Interview with Andreea Ayers of Tees for Change – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 28, 2007


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ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

April and I are reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. This is the latest Oprah’s Book Club selection. Oprah and the author Eckhart Tolle are hosting a 10-week online course covering this book beginning Monday March 3. They recommend reading the book before the class. You can register for free at Oprah.com



March Affirmation Sale!

Beginning February 28 Download any two affirmations during March from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third affirmation free. There are no limits! You can download 20 and get 10 free. Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot!



Today The Affirmation Spot begins a series of interviews with and articles about inspirational people. These are people making a difference in the world by demonstrating the courage to share their gifts and pursue their dreams. My hope is that their stories will inspire you to begin taking steps in the direction of your dreams.
tees_for_change1.jpgThe first installment is an interview with Andreea Ayers, Founder of a Boulder, Colorado company called Tees For Change. Andreea started the company in early 2007 and it is already transforming her life and the lives of everyone wearing her products.

Her company is something special. Tees For Change is very eco-conscious – all their products are organic, they use low-impact eco-friendly dyes, and they plant a tree for each t-shirt sold. Her t-shirts proclaim emphatically positive messages such as, “today matters”, and “choose happiness”.

In a recent interview with on makethemostofu.com, Andreea is quoted as saying, “I am hoping that my tees will impact the person wearing them and also the many people he/she comes in contact with. Words are so powerful, as are thoughts, and a slight shift in your thoughts can make a difference in your day.

Our tees really make you think. What does “live mindfully’ or “today matters” mean to you? It’s probably different than what it means to your friend, sister or co-worker. My goal is to get people to at least stop for a moment and think “hmmm…” I want people to have conversations (with each other or even within themselves) about what the words on our tees mean to them.”

The following interview was conducted with Andreea by e-mail.

The Affirmation Spot:  Andreea, thank for your time. Can you share with us a little bit about your professional background and how your path led you to create Tees For Change? And, please tell us about Tees For Change and your goals for the company.

Andreea:  My background is in marketing for ‘green’ companies. I have a degree in Marketing from Cornell University and my first few jobs out of college were in market research and analysis. In 2001 I started to work for a non-profit publication called The Green Guide and, because the company was so small, I did everything but editorial and fundraising.

That was a great way for me to learn all aspects of online and offline marketing, customer service and the publishing industry. Then in 2004 I branched off on my own and self-published a book called The Green Apple: Organic coupons for healthy living in NYC. It was a guide and coupon book to everything eco-friendly in the Big Apple. However, I felt that I wanted to do something more national in scope and reach out to more people, so I did not re-publish the guide in 2005-2006.

In late 2005 I became a marketing consultant for Ideal Bite, a great company that sends out free, daily eco-living tips by email. I did their affiliate marketing, online marketing, and set up marketing partnerships, so I had the chance to learn more about ‘green’ marketing and building an email list.

Then, in 2006, after a brief stint in direct marketing at New York University, my husband and I moved out to Boulder, CO. I got the idea to start Tees For Change while I was in a prenatal yoga class. My goal for Tees For Change is to grow the company and reach out to as many people as possible. Right now our tees are available for sale in nearly 50 yoga studios across the US, but it would be great to have them available in every state and hopefully, one day, to have our own Tees For Change storefront or showroom.

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TAS:  Unfortunately, we live in a world bathed in a lot of fear and unhappiness. I’m sure you’re aware that many people see “positive thinking” as somewhat unrealistic in the face of realities like war and famine. In your experience, what tangible difference does thinking positively make in our lives and in our world?

Andreea:  In my opinion, thinking positively has a huge impact on our lives and decisions. I grew up in a communist country where people were constantly afraid and did not trust anyone. Then there was my grandmother who always instilled in us to think positively and look at the bright side. She lived her life that way, despite all the hardships she encountered during communism and despite the fact that her husband died when they were still very young. Today, she is 95 years old and still looks at the bright side of things. She taught me by example that positive thinking is the way to go.

