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.

***   ***   ***

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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You Can’t Afford NOT to Invest in Personal Development

Post originally published on Backstage.com 

It was one of those auditions where I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there.

When I arrived, casting was on break and I felt intrusive. Suddenly, I was self-conscious of everything I did. Am I sitting too casually? Should I put my phone down so I’m ready when they are? My head was spinning, despite not having one negative word said to me—the negative chatter was all my doing.

It was an uncomfortable reminder of how easy it is to feel small, insignificant, and a general sense of “not enough” as an actor. We see the clients behind the table, often with a delicious spread in front of them. (“This cheese is for anyone, yeah?”) If we’re struggling with finances, we notice the nice clothes the clients are wearing. Meanwhile, we can’t wait for payday so we can finally buy a new pair of nicer dress shoes. All the while trying desperately not to make it obvious how much we’d really, really like to get cast so said paycheck can come sooner.

When this negative chatter goes off and running, focusing on disempowering thoughts and emotions, what are we supposed to do?

Returning home from the audition, I grabbed a snack (they didn’t share the cheese) and pulled up a Backstage article written by casting professionals. Slowly, started to develop a more empowering view of myself as an actor. Later in the evening when I was making dinner, I listened to a recorded coaching call I had saved where Dallas Travers shared some empowering ways to view yourself as an artist, specifically when it came to finances.

Since learning about the world of personal development, I’ve taken it upon myself to consume self-help books and podcasts. Just as important, I believe all actors should invest in professional development specifically for the craft. Read articles. Listen to acting podcasts. Consume positive and empowering content from the people who have been in your shoes and know what you’re going through. Doing this not only drowns out that negative chatter, it rewires our thinking so we believe, rightfully, “Yes. I am enough. They’re lucky to be seeing me today. I’m awesome for doing this.”

I’ll end with one of my new favorite mantras from “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown, an excellent author who writes on personal development and learning to dismiss that negative chatter: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Let yourself be seen.”

Don’t hide who you are, actors. Don’t overcompensate, either. Just let yourself be seen and trust that it’s enough. Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

***    ***   ***

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! 

7 Short Phrases To Help You Feel Better

If you’re a member of the Thriving Artist Circle with Dallas Travers, you might be familiar with her mantra cards.

These cards are a great reminder that we’re not failures, we’re all doing our best, and we can stop beating ourselves up for being #notperfect.

Here are a few of my favorite that I either have hanging up, or have given out to friends in the hopes that they’ll help them out:

Seek failure

Today I allow things to be easy 

I forgive myself for ever thinking I’m not good enough. 

My nerves show me what matter. I love them. Then I let them go. 

I’ve totally got this! 

I release all pressure to be confident, perfect, or right. 

And then my favorite…

How did I get so damn good looking?!


…and a few other good ones 🙂

A few things to note about these mantras:

-Sometimes they resonate with me a lot. Other times they don’t.

-During the times they don’t, it’s important to realize that they don’t. Trying to force myself to love them doesn’t help, and can even make me resent them.

-If they make me feel good, I use them and repeat them. If they don’t make me feel good, I can think acknowledge this and then let it go. Dwelling on it or beating myself up for not having them work never helps.

My favorite one: Today I allow things to be easy. It helps regardless of whether I’m going to a job I love or going to a job I don’t love.


If any of these resonate with you, feel free to write them down, put them on stickys, and place them in places you’ll see. The really cool thing about these is that the more you see them, the more they become ingrained in your head. And they start to feel pretty freaking good.

And that, my friends, is the whole point.

Let’s go get ’em.

***   ***   ***

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


“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: 

TAC .jpg

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 😉 

Sometimes It’s Better To Keep Your Mouth Shut…When Discussing Goals

Have you ever been drunk at a party? 

As much as I pride myself for building better habits, surrounding myself around more positive people, and becoming the type of person who can reach those big and awesome goals…I’d be lying if I said no to the above question. If you haven’t (or if you just don’t want to admit it), let me paint the scene for you: 

You’re having a great time. Such a great time that you’re suddenly willing to share some gossip with a friend. You even preface it with, “I really shouldn’t be telling you this…” but because you’re in such a great mood, you just have this feeling. That feeling tells you, “Yes. You are right. You should share this information. All other reasoning is irrelevant.” 

Of course, eventually your reasoning comes back. But even looking back you can go back to that feeling and justify why you did what you did. “Oh dear..I shouldn’t have done that. But I can absolutely see why I did that…” 

Now, let’s talk goals. 

