#tbt: Let’s Get Uncomfortable

Hey friends!

I just came back form another awesome visit to Boston, Massachusetts.

…it was wicked good.

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This nice view on Sunday night for the Cubs-Red Sox game might have been a plus…

Ironically, April has been a popular month for me to visit home. In fact, I had a visit three years ago where I wrote all about it – right here on this blog 🙂

Sure enough. I related it to my goals – and how uncomfortable they can be.

This week, we’ll revisit that time three years ago:  “Let’s get uncomfortable” – April 2014. 

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to blog on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

What to do when you feel like you’re undeserving (like I did last week)

It’s funny how quickly we can talk ourselves out of something we want. 

I personally experience this a lot when it comes to what other people will think of me. 

“You want to do…what?” 

“Why do you think you deserve to to that?” 

“You do realize you’re a [insert reason here why I can’t have that thing I’m asking for because I’m too young, too behind in my career, etc], right?” 

Of course, these are all thoughts I’ve made up in my head. And yet, they still come to mind quite frequently. 

Which is why I was surprised to find myself turning my bike around to head into the Steppenwolf box office Sunday night. 

It was Opening Night for “Straight White Men.” It wasn’t on their calendar. They weren’t selling tickets. Yet there I was, dismounting my bike, and peeking through the glass to see if the box office was even open. 

They were. 

The following is a close description of what I said upon walking up to the window: 

“Hi! Okay, like, I know this is a long shot, but like….and I know you aren’t exactly selling tickets for tonight’s press opening of Straight White Men but like…do you, maybe, have anything available for tonight’s show?” 

…they didn’t. 

I exited. As I did, I recognized the playwright, Young Jean Lee, exiting the theatre. She was with two other people dressed nicely. They all looked very important – much more importantly than the guy who just asked for tickets to opening night of the show that wasn’t even being advertised. (Side note: This, of course, was my perspective given my situation.) There I was – a non union actor with a non union agent, with a laundry list of Chicago acting goals in his journal back home, who was walking behind them out of the theatre. 

Needless to say – I was not exactly feeling on top of the world. But here’s the crazy part – the box office staff responded in a manner I was NOT expecting:

“Yeah man! Sorry, I got nothing for tonight. But like, yeah! I mean…please come back and see us!” 

He almost seemed apologetic for not having anything for me. For not having any seats for the show that wasn’t even on the calendar. 

Here’s the thing, friends: We come up with all sorts of reasons in our head why we aren’t enough and why we don’t deserve our big, crazy, ridiculous goals. The goals that are literally triple the size of our checking account. And yet, sometimes we still get a kind reply – or an apologetic reply – that it’s just not our time yet – from the Universe. (Or the dude from Steppenwolf Box Office. I need to get his name.) 

Our goals do not dictate our awesomeness. We are awesome and deserving exactly where we are today. 

Oh, and wanna know the best part? 

I may or may not have crashed their after party. Here’s a recap: 

-I mingled with a few of the actors.

-I had an ever so short interaction with playwright Young Jean Lee. 

-I had an awesome chat with some of the costume team.

-I was told by one of the designers from the New York team, “You’re going to be on this stage one day.” 

Here’s the thing: These were nice, awesome and inspiring people. I’m willing to bet they’d be just as nice to any other actor in my position. And yet, it helped. It made me feel deserving. 

But let’s pretend we didn’t crash the after party and didn’t get this reassurance from people we respect and want to emulate. The words I heard that night that gave me so much confidence were something I could have chosen to feel confident about regardless. 

I want you to feel confident regardless of your situation too. 

You are awesome. You are deserving. If you have an opportunity – please take it. 

Sound good? Good. 

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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.

Had You Won The Power Ball, You Still Wouldn’t Be Happy

If you do non union extra work in Chicago, you might have heard the Rosemont story:

A group of us booked a job through 4 Star Casting (who are amazing, by the way). All we knew was that we’d be standing in line outside a convention center in Rosemont. After a long day of confusion, we got some cash for literally holding spots in line for collectors at a coin show. And it didn’t end there: We got the chance to return and hold more spots in line.

For more cash. (A lot more.)

This time, we’d need a good spot. A spot to get in early enough that we’d enter the show before the rest of the crowd.  If we got in, we’d get our hands on an item that was woth a lot of money.

