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. 

 

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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.

7 Short Phrases To Help You Feel Better

If you’re a member of the Thriving Artist Circle with Dallas Travers, you might be familiar with her mantra cards.

These cards are a great reminder that we’re not failures, we’re all doing our best, and we can stop beating ourselves up for being #notperfect.

Here are a few of my favorite that I either have hanging up, or have given out to friends in the hopes that they’ll help them out:

Seek failure

Today I allow things to be easy 

I forgive myself for ever thinking I’m not good enough. 

My nerves show me what matter. I love them. Then I let them go. 

I’ve totally got this! 

I release all pressure to be confident, perfect, or right. 

And then my favorite…

How did I get so damn good looking?!

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…and a few other good ones 🙂

A few things to note about these mantras:

-Sometimes they resonate with me a lot. Other times they don’t.

-During the times they don’t, it’s important to realize that they don’t. Trying to force myself to love them doesn’t help, and can even make me resent them.

-If they make me feel good, I use them and repeat them. If they don’t make me feel good, I can think acknowledge this and then let it go. Dwelling on it or beating myself up for not having them work never helps.

My favorite one: Today I allow things to be easy. It helps regardless of whether I’m going to a job I love or going to a job I don’t love.

 

If any of these resonate with you, feel free to write them down, put them on stickys, and place them in places you’ll see. The really cool thing about these is that the more you see them, the more they become ingrained in your head. And they start to feel pretty freaking good.

And that, my friends, is the whole point.

Let’s go get ’em.

***   ***   ***

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…)

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

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

 

“Because that’s life”

Hello! And welcome to TonyinChicago.

I update every Thursday. (You should subscribe. They’re pretty great….though I suppose I’m biased).

I write because one of my favorite things in the world is to share with others how to become a more authentically positive version of ourselves so that we can do the things we really want to do with our lives. I want others to discover they have control over their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and patterns.

I want people to start realizing, “Oh wow….I used to feel (insert negative emotion here). But now I don’t. And my previous self would have never considered this a possibility!”

It’s a pretty awesome feeling once we realize how much control we actually have in life.

Sadly most people don’t accept this. They go with the, “It is what it is,” mentality. Oh! That reminds me…

There’s a guy who always visits one of my day jobs. I recall a conversation wit him where he shared with me -within minutes -about a health problem he had, then followed with how the red-hot Cubs would likely lose in the playoffs. “Because that’s life!” he told me.

Funny thing about life….
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…it doesn’t actually suck. It only sucks if you allow it to suck and allow yourself to be pulled by the current of “it is what it is.” It’s a herd mentality. I’d advise you not to follow it.

My hope to everyone is that you start reading more than just this blog from a guy in Chicago. Read authors such as Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy, and John Maxwell. Subscribe to Marie Forleo, Eric Thomas, and Preston Smiles on their youtube channels. Spend just a little bit of time everyday reading and watching these materials so that they eventually compound into these powerful thoughts that you never realized you were capable of having.

 

me

 

I hope you do this so that you can have your own transformation…and yes, I might be a bit more trim in the “after” photo. It’s more than just an “I eat better and exercise” photo. It’s an “I’m a happier person” photo. I hope you can be happier too.

And I hope you realize just how amazing life can be, my friends.

Let’s go get ’em.

_________________________________________________________________

Tony Rossi (that’s me!) is an actor, motivator and Beachbody coach helping others to become the most authentically positive version of themselves. If you’d like to speak with Tony, learn about his services, or tell him how much you like his hair, feel free to email him at tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

 

Set intentions. Focus on feelings. Enjoy your holiday.

Before you start reading yet another blog thoughts and feelings during then holidays, let’s clear something up right now.

This thought of “I think differently than you, so this just won’t work for me” is bullshit. We all have a why. It’s deep. It prevents us from procrastinating and pushes us out of bed every day. It’s what stops us from hitting snooze. It’s what makes us want to go for a run even when it’s twenty degrees out. Our why makes the uncomfortable worth doing. In fact, it what makes us need to do it.

There will always be stories of how someone else got past failure and into success. When we see the interview, they share their up bringing and how it lead to their different mindset. That’s their why. It’s not yours. If you don’t relate to it, you’re not a failure. You’re just you.
With that, I want to share some thoughts that are just me. I want to share my holiday intentions.

I wrote on Thanksgiving how holidays are fun when we focus on how we want to feel. This month I’m sharing how I want to reach these feelings:

How I spend my time

My intentions are to plan and schedule ahead of time during my trip home. This includes time for others as well as myself. I prefer to spend most of my time with others, but still leave a little bit for me. Planning ahead will allow me to spend quality time with others and not leave too mmuch down time to the point where I get bored.

How I eat

My intentions are to eat good food and enjoy the holidays. It’s what they’re for 😀 They’re also for feeling happy. I’m not happy when I eat or drink too much. Planning and setting intentions beforehand will let me feel happy and avoid feeling gross, bloated or that pesky feeling one gets after finish another bottle of wine…#notperfect

Most important

The thing about intentions is that they’re a goal we’re aiming to hit. The goal is a feeling and shouldn’t be dependant on specific outcomes. There’s more than one way to achieve these feelings. Make sure you’re leaving yourself some options should your original intent be impossible to meet.

