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.


I had some smiles that day at work….

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

This post was originally written for

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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


The myth about money

Let’s role play for a minute, shall we? 

So you just got a job. A good one. Like, really good. Hell, this job is SO good that you have a killer salary for a killer company. And best of all? It’s well known! Your company is frequently in the news and YOU, my friend, are often in the spotlight. You get kudos from high school friends you haven’t heard from in years. Hell, they don’t understand the hard work you do day after day, but who cares? You’re living the dream! 

Oh, but here’s the catch – because this company is frequently in the news, your job performance shows up in the headlines. Like, a lot. I know, it’s not fair because the rest of your friends with jobs don’t get news stories written about them on both good and bad days. But hey – this is part of the job, right? 

So you have a bad day. That makes the head lines. All of a sudden you’re under fire. It doesn’t matter the fact that you had one of those nights you couldn’t sleep the night before. And no one really gives a shit that you went through a break up. All they see is that you didn’t do your best. And boyyy are they letting you hear about it! 

Also – don’t bother trying to defend yourself via social media. This just opens you up to criticism. Yup. Criticism from people who will never relate to you because all they see are the headlines. They don’t see the lifestyle that surrounds it. 

Of course, this is YOU we’re talking about. And this is just a pretend fantasy, yeah? So why don’t we go ahead and both cut you some slack. We KNOW you’re a good person. You’re just a good person who is human. You make mistakes, but we know you’ll bounce back. 

…..did ya get all that? 

Good. So now let’s cut these guys some slack:

Your favorite baseball team that got eliminated from the playoffs 

-The well known athlete on your favorite team who keeps getting injured and “isn’t worth that salary.” 

-The goalie who got pulled in the 2nd period because he gave up five goals. 

-The athlete who made a butt load of money after being traded to your city but has yet to produce anything. 


Because let’s be honest: You and I aren’t living their life style. You and I haven’t lived a day in their shoes. You and I are different than they are. You and I have different joys and sorrows in life that trigger us in different ways.

And please, don’t buy into the myth that making an obnoxious salary means you’re allowed to be criticized. It’s bullshit and it’s hurting you to believe it.

Let’s be kind and send love to those we really want to be succeeding in the first place

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! 

You are abundant. You are enough.

I learned this weekend at the Bodhi Spiritual Center that I suffer from “not enough ness.” It’s a terrible thing. 

The following is a list of things I frequently find myself wanting more of: 



-Airline Miles


-Groceries in my fridge (because I always forgot to pick up something)

-Apartment accessories


-Warmer weather

-Cooler weather (in the summertime)  


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through this list in my head. I think of how much easier life could be. How much less stress I’d have. How much more enjoyment I’d have. But first, I’d clearly need more things on this list. 

Because I’m such a big advocate of personal development materials, I’ve learned that getting these things won’t actually bring me the joy I want…..why is this? 

When we suffer from “not enough-ness” we are coming from a place of lack. Coming from a place of lack is not an empowering way to make us happy. When we come from a place of lack, we might gain temporary fulfillment by achieving things on our list. But it’s not sustainable and it doesn’t bring us longterm happiness – which is what we all are ultimately seeking. 

The truth is, we need to come from a place of abundance and gratitude. 

“But Tony. How can I come from a place of abundance when I don’t have enough?”

1. Ask yourself, “Is this is true?” Often we think we don’t have enough money, but the truth is we have plenty. We just choose to spend it on other things. For example, I’ve been putting off purchasing workout equipment for a while now “because I don’t have enough money.” Yet over the weekend, I found myself spending much more money than I planned on for food and drinks while celebrating the Patriots AFC Championship game. (Note: The real reason I did this was to fulfill my other need of “not having enough fun lately.” See how coming from lack doesn’t help here?) There’s no need to beat ourselves up when this happens. That’s also not serving us. Rather, this is something we can do to better evaluate the truth, and then take action to fix it from that empowering place.

2. Identify the areas you are abundant in. While I might not have the income I want right now, I do have an abundance in other areas. Currently, this includes time. I’m not always abundant in time. But right now, because work has slowed down, I have more of it. It’s led to more activities that I’ve been waiting to do for a while, but had previously dismissed because of my schedule. These activities also make me feel more abundant with fun. (Despite that I still feel the need for more.) You do have an abundance, friends. It just might not be in that area you’re focusing on. 

Please remember: Realize that what you resist persists. If you’re coming from a place of lack, you’re resisting something negative. If you’re a believer in the Law of Attraction – and I am – you know that you draw in whatever it is you’re focusing on. Instead, focus on the thing you do want. Attract more of that thing instead. 