And there were plenty of others who knew about it.

The next few days were hectic: Texts throughout the night, sleeping outside, getting soaked by sprinklers…you name it. Oh, and there were stampedes to get in line, threats to anyone who was cutting or holding a spot, and lots of other fun stories. It got bad enough that the final day of the coin show was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Money can do a lot. And there’s a lot of misconception behind it.

 

What doesn’t make you happy

Marcus Persson is a billionaire. Known as the creator of Minecraft, he made himself quite a fortune. Last August, Persson sent out a series of tweets sharing how he was lonely, unhappy and afraid to pursue future success.

Andre Agassi is a tennis pro. He won eight Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal. In less than a day after becoming number one in the world, he was roaming the streets, wondering why he felt so empty. He later was tested positive for crystal meth.

Money and fame isn’t what makes us happy.

 

What does make you happy

In my experience, the truly happy people in the world are the ones who went through a struggle. Rather than allow their dreams to suffer, they learned from the struggle and grew. Along the way, they grew even more and appreciated life better because of  it.

I’m not saying we all need to suffer in order to be happy. I am saying that struggles help us learn how we want to feel to truly find happiness.

I’ll use myself as an example: If I had more money, I’d be working fewer jobs I don’t want to go to. We’re talking, I can’t fall asleep because going to this job makes me so unhappy.

If I had more money, it would mean more time working jobs that are creative, fulfilling, and meaningful. It would mean more time creating experiences. Money would allow me to visit the Boston area. I’d see my parents, grandparents, and cousins more often.  I’d see my college and highs school friends that I only see once or twice a year (if that).

It would mean more time to pursue creative jobs onstage, behind the camera, and across the country motivating students to live their crazy, awesome life.

I want more experiences with others. I want more opportunities to add value to others though art and motivation.

Yes, a lottery ticket would help fund those dreams. But a paycheck from my agent that sends me to Boston for a commercial – that’s more special than anything I could get from 711. (Don’t get me wrong, grateful they were open late so I could buy cheese on New Year’s).

How do you want to feel? Base your goals off that. Then go after it. Seriously. There are too many experiences and people you care about waiting for you to put this off anymore.

Go get ‘em.

 

Did you like this post? Oh good. I hoped you would. I write this blog for free so that others can get insights that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. I’d love for you to share on social media with others who might benefit too 🙂

Why a date on a calendar is poor for resolutions

Remember all the blogs I wrote about during the summer on being your best self? Neither do I. They never got written. I stopped updating when I lost motivation

We don’t need more motivation. We don’t need more willpower. They’re fleeting and useless when life throws us curveballs or simply gets busy.

I started writing again after some initial motivation. Then it developed into a routine. I keep writing now because I believe this blog needs to be read. There’s a friend out there who hasn’t heard this message. There’s a student who got my business card and has no idea that personal development is a thing.

I figured out why I want to write. And that’s what keeps me going.

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breath

Need an ongoing dose for motivation?  The “Thank God It’s Monday!” series from Eric Thomas was a a great one. I’ve watched ’em all =) 

You have to have a why

In February of 2014, I bought the 21 Day Fix. It made nutrition simpler and easier to understand than anything I ever tried. I was finally seeing the toning results I was looking for.

…those usually got erased a couple times a month. Even though I knew what to do, I didn’t have a good reason for why I was doing it. I knew I wanted to look good. But that didn’t stop me from eating when I was stressed. (Or just bored.)

Ten months later, I found a deep why. My nutrition has been great ever since. And I still get to have my treats.

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The dessert spread at my Aunt’s house on Christmas. You never would have known that I’m a healthy eater after…

Your why has to be deep

If it’s a surface level answer, it’s not deep enough. Go deeper.

Why do you want to eat better? (Because I want abs.) Why do you want abs? (Because I want to look good.) Why do you want to look good? (Because I feel better about myself when I look good.) Why do you want to feel better? (Because when I feel better, I do my best and most efficient work towards living my crazy awesome life.) Why do you want to live a crazy awesome life? (Because I can literally cry thinking about it. And I can also literally cry after submitting to a bunch of jobs that I know I don’t want to go to.)

Find your why that makes you cry.

You have to be willing to fail

There’s a myth out there that says if we’ve failed, there’s something wrong with us.