What are your intentions for the holidays? Share ’em. I wanna hear.

And as always, if you have a friend who might benefit from this, I’d love for you to give it a share.

Thank you all for reading. Have a wonderful Christmas. 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.

Why results shouldn’t be your main focus

I hate being vague. But what I hate even more is when I find out spoilers from my favorite shows. (Don’t get me started on the Harry Potter series.)

Forgive me as I go into very vague details on a very popular show so I don’t upset anyone.

In a show that focuses a lot on death, a character discovered he had a chance of nearly guaranteed survival. Unfortunately, this came at the cost of spending the rest of his life alone.

I loved this theme. It reminded me of how we go for a certain objective without focusing on how it’s going to make us actually feel. In this scenario, the character would have received his objective, but it wouldn’t have felt very good. So he went in the other direction. It’s something that I admittedly have a hard time with myself.

Allow me to share some specific examples:

Clean eating

This is such a tough area. It took me forever to learn what I should be eating. Once I did, the journey wasn’t over. I still had to learn to control cravings. And about a year ago I finally got a good handle on both areas. I wasn’t perfect (and I’m still not), but I was at the point where I could cut down to just one planned treat day a week. That’s it.

At first it made me happy. Then it just made me stressed.

I had busy days where eating small, clean meals every couple hours wasn’t realistic. I practically locked myself in my apartment so that I would continue to have access to healthy meals. If it was a busy work day, I’d stress myself out packing food the night before. Sure, I looked better. But I wasn’t very happy.

Today: I base my eating schedule around my life schedule. I don’t try to be perfect. I keep in mind what results I want (for me right now, that’s abs and toning) and modify the days after. I’m not only happier, but I’m still thrilled with the results.

Netflix

While I watch much less television than I used to, I still enjoy ending my evening with Netflix. While this started out great, I found there were nights when I’d be squeezing in the rest of my work in order to make time for Netflix. By the time I put Netflix on, I wasn’t even focused on the show. I was either stressed because I was frantic to get everything else done, or worried about other things I could be doing.

Today: I don’t always get my Netflix in. If I still have work to do at night, I focus on that. I also base it off of my schedule and what time I get home from work. I might be behind on my shows, but I’m much happier when I go to sleep.

Note: I’m behind on all of my shows. I can give you a list. If I see spoilers on facebook, we’re going to have a problem.

Drinking:

(No judgements, family members!)

I found myself doing what most millennials do when it came to alcohol. I’d have nights (treat nights, of course) where’d I’d have a bit too much, get drunk too quickly, or experience a hangover the next day. I had completely forgotten why I liked drinking in the first place: Because it was fun.  Drinking too quick or too much usually resulted in feeling upset with myself or guilty – not to mention less pleasant to be around (though my jokes get better, I swear).

Today: I remind myself of how I want to feel when I go out (or stay in). If drinking starts to make me feel anything other than that, I know it’s not going to make me happy. So I modify accordingly .

Being happy is the whole point.

If what you’re doing isn’t making you happy, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and remind yourself why you started in the first place.

Let’s be happy, yeah?

Go get ‘em guys.

How we set ourselves up to fail without trying

In 2006, my parents encouraged me to use my high school graduation money to buy a bicycle. While it may not be as shiny as when I first purchased it, my blue Trek gets me to work every weekend and saves me time and money. It saves me money from taking the train and I’m spared the headache of finding one of those rare Chicago parking spots that everyone keeps talking about.

Having lived in the city for five years, it’s not uncommon to hear how frustrating parking situations are. I hear this most frequently at one of my jobs. Outside of the location sits a small lot shared by multiple stores. Unless you’re lucky, it’s rare to score one of the coveted spots. Customers are frequently expressing their discontent over the situation – many emphasizing that this happens every time they visit.

They’re setting the wrong intention.

I can’t speak on behalf of their frustration, as I don’t currently own a vehicle. What I can do is speak on behalf of someone who spends an exuberant of time reading and studying how to be a more positive person.

Without likely even realizing it, they’re setting an intention before arriving to the store. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a positive one: “If I arrive at the store and can get a spot, I’ll be thrilled!” Not a bad start, but let’s look at the facts: This lot is small. It fills up quick. If it’s a returning customer, they know the odds aren’t in their favor.

A better approach

I’m going to share one of my favorite questions. It’s pretty awesome. I can ask it whether I’m traveling to work, an audition, or meeting up with friends: “How do I want to feel as I get to my destination?” (Extra points if you use this to figure out how you want to feel your whole day.)

For the sake of the customer, we’ll rephrase it: “How do I want to feel as I get to the store?” By asking this question, we’ll quickly realize we want to feel good as we go about our day. We can do this without getting a spot in the lot. We can take the train. We can leave early and give ourselves time to find parking. Or maybe we treat ourselves to the Starbucks down the street after. (Though that would be silly – everyone knows there’s free coffee in said store).

