You don’t suck

Post originally written for parlepost.com

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Quote: Jen Sincero

Ever have someone hate you?

I once was tweeting with a director. (Yes. Tweeting with a director. It’s a thing.)

I had auditioned for him previously. He suggested we meet up for coffee. “Yes please!” Unfortunately it never happened. I stopped hearing from him. I attempted to connect with him on Facebook, but he never accepted. This did wonders for my self esteem.

Click here to read full post! 

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Tony. Why do I have to click links?” 

I’m a contributing writer to parlepost.com. In the hopes that I can stay on the team, I’ve asked readers to check out my content on their page.

“So like, is this content any different?” 

Nope! Still me talking in my own voice about taking control and being a happier person.

“Does this mean you’re done posting original content here?” 

Nope! But I’ll be linking the post that are up.

“Okay fine. I kind of like your content regardless. Are you, like, available for hire?”

You bet. Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com to discuss what you’re looking for and we’ll see if I’m a good fit!

When Being Right Doesn’t Work

Post originally written for parlepost.com. 

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My name is Tony. And I’m extremely stubborn.

Despite being stubborn, I love to make people feel happier, more confident, and have a better understanding of themselves. In order to have this understanding, it helps to understand others. Which means, if I want to help people in this area, I must do the same. So I’m working on this whole “stubborn” thing and focusing on how to listen better – particularly when I don’t want to…

Click to read the full post! 

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“Tony. Why do I have to click links now?” 

So glad you asked. Last week I shared that I’m a contributing writer to parlepost.com. In the hopes that I can stay on the team, I’ve asked readers to check out my content on their page.

“So like, is this content any different?” 

Nope! Still me talking in my own voice about taking control and being a happier person.

“Does this mean you’re done posting original content here?” 

Nope! But for now, I’m linking the post that are up.

“Okay fine. I kind of like your content regardless…so…are you available for hire?”

You bet. Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com to discuss what I can do for you. Or check out my very official posting here.

I Broke The Rules

My name is Tony Rossi. Sometimes I break the rules. 

I do this every now and then. As other artists and entrepreneurs can attest to, there are periods where you’re not quite making as much money as you’d like. Which may or may not (but definitely will) cause you to do things that you probably shouldn’t be doing. 

There was a time where I did this and it really stuck out. 

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I won’t say where I was or what I was doing because it was highly illegal…okay that’s a stretch. It really wasn’t. I just found a loop hole that allowed me to steal wifi from an establishment that prefers you to give them money for doing so. Seeing as how I had been able to get away with this in the past, I figured…why not try again? So I did. And sure enough, I was recognized “Hey! Good to see you! When you get a chance, can you (actually do that thing where you pay us money because those are clearly part of the rules for being here)?” 

“Yeah! Definitely!” 

…I didn’t do it. 

The next couple hours were fear filled. “Are they going to say something? They’ll probably say something. I should probably leave. Or hide. This is terrible. I’m terrible. I’m a terrible human being. Is there someone behind me? I bet that’s them…

Which of course, only led to more negative thoughts….

“The staff must hate me. They must think I’m a scammer. They probably think I do this in every area of life. I bet they’ll go home tonight, think about how I’m a scammer, and text each other about what a dick I am….”

I should note that my whole reason for coming here in the first place was to feel positive, inspired, and excited to do work which can help me with my goals. Instead, I found myself furiously typing away at a post that I couldn’t wait to upload. (To my free blog.) 

Between my obsession for self help books and learning more about both myself and what others are thinking about, I’ve learned a few things that resonated that day: 

  1. We all could do better with checking in with ourselves. If the point of doing something, going somewhere, or being with somebody are supposed to make you feel good, do yourself a favor and ask if these things actually are helping you feel good. 
  2. Guys. No one cares about you as much as you think they do. I know, I know. This is a harsh truth. But think about a job you’ve worked in the past where you had an encounter with a coworker or customer. It didn’t go well. It pissed you off. You might have thought about them all the way home, complained about them to your significant other over dinner…..and then needed to unwind. With netflix. Or wine. Or both. The point is, we reach a point where we stop caring because we care way more about ourselves. We only care about the thoughts of others because it relates to ourselves. So do yourself a favor and just let it go. 
  3. This isn’t going to fucking matter a year from now. (Or maybe even tomorrow.) If anything, your trial and tribulation from today is going to make for an incredible story down the road. Because down the road, it’ll be just like your netflix and wine night – you’re going to stop caring about it. 