There is nothing wrong with you.

Failure is feedback. Without it, we don’t get better. Tell your ego to chill and go out there and fall a few times.

 

falling darren daily

Highly recommend subscribing to www.darrendaily.com for gems like this one each day

 

When all else fails, remember this: There are others waiting for you to live your crazy awesome life. It’s going to help them. Whether that’s because your dream job involves it, or because you’ll be happier and have a stronger relationship with your significant other, friends and family. There are others counting on you.

How’s that for a strong why?

Have a killer 2016. I’ll see you after a couple of stumbles. I know they’re in store for me too.

Go get ‘em.

Redefining Failure

Guess who fell off track again? (Hint: He’s awesome. But he’s also #notperfect).

I’ve been writing a lot about health and nutrition. It’s important to both who I am as a person plus helps me achieve my non fitness goals. I take pride in saving up for cheat days and saying no to chocolate (…not always a fun area to be proud of).

That said, when cheat night does come around, it sometimes spirals out of control. I had to give myself an extra cheat night each week to control myself better. I figured this change made me Tony-freaking-Rossi: Cheat Night Conquistador.

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This is the expression that Tony-freaking-Rossi has, as he tends to think he’s invincible. 

…Of course I was wrong. (Which sucks because I really like the word conquistador.)

A couple nights ago I treated myself to wine, pizza, and a movie. At home. Obviously. Heaven forbid I actually do something fun outside of my studio apartment….

….the thing is though, I hadn’t actually sat through a full movie in a very long time. (Disclaimer: If you work for a Chicago talent agency and stumbled upon my page, please know that I film. In fact, we should hangout and watch film together…yes?) Since I’ve began monitoring how I spend my time, I tend to watch my shows in smaller increments.  I had almost “forgot” how to enjoy myself during a two hour movie.

And I really wish I had cleaned out my cabinets prior to starting.

The following morning, I woke up bloated and guilty. I had ate far too many snacks right up until bed. So much for being Tony-freaking-Rossi.

I had failed again…..but was it a bad thing?

“There is no failure. Only feedback.” –Robert Allen

Each time we “fail,” it teaches us what not to do. Of course there are those who ignore the feedback and keep trying the same thing over and over with the expectation of change. We all know how that works out. Our struggles teach us what not to do. We just have to be willing to accept failure as feedback and avoid beating ourselves up.

As we head into the weekend, remember that there is no failure. There’s only feedback. If you fall off track with your goals – nutrition or not – think of it as a lesson that’s preparing you for awesomeness.

Oh yeah. I said awesomeness.

Go get ‘em, friends.

#NotPerfect

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.

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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.

That Negative Voice Inside Your Head

Let’s talk about that pesky negative voice inside your head.

Voices in my head (Steve B)

You can tell the “great ideas” voices they can stay. 

You know that guy (or girl) who keeps telling you that you’re not good enough? That you’re not capable of losing weight? That you’ll never be the type of person who can eat healthy five days out of the week? Or that you’ll never be able to achieve financial freedom because being a starving artist is just “part of the job?”

Tell him to shut up.

Tell him that you’re taking control. This might be hard for some of us who have a really pesky guy telling us lies right now.

(Seriously. My guy keeps telling me it’s okay to eat that chocolate bar I’ve been saving. And that I’ll never have a rockin’ body. #lies)

Here’s the tricky part: Sometimes this voice is sneaky. He gets so subtle in the ways he plants ideas and thoughts into our brains that we think they’re perfectly legit. I mean, why would there be a tiny person in our heads? That’s just silly….okay yes, it is silly. And it’s much easier to believe that we’re incapable or unworthy of achieving our big and scary goals

Allow me to share some of my own examples from this week:

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Me: Oh man! Courtney Rioux posted this sweet vlog last week. It lead to a bunch of “aha” moments that I could write about all day! I should share this concept and what I learned from it with the rest of my friends.

Pesky negative voice: Really Tony? Think about that for a moment: You’re going to write a blog about a vlog. And you’ve already shared it, like, five times already. Plus lots of your friends already know Courtney. This is a terrible idea.

Me: Oh wow. I guess you’re right.

**

Me: Oh man! I have another chance to book work for tomorrow. Unfortunately I scheduled an important phone call. I’ll have to politely turn it down.