I’ll end this with a quote from one my new favorite authors, Jennifer Sincere. She ends each chapter of her book, “You are a Badass” by reminding us… 

“Love yourself.” 

And in one instance…

“Love yourself. You’re doing an awesome job.” 

I need that reminder. Constantly. 

I am enough. You are too. Love yourselves, friends. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 


One of my favorite ways to remind myself of how abundant I am is by writing in my Spotlight journal every morning. 


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

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

What happens when you trust uncertainty in your life

Don’t drink too much caffeine. Don’t put product in your hair. If you don’t show up early, you might not get paid.

The things we do as creative artists to pay the bills….

I signed up for a research study. I signed a confidentiality agreement and am not allowed to reveal details. I can say that I arrived after a #notperfect day. Add on top of that my continuous work on becoming more happy while working random gigs like these, and you have one unique, lanky, long nosed and quite troubled fellow coming into your office to take said study.

I’ve been working hard on myself. I want to believe that “everything always works out for me” whether I’m having a good day or not. Yet today, I was struggling. And it didn’t help that I was running late. I finally arrived to read the details of my consent form. The Tony-Rossi thoughts went as follow…

“I could be here two hours? And I’m going to be subject to a set of potential emotional experiences in order to give them a particular response? Don’t even tell me I might have to taste something on Day 2 of my new nutrition plan…Ugh. Why didn’t I just cancel? This can’t be worth my time…”

Right before I signed the form, figuring I was already there and have backed out of too many things I shouldn’t have in the past year, I had a new thought: Maybe this will be fun. Maybe I’ll get paired with someone nice. Maybe we’ll get out early. Or perhaps this will just be a great story or experience of yet another random side job I worked to get to success….

A voice interrupted my positive thoughts. It came from the nice lady behind the front desk. She was telling me that they’ve already begun the study. Something about the participants. And then concluding with, “…and we’re going to just pay you anyway.,

I’m sorry….what?

I’m getting paid to leave right now?

I. Was. Elated.


Note to self: Make sure to crop out the full gift card number before posting….

Lessons from yours truly (who, upon writing this, is currently celebrating with a tall dark Christmas blend from Starbucks):

1) You are doing yourself a disservice if you freak out about uncertainty. While evolution has lead us to be on alert for uncertainty as a previous mode of survival, we’re no longer (hopefully) subject to attacks from wild animals who might kill us. Furthermore, you’re closing yourself off to the abundance of surprises and positives that are waiting to flow your way.

2) Believe that good things are supposed to happen to you. As speaker Les Brown says, “A lot of us think bad things are supposed to happen to us.” Start to ingrain a new belief into your brain that good things happen to you and that you deserve them. See what happens.

3) If all else fails… copy and paste this part somewhere so that you have it ready:

“Dear Universe (or whatever it is you choose to believe in – God, higher being, Tony Rossi, etc): Please forgive me for doubting you. You clearly want good things to happen for me. Thanks for that. I’m #notperfect. But I’m making progress everyday. With a little bit more practice…this will be second nature. Until then – thanks for your patience with me.”

Life is going to be as good or bad as we expect it to be. I’m expecting it to be awesome. Care to join me?

Let’s go get ’em.

What I learned about happiness from the Chicago White Sox

If you’ve been following me the past couple months, you know that my beloved “cheat nights” have been non existent. On Monday night I ended a near two month streak of eating clean at the White Sox game…


….there weren’t too many others with the same agenda as me.

Perhaps it was the low attendance. Maybe it was that I went to the game alone. Or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t drink as much as I normally do at baseball games (great money saver!) But I seemed to be keenly aware of things that I don’t typically notice at baseball games. All of them center around the thing I’m always searching for most: Happiness.


Isn’t it interesting how much time and money we set aside for fun activities?

We easily drop a couple hundred dollars for a night of fun. Yet from what I noticed, it seemed a lot of people were paying lots of money just to be unhappy that night.

I noticed it from the gentleman sitting in front of me. These men had dugout seats and the rest of the row to themselves. Yet their conversation centered around their dislike of the pitcher,  previous years of White Sox mediocrity and heckling the struggling hitters.

I noticed it too on specific plays. At one point, the pitcher made a great grab on a ground ball, only to follow by making a fielding error. The fans groaned and quickly started to boo. The boos were followed by jeers and nasty comments that could easily be heard by the pitcher on the mound. Interesting, I thought – the fans who played lots of money to be there, were assumedly there to be happy, were furiously at this one play. (Which, by the way, didn’t end up affecting the score.)

