How to (Professionally) Put Yourself First

Last year, I had two experiences the really changed the way I view things:

Experience #1:

It was a shit day. And it was only 10:06 am.

My internet bill was unusually high. I had two emails informing me of projects I participated in that needed fixing. An employer was asking me to come in early. Oh, and then my bike got a flat….I wasn’t exactly feeling “authentically positive,” like I strive to be.

I got another call from the employer. They were requesting a new time change for the day.

“Oh sure! No problem.”

This wasn’t the answer I wanted to give. I don’t like changing my schedule. But I wanted this job. And I needed the money. After realizing the other things I needed to get done that day (not to mention a new thing where I had to fix my bike,) I realized this wasn’t going to work. I called back the employer, requested an alternative time, and worked out a compromise.

Experience #2

Different day.

I got a text before bed from a different employer. It said my weekend shifts had been reassigned and that I would now be working in the suburbs. Since I don’t have a car, I typically avoid these shifts. I replied back, respectfully declining the assignment. They answered with an offer to reimburse me for travel. I started to realize that not only was this a longer shift (aka – more money) but it could score me brownie points with the company.

I almost took it. But again, I remembered other responsibilities I had that day. I respectfully declined again….they offered me back my original shifts.

Putting yourself first

It’s easy to think we have to do what others want. I find this goes double when we’re younger and “working our way up” to some of our goals (particularly financial ones). We don’t want to upset or offend. We really don’t want to lose potential income. But in both these experiences, I realized that I could make double the amount of money I was currently making, but still go to bed stressed out with things like scheduling and less time on goals and personal projects.

I needed to take charge. Even if it meant earning less.

When you find yourself wanting to put yourself first – that’s okay. Remember to a) be professional, and b) be upfront with your communication. And c), realize that as you do this, you’re exercising a form of self care that will allow you to better serve others.

Go get ’em, friend.

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Lake Michigan – my other form of self care #nofilter 

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Have you checked out the Tony Rossi Show podcast yet? (I heard it’s good…) 

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and podcaster 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 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

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The Journey To Happiness (A Chicago Edition)

A year ago, I wrote down some words that had summed up a lot of my journey so far. I learned an important lesson that’s still relevant today….

The search

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.

I worked as a tour guide…and needed more consistent hours.

I got a full-time office job with benefits….and needed more flexible hours.

I worked as a waiter….and needed to find my sanity after every shift.

I was making progress. But there always was something more.

The lesson

While this journey looks a bit frustrating, there was actually an interesting theme going on: With each new job came a new need. The new need helped me get me closer towards discovering a job that would make it easier to act. But I didn’t know the new need existed until after starting the new job. While painful at times, I was stretching and growing. I was discovering more about myself.

After stretching a bit more (while experiencing a plethora of discomfort), I found there were three needs that were non negotiable for me:

         1. I needed a job that paid me enough. If I couldn’t pay my bills, I couldn’t act.
2. I needed a job that gave me a flexible schedule. If I didn’t have the time – I really couldn’t act.
3. I needed a job that kept me sane. If I wasn’t happy – I really, really couldn’t act.

When I first arrived to Chicago, I didn’t realize I needed all three things. In fact, I’ve encountered other actors who can get by with just one or two of these. And some of them have other needs they want filled based on their situation. (For example: Some of them just need money and security because they have a family to provide for.) These needs were unique to me. While I still don’t like to admit it, I needed to go through the discomfort in order to better discover them.

The journey

Discovering your own unique needs is a rewarding experience. It also allows you to see each opportunity as a necessary step. This is a much better outlook than considering yourself a failure because it didn’t give you what you ultimately wanted in the moment. Start becoming aware of your own needs and find ways to enjoy the journey….I promise, it’s a lot more fun this way.

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I had some smiles that day at work….

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

This post was originally written for parlepost.com

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Check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast!

This week we had a special interview with Chicago artist Robyn Coffin! 

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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 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

I started the day with an ugly cry. Here’s how it ended

Ever gotten sick when it’s a really, really inconvenient time to get sick?

…I did. This week.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that this has been a common theme for me lately. Being sick is my “happiness kryptonite.” And when it just keeps happening, it’s easy to get more and more frustrated.

This week, however, was a really bad week to get sick. I was going to be working long days, early mornings, and only had one day off amongst it all. To top it all off, I had woken up on day two of said sickness and barely slept all night. 

I’d say “insert grumpy Tony here,” but that wouldn’t even cut it. I was frustrated, sad, angry, and all of the negative emotions all at once. I even had the thought, “What if I just called off today? I know it’s the busiest day for me to do that, and I’d probably lose this job, but I really don’t think I can handle this…..”

The following #SundayVideo, which I do every week on Facebook, shares how I felt by the end of that day. (It’s about three minutes!)

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(I might have spent the first 20 seconds talking about the ridiculously high ceilings….Click the screenshot to watch!) 

This isn’t to say you’re going to experience the same thing after having a shit morning. It’s to say that sometimes things work out for the better when there’s no evidence to support it.

Hang in there if you’re going through a struggle of your own. Embrace that it’s okay to not have it figured out. You’ll be okay – even if it’s not that day.

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

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Want to me to give an empowerment talk to your group or school? Email me! tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

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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 🙂You can also find me on instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

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 😉 

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

I don’t dislike work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s be happy.

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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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 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 😉