Baseball is Not “Just Baseball”

I used to think I was going to be a Harry Potter when I grew up.

I was eleven. I was a skinny guy with glasses. It wasn’t too long before I heard an announcement that the Harry Potter series would be turned into a movies. Like, real life movies. I should also note I lacked confidence, was terrified of girls (especially if I had a crush on them), and was eager to fit in with the popular kids. (I know, I know – the story of every eleven year old.)  

I made the decision: I was going to be cast as Harry Potter.

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….yeah. I had zero acting experience. I am not British. It didn’t happen. But I totally got paid to wear a green suit for a music video shoot one time…

This, my friends, is a very true story of what would eventually lead me to join drama club, continue acting through high school, pursue a BA in theatre, and move to Chicago to be a real life actor. That said, I don’t need to be Harry Potter. And today I much prefer plays over movies.

Reader note: If your name is Steven Spielberg, please stop reading and email tony.rossi@gmail.com. I’d be open to discussing “awkward guy who laughs too loud” in your upcoming film, despite my theatrical preferences….

Things change as we get older. Passions, goals, hobbies tend to shift. But those one or two passions that stick with us? Those are special. 

Before I wanted to be Harry Potter, I wanted to be a baseball player. I don’t anymore. (Sorry, Theo.) But I guess you can say I still like baseball.

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Another cool thing about Chicago – people here kind of like baseball. (Try watching this without crying. I dare you.)

What makes this special isn’t just the fact that a baseball team won. Yes, the championship was special. But the really special part of this video is watching the deep level of human connection.

That, my friends, is pretty effing beautiful.

This is much, much more than just a game.

I’ve always lived in either Chicago or New England. Know what that means for April? IT’S WEIRD. The weather can’t make up its mind 🙂 But there’s one thing that always makes me happy – baseball is back. There’s magic in the air again.

Finding those things we’re passionate about makes life a whole lot more fun. Don’t downplay those passions, friends. You’re robbing others of your joy. 

Also, this.

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The marquee outside Murphy’s Bleachers always makes me smile. 

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

***    ****

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to blog on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

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Dear Actors…..

Hi. It’s Tony.

You might know me, you might not. (Either way it’s cool.)

I just wanted to share some thoughts with you as a 29 year old actor, still working day jobs, and very much looking forward to…not working day jobs. I’m not where I want to be yet. And I have my share of “Am I doing this right?” days. That said – I know I’m exactly where I need to be and exactly on the right track.

Three years ago, I started reading personal development books. “Tony… I’ve never heard of personal development.” Here’s the Tony-version: Personal development involves books, materials, and other types of formal/informal training that either give you a better understanding of yourself or of others. You’ll learn about these things in a positive and productive way. With consistent application, you become more realistic about your goals while remaining optimistic about the obstacles. 

Personal development has changed my life in a lot of ways. But if I had to sum it up in one word, it’d be this one: confidence. I feel better about myself. I feel better about how I look. I feel unstoppable when it comes to my goals. It’s pretty bad ass. And because of personal development, I’ve found I bring a better “Tony 2.0” to my acting career. I’m unapologetic for who I am as a person, so I’m unapologetic when I audition. I’m more confident when presenting myself. And if I mess up in class – eh. It makes me more human. Not a bad thing at all. 

This wonderful thing I found isn’t something everyone knows about. I see a lot of people who could be crushing it in their field, if only they had more confidence. But fear not, friends. I got good news: Personal development can be learned by anyone. In fact, you’re hearing this from a guy who use to loathe reading. (Unless the title started with “Harry Potter and….”) 

So if you’re not a reader, not into personal development, and haven’t yet gained that confidence that you year for, I’ll share a little secret with you that I picked up. This is just for you. And it’s this – You are awesome. 

Seriously. You’re a badass. Think about it: You’re purusing an acting career. You’re here for a reason. And unless you find yourself hating the stage, hating the camera, or dreading the thought of your friends and family all crowding on the couch to watch your debut on Chicago Fire, please know you’re doing the right thing and you’re on the right path. (Especially if you think you’re, like, way behind from where you should be.)

So do yourself a favor – realize right now – yes, RIGHT NOW – that you’re a badass and don’t need to apologize for any “imperfections” that may or may not exist. You’re not doing the class a disservice by bringing your weird interpretation to the role. You’re not bothering the casting associates who are sitting in for your general call. If they are bothered, it’s because they need a career change – not you. So take charge. Acknowledge your inner awesomeness. You. Fucking. Deserve it. 