I learned that you can’t be creative if you are constantly afraid. And if you can’t create, then you can’t advance. So, in order to grow as a person, a company or a nation, you can’t be afraid.

I don’t watch the news because all they report on is what is wrong with our neighborhoods, our schools, our roads, and our security. Can you imagine how different your evening would be if you turn on the news and you hear about all the good things people are doing in our communities and in our country? Just by being aware of people doing good things you feel better. Imagine if you walked around all day thinking good thoughts! I constantly challenge myself to think positively, even if I might not feel it at the moment, just to see what happens. It makes a huge difference!

TAS:  You’re a new mother with a new and growing business, I’m sure there are tough days. Who and what keeps you inspired and motivated? Do you have any role models, mentors, or heros?

Andreea:  There are definitely tough days, but I love what I do, so that makes my challenges a bit more manageable. I am definitely inspired by my family and by the natural world around me. I am inspired when my customers write to tell me about the difference that one of our tees has made in their lives. I am inspired by people who follow their dreams, whether it’s to be a doctor, entrepreneur, teacher, musician or plumber. I am constantly inspired by children – they naturally ‘think big’ and it’s amazing to see their drive and determination.
 
Everyone I meet is a role model, in one way or another. The ‘positive people’ teach me what to do and the ‘negative people’ teach me what not to do. Sometimes I feel that we all start out as role models and then, somewhere down the line, life takes over and we forget what it’s like to have dreams and ambitions. I think I’ll add two new tees that will say “be unrealistic” and “reclaim yourself.”

TAS: What does owning and operating your own business mean to you?

Andreea:  It means that I can be creative and follow my dreams. But it also means working long hours and taking risks (good and bad) that I would not normally take if I was working for somebody else. Having my own business has allowed me to constantly challenge myself and to question my decisions and actions.

TAS:  Many people have creative dreams or business ideas they want to pursue. Often, they feel paralyzed by the perceived risk or by other peoples’ opinions. If you could speak directly to one of those people sitting in a cubicle in corporate America reading this interview or to someone working a job that’s not advancing their dreams, what advice would you give him or her? What words of wisdom can you offer to persuade that person that following your bliss is worth it?

Andreea:  Well, I think that there is definitely a place for corporate America in all of us. I learned a great deal from working for other companies, small and large. There is value in learning from other people who know more than you do. But, having said that, I think that if the spark is there, you’ll know when you’re ready to pursue your dreams. For some people it might not make sense to quit their job and start their own business, but what if those people start their own business (part-time), while holding on to their job?
 
About five years ago I read a great book called Kiss Off Corporate America : A Young Professional’s Guide to Independence by Lisa Kivirist. I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of leaving the cubicle life. It inspired me to leave my corporate job and start my own market research firm. Even though the market research firm didn’t work out (there was still so much more that I needed to learn!!!), it was a great experience and it gave me the courage to start other things later on. I personally feel better when I know I tried something (even though it might not have worked out) than when I don’t try it at all.

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TAS:  Finally, what’s on the horizon for Tees For Change? Do you have any new lines coming out? Where can people find your tees? Are you expanding beyond tees into other products or apparel?

Andreea:  I am currently working on sourcing the tees for the Spring 2008 line and I will be adding more styles (tank tops, sweatshirts) and colors. I want to expand to other products, especially eco-friendly ones like canvas bags and reusable water bottles.

Right now, people can find the tee at Tees For Change and at nearly 50 yoga studios and boutiques across the country. For an updated list, they can visit http://teesforchange.com/retailers.
 
Thanks so much for allowing me to share my story!

TAS:  Thank you, Andreea, for generously sharing your time and your insights on positive thinking and pursuing your dreams.
With the holidays fast approaching, there is probably someone on your list who could use or would appreciate “the gift of positive”. Tees For Change is ideal for that person. Here is a quick FAQ on shipping and the logistics of ordering a shirt from Tees For Change.
 
