You Can’t Afford NOT to Invest in Personal Development

Post originally published on Backstage.com 

It was one of those auditions where I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there.

When I arrived, casting was on break and I felt intrusive. Suddenly, I was self-conscious of everything I did. Am I sitting too casually? Should I put my phone down so I’m ready when they are? My head was spinning, despite not having one negative word said to me—the negative chatter was all my doing.

It was an uncomfortable reminder of how easy it is to feel small, insignificant, and a general sense of “not enough” as an actor. We see the clients behind the table, often with a delicious spread in front of them. (“This cheese is for anyone, yeah?”) If we’re struggling with finances, we notice the nice clothes the clients are wearing. Meanwhile, we can’t wait for payday so we can finally buy a new pair of nicer dress shoes. All the while trying desperately not to make it obvious how much we’d really, really like to get cast so said paycheck can come sooner.

When this negative chatter goes off and running, focusing on disempowering thoughts and emotions, what are we supposed to do?

Returning home from the audition, I grabbed a snack (they didn’t share the cheese) and pulled up a Backstage article written by casting professionals. Slowly, started to develop a more empowering view of myself as an actor. Later in the evening when I was making dinner, I listened to a recorded coaching call I had saved where Dallas Travers shared some empowering ways to view yourself as an artist, specifically when it came to finances.

Since learning about the world of personal development, I’ve taken it upon myself to consume self-help books and podcasts. Just as important, I believe all actors should invest in professional development specifically for the craft. Read articles. Listen to acting podcasts. Consume positive and empowering content from the people who have been in your shoes and know what you’re going through. Doing this not only drowns out that negative chatter, it rewires our thinking so we believe, rightfully, “Yes. I am enough. They’re lucky to be seeing me today. I’m awesome for doing this.”

I’ll end with one of my new favorite mantras from “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown, an excellent author who writes on personal development and learning to dismiss that negative chatter: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Let yourself be seen.”

Don’t hide who you are, actors. Don’t overcompensate, either. Just let yourself be seen and trust that it’s enough. 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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If you’re uncomfortable – say something

Quick announcement!! 

I’m going to be doing my first ever Empowerment for Actors workshop! 

Location: Next Door Chicago, 659 W Diversey 

Date: Sunday December 18th, 7:30PM 

Cost: Free

Check the bottom of this post for more! 

It was day two of the RSNA conference at McCormick Place. I was working. As a live model. 

And let me tell you folks – while yours truly weighs 140 and is tall and lanky – he is a killer live model! Many a doctor have raved about how clearly Tony Rossi anatomy comes through via ultra sound.  

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Disclaimer: We all do this as willing participants. We get emails asking if we want to participate. We then get a booking email. Upon arrival, we sign a form agreeing to participate and recognizing we can withdraw at any time. So if we later decide, “Nah, I’d rather not expose my anatomy to a bunch of strangers today,” we get to do that. 

How being an ultra sound model works: You lay on a table, much like the one you would see in a visit to the doctor’s office. A doctor then performs an ultra sound on you on whichever body part is being examined that session. 

Now typically, my least favorite day of the sessions is abdomen day. In order to see our abdomen accurately, we’re asked not to eat before arriving. I. DO. NOT. LIKE. NOT. EATING. But this year, I found myself with a new session to dislike: Pelvis day. I had never done this one before. 

“Ah,” I thought. “So that’s why the email told us to make sure we were wearing boxers….” Still, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I’m comfortable with my body, and I didn’t mind them moving the probe a little lower. 

The session began. I didn’t like it. The session continued….and I really didn’t like it. These guys were getting the probe right up there. “HEY!” I thought to myself, “I MIGHT BE SINGLE AGAIN BUT THAT AREA IS RESERVED!” 

All joking aside, I was very uncomfortable. And I didn’t know how to express this without upsetting people or compromising my paycheck for the day. Fortunately, my doctor was a very nice person with excellent bedside manners. He continued to ask me if I was okay. He reminded me that we could stop if I wanted to. I nearly did. I nearly spoke up. Inside, part of me was screaming to say, “You know, I really would actually like to stop. I’m sorry for being an inconvenience when I know this is what you’re all here to see, but I actually was mentally unprepared for this particular session. I’d feel comfortable if we stopped.” 

But each time I thought this, another voice chimed in. It had some other thoughts: 

 

Tony. These doctors flew in from around the world to get hands on experience for this. They need you to participate.

You’d be causing a major inconvenience if you asked to stop. You know you’re going to really upset them if you back out, right? 

Remember you’re getting paid for this? You need the money. And besides, you woke up at 5:30am to be here….don’t blow this. 

 

Now, had I realized what this session was going to entail before signing up, I probably would have declined. Now I know I should ask what body parts they’re scanning if I participate in the future. It was the sudden “Hey, we’re about to stick this stick really close to some intimate areas! You ready?” that caught me off guard – so much so that I didn’t have the courage to speak up. There was all this imagined pressure and it was easier to keep saying I was fine. But the truth was I felt very uncomfortable and trapped. 

Another disclaimer? Sure! ONE MORE TIME! This was a very safe space. I was in the room with respectful people. I’m grateful that I learned this lesson in such a safe space. 

I still wanted to share this story because we’re living in a time where a lot of people are coming out with stories of being physically abused in inappropriate ways. I can see how very easy it would be for someone to not speak up when caught with a sudden, “Hey, you’re cool with this, right?” when working as an actor in a play or a film. If I hadn’t had this experience, I probably would have gone along with whatever the director had asked me to do if I was thrown a curveball on set. 

I hope that everyone gains the courage to speak up. Our respect for ourselves speaks more volume than any paycheck can provide. 

Feel free to pass on if this would be helpful for another friend to hear. And if this resonates with you, I’d love it if you would leave a quick comment saying so, or to shoot me a tweet

Let’s be brave. 

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

 

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Hey acting friends….

Have you ever said the following?? ( I have…)

“I’m stressed and can’t enjoy myself. I thought this was supposed to be fun?”
“I’m getting discouraged with the amount of rejection I keep getting.”
“I want to get the part, but I feel like everyone is angry at me when I audition. I don’t want to feel like I’m not wanted.”
“Paying the bills is just draining me…”

NEXT WEEK I’ll be doing my first ever live workshop!

Some things we’ll cover….

-More empowering ways to view auditioning
-What to do when you feel like people are upset at you for being in the room (auditions, rehearsals, etc)
-Start seeing networking as something fun
-I’ll give you a “start doing” and “stop doing” list for when it comes to an acting career
-I’ll share some exercises on “how to be happy without the fluffy BS” that I came up with myself

Sunday December 18th @ 7:30pm
Next Door Chicago – 659 W Diversey

ONLY 10 SPOTS!

(Oh, and it’s free)

Email tony.rossi@gmail.com for questions or to RSVP

***   ***   ***

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!