In fact, despite this awesome weekend, I still have some things to figure out. (Like making up for the hours I lost at the day job this weekend…..#actorproblems). Just know that I’m rooting for you in the meantime. And please for the love of god, don’t hole yourself up in your apartment and play the “woe is me” game. Instead, feel your feelings and reach out and talk to someone. If you’re into therapy (and I am) – perfect. But if not, an empathetic friend who won’t condescend you will do the trick.

Let’s all go get ‘em, this year, friends.

 

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“Hinter” runs at Steep Theatre until March 17th! 

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Got questions? Want to me to give an empowerment talk to your group or school? Email me: tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

***   ***   ***

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 instagram, YouTube, or check out my actor website

 

How to stay sane after your favorite team just lost (Diehards Only)

How does one stay sane after your favorite team – the one you just poured time, legit money, and far too much energy into – gets eliminated?

Let’s face it: You’re hurting. You’re not a casual fan. You’re a die hard. And now you have to face the inevitable pain that comes from your favorite team losing: Jokes from your friends who were rooting for the other team. Jokes on social media about how terrible your team is. The plethora of rants from friends who label themselves experts (“IF WE HAD JUST HANDED THE BALL OFF MORE DURING THE 2ND AND 3RD QUARTER PLUS INSERTED THAT GUY INSTEAD OF THIS GUY….) And heaven forbid you support – *ahem* – a team that’s vastly disliked by the majority of people….

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Lisa and I were a little happier a few weeks ago…..

There’s good news and bad news: The good news is that something new and shiny is going to get the attention of everyone on social media in a week or two, and this will all just be a bad dream. The bad news is you still have to get through these two weeks.

And for some of us – who live, eat, breath, and sleep our sports team – this is no joking matter. And yet there are some who treat it is such. *Sigh*

To help prepare, here are a few responses from others you’re likely to hear regarding the outcome of the game. You’re likely going to find these are well intentioned and lovely people – but they just don’t get it like you do. You’re a die hard. (And you’re awesome for it.) Read on, die hard. Read on.

 

“Your team has won SO MUCH. Don’t the other guys deserve a chance?”

This is usually said by the nonchalant sports fan, or your friend whom you bond with over other things (movies, career things, etc). But sports? Not so much. These friends will likely shout something like, “Kick a field goal!” during a baseball game in exchange for laughs. Regardless, they mean well. They just don’t grasp the depth of the situation.

Simply share the following situation to your friend: It’s like having a child who is competing in the spelling bee. If your child is a repeat champion and is going for three in a row, you’re still not about to root against your child and pull for Freddy, because “Freddy has never won before and deserves it.” Of course you’ll be happy for Freddy if he wins. But are you rooting for him? No, you silly goose, you’re rooting for your child! Otherwise, what kind of parent are you?! The true die hard will never root against their team. You know this. And that’s what matters.

 

“That’s okay that we lost! It’s almost (season of an entirely different sport)!”

This is likely being shared by an optimist. I’m an optimist and am sure I’ve been guilty of this one. But there’s a difference between being positive and pretending not to feel negative. This is often said as someone doesn’t want to feel negative. Perhaps this has been said by someone who likes the other sport in question more than the game that just happened. But a true die hard won’t accept this.

Case and point: I’m an avid biker. My bike is like my baby. If something happens to it – I’m not happy. Recently I was riding my bike to the theatre along with my new, nifty, iPhone 7 in my pocket. I was feeling pretty great until I returned to my bike to find that someone stole my wheel. I was livid. At no point did anyone say to me, “Well that’s okay about your bike – you have that new iPhone, right?” No. Because while I love my new iPhone, I also love my bike. My bike was what needed my attention in that moment.

Your team needs you and it needs you now. Numbing the pain by focusing on something else is a disservice to the team you just poured your heat and soul into all season. Don’t worry, other sport. We’ll get to you in a minute.

 

“I don’t care we lost. At least my team MADE IT this far….”

Oh, honey…..

Again, this can often fall into the “pretending to be happier than I actually am” category. It’s also an easy defense mechanism to ward off fans of teams who are taunting you, but didn’t make it that far.

This person is trying so hard, and you love them for it. But it’s not the time for celebrating – at least not yet. It’s like that person you see posting on instagram about all their success!….when you know that really, this person is also struggling financially and with their relationships. (On a serious note – give love to these people because they definitely need it from us.)

Back to sports: There most certainly will be a time for celebrating (because yes – your team did advance this far and that is awesome), the die hard knows this isn’t the time for that. There is a time for mourning and that time period follows the loss. Mourning periods are different for everyone, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Simply take your time to reflect on the loss, and celebrate on your team’s accomplishments when you’re ready.

 

“Who cares? I mean, it’s just a game….”

Walk away. There’s no need to participate in this conversation.