Peace…

Ray
The Affirmation Spot.com

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Those Magic Moments – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 24, 2007

 Today’s affirmation:

“I know what achieving my goal feels like. I know what it smells like and tastes like. I know what achieving my goal looks like and sounds like. I envision my life with my goal attained.”

Some of you are probably familiar with that old Drifters song This Magic Moment. If you are, you know it is one of those songs that starts you humming and probably gets stuck in your head all day.

Life is about Those Magic Moments. We move through the “average days” in our life longing for another Magic Moment, or, in many cases, really just to relive previous Magic Moments.

As is often the case, sports, this week, has provided a lesson on the chalkboard of life. This week two traditionally successful teams have taken opposite approaches to rekindling Those Magic Moments.

In the history of college football, only three teams have a higher winning percentage than the Nebraska Cornhuskers. During the mid 1990s, the Huskers finally overcame their long-time nemeses University of Miami, FL and Florida State to become college football’s premiere program.

Legendary coach Tom Osborne finished his career with three national championships in four years capping the most illustrious stretch in the history of an illustrious program.

People in Nebraska got used to Those Magic Moments. They almost felt entitled to them. When Osborne retired, Nebraska hired long-time assistant to the legend, Frank Solich. Solich only went 61-19 in six years as head coach – not good enough. There were no more national championships -no more Magic Moments.

He was fired in favor of NFL coach Bill Callahan. Callahan, now in his fifth year, has compiled a 26-21 record. Those Magic Moments feel further away than ever for Nebraska fans.

This week, in the midst of a particularly devastating losing streak, Nebraska fired its Athletic Director and hired the legendary Osborne as interim Athletic Director.

The New York Yankees are far and away the most successful team in the history of major league baseball. However, the team had fallen on a decade of hard times. In 1996, the team hired Joe Torre as its manager.

Torre led the Yankees to four world championships in five years between 1996 and 2001. In the years since, the Yankees have had baseball’s best record, but no more World Series wins. Owner George Steinbrenner and many in the Yankee nation grew impatient with not winning a World Series every other year.

This week the Yankees offered Torre a contract the team knew he would not accept effectively forcing him out. The team believes it can recapture Those Magic Moments with a new manager.

These two teams are following two strategies we often pursue when we are searching for Those Magic Moments. Nebraska looked backwards to past glory. The hope is that Tom Osborne, through his mere presence, can bring the Magic back.

The Yankees chose to look to the future in the hope that “new blood” might transform success into perfection. 

We, too, are always looking for Our Magic Moments. We look forward and we look back. We try to relive the past or we try to change everything in the hope that change itself will bring us the happiness we want.

The truth is that our happiness is hidden in the most conspicuous, but unlikely place….NOW.

The past is the past. When we try to recreate the past the best we can hope for is a meaningless replication. We don’t live there anymore. We live here and now. What worked in the past may not work today. Can Tom Osborne really return the Nebraska football program to 1997?

When we change everything hoping to come up with something better, we usually wind up with a rootless life that does not live up to our expectations. Will the new Yankee manager be able top Torre’s 95+ win per year average and win enough World Series’ to keep George and the Yankee faithful satisfied?

The past is our teacher. The future is our dream. Neither provides a foothold for us to climb and build and grow. The only foothold on the entire mountain of life is right now.

Now may not seem like Magic. It may not be all we want it to be, but it is really the only clay from which we can sculpt the rest of our lives.

Afterall no Magic Moment that ever was or ever will be is inherently Magic. What makes Moments Magic is not the moment. It is us. It is us being fully who we are in that moment, dealing with its realities, and making the most of them.

We already soaked all the Magic there was from yesterday. We cannot begin drawing on tomorrow’s Magic. Let’s stay focused on finding all the Magic that exists today and be content with it.

Peace…

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

I’d like to personally invite you to come by The Affirmation Spot today and try a couple of our free affirmations or download affirmations in a category of interest to you. We are constantly growing and expanding with the goal of offering affirmations for your specific life needs.