Right now there’s a big, juicy goal I’m working on. I can’t believe I’ve even set this. It’s that big. And it’s not cheap. And yet, just last week, I found myself setting up an appointment as an initial first step to making this goal come to fruition. I was feeling awesome, you guys. 

Unfortunately though…I got drunk at a party. 

Okay, no. I wasn’t drunk. I wasn’t even at a party when this happened. And yet I got that same feeling that I could trust someone with this valuable piece of information. So I prefaced it with, “You know, I shouldn’t even been saying this….” and off I went. 

No sooner had I finished sharing this, another person chimed in: “Why wouldn’t you just do [insert the name of something much more reasonable and affordable] instead?” 

The truth was, I had considered this option. Many times. And it doesn’t even compare. It’s like saying, “No, let’s skip getting that amazing bacon double cheese burger from 5 Guys and just make one at home using a frozen patty, microwave some bacon, and use the bread we already have. It’ll be cheaper.” 


Yet, on my bike ride home, all I could think of were the following: 

“She was right, Tony. You really should just do the cheaper option.” 

“Why are you considering that expensive option? How the hell will you ever afford that when you’re having trouble affording more reasonable things?” 

“Have you considered that this just might be a stupid thing for you to want, given your situation?”

And so on and so forth. Until….wait a minute…


From “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero

What happened to that joyous, energetic feeling that I had a week ago? Why did that suddenly dissolve? And why am I being such a jerk to myself for wanting something that makes me happy? 

Here’s why you don’t share big and awesome goals with people: They don’t have the same understanding that you do. They’re not bad people. They just don’t think the way you do. You could explain every tiny detail with them and they still wouldn’t get it. They might hear your words. But they won’t digest the message. People who don’t aim for big and awesome things like you do aren’t going to hear your words. And that’s okay. 

But you’re not off the hook. 

Here’s the thing about setting big goals: If you’ve made the decision in your mind that you’ll do whatever it takes to get there – you’re going to get it. And when you do, you’re setting an example that it’s possible.  

Set that goal. Let others laugh at you. See how many people are laughing when their mouths are hanging open because they can’t believe you got what you wanted. 

Go after big things. There’s other people who are going to benefit other than you, my friends. It’s a beautiful thing. 


Having positive mantra cards, like these ones given out by Dallas Travers for her Thriving Artist Circle members, have been a big help 🙂 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

I’m Baaaaack!…and still #notperfect


So I took a month off of writing to refresh. I wanted new energy and a better system to updating once or twice a week.  I wanted to better share how we can all be our happiest and best versions of ourselves. Naturally, I thought, this would be a KILLER post that would be the spark that both myself and my friends needed for this page.

…..it wasn’t. A few confessions:

-I am writing this post at 8:31pm on Wednesday night. I always schedule them the night before they post at Thursday morning. (In other words, this post is still being written last minute).

-I spent last month working on some different goals. Truth be told, any thinking about my blog was more of an “Oh yeah, I need to get to that….”

-My first draft of this “I’m baaaack!” post was far different. I wrote it quick and wanted to get it out of the way. Fortunately for us all…..my computer froze and it never saved. (So please save your work….and don’t use a laptop that freezes a lot!)

I realize this doesn’t exactly show me in a flattering light. It’s not going to get me 1,000 followers. It’s not going to be the post that shows how I’m the best person to hold you accountable and help you reach your health goals. And it’s definitely not going to land me on stage at Steppenwolf.

When I was at Coach Summit in Nashville last weekend, Chalene Johnson shared with us that people can’t relate to your “after” photo if they don’t relate to your “before.” I couldn’t agree more. Before and After weight loss photos don’t do anything for me because it shows a transformation that I can’t relate to. I’ve never had a before and after photo that brings me joy and I have never had the abs that those people have. But when I hear from them in person about how hard the journey was and how many times they failed? Oh, I can relate to that….besides, I’ve failed plenty of times!

I use the hashtag #notperfect a lot because honestly, that’s me: Someone who messes up a lot. But here’s the best part: It’s okay to mess up.


A quote from the wonderful Dallas Travers

I’ll admit I spent a lot of last month kicking myself for my “failures.” I’m probably going to catch myself doing that again. But you know what? I can be flawed and still move forward.


Having other like minded people around you doesn’t hurt either. Photo stolen lovingly from Nadia Torres! (She’s in the white) 

Be #notperfect with me, friends.

Let’s go get ‘em.

