BIG NEWS! (And a post….I promise…)

Hey TonyinChicago readers!

For those of you who have hit that “subscribe” button below – many thanks 🙂 I love seeing that others are resonating with the idea of being a more authentically happy person.

Because I want to spread the word of how much control we have over our own happiness, I’ve started applying to other websites.

(Fear not – TonyinChicago isn’t going anywhere 😉 )

In the meantime, I’ve started contributing to a new website called Parlepost.com. One of my favorite posts just got uploaded and I’m happy to share with you all today….

“The Journey To Happiness”

(This one’s for you, actors with day jobs!)

When I first got to Chicago, I wanted a job. Any job. I had moved to pursue acting, but I couldn’t be an actor without money. So I applied anywhere and everywhere.

My first gig was at a toy store. I made $8.50 an hour. The staff and customers were kind, but the job didn’t excite me. Between the pay and my desire to do a bit more exciting work, I needed a change.

I got an office job. I was a receptionist. (I know. Not very exciting.) I made $9.00 an hour and worked 40 hours a week. With a few exceptions, both the staff and the clients here were not too kind and caring….I very much needed a change.

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Click here to read the full post! 

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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 😉 

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Be you. Not your friend.

Actor friends. Stop me if you heard this one. 

You did a show. It went great. You loved your cast. The show closes. Next thing you know, someone from your cast goes on to book a bunch of awesome things….

-A role with your all time favorite theatre company

-A speaking role on a Chicago television show

-Another speaking on a non Chicago television show. 

Meanwhile, you were…

-Working in more shows, but not ones that were getting the attention or publicity as your friend’s

-Continue to work day jobs that you don’t like. 

-Later find yourself in between projects and embarrassed to answer the question, “So…what are you working on right now?” 

I’m a big fan of Marie Forleo. She spoke about comparison in a recent episode of “Marie TV” (which you can watch in full here). I’ve included some of my favorite quotes: 

“There are not limited spots on the podium.” 

“[The comparison impulse] is addictive, deadly, and will destroy your happiness if you let it.”

“People say, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’ I’ve called it ’The hamburgler of happiness!’”  

When one person is succeeding next to us in our field, It’s very easy to get upset. But here’s the really crazy part of all this – most of the time we don’t bother to examine why that person is ahead of us. Personally I think our energies are better directed at our own goals and tasks, but let’s pretend “you can’t help it” for a minute….(For the record, I think that you “can’t help it” it’s bullshit, but I’m in a good mood and still have some coffee left, so I’ll play….)

I recently saw two different successful actor friends pop up on the internet for multiple theatre companies I want to work with. Wanna know what I discovered? They’ve been doing theatre in Chicago for a while. Like, a long while. We’re talking my list of top five favorite Chicago theatre companies when before they had hit double digits in age. Wanna know what I was doing before I was ten years old? Drawing pictures of baseball players. And watching baseball. Really anything that could make me believe that I was going to be a baseball player. 

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Sorry guys. 29 Year Old Tony is not going to be a baseball player. But he pulls off this Red Sox winter hat pretty well, in my opinion…

My friends. It is a waste of time to look outside your own lane. It’s yours. Besides, once I start booking roles with said theatre companies….is it really going to matter that I arrived at the same finish line as them just a couple of decades later? 

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In the meantime? I’m okay with being in the email newsletter for Broken Nose Theatre. They’ve been pretty cool to work with 🙂 

I think not. Who knows – maybe we’ll all do a show together. That’d be awesome. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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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 terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

Being authentically positive: How I really felt yesterday

Whenever a big, popular event happens, I often keep silent. I assume that I’ll just be echoing things that everyone else has heard.

When I share a message, I prefer to share something that’s unique and personal. My favorite content is from friends who do the same. On the other hand, I can’t stand when I see the opposite….yes, we’re going down that route today…

A small example of this is on birthdays: I see friends saying, “Happy birthday! Hope all is well” or “Happy birthday! Hope it’s a good one.” It’s a message that could literally be copied and pasted from one wall to the next. A bigger example was on Tuesday on Election Day. “Don’t forget to vote and do your civic duty!” We’ll ignore the fact that this was the biggest topic trending that day, but more so, there was nothing personal in this. It’s bland…. I don’t like bland.

I bring this up because the day after the election results have shown, I have a lot to say. But per usual, I see a lot of it already – except this case I’m actually not referring to what most of my friends are talking about. I’m not interesting in what they’re saying, because most of my friends are liberal and are mostly sharing content that makes me sad or upset….I don’t want to feel that way today. Or tomorrow.

The ones I’m referring to are my mentors sharing messages of hope and love. My favorites are even offering how to best focus your energy. I love these messages 🙂 Yet, because I’ve heard them multiple times….I assume that my voice is just going to be echoing what they’ve already said.

And maybe it will. But this week we’re doing things different. I’m writing in case there’s one person – maybe one of my many subscribers whom I’ve never met before (thanks guys 🙂 ) – to share a message dear to my heart:

Sometimes in life, things don’t go our way. We can spend all the time we want being upset and angry. We can post away to our hearts content about how “bad” things are. All this is doing is preventing us from doing the work we need to do in this world to be our best selves – both for us and those we love.

