1 Reason You Don’t Need a Standout Resume

The following shares how I felt after booking a job with one of my favorite Chicago theatres. It was originally written for Backstage.com. Read on, my friends 🙂  

Have you ever had an audition where you thought, “There’s no way I’m going to book this.”

I recently had an audition for one of my favorite theaters in Chicago. I didn’t care that it was an understudy gig—it was my type and a chance to work with people I love. I wanted it.

After reading the script, a few thoughts came to mind, compliments of my inner critic. I call him Fred. Fred proceeded to tell me the following…

“There’s no way you’ll book this.”

“You’re so not right for the part.”

“That character they want you/me to read for is how old? Oh god. Ha! Good luck with that.”

I told friends I wouldn’t book it. I told my parents I wouldn’t book it. I figured this would just be a chance to meet some decision makers who would consider me down the road.

And then I booked the gig.

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I was a little excited to work on this new Calamity West play! 


I’m fairly certain after reading the offer email that I scared away half the customers at the coffee shop I was working in. I was thrilled! I hadn’t even had my second cup of coffee yet but immediately knew it was going to be a good day.

Of course, it wasn’t long before Fred chimed in again…

“They probably just had a low turnout.”

“This is just their B cast. They don’t actually expect you to go on.”

“It’s not a big deal. I’m sure the other friends you saw at the audition booked it, too. You’re nothing special.

As a result of working with coaches who I believe to be experts at personal development, I stopped listening to Fred. Mentors including Courtney Rioux, Dallas Travers, and DaJuan Johnson have all helped me remember that I do deserve it and I am perfect for the part. Even if it was a low turnout and the rest of my friends booked it as well, I’m still awesome. I’m still enough.

Careful of your own Fred. He means well, but he’s not as smart as you. You are awesome. You are enough. And you don’t need a standout resume for that to be true.

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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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. 

***    ****

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 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.


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. 

Some positive thoughts and quotes to get you through next week

I like to think I’m productive. (You can see where this is going…)

But seriously, the past two years since working with a life coach, taking better care of my health, and training to be a coach for others who want to improve their own health and lifestyle has taught me a lot of skills. I’ve even reframed my mindset around my goals. I’ve gotten damn good at getting things done – even to the point where I don’t take breaks or sleep as much!

….and now I’ve been fighting a cold for the past couple of weeks. (Shocker.)


I tweeted this photo to all who were wondering how I was enjoying the Cubs game on Saturday night from Wrigleyville. (You can tell by my spelling that I was a little sleepy…


The biggest challenge? My energy is nowhere near what I’m used to. I don’t like being low energy. (Who does?) But more than that, I LOVE the feeling of adrenaline from new thoughts or inspiring ideas. So while I might not be able to do all the burpees and chin ups that I’m used to (it’s driving me crazy), I have been taking furious notes from my favorite books, youtube videos, and training videos.

Below are just a few of my favorite thoughts or quotes I wrote down from within the past week. Most are paraphrased. (If you’re reading this and are a lawyer, please schedule an appointment at your convenience to discuss anything legal. I’m free if there’s coffee.)


Marie Forleo and Grace Bonnie – Marie TV

Grace Bonnie discusses how she encountered a drastic change after new information about her health.

Favorite quote: “My health became my work for a while”


#MyBigYear2016 with Courtney Rioux

Courtney tells us in one of her training modules regarding that negative voice in our head that it’s really our ego.

Favorite quote: “It’s not you, and it’s not true.”


Favorites quotes from “33 Ways to Love Louder” by Preston Smiles

-Honor what is. Be inspired by what’s in the way

-Hurt people are the ones who go out of their way to hurt people.

-Be conscious with your words. They make up your reality. 


Favorites from “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins:

-There’s a difference between reaching one’s goals and living ones values.

-Be committed to who you want to become – even if it all goes wrong

-Most people don’t take control and make decisions. They get caught up in the “currents” of life and let it control them. 


