What Harry Potter Taught Me About Myself

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 wouldn’t be long before they would announce that the Harry Potter series would be turned into a movie series. As someone who was eager to fit in with the popular kids and maybe get some female attention for a change, I made the decision: I was going to be cast as Harry Potter. 

Note: I had zero acting experience. I am not British. Don’t bother asking me how I planned on getting an audition. (Without a passport.) 

Many of us go through phases as we grow older. Our passions, goals, and hobbies change. Which makes those one or two (or five) things that we continuously love even more special. 

I have always loved baseball. My passion for baseball never left. And it was because of my passion for baseball that I found myself hanging out with the techies within the theatre department during my sophomore year. Previously I had always been hanging out with the actors. Since learning about how much they loved baseball, I realized that they shared the same passion for the game as I did. We hung out, watched games, drank beer, and caught Red Sox games together. I had found my crowd. 

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2008 Playoffs. The Red Sox were down. Unfortunately those rally caps didn’t work. 

Today, I live in Chicago. There’s no shortage of Cub fan stories that you can find. Some of which will probably move you to tears. Which is why I believe that baseball is truly a special game. And is much more than just a game, regardless of your team affiliation. 

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I encourage everyone living in Chicago and surrounding areas to take a closer look at those around you during the month of April. Are your friends smiling more? Are your coworkers approaching their (non baseball) work with an extra zing? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s baseball season. It’s a special time of year. 

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. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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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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How to stay positive when you’re skipping a Cubs game – that you were really looking forward to

Have I ever mentioned how much I love baseball?

 

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These are a few of my favorite things

It’s my favorite activity that has nothing to do with my goals. And that’s coming from an entrepreneur/personal development junkie who struggles to make time for any such activities. But I make an exception for baseball.

And I’ve been craving some Cubs baseball. Especially lately.

The context: I had tickets for a game I was really excited about. May or may not have had a hot date (which I was equally excited about.) I had just skipped out on staying late for my Broken Nose Theatre cast party for “At the Table” due to other commitments. And I really, really wanted some baseball and beer…

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My last several facebook photos….all including “At the Table” pictures of cast, understudies, or social outings with said friends. (Yup. Even the one with the puppy.)

 

….and then I got sick.

……..WHY NOW?!

So friends. As I write this post (very deliriously, I might add) the day I’m supposed to go to the game, yet share insight after insight with my peers on how to be more positive and live an authentically positive life – how do you stay positive when this happens?

I got three tips for you:

  1. Get pissed. Seriously. You’re sick when you’re FINALLY free to do something fun. You think airy fairy positive thinking is going to make you feel better? HA! No. This sucks and you deserve to be in a bad mood if you want to be. 
  2. Put things into context. But obviously staying angry forever won’t help. And let’s be honest, other cool life stuff is going to happen. Like my friend’s wedding in a couple weeks. And the Red Sox game I’m going to see two days beforehand. And not to mention there’s another entire month of baseball left in a city with two baseball stadiums. One of which never sells out their games (even with their $10 tickets.) So put things into context: A year from now….are you even going to remember this happened? (Hint: Probably not.) 
  3. Really put things into context: I met a doctor recently who shared she wasn’t allowed to practice in the United States. Despite six intense years of medical school, her papers can’t be transferred here because her country kind of doesn’t like our country. (Not for reasons you might think, but I’m sure those aren’t helping either…) Add on top of this the fact that her family was stuck in her country surrounded by war, having no idea if they made it through the night. After hearing this story, a baseball game didn’t seem to be a big deal. 

(Note: As of a month ago, this doctor’s family is safe and out of the country!!) 

A note about putting things into context….

Your feelings still matter. When I had this insightful conversation with the doctor, she also validated my own feelings (though I didn’t specifically mention the game.)  Just because I’m comparing my situation to hers doesn’t mean I don’t get to feel bad about it. Her words – not mine.

Keep that in mind. The next time you’re feeling guilty that you had a shit day when there’s war and famine going on in another part of the world – that doesn’t mean we don’t get to express our own feelings that humans experience. I bring this up because while putting things into context helps me realistically and positively feel less bad about my own situation, it doesn’t mean I have to feel guilty that I’m feeling feelings. Ya know?? 

So in summary: 

-Be pissed (but don’t stay there) 

-Will this matter a year from now? 

-Put things into context

-Remember that your emotions are valid 

Go get ‘em. 