And because I’m also #notperfect, I noticed it with myself. It was my first night deviating from my meal plan and I was trying very hard to enjoy it. So much so that I skipped my usual game time meal of hot dogs for some “Irish Nachos”….


Only $9! Score! Wait….

….and was very disappointed when I didn’t get any nachos. I suppose to the average fan, these could have been more enjoyable. But for me, they weren’t what I wanted. All I could think was that I just spent $9 on food I didn’t even want. Fortunately I got hungry again later in the game…


$13. Sometimes spending more is worth it. 

Regardless of whether you like baseball, hot dogs, or anything I just talked about, consider this: Our time is valuable. We spend lots of time working to earn money. Our fun nights should be fun. They should be enjoyable on our own terms. Not on the outcome of the game or the food we eat. Sometimes making happiness a priority means putting our egos aside to appreciate what we did to get ourselves there. Maybe enjoy the company around you. Or if you’re not having fun – take some time away from the event itself and walk around. Bring those friends with you! Or take some time for yourself.

I admittedly found myself cold and bored at one point that night. Even though I typically hate missing the game itself, I gave myself permission to go for a walk, appreciate that I was at a baseball game, and even try sitting in different sections of the ballpark since it was so empty.




Now if this is a playoff game…..okay fine, that might be a different story. Maybe I’ll even write a different blog about it….

…in the mean time, let’s be happy.

Go get ‘em, friends.

The Worst Case Scenario Is….

Funny how we stress out, isn’t it?

If you don’t find stress funny, allow me to share a story.

I was having a good day. A really good day. Nothing crazy. Just a productive day with lots of positives to focus on. I love days like this. What could go wrong?

I checked my bank account really quick before dinner.


And that, my friends, ended my buzz.

There wasn’t anything abnormal. Just a wake up call. I realized how I didn’t have as much coming in as I hoped. Next month? Not looking much better. What was I going to do?

When we stress about things that haven’t happened yet, we often assume the worst. The negatives are magnified. All we can focus on is how gloomy the future looks. Funny thing is, we could just as easily think about what could go right.

When this happened with me, I wasn’t thinking about what could go right. I wasn’t thinking about how much I’ve saved over the past two months. How it’s more than I’ve saved in a long while. I didn’t think about all the last minute jobs that tend to show up. And I wasn’t thinking how every single time I’ve had a money setback, I’ve made it work. Yes, there was sometimes stress. But I made it work.

It’s tough to visualize how something will work out when you don’t know how it’s going to work out. On the other hand, we sure know how to visualize how bad things will go, don’t we?

The Worst Case Scenario Routine

We’ll use me as an example. If I don’t pick up the work I need in order to pay my bills, what will happen? I could ask my family for money. I’d be embarrassed and it would affect my confidence. But I could do it. Although, this is the worst case scenario, right? So we’ll say that’s not an option. A medical emergency happened there aren’t any Tony Rossi funds available. Now what? I’d apply for a fulltime job? I’d probably hate it (this is the worst case scenario after all), but it would get me rent money. But wait! There’s no jobs to be had in Chicago. All the other struggling actors snagged ‘em. Looks like I won’t be renewing my lease as planned. Time to go back to roommates….and since it is the worst case scenario, they’re probably going to be murders, infected with disease. There’s a 90% chance I’m going to die in this apartment…

Translation: If I don’t make it work out financially next month, I’m going to get murdered. (Or die from infectious diseases.)

We have a tendency to do this. We jump to the worst case scenario thinking about how awful things are going to go. Yet, if we take a step back and observe what’s going on, we realize how irrational we’re being.

So let’s try this together:

This will go right.

I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again.

I f***ing deserve this.

And…c’mon….I’m not going to die.

You with me?

Let’s go get em, friends.

The Perfect Moment Doesn’t Exist

You know that thing you keep saying you’ll do? That one step you could take that could change your life? The process might  take  time, effort, and hard freaking work. But it would ultimately benefit you in the long run. You know that thing?

Why haven’t you done it yet?

Here’s the most common answer: It’s just not the right time.

“I’m too busy right now. I’ll start when things settle down.”

“I don’t have enough money right now. I’ll start in a couple of months when things should be better financially.”

“I’m going to wait until the beginning of the (week/month/year). That feels like a better time to start.”

You guys. We need to stop.


Like, seriously.

Let’s break these down.

“I’m too busy.” Think back to a month ago. We had the holidays, end of the year projects to complete, trips to plan, and oh-so-many parties to go to. Most of us were putting things off then and planning to do them now in January. Do you still find yourself using the “too busy” excuse this month?