I hope you check out some of the links if any of them resonated with you so you can start to get more of these thoughts ingrained in your head without waiting for a guy from Chicago to shoot you an email with a free blog 😉

Above all – I thought this would be an example of some cool things that have happened in the midst of a setback. I’m not used to being lower energy or skipping workouts. It’s been challenging. But all those notes? I like those.

Go get ’em, friends.

How to make life easier

I’m guessing you’re a busy person, so I’ll just give you the answer here: Stop making it harder.

Okay, obviously we don’t intentionally want life to be harder. But I’ve found there are two areas where we might be taking action towards a goal or emotion hoping it will make us happier, only to learn it actually makes the job harder.

Allow me to share two of my own examples….

I wanted abs.

Up until a few months ago, I thought the answer to getting abs was simple: Cut out a serving of carbs from my nutrition plan and add in an extra ten minute ab routine. When I started a new workout program, I opted to just follow the workout calendar and eat the recommended amount of food – carbs at all.

The result – Less time exercising, more food consumed….and better abs.

Have you ever tried to customize a plan? Maybe it was something created by an expert. Or maybe it was something that’s been shown to work from other successful people in your field. When we recreate the wheel, we end up putting our own take it on based on ideas in our head based on assumptions – not facts.

Make things easier on yourself. Trust the pros, following the plan, and avoiding any extra work.(Again, you’re busy. No need to be busier.)

Also – if you’re like me and like your carbs, these meals were some of my favorites I enjoyed while getting my raging six pack (not really raging…but still….)


Toasted avocado and tofu sandwich with Ezekiel bread. Side of blueberries. Obviously not plated yet…


Quinoa omelette! Side of apples, peanuts, and peanut butter. 



Eggs, veggies, and sweet potato crips. I cut up a few slices, throw some paprika on them, and throw them in my air fryer for 5 or 6 minutes. (If you don’t have an air fryer, I’m sure an oven will do the trick.) 

I wanted answers

A few months ago I was venting in the #MyBigYear2016 facebook group  about an uncomfortable situation I was in. It was a time set aside for our coach Courtney Rioux to answer some of our questions. She quickly pointed out that I was focusing on problems and that instead we should focus on solutions.

Another way we make things harder on ourselves is by complaining. We often think we’re sharing ways to find an answer to a problem, when really we’re just expressing thoughts about how unhappy we are. Venting does not lead to answers –and  I’ve had to learn this the hard way.

Many personal development leaders emphasize the importance of asking the right question. If we ask the question, “Why am I always so unhappy?” we’ll come up with a laundry list of reasons to be unhappy. On the flip side, if we ask,” What are some activities I can start doing more of that will make me happier?” we’re leading our brains toward the things we actually want.

Start making things easier by asking better questions and focusing on solutions versus problems.


From “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” – John C Maxwell


Do you have any ideas that help with making life easier? Or some areas where you’ve caught yourself making life harder than it needs to be? Share ‘em below….I could probably benefit from it (and I’m sure my friends could to).

Until next week, my friends.

Let’s go get ‘em.

The biggest thing hold you back from success

As an actor and coach, I often have the lovely pleasure of watching others experience more success than I. In the past, I’ve resorted to the “Guess it’s meant to be for them and not me” mentality. Ever done that yourself?

As someone who helps others become the best and happiest version of themselves, I often hear thoughts holding people back – thoughts that simply aren’t true. How do I know this? Because I go through them myself quite often. It’s been the biggest reason why I make reading books, listening to audios, and working with coaches (such as Courtney Rioux) a non negotiable.

I’ve learned that many of us like to make up reasons in our head why things are the way they are and why we’re not where we want to be. It breaks my heart when I see my friends or others I talk to do the same thing. It’s why I write blogs, host periscopes, and make Sunday videos on facebook each week.

I can’t tell you why we make up these reasons in our head based on limited information. Perhaps someday I’ll know more about the subject. What I do know is, having learned this the hard way, that often the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves.

That, my friends, is the truth.

It’s not that you’re not talented. It’s not that you’re not deserving. It’s not that your friends advancing in your field ahead of you are better than you are. I might not know you personally. But if you found this post, I want you to know that you are just as capable and worthy as that person ahead of you. You just need to believe it yourself.