How To Get More Stressed When Things Aren’t Working

I remember going through a phase when I was younger: I couldn’t get a girlfriend for the life of me….

*All of Tony’s friends start to chime in saying that it’s not any different these days -*

…and I blamed everyone but myself.

*Tony’s friends accept this answer*

In my mind, every girl that was interested in me wasn’t my type. All my friends were dating or had beautiful women throwing themselves at them (at least that’s what it seemed like). But not me. No sir! I was “the guy that always attracted the wrong girls.” It was very unfair…

You’d think with this mindset, I was clearly doing all the right things: Asking girls out, flirting with the ones I was interested in, and putting myself in opportunities to meet more singles. Surely I was doing all that…

…I wasn’t doing that. I was too busy complaining about the girls I wasn’t interested. I never actually considered that I was single because I was just sitting there waiting for “the right one” to present herself, rather than taking any action myself.

This silly story serves as an example of something many of us are guilty of – putting our energy into the wrong areas.

Ever apply for a new job? This one has stress written all over it.

When this happens, we might hate our current job or become desperate to get any job. If you’re really stressed, you’re likely to think a lot of negative things. (I know a thing or two about this.) We’re unable to get an interview.  We have several interviews with no bites. Or maybe our field isn’t hiring. Yet all of these situations are out of our control. What we can control is how often we check for jobs. We can control how much time we put into looking for jobs. And we can definitely control how much time and energy we put into finding a new job. (Sidenote – have you considered going the extra mile and doing something uncomfortable like making a phone call?)

Next time you find yourself not getting what you want, double check to make sure you’re not getting upset over the things you can’t control. It’s a waste of energy and you’re going to burn out. Instead, focus on the action you took and acknowledge that as a win.

“You can’t build on success you don’t acknowledge” – Dallas Travers

I like to journal my “Wins Today” before bed. Looking for a new job? Write down any applications you sent. Did you go on an interview? That’s a win too. Update your resume? #Wining. Putting your energy into this feels great. You’ll start to realize you’re a winner regardless of the outcome.

Don’t burn yourself out on things you can’t control. Come on. That’s not very fair, is it?

(I’m talking to you, younger TonyinChicago…)

Go get ‘em, friends.

Being happy takes WORK

Look at my facebook page.

It’s easy to think I’m happy 100% of the time, always eating healthy, watching the Cubs, and heading off to an audition.

Social media tends to share our “highlight reel.” We see the awesome moments of others and think that’s it – that must be their life. For the most part, we don’t update our statuses we’re throwing a temper tantrum. (And for those few who do, they usually don’t last on our newsfeeds for much longer.)

Here’s a fact: I love my life. But it stresses me the hell out. While the payoff is great, the hard work can be a struggle.


I don’t love saying no to free chocolate that always seems to be available at work. I don’t love walking away from the free samples at the grocery store. I don’t love eating clean 100% of the time. But I sure love my cheat days.

More importantly, I love the way I look and feel. When I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, I’m thrilled with my health. And that makes all those “no thank you’s” throughout the day worth it.

Personal Growth

Anyone here like binge watching shows on Netflix?

I used to watch tons of Netflix. I also used to watch more baseball games and listen to stand up comedy. Do I still do those things? Sure. But I cut it down considerably. On average, I watch roughly twenty minutes of television a day. I rarely watch sports and opt to listen to games while I work. And while I miss Jim Gaffigan, he sadly doesn’t make the cut these days.

What am I doing the rest of the time? I’m investing in myself. I listen to audio books, Ted Talks, coach training calls, and acting tips from Dallas Travers. Do I like skipping the fun things? Nope. Don’t get me started on how many Cubs games I missed this post season.

The payoff has always been worth it. But the initial sacrifice? Yeah that’s unpleasant.

Social Life

I really, really miss weekends.

Not only do I work Fridays through Sundays, but I also wake up early on those days so I can still complete my coaching and acting work for the day. Ask any of my friends who work normal 9-5 jobs the last time they saw me. I’ve gotten addicted to getting stuff done. God help me.

Here’s the deal: I don’t always share these things on my social media posts. It’s tough. I don’t ask for sympathy – that would be silly. But I share it here because I want my friends to know that even though it might look like I’m living this crazy and ridiculously positive and fun life, there’s a lot more sacrifice and unpleasantness than there might appear.

I want to leave you with a question: If you knew that making sacrifices in the short term would pay off in the long run, would you do it too? What if it helped get you out of your JOB and towards your crazy, awesome life?

Think about it.

Go get ‘em guys.