Ask yourself this question and you’re giving yourself options. Ask yourself a more limiting and specific question and you could be setting yourself up to fail.

So now what?

Hopefully by now you’re realizing that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really a problem. Another approach is to realize that even if we lose twenty minutes to traffic, we’re still going to get through the rest of our lives. This is just one trick to apply out of the many that can make you a happier, healthier, and more positive person.

There are still going to be days where we set the intention of feeling good, but get deterred. That’s okay. It’s not about being perfect and more about getting in the rhythm of practicing intentions. Overtime, you’ll be a pro.

Go get ‘em, guys.

That One Time I Was Wrong

[Guys in the back IMMEDIATELY begin yelling in regards to the title.]

I know, right? I haven’t posted in a while. It’s good to see you too 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how we should focus our energies on the positives, even during the most negative situations.

I personally do a lot to make sure I stay positive. I start off each morning with exercise and personal development reading. I eat clean except on planned cheat days. I’m constantly listening to personal development audio, or interviews relating to my career. And I keep my positive and inspiring friends close by – or at least I try.

Even after learning about the passing of my childhood friend, I was doing everything by the books. I was Tony-freaking-Rossi – positivity king of the world. Nothing could break me.

Then I attended the wake. Then the funeral. And of course,  both were within twenty four hours. Oh, and let’s squeeze in my plane ride back to Chicago too (because Tony-freaking-Rossi thought that was a good idea).

I spent a third of the plane ride in tears. The other two-thirds were spent wondering how much longer the flight was…I really had to pee.

After taking the train back to the city, I stopped at one of my favorite restaurants that may or may not be healthy. I took my food back home where I eagerly grabbed some wine.

I needed a break from being positive.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s important to stay as positive as we can during dark times. But there are some circumstances that are going to be bigger than you. No matter how hard you prep, they’ll still get ya. It’s important not to confuse this with making excuses and turning every little thing into an “extreme” circumstance. But for the really extreme ones, we’re allowed to take a break. Not fall into a funk. Just take a break.

Stay positive, friends. And when all else fails, know that Big G’s is open late.

Fudds
Oh and I lied. The night before Thanksgiving was also a cheat day. Spent it with these guys for the first time in four years. Much love to all of them and for helping me through the week 🙂

Going Through A Dark Place

During times of heartbreak, loss, and struggle, it’s easy to think we have to feel depressed. Often we’ll resort to the mindset of “I don’t deserve to be happy.” This is merely the beginning of a slippery slope towards a dark place.

The good news is we don’t have to go there. We can choose to focus our energies elsewhere. It’s not easy, but it’s doable if you put your mind to it.

The following are some of my favorite mindset tricks towards staying positive:

Can’t Change It

A lot of the time, we focus on the “what if.” What if this hadn’t happened? What if they had done something differently? What if I had done something differently? This puts us in a state of lack. When you’re living in lack, you’re focusing solely on the negatives. It leads to many more and drives us towards that dark place.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the past. What you can do is focus on where to go from here.

Open Yourself To Positives

If your situation is really dark, it’s easy to think there are no positives. That’s understandable. There are so many clouds of negativity that it’s hard to see through them. But maybe you don’t have to. Instead, what if you look around them?

Start looking for the positives no matter how bad the situation might be. Simply being open to this concept will allow you to see wonderful things around you that you weren’t aware of before.  Finding just one will make your situation incredibly less painful.

A Brighter Future

Trying to envision what the future looks like is hard enough. It’s twice as hard when going through a struggle. Dark times can make us stronger. We learn from these experiences and grow in an incredibly powerful way. The next time we encounter something similar, we’ll be better prepared. More importantly, we’ll be able to help others who may be less experienced.

Why I’m Sharing This

Earlier this week, I learned my longest childhood friend, David Kendricken, passed away. He was twenty five years old. I was devastated when I learned the news. It nearly put me in a dark place myself. Instead, I decided to apply everything I learned from personal development.

Let me clarify: This doesn’t make our situation “okay.” It means we’re accepting the “can’t change it” mentality and allowing ourselves to get through in a positive way. Some of the positives I’m choosing to focus are seeing some friends who knew Dave very well. Perhaps I’ll make more friends this week whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We can preserve his memory by sharing stories. (I got plenty 🙂 )

For those of you who knew and loved Dave, please keep the following in mind:

Forgive yourself for how you’re feeling right now. Especially if you’re feeling any kind of depression or guilt. You’re human. And if you were friends with Dave, you’re probably a damn good one too.

Be open to finding those positives. We’re not trying to be perfect. In fact, f**k being perfect. I hate that word. Just try to find one. See what happens.

Dave, you were a hell of a guy. I always knew you were. But looking at all of the love on your facebook page tells me that plenty of others knew that too. While this situation isn’t ideal, I see so much love from your friends and family that I can’t help but feel it too. Thanks for spreading that to all of us.

Love ya, “son.”

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