Start making that the story you tell yourself every day and every night, my friends.

At the same time, let’s get rid of the notion that a particular strategy “isn’t for you” before you’ve actually tried it – and I mean really tried it. What really pains me to see is someone working on a goal, continuing to fall short, but refusing to try a different method. If it helps, reframe your mindset. “I’m going to try failing at this for a while by doing (insert new strategy here).” It will take the pressure of having to feel good about this new approach. And let’s be honest – most of us don’t like change. So the beginning is going to feel weird. That’s okay.

Are your thoughts and limiting beliefs be holding you back? I’d love to chat with you one on one and see if I can help. Most of the coaching I do with others is free. If I can’t provide you with a solution, I also have resources and friends who might be able to help better than I.

So here’s my question to you: Are you ready to stop holding yourself back and start being happier?


I’m not always happy. But when I am….I’m probably taking a selfie. 

It’s go time.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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…


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.


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.

A Crucial Component To Help You Reach Your Goal


I’m working hard.

Even when I’m not at a job working, I’m working. I’m working on my acting career. I’m working on my health and fitness coaching. I’m working on inspiring others to live a life based on what they love instead of settling for what they don’t love.

I work my ass off for a life where work doesn’t feel like work. As my new statement reads on social media, “I’m on a mission to live my most positive, healthy and creative self. Care to join?”

That’s the goal. And that goal sounds pretty damn sexy. I can’t wait to feel more sexy.

…now how do I feel sexy before I get there?

(We can use a different work if you want.)

I often share the importance of hard work. I practice what I preach. And yet, I frequently find myself feeling stressed, burned out, and sleep deprived. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to be happy (or sexy) now, before I arrive at the destination of working jobs that don’t feel like work.

So when we find ourselves in this situation, what do we do?

Stop focusing on action. Focus on feeling.

The myth: By taking more action, I’ll get more results. When I get more results, I’ll be happier.

The truth: By telling ourselves the story of how more action will lead to the feeling we want, we neglect our present feeling entirely and end up unhappier.

There’s a plethora of personal development coaches and authors who share this message. Shawn Achor writes about it in two different books. My life coach Courtney Rioux talks about it in her blogs, workshops, and coaching sessions.

Reasons to focus on feeling happy (or sexy) now:

-If we neglect how we feel in the present moment, we won’t be happy once we arrive at our destination. As Achor describes it, we keep “moving the goal posts.” In other words, we continue to come up with a new definition on what happiness means to us. We keep setting the bar higher and what will makes us happy.

-Without being happy now, we might not get there at all. I’ve learned that when I’m unhappy, I’m usually unwilling to do the work required to get to where I want to go. On the other hand, I’m more motivated to do my work when I’m in a better mood, feeling more energetic, and have gotten more sleep. Happiness tends to be the centerpiece for me of having everything else come together.

So friends, if you find yourself putting happiness on hold while you work towards your goals, it’s time to reevaluate your map. Start finding ways to sneak in happiness into your work. Sometimes that might be taking more breaks or days off. Other times it’s finding the joy within your work that has to get done.

Oh, and when you’re happier, you totally look more sexy.

Go get ‘em.

What to do when you don’t want to feel better


Ever have one of those days you just feel like being grumpy?

It’s one thing to be weighed down by our problems. It’s another story when those problems pile up. If they feel heavy enough, it might make more sense to just sit and sulk.

“Why bother fixing this one problem? It won’t fix the other five.”

“Right as I fixed my last problem, four others showed up. Fixing them isn’t worth it.”

“Fixing this problem in the past clearly hasn’t gotten me onstage at Steppenwolf. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard from my agent in a while.  Clearly the community hates me…”

Get the idea?

I caught myself stressing about a problem last week. (Don’t worry, Steppenwolf, it wasn’t about you.)  I was upset to the point that even doing my personal development wasn’t helping. I just wanted to sit under a blanket – a cold, wet, disgusting blanket of negativity. It wasn’t fun to sit under. Yet being under this blanket, admittedly, brought me an awful form of comfort. It almost made it okay to be upset, unhappy, stressed, etc.