Sorry for posting about this…


Oh. My. God. You guys. I’m sorry. I haven’t updated in forever. I had a trip a couple of months ago and always have trouble catching up after. Then I just got really busy. I had to manage life between work, acting, and my accountability groups. Plus, I got really stressed out. I still wanted to update.  But again, I was busy. When I did have time, I just couldn’t bring myself to update. It felt like work. I’m so sorry guys….

The above is how I would have resumed my first blog post after a long haitus. When I was sixteen. Or last summer, for that matter.

Why do we apologize so much? It’s fascinating how eager we are to apologize when we a) didn’t intend anyone harm, or b) didn’t actually do anything wrong in the first place.

Apologizing for a mistake when we didn’t intend any harm

Recently, Dallas Travers made the following comment (paraphrased) on one of her Hot Seat Coaching calls: “Nothing we do is ever wrong. We’re all doing the best we can with the tools and information that we have.”

We typically don’t act in a way to purposefully harm ourselves or others. Mistakes happen. We’re human. We’re doing the best we can with what we know. If we knew better, we’d act accordingly. It often takes failure to learn the lessons we need to become that better person we all want to be.

It’s easy to worry. We don’t want to offend others. We definitely don’t want to hurt our friends. And heaven forbid we do something really bad and lose a friend.

Spoiler alert: We usually envision situations to turn out far worse than they actually turn out.

The following is a trick from Shawn Achor. When you’re envisioning that terrible scenario in your head, ask yourself if this: How often has this happened in the past? Did it happen at all? While we may experience a slight inconvenience, we typically exaggerate the actual outcome.

Apologizing for something when we didn’t actually do any harm.

Anthony Meindl says (paraphrased) that “we should never apologize for being our authentic, genuine selves.” Think about that. Write it down. Say it out loud everyday so you don’t forget it. We tend to be very eager to apologize for our human habits and “flaws.” But did we mean to do anything? Or in this case….did we actually do anything “wrong” at all?

So with that….I am not sorry for not updating the past three months.

…let me try that again: I don’t like taking hiatuses from my blog. It feels good when I post. It feels good as an artist. It feels good knowing that I could reach just one person and given them that “aha” moment that I had before learning this theme. Robbing both myself and my friends of these feelings makes me feel guilty. But life happens. We get busy. Things come up. We don’t need to apologize for that.

Go be yourselves, friends. Without any concern.

Talk to you next week. (And if I don’t….well…you know.)


I started using this hashtag in my “March Madness: Making it (Mildly) Healthy” fitness group. The idea behind it is to focus on progress and consistency, while neglecting the notion that we’re a failure if we slip with nutrition or workouts.

progress (1)

I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot. In addition to nutrition, I’ve caught myself trying to be “perfect” in several other areas: Acting goals, finances, and balancing a work/social life to name a few.

Here’s the biggest problem with being perfect: It doesn’t exist.

There’s always something we can do make our situation, our goals, or our lives even better. Going after perfection just sets us up for failure, which ends up hurting our self esteem.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from creative career coach Dallas Travers. (And I’m really excited about the #AgentEquation series that she’s starting next week. Feel free to join me and connect in the facebook group!) She suggested we go about our goals in a way that makes us feel good – not necessarily the “right” way. When we focus on how we want to feel, it changes the game. We can bend the rules or approach our goals in a different direction that we might have originally pursued. This is much more fun than listening to what the negative voice told us.

Not only that, taking action feels good! In his book “Goals,” Brian Tracy talks about how gratifying it is when we complete a task. We’re literally releasing endorphin’s each time we finish something (I know, right?)

So how am I going about this #notperfect concept myself? Here are a few examples:

-I haven’t gone through all of my latests posts, but I’m fairly positive I’ve blogged about this topic a dozen times. Yet, it’s Friday and I have yet to post. This is what’s on my mind and it’s what I want to share. #notperfect

-Speaking of which, I used to blog weekly on Tuesdays. Since last fall, I’ve been inconsistent with days, and even missed a week here and there. #notperfect

-I made this very imperfect video for the Thriving Artist Circle page yesterday. It’s most definitely #not perfect.

I’m not perfect. I think it’s important to share our “imperfections” with others. No one can relate to perfect people because they don’t exist. More importantly, each time I write a blog, make a video, or complete a task, I get the endorphin rush and immediately feel better than I did before. I’d much rather feel happy doing things imperfectly rather than not doing them at all.

What can you do today to get that endorphin rush?

Go get ’em, friends.