Pesky negative voice: Really Tony? That person you need to call doesn’t need to talk to you. Yes, you made a commitment to chat with them. But you’re really being a failure with your finances by turning down work. Just remember you did this when you’re broke next month and complaining that you can’t do anything fun.

Me: Oh wow. I guess you’re right.

**

Me: Oh man! I’d love to do something fun within the next few days. Even if it’s low key.

Pesky negative voice: Really Tony? You don’t deserve to do anything fun. Get back to work and pretend like you’re being productive again.

Me: Oh wow. I guess you’re right.

**

That last example may have been a little extreme. I wanted to share that one because on really bad days, that voice can be very convincing by saying very little.

Start to recognize the negative voice in your own head. Figure out what areas he is affecting your confidence. Remember that HE ISN’T REAL and that you’re an awesome, amazing human being.

Who are you not to be

I shared this on my facebook page yesterday. ERIC THOMAS is my favorite. He’s inspired me to the point where I listen to him every morning….and again at night.

While I find his messages incredibly powerful, perhaps you don’t. That’s okay. If this is the first you’ve heard of him, it’s harder to relate.

Perhaps you can relate to me a little better. And if that’s the case, hear my message:

You matter. You’re amazing. Don’t you dare let anyone else tell you otherwise – real or not 🙂

Go get ‘em, friends.

Priorities Are Important. Don’t Skip This One.

I’m an organized guy, yes?

[Guys in the back loudly disagree.]

Okay, you got me there. While I’m not the most organized person, I’ve gotten better with areas I previously struggled in. Like priorities.

It’s one thing to know your priorities. It’s another to put them on paper in order of most important to least. I felt pretty damn good once I started to learn my own.  Though admittedly, I didn’t bother to order them. “Eh…whatever. They’re all my priorities. I’ll figure it out.” Between my acting goals, coaching goals, overall health goals, and finances, I thought I was all set.

And when we’re all set, it’s normal to go to bed incredibly stressed out every night, yes?

Since I quit waiting tables and got my own apartment, I have less stress than I’ve had in years. Where on earth was this coming from?

Then I heard a voice: “Make happiness your priority.”

What?! Who said that? GOD?!

…it wasn’t God. It was Shawn Anchor in an interview I was listening to. (I did mention I was listening to a Shawn Anchor interview, right?)

Hmm…happiness…..How the hell am I supposed to be happy if I’m not working on my goals? How am I supposed to be happy if I have no money? And I’m certainly not going to be happy if I don’t have a six pack….

(….maybe I’ll be okay without the six pack. )

All of these are all important. Just not at the expense of my happiness.

Working on my coaching business and acting goals are a priority. They make me happy, especially when they bring in that thing called money. What I’m learning is that I can be happy working on these every day for a certain amount of time, without spending all of my time working too much without taking breaks or making time for social activities.

Then there’s health: I’ve reached a goal where I stopped giving into instant gratification and refuse to indulge in cheat meals unless it’s specifically a cheat day. While I’m proud of this goal, I’m learning that I let it contribute to more stress. I had learned how easy it was to stay home and skip shows and activities without the worry of food and sleep. The more I stayed home and skipped going out, the more unhappy I was getting.

These are all areas I’ll be more comfortable in a month from now. At which point, I’ll probably be able to talk about this topic even better (Not to mention write a better blog post….) Regardless, here’s my biggest takeaway so far: We should focus on how to go about our goals and priorities in a way that makes us happy. This might not always be the “right” way to go about it, or the way our friends and family tell us. While we don’t want to shun advice from others, it’s okay to stray from the path that’s often classified as “the way you should do it.”

I had been so focused on what motivational speakers have been telling me in interviews, youtube videos, and even social media posts, that I wasn’t focusing on how I felt. Well now….that’s just silly.

Don’t be silly. Just…be happy. 🙂 Go get’ em, friends.

Be a Victor – Not a Victim

The only thing better than when life is going good is when life is going great. Sometimes you’re booking jobs left and right, earning enough income to quit your survival job, and all you can focus on is flowers, sunshine, and the thought of puppies. (Who doesn’t love pupples?)

