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.

I’m taking a BREAK! You should too.

Recently Darren Hardy hosted a call titled SUMMER SURGE: 10 Strategies to Beat the “Summer Slump” and Keep Your Productive Momentum. A bulk of the call was geared towards taking non negotiable time for rest and relaxation. Darren emphasized this wasn’t about “finding our bliss.” It’s about the necessity to unplug completely from our work so that we can recharge our batteries. When we don’t do this (and many of us don’t), we fail to be able to operate at full capacity.

If you’re a big TonyinChicago fan (which you are, right?) you may have noticed there wasn’t a #ShoutOutTuesday post this week. It marked the first time I had missed a consistent post since first starting thie section three months ago. And I’ll be honest – I tried writing a shout out. About three different times. After several failed attempts and a lot of frustration, I gave in.

My batteries were drained.

Lately my schedule has consisted of five days in a row of internships and work. In between there are my beachbody coaching hours, auditions, and other projects I take on either from home or on the go. It’s a lot. And you know when my first day “off” is after that? Tuesday.

And guess who struggles to come up with all of these positive, awesome, inspiring and AMAZING blogs on a Tuesday after all of this?

“Tony….did you really just call you blogs amazing?”

I mean, I think they’re alright….

Here’s the thing: I don’t have a boss. I don’t get paid for this. But I want to someday. So I treat it like a job.And it’s been feeling like a job….except not a fun one….and the whole reason I started doing this was because it was fun! So I’m taking a page out of Darren Hardy’s book and taking a break.

One month off from updating my blog. After that? We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled Thursday posts. We’ll also have a #ShoutOutTuesday….though it may not be on Tuesday….which means I need a new hashtag…

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Not that this blog keeps me from sleeping….but I plan on doing some sleeping next month

There’s a misconception that working long hours and late nights will get us success. In reality, there’s a point where we hit a wall and stop being our most productive selves. This leads to operating at less than 100%. Whereas, if we have time to charge our batteries, we can get back up and refill our creative tanks.

Take time for you before you burn out, friends. I’ll see you in August 🙂

“BUT TONY. What if I really actually think your blog is awesome. What can I do in the meantime?

Great question. I’ll still be doing my periscopes and Sunday videos! Follow me @_tonyrossi and get a notification every time I do a periscope. Alternatively, you can catch up on my previous videos on youtube channel.

Also, sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh perspective from someone else. I recommend checking out blogs from my own life coach, Courtney Rioux, who offers help to both artists and entrepreneurs.

13438941_10100474026728989_6058871748557466768_n.jpg

Photo stolen lovingly from Gretchen Kelley Photography

And if you’re really looking to switch things up….head over to hulu and see her as paramedic Courtney on Chicago Med 😉

Have a great month, my friends. Go get ‘em.

How To Better Your Negative Situation

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.

Be a Victor – Not a Victim

The only thing better than when life is going good is when life is going great. Sometimes you’re booking jobs left and right, earning enough income to quit your survival job, and all you can focus on is flowers, sunshine, and the thought of puppies. (Who doesn’t love pupples?)

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Not just one curveball. Several curveballs. In fact, after the eighth curveball, you can’t even focus on the plethora of good things going on in your life. Sure, you’ve done enough personal development to realize that you’re choosing to see the negatives over the positives. But when there are SO MANY FREAKING CURVEBALLS, seeing just one positive becomes a chore.

It’s been a rough few days for me. I feel like I’ve been seeing nothing but curveballs. And there is a plethora of wine in my apartment that looks incredibly lonely.

… but I’m not touching the wine. Eric Thomas would be disappointed in me.

TGIM

Check Eric Thomas out on facebook

Eric is a motivational speaker and published author. He has his PhD and is inspiring people every day. Though he certainly had his share of curveballs: He was a high school dropout. He even lived on the streets for a period of time. He hit rock bottom. But today he’s on top of the world.

Eric Thomas

Or go here to read some of his quotes!

I’ve made a point to listen to one of Eric’s “Thank God It’s Monday” videos every day. Here’s what I’ve gotten from them:

1) You are not a victim. When things aren’t going well, we tend to fall into the victim’s mentality. This is when we think about how much things suck, as opposed to what we can do to fix them. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s tricky to get out. Take responsibility for what happened. Focus on what you can do to make your situation better. Taking small, simple steps will make you feel a whole lot better than a bottle of wine ever will.

(Champagne, of course, is another story..)

2) Your situation is temporary. When Eric was homeless, he knew that he wasn’t going to be homeless forever. When we start to focus on how things inevitably are going to be okay, we start to feel a little better about our current situation. Sometimes it even leads to ideas on how to fix things.

Regardless of your circumstances, remember that you’re not a victim. You’re a victor. Now go make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Then watch this video. Then call me. We’ll order some champagne.

My Unpleasant Reoccurring Theme

Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy with the path that I’m on right now. 2104 has been a good year. That being said, this week I noticed an unpleasant reoccurring theme: I continue to put myself in unpleasant situations. I work a part time job I don’t like. I quit. I experience brief joy that I’ve left the job. It’s soon replaced by the realization that I don’t like whichever new gig(s) I’ve picked up. The cycle repeats.

As I made this discovery, those pesky, negative voices crept in:

Are you really making progress? Is it worth it to keep going down this path? Should you just redefine your game plan and try a different route?

These voices don’t usually lead to much confidence or positivity. Thank god that one positive voice chimed in to save the day (she still thinks I’m really cute, too):

Tony…your goals are enormous. There’s a reason this is taking so long. You’re thinking big.

Damn, she’s good.

While we’re pursuing a crazy, awesome life, we encounter a lot of negativity. There are obstacles and resistance popping up left and right. If they weren’t there, our goals wouldn’t be crazy and awesome. Take mine, for example: I want a full time income from acting, fitness, and writing. That’s it. (I’ll make an exception for something better that may come along.) Oh, and I want them to give me a somewhat flexible schedule so I can have a social life too.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress

Photo credit: http://millerela.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/if-there-is-no-struggle-there-is-no-progress/

Personally, I hate the word perfect because nothing is ever perfect. There’s always one more thing that could make our situation, our jobs, our income, whatever….a little better. But I’m going to use the word in this case: I want a perfect life. I want you to have a perfect life too. Is it actually going to be perfect? Not actually. That would be silly. But in my crazy, awesome, Tony world, it’s pretty damn close.

Go after that crazy, awesome life. Just keep being patient.

Your turn: My reoccurring theme while chasing after my crazy, awesome life is that I continue to get frustrated while working new part time jobs. What theme keeps coming up for you?