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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…)

-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

Why You’re Having a Bad Day

I was having a bad day. And it didn’t seem like I could improve it.

One of the benefits of being a #MyBigYear2017 member is the monthly calls with Courtney Rioux. (You can also sign up on her website to receive info for her free calls if this concept intrigues you.) A question Courtney sometimes asks us is, “Are you willing to see things differently?” I remember the first time I heard her ask this. I realized that each time I posted in our group or shared thoughts on a call, I was sharing them to vent. Not to hear an answer. In order to get that answer that deep down I ultimately wanted, I needed to see things differently. And to see things differently, I needed to be okay with being “wrong” about the way I was currently seeing things. 

A thought Courtney shares is, “You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be right.” I constantly need this reminder because, well….I like be right! 🙂 And the funny thing is, I think that by being right, I’ll automatically be happy. Usually it works the opposite. 

Back to my bad day: I wasn’t in a good mood and I had a lot of things I wanted to get done. Yet with the mood I was in, I wasn’t just unmotivated. But I grew more frustrated every time I started a new task. I quickly realized that this wasn’t the state I wanted to be in when doing things like answering emails and submitting to different theatre companies. 

I took a walk. (Okay, I went to Walgreens. I needed toilet paper.) 

I got home. I listened to Ross Grant do his bi-weekly #ActOnThisTV periscope.

And slowly, I started to feel better. (Cubs rallying in the 9th for a day game at Wrigley? Bonus points.)

It wasn’t until after all of these things that I started to be willing to see things differently. And once I was willing to see things differently, I was able to do the things that made me happy. 

Next time you’re in a bad mood ask yourself: Are you willing to see things differently? Or do you want to complain? If you want to complain, chances are you just want to be right. (Trust me, I get it.) And if you want to be right, perhaps right now is not the thing to solve your problem.

Take a break from the problem. In fact, watch this

I know, right? Cubs will do that to you.

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Thanks Cubbie Instagram for the pic. You make my blog look good. (Also – follow the Cubbies on instagram.)

Let’s go get ‘em friends. 

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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 😉 

The BEST way to watch the World Series is…

I’ve had a routine all season. 

I listen to more games than I watch. I don’t have cable. I don’t pay to use MLB.TV. And listening is either free or costs me $2.99 a month. Add on top of that the fact that I can listen and get work done at the same time? 

It was exactly what I needed. 

I even learned I could listen to replays of the game with my lovely, cheap subscription. Between the Red Sox and Cubs, I was doing it all season. I got my baseball fix, kept up to date with my routines, and always had an option for something to put besides music for my days off. 

Of course, this gets tougher during the playoffs. Not only do you want to be there live, but you also tend want to watch instead of listen. After some initial reluctance, I eventually realized I didn’t mind listening to games during the post season. Sure, I had a few options that allowed me to watch on a delay, or see a multi-camera angle of the game that didn’t show replays. So that helped. I had found a routine and I made it work. 

But I still get stubborn. 

I still want to see live views and commentary of the game. And as things got better and better for the Cubs, I wanted to be able to have a special experience. And that’s when it hit me: I was living in Wrigleyville, could hear the ballpark, and had an opportunity that a lot of others would kill to have. 

So that’s how I’ve been enjoying the games: Listening to Pat and Ron on the Score. Watching a live feed, but on a (lengthy) delay. And listening to the sounds of Wrigleyville – whether the Cubs are home or away. As I considered options to watch tonight: At a friend’s apartment, at a bar, or somewhere “special,” I realized what I have is pretty damn special. (Note: I’ve also been walking down to the ballpark to watch the final inning from the TVs outside at Murphy’s Bleachers for some of the games!) 

Of course, not everyone has this opportunity. I’m guessing you don’t either. 

So what’s the best way for YOU to watch tonight? 

It’s whatever way makes you the happiest in this moment. Sure, you can try to find a special, perfect way to watch. I considered this too. But why change something that’s already working? 

Let’s go get ‘em, Cubbies. This has been an incredible 2016. Thanks for getting us here. 

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Took this an hour before game time. There were a few others in the area…

The question that got me out of my funk

Last week I shared with you guys that I haven’t been feeling too great this month. Unfortunately this week is no different 😦 What I’ve since learned is that I’ve been prolonging my cold because I was being stubborn. I had refused to take a break from my exercise regiment and wasn’t giving my body the rest that it needed.