New affirmations are available in the Wealth and Prosperity, Personal Empowerment, and Sales sections of the website.

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Maximum Impact Opportunities (MIOs) – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday October 9, 2007

Today’s affirmation is:

“I prepare so that I maximize my opportunities when they count.”

Good morning. We spent a beautiful day yesterday at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando. We attended some wonderful shows and saw some amazing things!

One of my favorite attractions was a virtual ride called Soarin’. It was an ingenius combination of motion technology and IMAX images that created an exceptionally realistic experience of hang-gliding over scenic parts of the United States. It was breath-taking.

The experience itself was only about eight minutes, but the line to get in was almost two hours. It occurred to me that our lives are very much like that. We spend so much time preparing for those big moments and so we want to make them count.

Think about a major league baseball player who dreamed from the time he was 10 of being at the plate in the bottom of the ninth of game seven of the World Series with the game on the line. He prepared his whole life for that moment and when it arrives it is such a brief blip built on a lifetime of work and preparation.

For most of us the stakes are not quite that dramatic, but we all have these relatively few key moments – maximum impact moments (MIOs) – or experiences on which our lives turn. We work for weeks, months, or years on something only to have come down to a few minutes.

Maybe you’re a salesperson who has been working for two years to get an opportunity to pitch to this big client, or football coach who always dreamed of coaching in the big game, or an actor looking for his or her big break.

Each situation comes down to a few minutes in front of that client, a single game, or that big audition.

The difference between people who succeed and those who do not is that they prepare themselves to take advantage of their MIOs. They do the long preparation and are prepared to harvest it when it comes.

I waited two hours for that eight minutes on Soarin’. I was determined to take every second of it in and maximize my experience.

We can do the same in life. During the long hard work towards our personal MIOs, we can stay motivated by remaining focused on that one shining moment that will be the result. Once we are in that moment, enjoy, experience, and achieve. That moment is yours. You earned it!

Make today peaceful, positive, and prosperous Tuesday.

Ray 

The Affirmation Spot

P.S. – Be watching for a large number of new affirmations coming to The Affirmation Spot in November in December. Sports, Learning, and Personal Empowerment will be the key categories with many new additions coming.

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Cut Yourself Some Slack – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 4, 2007

woman_relaxing_zoom.jpg Today’s affirmation is:

“I’m a high achiever, but when I need down time I recognize it and I take it!”

Hey, you’re a human being, not a robot. It’s a wonderful thing to be a super achiever and most days you are. Wisdom, however, dictates that you recognize when enough is enough.

You all remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. It’s a long race and you need to find respite now and again, if you are to complete it successfully. It’s perfectly OK, and really necessary, to transition freely from tortoise to hare.

Your dreams are still there. They are not so fickle that they will spoil because you take one day to cool it! The key is to recognize you need it and take it without beating yourself up the whole time. That defeats the purpose.

You can be the hare again tomorrow, but on the days when you need to be the tortoise accept it. 

Check out the site and let me know what you think. I’ve been busy trying to get the mix of look and functionality.

Make today peaceful, positive, prosperous, and, if you need it, a restful day!

Ray 

The Affirmation Spot

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The Affirmation Spot Affirmation of the Day – Thursday August 30, 2007

Today’s affirmation is:

“I am a unique and worthy person. I require no more justification than that to be who I am.”

Being Who You Are

Everyone has an opinion on who you should be.  Your mother, your co-workers, your spouse, the church, the government, your friends; they all are constantly trying to mold you into their vision of who they think you should be. Obviously, there are times it is wise to listen to sound advice.

By and large, however, defining who you are is your right and your responsibility. Giving up that right to other people’s expectations is disempowering and leads to unhappiness.

 Starting today take back your right to be who you are. You are fully capable and fully prepared to create your own vision of you. It is your “divine right” as a human being to make those decisions for yourself.

The opinions will still come – fast and furious – but you’ll be too busy enjoying the real you to care.

Peace…

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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