I’ll end with a story: I went to the post office yesterday at Irving and Southport. I met a nice worker named Janet and asked how her day was going. She said it was going well, but that everyone coming in was upset about the election results. She said there were even people coming in crying! I quickly learned that while Janet and I had both hoped for a different outcome, we agreed that “What’s done is done, and we’re all going to be okay.” I left the office with a big smile on my face.

Where your attention goes, energy flows. We can focus all we want on the bad that happens in life. That’s our choice. But what if instead we choose to focus how to make it awesome – regardless of the roadblocks?

I’m going to make the rest of 2016 awesome. I hope you’ll join me, friends.

Let’s go get ’em.

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.

The Bunny That Reminded Me To Stop Stressing

In 2009 I decided I was going to move to Chicago.

I was about to enter my senior year. During class the previous semester, a professor mentioned some cities around the country that are great for pursuing theatre. Chicago was one of them. Seeing that I had an aunt and uncle living in the city, plus always wanted to try living outside of New England, I decided to check it out.

I contacted my aunt and uncle and booked a flight.

This was seven years ago, so I don’t remember all the details. I do however remember the first night very well. The weather was nice, so I went for a walk with the two of them around their neighborhood. I specifically remember this because we saw a little guy cross our way…

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Actual bunny

Okay lied. That wasn’t the actual bunny…but it is AN actual bunny….

I wasn’t used to seeing bunnies randomly on the sidewalk. 21 year old Tony was thrilled. That trip, I decided I was moving to Chicago. (I suppose a couple of other things influenced my decision.)

It wasn’t an easy transition after the “I’m going to move!” honeymoon phase ended. I remember being scared about so many things: Would I have any friends? Would I get cast in anything? Will I be able to afford my rent? How do I even get an apartment? We’ll save Long story short, it all worked out. (A lot of credit goes to my family and other kind souls…we’ll save that for a future post 🙂 )

Fast forward seven years and two weeks:

I was taking a walk. It was another beautiful night. I usually don’t take walks at night, but I needed to get out of my apartment for a bit. I was stressed. I felt behind on my goals. I was about to enter hell week for my workout program (check #TonyDoesHell week for updates!) and wasn’t looking forward to it. And we won’t even get into the confidence issues I was having that night.

Then I saw a little guy. A little guy I hadn’t seen in seven years….

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Same actual bunny.

Okay I’m totally kidding. There’s no way it was the same one.

But I did see another bunny rabbit. And I thought back to my first day visiting Chicago and realized what I have been missing: I’ve overcame a lot to get to where I am. Now I’m living in my own apartment, paying my own bills, have an agent, and have auditioned for three different plays this month. In comparison to where I started, I realized this: I am successful.

It’s easy to get weighed down by everything that life does. I think it’s even easier to forget how far we’ve come and all the good things are happening because it’s so freaking simple to focus on the negatives.

I hope you’ll join me in continuing to seek the good things that are right in front of us. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

#ShoutOutTuesday: Robyn Coffin

It’s #ShoutOutTuesday!

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 work that I think others should know about.

Today’s Shout Out: Robyn Coffin

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The year was 2011. It had been less than a year since I moved to Chicago. I found myself cast in a play about baseball called “Black and Blue” by Factory Theatre.  I was thrilled. Though I had no clue this would be more than just a credit on my resume.

Not only was there a solid cast of cool artists,  the company members were often present and incredibly friendly. This community was just what I needed, having not made many friends. After this experience, I’m happy to say I made many. One of said friends includes Robyn.

At the time Robyn was an actress who was also waiting tables. Today? Admittedly I haven’t asked her how she pays the bulk of her bills. But I’m pretty sure serving isn’t in the picture.

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Many know Robyn for playing Cindy Herrmann on the hit NBC show Chicago Fire.  Some also know her as an acting instructor at Vagabond School of the Arts. Or if you’re friends with her on facebook, you know her from these gigs, her frequent bookings, but above all – her friendship.

Robyn gets a shout out not because of her resume (though it’s pretty spiffy too). She gets a shout out because of who she is with that resume. Anytime she enters a room, she gets everyone either smiling or laughing. Often laughing. Please, someone tell me of a time where Robyn Coffin’s wicked sense of humor didn’t make you laugh!

So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with Robyn, now’s the time 🙂 Check out her IMDB page (above) or her private coaching and classes she offers. Or, if you’re like me and enjoy podcasts, give this a listen.

 

Robyn, you’re a great example of what Chicago is all about: A great person, does what she loves, and adds value to others through your work friendship.

Keep going, my friend. We’re all rooting for you 🙂
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Want an update each time there’s a positive post up here? There’s a lovely “Follow” button in your bottom right corner. 

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

Do work that you love (and don’t play the lottery)

I’ll be honest – I hate the lottery.

For starters, it implies that there’s an easy way out. It implies that life is going to suck unless we’re that one in a million person who had things “just work out.” I’ll stop here. It’s making me upset…I don’t like being upset.