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Gotta love the quotes at Next Door Chicago!

So put things into perspective. Check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. Realize that no one is thinking about you as much as you think they are. And realize that in the grand scheme of things – this incident really, really isn’t that big of a deal. 

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 😉 

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. 

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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.

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.” 

Yeah….no. 

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…

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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. 

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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. 

Tony Trick: Let Yourself Be Negative

Wake up early. Eat something healthy. Read something inspiring. Prep for positivity.

There’s plenty of options to set yourself up for a positive day. Yet some days you just won’t be happy.

As someone who loves teaching others tricks to be more positive, I don’t hide that I still have my bad days. I share these days  because I know the frustrating trying to learn new behaviors. We badly want to emulate them, yet they seem out of our reach. All the while, it seems the teacher has some “magical power” which we can’t seem to utilize ourselves. So let’s debunk the myth that this has to be hard. Believe it or not, part of this process involves allowing ourselves to be negative.

Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t an excuse to be grumpy all the time. Rather, it’s to emphasize how acknowledging your current feelings can help reach the ones you desire.

For instance, this week  I’m  visiting friends and family in the Boston area. My friends will all tell you I love opportunities to visit home. My mood always improves when I have a trip coming up. Less than a week to go?  Wicked happy. On the train ride to the airport? SO MUCH HAPPINESS.

….except for this trip.

I hopped on the Red Line and was feeling rather tired. When I’m tired, I tend to focus on more negatives: My throat felt scratchy. Am I getting sick? My flight would be getting in late. That won’t help. Will I be too cold this trip? What if my flight will get cancelled? What if I never make it as an actor?

Note: Being sleep deprived is a terrible time to start assuming things.
Clearly I wasn’t feeling very happy. So what did I do about it? I gave in.

I realized I was trying to fight my fatigue. I was wishing and hoping that I would feel more excited. Then I’d get mad at myself for not feeling better. Once I acknowledged how I was feeling, I didn’t have to fight anymore. I wasn’t conjuring up magical feelings that didn’t match how I actually felt.

I switched trains. I got on the Orange Line. Suddenly… I was in a much better mood. I was going home!

…granted, this tends to happen when one departs the Red Line.

I’ll admit this might not work for everyone. We all operate differently. I personally struggle reaching positive emotions by fighting off negatives and pretending they don’t exist. Sure, sometimes you can fake it til you make it. But more often I prefer to check in with myself first. Then I can work on how to best switch my focus – not fight it.

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Doesn’t mean you won’t forget to dump your water before going through security though…

Your turn: What do you usually do when you’re struggling to be in a better mood? What tricks do you use to change your focus. I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Before you comment, know this: The concept of “I can’t make myself feel better” is bullshit. You can be happier. You just need to know what works best for you.

Go get ‘em.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

What Happens When You Focus On Highlight Reels

So I have no television.

Having no television means you don’t watch a lot of the things you used to. When I get the chance, I’m a sucker for watching baseball highlights.  They show the pros at their best. The announcers are excited. There’s music playing in background.

I love ‘em. But they give us a false impression. This is especially the case if they’re focused on a particular individual.

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As if the pic isn’t great enough…it’s from a site called “Chowder and Champions.” 

On September 12th of last month, Papi launched the 500th homer of his career into the bleachers of Tropicana Field. He was the 27th player in baseball ever to do so. When he returned to Fenway Park in Boston, a pregame ceremony was held in his honor. It even included a montage of all 500 of his home runs. As a diehard fan that adores David Ortiz (with a life goal of receiving a bear hug from the guy), I can guess watching it live was pretty neat.