It’s time you acknowledged it. Actually, you should have started this yesterday, but I’ll cut you some slack. So please. There’s a lot of people out there waiting for you to show up, be you, and even pay you for doing what you love. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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PS – If you’re a Salem State University student, please hear these words…but also realize you’re on the right track. After sitting in and chatting with you guys this past week, I’ve found that you guys are well aware of just how fucking awesome you are. Kudos, my friends.

***   ***   ***

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to write blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him attony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

“You might as well win in your own fantasies.” 

I don’t dislike work.

I wake up early on my days off. I exercise. I set aside business hours for acting, writing, and big picture goals. Unfortunately, most of this list doesn’t pay much. (Or anything.) I don’t dislike work. I just like a lot of work that doesn’t pay.

In January of this year, one of my part time jobs showed a decrease in shifts. I realized this would likely continue and that I would need to figure something out and soon. So I launched what I called my “creative income pursuit” – a search for day jobs working for people and places that inspire and uplift me. To no one’s surprise, there’s a lot more places hiring right now that would do anything but inspire and uplift me. And with each passing day, that negative voice looooves to chime in with his thoughts on my well being:

“Tony. You still haven’t figured this out yet. You know that, right? You can’t just keep doing this ‘work fun jobs’ thing forever. And if you really want to be happy, start dating, and buy new workout equipment, you’re going to have to, like, start making more money, And besides, how do you expect to be a well rounded human outside of acting if you’re not making any money? Seriously Tony…” 

Fortunately, I love distracting myself with positive and uplifting videos and audios. I found another good one shortly after one of my many spirals of negative thoughts the other night. It was from the monthly Dallas Travers Hot Seat Coaching Call that I get to from my Thriving Artist Circle membership. While coaching an actor, she shared a gem that she picked up from her spiritual psychology training: 

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I also like to write down cool quotes I hear and then hang them up in my apartment

Isn’t it fascinating how quickly we go to the negative? 

I often refer to that negative voice as a person. I call him Fred. Fred likes to “keep me safe” by pointing out all the gloom and doom scenarios that might or might not happen. Meanwhile, there’s another voice. I call her “cute girl who likes my hair.” What’s great about cute-girl is that she is much more kind and loving than Fred. 

“Hey you! First off, I love your blogs. They’re so funny! You’re adorable. Anyway, just wanted to say I noticed that you the other day you actually submitted for four gigs yesterday that you prefer not to work. That’s great that you’re taking action, even though it doesn’t exactly fall in line with your “creative income pursuit.”  Also, did I see you applied for two writing gigs and two talent agenicies in the past twenty four hours? Look at youuuu! Did I mention I love your hair…?” 

Let me be clear: Both voices are fake. Neither are real people talking…So…why not make up something awesome?

Let’s be happy.

Let’s go get ‘em. 

***   ***   ***

Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to write first person blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him attony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

#ShoutOut Tuesday: Brianne Beatrice

It’s #ShoutOut Tuesday!

I’m on a mission to be my most positive, healthy, and creative self.

I’ve decided to expand on this mission by shouting out cool people I connect with. These are people who are doing something with their lives who not only inspire me to be my best, but are doing cool work that I think others should know about.

Today’s Shout Out: Brianne Beatrice

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When I was a junior in college, I took a course titled Acting II. When I heard that our instructor was the very Brianne Beatrice whom I had once performed with, I was pretty stoked. (And I’m not just saying that because she gave me an A….)

 

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You can see about half of my face. But you can see Brianne! (Photo credit: Michael Griffin.) 

What I love about Brianne is that she’s on her own mission just like me. She spreads positivity. She takes care of her health and well being (though I hear she likes wine. Someone get her a bottle for being awesome.) And her social media statuses on health, beauty, and love are just a small example of her wonderful creativity.

Another thing I admire about Brianne is the way she presents herself unapologetically – something most of us are too afraid to do. We are far too obsessed with worrying about what other people think. We hide parts of our authentic selves because we want to please our friends and family. Let’s not get started on how much we try to please people whom we don’t even hangout with – or want to, for that matter.

One last thing I’ll share: I’ve only been in love once. No…it wasn’t with Brianne 😉 (Though teenage Tony had a crush on a Brianne once…)  After this discovery of love, I went through a phase. I was obessed with the concept. I journaled a lot. And I listened to far too much Jason Mraz. Then, sadly, I slid into “Tony freaking Rossi” mode. I started taking myself far too seriously. I lost that feeling. Along with it – I lost part of my creativity.