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Not just one curveball. Several curveballs. In fact, after the eighth curveball, you can’t even focus on the plethora of good things going on in your life. Sure, you’ve done enough personal development to realize that you’re choosing to see the negatives over the positives. But when there are SO MANY FREAKING CURVEBALLS, seeing just one positive becomes a chore.

It’s been a rough few days for me. I feel like I’ve been seeing nothing but curveballs. And there is a plethora of wine in my apartment that looks incredibly lonely.

… but I’m not touching the wine. Eric Thomas would be disappointed in me.

TGIM

Check Eric Thomas out on facebook

Eric is a motivational speaker and published author. He has his PhD and is inspiring people every day. Though he certainly had his share of curveballs: He was a high school dropout. He even lived on the streets for a period of time. He hit rock bottom. But today he’s on top of the world.

Eric Thomas

Or go here to read some of his quotes!

I’ve made a point to listen to one of Eric’s “Thank God It’s Monday” videos every day. Here’s what I’ve gotten from them:

1) You are not a victim. When things aren’t going well, we tend to fall into the victim’s mentality. This is when we think about how much things suck, as opposed to what we can do to fix them. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s tricky to get out. Take responsibility for what happened. Focus on what you can do to make your situation better. Taking small, simple steps will make you feel a whole lot better than a bottle of wine ever will.

(Champagne, of course, is another story..)

2) Your situation is temporary. When Eric was homeless, he knew that he wasn’t going to be homeless forever. When we start to focus on how things inevitably are going to be okay, we start to feel a little better about our current situation. Sometimes it even leads to ideas on how to fix things.

Regardless of your circumstances, remember that you’re not a victim. You’re a victor. Now go make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Then watch this video. Then call me. We’ll order some champagne.

Find Your ‘Why’ That Makes You Cry

Ever notice how some of your goals are accomplished quicker than others? Whether we’re busy or just not putting in the time we know we should, some goals get left to the side. Sure, we can pick them back up anytime. But how do we pick them up and stay consistent?

Recently I watched a fantastic presentation that covered a bunch of topics. One of the presenters, Tarah Marie Carr, talked about finding your “why.” She talked about how hard she worked on her business in order to support her family. Because of this strong “why,” her husband was able to return home from serving overseas.

I love her story. Here’s mine:

(Spoiler alert: It’s about food. Not about being in love. Unless you count my passion for red wine and snacks.)  

I have a strong interest in nutrition. This turned up a few notches when I became a health and fitness accountability coach. I got a meal plan, portion sized containers, plus a formula explaining how many containers I could eat for each food group. (You may have heard me talk about this before.)

21 Day Fix

Despite this incredible plan, I still struggled with cravings. I’d go half the week eating clean, then erase my results each time I got tired and stressed. If I couldn’t sleep, I went straight for the kitchen. If I was really stressed, alcohol was inevitable. My goal of getting a six pack was always short lived at best.

Fast forward to last month: I was reading a great book called “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. He discusses different options to be more quick and efficient with your goals. One chapter discusses nutrition. Tracy explains that in order to have the most energy to accomplish our goals, we need to be putting healthy foods into our bodies.

“Aha!”

I started to focus on what negative consequences might happen if I decided to go for the unhealthy options (which I desperately wanted). If I caved and kept going for cookies (seriously, love cookies) I’d feel guilty, upset, and tired. This kept me from being my best self. If I’m not my best self, I can’t get my work done. Translation: “Sorry goals. You’ll have to wait another day.”

Since I quit waiting tables, I’ve had to apply to odd jobs here and there to pay the bills. I don’t enjoy them. Each time I apply for a gig – even if it’s just for a day – I start to feel depressed.

And that’s my why.

I’m done working jobs I don’t like. I’m tired of spending my time learning about products or companies I don’t have a passion for. Each time I start to crave something I know I shouldn’t be eating, I think about these jobs. I think about how wonderful it’s going to be when all of my income comes solely from acting, writing, and fitness. Working on my goals involves lots of time and energy. I can’t tackle all of these if I’m not being healthy. Snacks can wait. My goals can’t.

Sound silly? That’s okay. It is. But it works. Guess who’s showing off his six pack on his trip home this week?

(Oh man, this totally means I’m gonna have a love story to share!)

What’s your “why?” Care to share it with us? (Do it. I promise it helps.)