Second, it implies that once we reach a certain point in our lives, then we’ll be happy.

I call bullshit on both these points. Especially the second one. Let’s talk about that.

I moved to Chicago to be an actor. These days I spend more time at my promotional job and working from home coaching others with their health goals. I don’t neglect acting, but I certainly spend more time in the other two areas. Once I have more time for acting (and trust me, that’s coming), I’ll definitely be happier. However, time is not the only indicator on whether or not acting makes me happy.

If you’re a member of the Thriving Artist Circle, you know that Dallas Travers does one-on-one coaching calls each month. More recently, she and Roz Coleman were coaching actors on their goals – and it wasn’t at all what I was used to. I was used to the “do what you need to do to be a fulltime actor.” With this call, it emphasized being an actor and doing the type of work that you truly and honestly love to do.

*Record screech* Wait, wait? I thought being a fulltime actor was the answer?

Being a fulltime actor would be fun because it would mean less time working JOBs and working on what we’re truly good at. Now let’s fast forward to that magical day where acting pays all the bills: What is it about acting that excites you?

-Is it sharing a message to others that they wouldn’t have otherwise learned through your work?

-Is it telling stories in a specific way?

-Is it the process of dissecting a script and getting to know your character?

Because of it’s any of those , I got some follow up questions for ya:

-Will doing industrials for corporate companies help with this?

-Will doing film work – where I have little to no rehearsal time – help satisfy my passion for character work?

-Is that one liner role on Chicago Fire going to satisfy my need for dissecting a script?

This isn’t to say that the answer will be no. In fact, my dream job is to be a full time theatre actor.  Yet all three of those examples are jobs that I would gladly take.

Tony stops writing for a moment to see if he had any missed calls/emails about said work.

…Sorry. Anyway, the point is to focus on what you do want and how you do want to feel. I recommend focusing on those things now, prior to that magical day where you have financial freedom and can do whatever you want.

If you watched my facebook video earlier this week, you say that it breaks my heart seeing people working jobs they hate. Life is too short. Go after what you love. And be sure it is, in fact, what you love.

Speaking of which…love you guys. Thanks for reading.

Go get ‘em.

Have a friend who would like this? I’m always grateful for shares or shout outs on social media. The more people we can reach sharing messages of positivity and support, the better =) 

The Best Way to Market Yourself

Guys. Warm weather is almost here. I’m excited. I listened to some of the Red Sox spring training game versus the Twins last night and got even more excited. (Oh, and Joe Castiglione is one of my favorite people ever.)

What I’m not excited about is getting to talk to people on the streets of Chicago…holding clipboards.

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“Good morning, sir! I see that you’re busy, but can you stop and talk to me for fifteen minutes about animal rights?” (…pretend I’m holding a clipboard)

Photo credit: Stu Grieve

As the weather warms up, sidewalks of Chicago turn into live commercials. People working for Red Cross, Green Peace, and other organizations will approach us, try to give us a pitch, and then ask us for money. As far as I can tell, a lot of these companies are working for a good cause. Still though, I’ve never been a big fan of this approach.

But why? Why do I despise it when these people approach me? I’m well aware these clipboard  people are just trying to make a living. I’ve also worked more than my share of customer service jobs that I’ve disliked. I always try to be extra nice to those on the clock. So what makes this one so much different?

Here’s why: I’ve been getting more into health and fitness lately.

[Guys in the back start grumbling that this has nothing to do with clipboard people.]

Hear me out. I love it because it keeps me fit and active. It also ties into other things I love – like acting. Believe it or not, many health and fitness coaches go through a similar marketing technique when it comes to reaching out to others. They both use the method of “Service, not sales.” (This is also something that Dallas Travers teaches us, so we know it’s legit.)

What does this mean?

I’ll use auditioning as an example. Many actors go into the audition room thinking, “How can I sell myself so that I get the part?” By using the “service, not sales” technique, we don’t need to do this. Instead, we can try thinking, “This director needs to cast an actor. How can I be of service so that I might help with this?”

[Guys in the back start grumbling that they’re not actors]

Fine. I’ll use a different example.

Think of going in for any old job interview. The company that’s hiring needs someone to help them with their company due to a vacancy. You’re offering to be of service by filling that spot for them. Yes, you’re doing this so you can have a job and support yourself. But is that what you’re going to say in the interview?

“Hello ma’am! I understand that this company has goals and deadlines, but I’m really just concerned about generating income so that I can pay for rent and Netflix. Do you think your company has room for me?”

Um….no. They definitely won’t have room for you.

Back to clipboard people. The companies that bring them on need money. While they’re certainly spreading the word, they’re doing so through sales. Not service. They want money from us while – as far as I know – aren’t offering anything in return. Not only do they want our money, but they want us to drop what we’re doing in order to stay and chat with them.

Sorry, Red Cross. But I’d rather just donate blood.

Disclaimer: Tony has only donated blood once in high school. It was terrifying and he hasn’t done so since. Really he should be paying these clipboard people money, rather than talking like he donates blood all the time.