Having just turned 28, I’m going through an interesting experience. I’m remembering that feeling. I’m regaining that creativity. I’m fighting off judgement from others in order to move forward with my goals. Being friends with Brianne has reminded me of qualities to help me stay true to my mission statement.

I’m grateful for your reminders, my friend. Keep them coming 🙂

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Have a friend who deserves a shout out? Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com with the subject “Shout Out Tuesday” and let me know!

Want an update each time there’s a positive post up here? Subscribe!

Be happy. That thing you’re worried about? Future-you isn’t even thinking about it right now 🙂 

Be Happier. Do What Works For You – Not Your Friends

I needed money.

I was on the phone with a very kind gentleman for an interview. The beginning of the conversation went fine. I shared my experience and qualifications. Shortly after, I got asked a series of questions?

What makes a good teammate?  

Why is it important to go out of your way in order to provide a pleasant experience for the customer?

Have you ever had a time where you encountered a difficult customer?

Talk about a time you experienced a conflict with a coworker.

By the time I was done answering, I wasn’t thinking about how I really needed money. All I could think of was how much I really, really didn’t want this job anymore. I didn’t like answering the questions. It made me focus on how much I didn’t want to be working jobs like this. It also made me think about my acting goals. Speaking of which…

I continued going about my acting goals. Not only was I still frustrated about finances, I also was getting down seeing others around me succeeding. Combine the two, and it did not make for a very happy Tony in Chicago. (See what I did there?)

There’s two points here

1) When we’re in a negative state, we’re going to attract more of what we don’t want. We tend to get what we think about most of the time. When we’re constantly upset about money, our career, or how others are doing better than us, we become aware of all the reasons why those things are true:

-We’ll find more expenses to worry about.

-We’ll focus on all of the acting jobs we didn’t book.

-We’ll start to notice lots of friends booking the job that we want.

Worst part: We’re going to stay broke and continue to be a struggling actor.

Being negative puts our focus on the negatives. The more we focus on them, the more of them we attract. This doesn’t mean there’s some magic force raining down problems and debt on your head. That would be silly. Rather, your subconscious mind is going to find every single reason why what you’re saying is true.

The good news is, this works the opposite. If you start focusing on things you’re grateful for, you’ll find the positives in more situations. This in turn will attract more positives and help you reach your goals.

2) What works for you might be different than what works for me. Some friends love waiting tables while they go about their acting goals. I found that didn’t work for me. When we focus too much on what our friends are doing, it’s putting our energy in the wrong place. It’s much better serving to ourselves when we focus on what action we can take in order to be happier. This might mean our goals take a little longer, which I’ve learned to be the case with the path I’ve chosen. It’s making me happier as I work towards those goals. I’d rather be happy now.

 

Take whatever path it is that works for you. Don’t worry about your friends. They’re on their path. They have different preferences for what lowers and raises their own vibration. (And if the word “vibration” doesn’t work for you – no sweat. Rephrase it however you need so that you focus on things that make you happy.

Put blinders on. Focus on your goals and your goals only. Do things that make you happy. You’ll be just fine.

Love you guys. Go get ‘em.

What Happens When You Focus On Highlight Reels

So I have no television.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s easy to get frustrated.

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

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

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

#gogetem

Jealous Of Successful People? Try This Instead

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

WRONG!

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

Stop the comparison

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

Stop focusing on the negative areas

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

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

But that’s a topic for a future post.

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Start focusing on bettering yourself

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

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

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

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

No negativity

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

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

And then….you’ll be awesome.

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

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

Stop Waiting To Be Happy

Let’s talk about goals again. The more we talk about them, the more quickly we’re going to achieve them. (I know, right?)

For more on goal setting, feel free to check out Mindy Wender’s #21DaystoThrive video series! I’m on Day 12 right now. Love it.

Sometimes we encounter lots of negativity before we reach our goals. What I didn’t know until recently is that we’re allowed to be happy before we reach our destination. We can (and should) enjoy the journey too.

Now let’s say you’re hearing this concept for the first time. It might sound difficult or scary. To help get you started, I want you to think about what might happen if you don’t develop this mindset. Here are some common scenarios this particularly applies to:

Weight loss: Whether you’re looking to lose ten pounds or fifty, you’re on track towards something awesome. That something awesome is going to take some time. Do you really want to wait to be happy until you’ve lost each and every pound you’re aiming for? Start with being happy that you simply want to lose weight. Keep it up and you’ll be smiling before you’re even half way there.