I honestly didn’t realize how attached I had grown to my workouts and my physical results I was getting from them. Of course, I learned this the hard way because I’ve finally stopped doing them. I’ve also learned the hard way that I’m not very nice to myself when this happens. I allow that negative voice to chime in…

“You don’t look as good as you did before.”

“You realize that if you don’t workout, you’re going to look ugly.” 

“You should just let yourself go and eat like crap too. There’s no reason to pretend that you’re going to keep your results in the meantime.” 

All this negative chatter has been chiming in. There was a good 24 hour period where I listened to every word and believed it to be true. (It wasn’t pretty. Ask Beaker.) 

Fortunately I’ve had some helpful people chime some reason into my head. Coaches such as Wendy Braun and Courtney Rioux in particular. In fact, it was Courtney’s words that chimed into my head that finally started to put me in a better mood. 

I credit Courtney for a lot of my breakthroughs. What was really cool about this one was that I actually haven’t even shared this specific struggle with her yet. I simply remembered something she had said to someone else in a recent My Big Year call. They were going  through something completely different and expressed it to Courtney. She followed with this question: 

“Are you willing to see things differently?”

I love this question. We easily can spend time and energy listening to negative voices and asking ourselves why we’re not better. Yet we often don’t stop and ask if we’re willing to see our situation in a different light. I realized the entire time I had been kicking myself and listening to that negative voice that I wasn’t willing to see things differently. I wanted to feel better, resume my workouts, and then have a big cheat night while I watched one of the Cubs games….and then resume my workouts so I could get my results back again. (True story.) I was so frustrated, I wasn’t willing to see any other outcome. But once that question popped into my head, I realized, okay…..I am wiling to see things differently.

Now….what can I do?

The next tie you find yourself in the midst of a setback, stop and see if you’re willing to see things differently. There’s an answer for every problem. But we won’t take the necessary next steps if we’re not open to seeing things differently.

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And if all else fails, take this advice from Preston Smiles. This was from his book “33 Ways to Love Louder.” I’m a little obsessed and it’s such an easy read.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

What being #notperfect is really all about

One of the reason I came up with the term #notperfect is because I frequently over analyze anything and everything in my head. Whether it’s scheduling out my week or just planning an efficient trip to the grocery, I’m pretty on top of things most days. On paper this might not sound like such a bad thing. The problem comes once you’re stressing out to the point where it would actually save you stress and energy to just wing it.

Sometimes winging it is okay. If I do it too much – it’s not good, my friends. But here’s what I learned: Sometimes it’s not about being perfect. Sometimes it’s just about being happy.

Earlier this week I had just helped out one of my favorite Chicago storefront theatres with their auditions. Despite battling a mild cold, I was running off adrenaline and was in a great mood. I wanted to do something fun. With a bare schedule the following day and the Cubs in the middle of a playoff game, I was tempted – Do I give myself a fun, late night with some #notperfect food?

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I auditioned myself at the end of the night. This was my powerpose for the #auditionchallenge. 

….I didn’t do it.

I knew that body needed rest. I also realized that it was late. By the time I picked up food (and most likely some beer), the game would be pretty much over. Or if I went to a bar, I’d be there for all of an inning or two. Besides, the Cubs weren’t winning…

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…the score changed slightly from when I made my decision. Photo by foxsports.com.

As I listened to the game in my apartment (because having cable would just be too perfect), I listened in awe as the Cubs rallied and advanced to the National League Championship Series. What was I doing during, you ask? Oh, I was in the middle of a sink full of dishes after a fine half hour or so of meal prep. (I had some damn good oatmeal waiting for me the following morning, if you were wondering.)

And that was it. Chapman struck out Belt. The Cubs had won.

I lowered the radio, opened my window, and stuck my head out. I heard sounds of cheering throughout Wrigleyville.

It. Was. Awesome.

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This city likes their Cubbies 🙂 

Let’s recap: I heard the Cubs advance to the championship series while doing dishes by myself in my studio apartment.

Was it perfect? No.

….but I was happy.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the whole reason we strive for perfection is because we want to be happy. The beautiful thing is when we discover how being #notperfect can also make us happy. It’s going to depend on things like your personality and what you’re doing. I encourage you all to start finding areas where you’ve been not perfect and still felt good. (Keep a tally or a notebook if it helps!)

Let’s go get ‘em this weekend by being #notperfect, friends**

 

**The Chicago Cubs are allowed to be #notperfect by sweeping the NLCS, should they so choose.