Final thoughts: This post was a bit sillier than usual 🙂 I wrote it because I love sports. I love the passion that gets poured into a team. And while I hate losing, there’s something oddly therapeutic about allowing myself to feel sad after a loss. While I don’t let it get to me like I used to, I definitely need my mourning period.

I hope this helps you with your own, fellow die hard. Feel free to share with your teammates – when they’re ready, of course.

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! 

Let’s go get ‘em.

A More Empowering Way to View a Loss

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. 

It’s Thursday. I always post every Thursday. Given my relationship with November 23rd, I wanted to wait and share this not-so-happy”post until tomorrow. But I feel it’s a message that will help those who need to hear it today. So forgive me for sharing this today, if you found this and don’t happen to know Dave or Andy. That said, you can always save this for tomorrow. In fact, I encourage you to do this with “important articles” on the wellbeing of the world, how to handle grief and sadness, and read it during a time where you’re more ready to “feel all the feels” 🙂 

 

 

Hi friends. It’s Tony Rossi. 

I wanted to wait to share this message after the holiday, as to not bring others down who don’t know either of these individuals. But due to recent events, this can’t wait. Thanks in advance for bearing with me.

(PS – Feel free to mark this as a “saved” post and come back to it during a better time, if you’d like. Same goes for political posts, news stories, etc….;) ) 

About four years ago, I was introduced to the world of personal development. Through a life coach, self help books, and more positive people, I felt like I was moving through the world a lot lighter. I was able to look at my problems through a different lens. They were still there, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Or when I did go into a funk, I’d stop beating myself up. I also noticed I wasn’t holding grudges toward people who had “wronged” me. And it wasn’t long before I got addicted to absorbing as much information on the subject as I could.

Since learning how to literally live a more enjoyable life, I decided, “You know what? Other people need to hear this. It’s too easy to apply this stuff. Through my blog, #SundayVideos, and doing a 180 on how I use social media, people started to referring to me as “the guy who is always happy.” And as much as I loved this, I found myself getting the same objection from a lot of individuals: “This doesn’t make sense….how are you supposed to just be ‘happy all the time?’”

I’ll get back to that. 

Let’s rewind a bit: In the fall of 2014, only a year after I started applying self help principles, my longest childhood friend, David Kendricken, passed away. The first thing I thought of was, What “good things” are going to come from this, that wouldn’t have happened in any other way?? This doesn’t make the situation okay. But it gives us our power back. It gives us meaning to something that’s shitty. It allows us to find love and gratitude in a place that’s really, really hard to find it. 

Last night I got word that this day was going to be an even darker day. We lost Andrew Scannell. And the craziest part? Both of these guys were FUNNY. They were really funny. They were loved by a lot. These two would have been great friends. 

Friends. Being a happy person will never, ever mean “happy all the time.” 

Being a happy person means being authentic. It means acknowledging that there are going to be dark times where you don’t feel happy. It’s like being a healthy person – it doesn’t mean you never, ever get sick. It means you get sick less and recover quicker. You’re not all of a sudden invincible. 

While there’s a bunch of different ways to handle death, one of my preferences is to look at the situation in a new light: What can I genuinely be grateful for right now? 

I go write a million more words on this, but I’ll leave just one on each of these sons of bitches: 

David Kendricken: You were my longest childhood friend. I lived next door to you for what, 14 years? And we had a friendship that’s hard to replicate. I couldn’t be more grateful that I got to have that with you. Thank you for that. You might be gone, but those loving memories aren’t going anywhere, son. 

Andrew Scannell: I met you in college at freshman orientation. You asked me for a word suggestion. Becoming friends with you? Oh that was a boost to my 18 year old ego. After four years of laughs, performances, and jokes that only a true New England Pirate would understand – we actually had a falling out. And then – we both forgot about it. We reconciled a year ago and had beers together with some old friends. I am so, so grateful we reconciled. 

Friends. We have an amazing opportunity to find gifts amidst a dark and dreary day. Don’t let your love go to waste. Yes – be sad. Cry when you need to. And when you’re ready, start finding those takeaways. And for extra credit, share those takeaways so we can spread this message to others. 

I love you Dave. I love you Andy. 

And I love you, friends. 

 

November 23rd.jpg

How to Better Your Negative Situation

So I wrote this post two years ago. It really resonates with me this week. …

This is for anyone in a dark situation. We’ll call it a tunnel.

Dark Tunnel

When we’re in the tunnel, we can’t always see the other side. This happens when we’re looking for work, short on money, or in an unpleasant living environment. As more and more negatives start to pile on, we tend do a couple of things:

We focus on more negatives: It’s the easy and comfortable thing to do. Yet it tends to make our situation worse, not better.

We seek out instant gratification: While having a short break is sometimes necessary, it’s important we don’t stay there too long. Many of us go on this break, then stay there. This is nothing more than just an extended vacation in our dark tunnel. Unless we start making an effort to get out, we’re just setting ourselves up to be unhappy in the long run.

So how do we get out?