Booking that acting job that would change your life forever: There are a handful of gigs I’d love to get my hands on – some of which I’ve auditioned for. Had any been offered to me, my life would be quite different right now. (Let’s not even talk about the pay). Wanna know something neat though? For each opportunity I don’t get, another one shows up in its place. These are usually new opportunities that I didn’t know about prior. They’re out there. Keep your eyes open.

Dating: Humor me for a second: Picture your friend (because we all have one of them) who has met up with you for coffee. They quickly launch into how much it sucks being single and how marriage is “never gonna happen.” What if their Prince Charming was sitting tables away? I mean, I’m not a prince, but I’m willing to bet he’s not attracted to bitching and negativity.  In this scenario, waiting to be happy hurts for two reasons: 1) Again, this could be a long wait. Why hurt yourself and your happiness in the meantime? 2) The best way to attract the love of your life is by being happy, confident, and positive. Being negative isn’t going to bring your soul male towards you.

(If you know of a rare exception…..keep it to yourself. I have people to impress here)

“But Tony, this is a difficult and scary way of thinking! How am I just supposed to switch things up?”

First off, relax. You don’t have to be perfect. There’s actually a pumpkin sitting on my desk (because who doesn’t love pumpkins?) that says “#progressnotperfection” on it. Each time I see it, I’m reminded how it’s okay not to be perfect. Making progress is good enough.

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Second, how about appreciating the fact that you can enjoy yourself? Right. Now. You don’t have to wait. Let’s focus on what we get out of this – not what we have to do differently.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to post this. There were lots of girls at Starbucks yesterday who undoubtedly noticed my positive self and want to read this. Besides, I had a tie on. They should be calling any minute.

My Biggest Internet Confession Ever

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“You listen to what, Tony?!” (Photo by Jason M Hammond)

 

I have a confession: I’m embarrassed to tell people what music I listen to. Like, really embarrassed. I freeze up every time I get asked. I damn near threw my laptop out the window once I saw Spotify was showing my facebook friends my songs. And the reason I don’t like to tell people what I listen to is because the response is usually something like, “What?! You listen to Miley?! That music is crap! You gotta listen to some Zeplin. That’s real music!”

Have you ever had this conversation? Someone decides that your style of music isn’t “right” and they go on to tell you the type of music that you “should” be listening to. I’m tired of this. And I’m ready to make a loud, internet confession:  

I listen to pop. I listen to music that some people label as “garbage.” I like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Taylor Swift, Brittney Spears, Justin Beiber, Nikki Minaj, Selena Gomez, and many others. I’m sure you have a list ready for me about all the wrong/stupid/illegal things these celebrities have done. But you know what? I don’t care. They play good music, and I like listening to it. And as long as they aren’t physically harming other people, I could care less what they do with their personal lives (Though for the record, let’s chill with the Miley references on facebook).  

Admittedly, I also like music that a lot of high schoolers and even middle schoolers probably listen to. I was huge New Found Glory fan back in the day. I still enjoy listening to them every now and then. I also like Simple Plan, We The Kings and lots of other pop punk bands.

 If hearing these artists make you cringe, you’ll probably need a barf bag for this part: There are Nickelback songs that I like.

“Okay Tony. We get it. You listen to terrible music. Why are you telling us?” Because I realized recently that it’s not a bad thing. I’ve just always assumed it was a bad thing because from what I’ve been told, I’m the only person who likes these artists. First off, not true. I guarantee you I can find several readers who will collectively like all of the singers/bands I’ve listed – maybe not Nikelback. Second, your opinion of my music is, in fact, an opinion. And nothing more.

What about this whole thing where I’m the odd one out? Again, I don’t think this is necessarily true, but let’s say I am for a moment. I’ve had my share of circumstances where many people told me not do something that I liked/wanted to do. Here are some instances where I was the minority and had others disagree with me:

-Moving to Chicago

-Moving to Chicago for acting

-Going to school for acting/trying acting as a career

-Waiting tables as a side gig.

I originally intended to talk about how I accomplished many of these things. However that comes off cocky, and I also haven’t accomplished all of them.  There’s a good chance that I won’t accomplish some. (Though I am CRUSHING the whole waiting tables thing!) And maybe that means those who told me not to do go after those goals were right. But you know what? That’s for me to figure out.

And you know what else? Maybe I’ll realize someday that the music I’m listening to now is actually garbage. That’s for me to figure out too. My hope is that if you’re in a situation where people are telling you not to do something that you really and truly want, you’ll go after it or do it anyway. Within reason. Let’s not do anything silly like hurt someone, or root for the Yankees.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Taylor Swift to listen to before bed.