Life isn’t going to stop giving you more things to do. Is February really going to be any different?

“I just can’t afford it right now.”  I think I’ve used this excuse more than any of these. I can’t afford to go to the gym. I can’t afford to eat healthy. I can’t afford this acting related expense. Once I did put money into both my acting career and my health (two of my highest priorities), my accomplishments increased.

Paying more for headshots led to more auditions and gigs. Paying over a hundred dollars for a workout program and meal plan led to me being the health-nut I never thought I’d be. Which then lead me to being more confident in auditions. It all pays off. And usually, we only have to pay for it once.

Even though we might be in a tough spot financially, we tend to use that same amount of money – sometimes in smaller increments – in other areas instead. These usually are fun activities that don’t move us forward. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to have time for social activities. But when they constantly come at the expense of our goals…is it worth it?

“I’ll start on Monday.” This one is the worst. We think we’re taking action by giving ourselves a future date to start. Really we’re just procrastinating by using a number on a calendar.  It’s toxic. It’s going to keep you from being your best self as long as you allow it to. That’s just not fair.

So. What can we do about this?

Instead of focusing on all of the reasons that taking action will be inconvenient now, consider how this temporary change will set you up for success for the rest of your life.


It’s time for YOU to take action! (Thanks to Ben Gonzales for the pic!)

-Need to start exercising? Sure, the transition to a healthy lifestyle is tough. But stay consistent and a year from now you’ll be a master. Which leads you to being healthy for the rest of your life.

-Want to take an awesome, expensive acting class? Sure, that could lead to picking up more shifts and going out less for the rest of the month. Yet the skills you learn and the relationships you build could benefit your entire career.

When we focus on how amazing our future is going to be, we create less stress on the temporary inconveniences the action may cause.

Then again, you can just keep putting that task off. That’s okay too. I mean, you’re okay with staying in your current situation for the rest of your life…..right?



Go get ‘em, friends. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. Be the amazing person that you know you’re capable of being.

Recognizing Those Who Are Trying to Help

Not too long ago, I posted about clipboard people. You know, those people who are SO happy to see you from a block away, despite the fact that you’re considering running into traffic if it means not speaking to them?

…sorry. That was too much. I was up late last night.

I used to have the mentality of “everyone is out to get me.” In other words, I could be on a free phone call with a highly respected acting coach. Then once I’m on the call, I learn the coach wants me to sign up for his class. (And if you sign up before the end of the call, you save $100 and get a free pencil!) I would be disgusted and eager to hang up.

Recently, I finished the book, “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. I didn’t know who Hardy was prior to reading. Now I’m convinced he’s the most successful person in the history of ever. (Google him, if you don’t believe me). If you ever find yourself needing to run a marathon in Chicago with negative wind chills, give “The Compound Effect” a quick read. You’ll be fine.


Photo credit:

At the very end of his book, Hardy asks us to consider loaning the book to five friends who would benefit from his principles:

“I know this sounds like it benefits me. It does. Remember, I am after the success testimonials. My goal is to make a difference in millions of people’s lives, but to do that, I need your help. But I promise you this: ultimately, it will be you who benefits the most. Your helping someone else find the ideas to gain greater success is the first step toward you exercising them in your own life.”

This made me change my whole outlook on the “everyone is out to get me” approach. First, he put me at ease by stating his intentions. I never heard someone admit “yes, this helps me.” At the same time, he introduced the concept of “Yes, this helps me. But it also helps you.”

Let’s go back to the stupid clipboard people: Giving them money for their organization usually doesn’t help you. It only helps them. But the next time you’re on a call with that acting coach who wants to give you free pencils, don’t ask how they’re trying to hurt you. Very rarely is this the case. Instead, how might they help you reach your goals?

Lastly, I want to address the money issue. Once we find out we have to pay for something, we tend to freak out. (Or at least I do). I’ve found that focusing on what I’m gaining, as opposed to what I’m losing (money) is far more valuable. Perhaps you’ve heard of the phrase “investing, not spending.” If I’m going to a Cubs game, I’m usually spending money. But if I decide I want to give Darren Hardy my money, that’s an investment. How else am I going to run that marathon in January?

I want you all to think about this money concept carefully. Because starting next month, you’ll all have the opportunity to continue reading my blog for the low price of $19.95 a month. Really try to think of this as an investment

….okay no, I’m totally kidding. This is still free. I’m sorry. Did I mention I was up late last night?

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