Here’s the thing: That reel was a highlight reel. What it didn’t show was his slump of ’09, where it took nearly two months to hit home run number one of the season. It didn’t show when he was tested positive for banned substances shortly after. And as far as I know, it didn’t show the time he got ejected and beat the crap out of the dugout phone in Tampa (ironically, the same place he hit number 500).

This isn’t to take away any of David’s incredible accomplishments. Rather, it’s to emphasize that even the best have their bad days. These typically don’t get shown.

As an actor and entrepreneur, I know all too well the frustration of seeing others succeed at the goals that I so desperately want. I see their facebook page. I see photos from their second national commercial. And oh, they work with that agent I’ve been trying to get a hold of? Of course they do.

It’s easy to get frustrated.

Know this: Frustration and jealousy is a choice. It’s not necessarily a switch we can flip that suddenly makes us happy. It’s something we can gradually incorporate into our routine over time. (Message me. I know some tips 😉 )

Even the best have their bad days. Comparing ourselves to their highlight reel is a waste of time and energy. It leads to disappointment and focusing on what we don’t have. Look at what you’ve already accomplished on your own, unique, and individual path to success.

So…what are you going to do to make today amazing?

#gogetem

Going Through A Dark Place

During times of heartbreak, loss, and struggle, it’s easy to think we have to feel depressed. Often we’ll resort to the mindset of “I don’t deserve to be happy.” This is merely the beginning of a slippery slope towards a dark place.

The good news is we don’t have to go there. We can choose to focus our energies elsewhere. It’s not easy, but it’s doable if you put your mind to it.

The following are some of my favorite mindset tricks towards staying positive:

Can’t Change It

A lot of the time, we focus on the “what if.” What if this hadn’t happened? What if they had done something differently? What if I had done something differently? This puts us in a state of lack. When you’re living in lack, you’re focusing solely on the negatives. It leads to many more and drives us towards that dark place.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the past. What you can do is focus on where to go from here.

Open Yourself To Positives

If your situation is really dark, it’s easy to think there are no positives. That’s understandable. There are so many clouds of negativity that it’s hard to see through them. But maybe you don’t have to. Instead, what if you look around them?

Start looking for the positives no matter how bad the situation might be. Simply being open to this concept will allow you to see wonderful things around you that you weren’t aware of before.  Finding just one will make your situation incredibly less painful.

A Brighter Future

Trying to envision what the future looks like is hard enough. It’s twice as hard when going through a struggle. Dark times can make us stronger. We learn from these experiences and grow in an incredibly powerful way. The next time we encounter something similar, we’ll be better prepared. More importantly, we’ll be able to help others who may be less experienced.

Why I’m Sharing This

Earlier this week, I learned my longest childhood friend, David Kendricken, passed away. He was twenty five years old. I was devastated when I learned the news. It nearly put me in a dark place myself. Instead, I decided to apply everything I learned from personal development.

Let me clarify: This doesn’t make our situation “okay.” It means we’re accepting the “can’t change it” mentality and allowing ourselves to get through in a positive way. Some of the positives I’m choosing to focus are seeing some friends who knew Dave very well. Perhaps I’ll make more friends this week whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We can preserve his memory by sharing stories. (I got plenty 🙂 )

For those of you who knew and loved Dave, please keep the following in mind:

Forgive yourself for how you’re feeling right now. Especially if you’re feeling any kind of depression or guilt. You’re human. And if you were friends with Dave, you’re probably a damn good one too.

Be open to finding those positives. We’re not trying to be perfect. In fact, f**k being perfect. I hate that word. Just try to find one. See what happens.

Dave, you were a hell of a guy. I always knew you were. But looking at all of the love on your facebook page tells me that plenty of others knew that too. While this situation isn’t ideal, I see so much love from your friends and family that I can’t help but feel it too. Thanks for spreading that to all of us.

Love ya, “son.”

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