While it’s okay to experience these feelings, it’s not okay to stay in this spot.  Luckily, I have an awesome life coach. Her name is Courtney Rioux. You might have heard me talk about her once or twice (or five hundred times).


True story: I’m less grumpy after clarity sessions with Courtney

In our private facebook group for #MyBigYear2016, I confessed my problem and how it made me feel. Courtney’s response hit a chord. An awesome chord (Hence why I promote her work so much): “Let’s not focus on the problems. Let’s focus on solutions.”

When I’m under this blanket, all I focus on are problems. I don’t even want to focus on solutions. Yet when I heard her words, I saw a glimmer of hope. It made me aware of all the opportunities I had to solve my problem. It shed a light on things that – under my stupid blanket – I didn’t even want to look at.

It made me start to be happier.

If you’re not happy, you’re not going to come out from under the blanket. You’re going to focus on negatives and think about how you don’t have the strength to come out. You won’t see the solutions, and you likely won’t consider being happier.

Find someone you can talk to. Take a break from your problem and do something to put yourself in a better mood. Give yourself something to look forward to. Regardless of what you decide, do what you can to make yourself happier. It’s different for everyone. If all else fails, realize there are people in our lives who love us exactly as we are. Being happy will make them happy. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them.

Tony Rossi 1

Saw my Great Uncle John last week in Boston! He definitely made me happy.

I don’t know what’s under your blanket. All I know is that if you’re reading this post, you’re someone who cares about doing something to make yourself happy. And that makes you awesome.

Don’t forget that.

Go get ‘em.

It’s not that you can’t lose weight. It’s that you’re choosing to keep it.

The first time I had a clarity session with Courtney Rioux, we chatted about my job as a server. I was miserable and couldn’t wait to get out. She asked me if I could quit. I answered something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be able to do that and still earn as much as I’m making now.” Her response wasn’t one that I liked:

“Okay. So you’re choosing to stay.”

Excuse me? Um, no. That’s not what I said at all. Was she not listening? I thought she was supposed to be helping me…

Of course, she was right. Sure, quitting my job and replacing my income would be difficult. But difficult is not impossible. And too often we confuse the two.

Think about it:

Work: Can you really not quit your job? Or is the thought of applying to a new one overwhelming? Or maybe you were in my boat and can’t imagine a job where you earn enough, yet have the same (or better) schedule?

Money: Can you really not afford new headshots? An acting class? Seeing a play at Steppenwolf? Or are you choosing to spend your money on Starbucks, take out food, and drinks on the weekend?

Weight loss: Are you really and truly incapable of losing weight? Or are you choosing to give into instant gratification, prone to skipping workouts when you get home from work, and unwilling to invest in a sustainable meal plan? (Note: A sustainable meal plan means you’re not starving yourself. You hopefully have a mix of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, while limiting healthy fats and carbs. But still eating them. More on that later. Or in my inbox later tonight if you need to know this now.)

I promised you a story.

Several months after that clarity session with Courtney, I finally pulled the plug. I quit my job. It was scary, but I knew I’d never have to be handed a dozen credit cards that were all paying the same bill, while I had four other tables also waiting for their checks. (Okay I’m stopping. It’s making me cringe just thinking about it.)

About a month later, I got a phone call from another job I had applied for as a brand ambassador. This introduced to the world of promotional events and in store demonstrations. It’s not always glorious, but most of these gigs either have a high day rate, or pay upwards of $20 an hour. I could easily replace my income from serving with this type of work. My choice to stay at my job was limiting me from exploring solutions that I didn’t even know existed.

This isn’t to say that any of the excuses I shared above aren’t justified. Almost all of those are ones I’ve said myself. Rather, with a consistent commitment to your own self-improvement, you’re capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.

So here’s my question to you: Why would you choose not to go after that life?

Go get ‘em, friends.

Wanna know how I started connecting with Courtney? She had just held one of her free calls, open to anyone. She doesn’t do these often, but she’s got one tonight (Thursday 10/29) at 6:30pm central/7:30pm eastern. I’ll be on. I hope you will too.