After you’ve taken your (short) break to ease your mind, here are a few steps I recommend:

1) Accept responsibility for your circumstances

The easy thing to do is to play the victim mentality and blame someone or something other than ourselves. Regardless of any crazy and unexpected circumstances that may have occurred, it’s important to realize that you are the reason for where you are today. Accept responsibility for what’s happened. Don’t kick yourself. Just stop making excuses and blaming others. Once you own up to your situation, you’ll realize you have the power to change things and get yourself back on track.

2) Make an action plan

This is going to vary based on what’s going on. Keep in mind you might be digging yourself out of a deep hole. This could take time. Don’t worry about making it perfect. If you do, you’ll just keep putting it off. Just start. You can try starting from the finish line and then working backwards if that helps. Just make sure it gives you some specific steps to get to your final destination.

If necessary, ask a friend for help. Or hire someone . Whatever you do, do not blame them if they are unresponsive or unavailable. Doing this releases our power to control our circumstances. The goal is to get out. The more we blame, the longer we’re stuck in the tunnel.

3) Stay consistent

It’s easy to belittle those tiny steps starting out, such as making an action plan. “What difference does it make? I’ll still be in my same situation tomorrow.” Making the plan actually puts you further ahead than you think. It ignites a flame of hope. Hope is a very powerful tool. It’s contagious and will reveal both confidence and answers – which are hard to see when it’s dark out.

This only works if you’re consistent. If you’re not, you won’t see any progress. Then you’ll really get frustrated and want to quit. Which keeps us in the tunnel. We don’t want that.

As you go about this, keep finding ways for to keep yourself motivated and sane. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into that extended vacation in instant gratification land. You need to be prepped and ready to go as soon as the break is over.

If you’re in that tunnel now, get up off the couch.  Make that plan right. Then….relax. You’ve just taken your first step. You can sleep tonight knowing that you took a moved forward towards the other end of the tunnel.

Light Tunnel

Best part: Doing this helps the tunnel seem a little bit brighter.

Go get ’em.

3 Questions to Ask to Stop Yourself From Worrying

My name is Tony Rossi. And I’m a worry-holic.

 

Worrying!.jpg

Must have been why they gave me the “Are you Robert Pattinson” scene during Waltzing Mechanics XI Edition of “El Stories”

I love the book, “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendrix. There’s a section where he talks about how we get addicted to worrying and how quickly we go into scenario of “The Universe will not function if I don’t worry about this.” I realized I’m very good at worrying myself.

While I’m still working on this, I’ve been able to help some of my friends who are worry-holics themselves. Here are three questions I often ask:

1) What is the worst case scenario here?

Sometimes we find ourselves worrying without even wondering what the repercussions are! Try to figure out what those are now with this question. You may find you’re stressing about something very mundane that doesn’t deserve as much energy as you’re giving it.

Now let’s say this is a serious issue that needs to be address. What is the very worst thing that can happen? Is it as bad as you’re picturing it to be? Is the universe going to end? Is anyone going to die? Even with those situations where someone is depending on us for something we can no longer deliver on, the repercussions often aren’t as bad as we make them out to be in our heads – which sometimes is that worst case scenario J

2) Do I have any control over this?

Do you ever find you’re worrying about the following….

-Public transportation running late

-Traffic

-The weather

-Something bad happening in the world

We love to complain, stress over, and vent about those four topics. Sometimes we realize we have no control over them and think that worrying will help us somehow rectify the situation. As a worry-holic, I can tell you this doesn’t help. If anything, it will drain our mental batteries, cause us to break down, and swear a lot in our apartment. I’m sure my neighbors have plenty of nicknames for me…

I’m always hearing complaints and negativity around these things specifically. Keep in mind that if you choose to worry over them – chances are you can’t do anything about it. If you can – great! But if not? You’re wasting a lot of energy that’s going to drain you. And I’m guessing you want that.

Sometimes it helps realizing we worry because we care. We don’t want to hold others up. We don’t want to see ourselves in future pain. And we don’t want to see others in pain. Great! We’re awesome people! Now let’s keep being awesome by saving up that energy – we’re busy! We need it.

3) If the worst case scenario happens, will I be able to bounce back from this?

This is where I like to play the “Will this matter in five years?” game. Yes, if I’m late and I lose my job it would be very inconvenient. But will I find another one or find a solution to keep me from going homeless in the meantime?  Yes I will. In this case, stop worrying exactly about the HOW and focus on the fact that you WILL make it work.

Finally, when you DO catch yourself worrying again remember this: It’s okay. You’re okay. And you’re not worrying because you’re a bad person. You’re worrying because you’re human.

Which of these three resonate with you the most? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

(Have a friend who worries? Feel free to share or invite them to the blog 🙂 )

Let’s be awesome this week.

Go get ’em.

(Look familiar? This post was written one year ago! Feel free to browse below for previous posts)

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Thanks for reading, friends. 

If you don’t know me – I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. 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…)

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