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.

tees_for_change_men.jpg

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.

tees_for_change_women2.jpg

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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A Traveling Poem – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 21, 2007

Welcome to The Affirmation Spot. If this is your first time to the site, be sure to click one of the subscription options (top left) to be notified each time the blog is updated. Thank you for visiting. Tell your your positive-thinking, motivated friends and your not-so-motivated friends about the blog. There is something for everyone.


airplane2_rs.jpgThe week of Thanksgiving, they say, is the busiest travel week of the year. Millions of Americans are traveling to be with family for the holiday.

However, millions more are going to be separated from their loved ones this weekend. Some for financial reasons. Others because they or their loved one is serving the nation in Iraq, Afghanistan, or somewhere else around the world. Still others, because of emotional distances that separated family or friends over time.

I wrote the following poem a few years ago when my wife was on the road for business nearly every week. Occasionally, I still send the poem to her…just because. It speaks to the distance between us when we are separate, but affirms that no number of miles can ever truly keep us apart when we are connected at the speed of love.

If you’re going to be separated from someone you love this weekend, I hope you’ll send this poem to them as a reminder that you are thinking about them.Enjoy the poem and your Thanksgiving

love1.jpg“A Traveling Poem”

Even when you’re far away,
My heart is still nearby.
Even if the world should fall,
not a thing could break our tie.

There is nothing of time or space
within our special bond.
It transcends all the eye can see;
born of truths that lie beyond.

Take my love with you today
and know that I’m right here.
When, tomorrow, we meet again,
in my heart you’ll be more dear.  

Peace…

Ray
The Affirmation Spot.com

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A New Sun Is Rising – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday November 17, 2007

Today’s affirmation is a couple of paragraphs I wrote to record a dream I had a few years ago. May it create hope in all who read it today.

The sun is rising; the clouds have passed away. And in the minds of at least a few, a greater consciousness has arisen. Tradition is no more. There is only awareness: an awareness of radiant possibilities and transcendent hopes for a world about to be born.

A world in which our fondest dreams shall come to pass. Where the greatest potentiality of humanity is realized:  that each member of the human family will awaken to the inner light that opens one’s heart and frees one’s mind to look across culture, race, gender, religion and vast distance and see oneself.   

Be of good cheer, o patient ones, for this new day dawns; a day of wonder and hope. A day, when filled with joy, all people shall attain their full potential. Long has been the night of toil and pain. Too long have brothers and sisters lived according to their fear of each other rather than their love for each other. But no more, the blinders have come off.

Finally and forever the Human Race will stand in the radiance of the truths that have lived within each of us all along. Truths that can no longer be ignored or distorted. The truth of our UNITY and our place in this planet’s web of life and in the greater cosmos beyond.

Peace…

Ray
The Affirmation Spot.com

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The Power of Thank You – The Affirmation Spot for Friday November 9, 2007

thank_you.jpgThere are two extremely powerful words that serve as a ready source of recognition in any situation and remind us how blessed we really are in life. Those two words are “Thank you”.

Do you say it enough? Do you take a moment to ensure that it is sincere when you do say it?

I have a friend who does this constantly. He often makes a phone call or sends an e-mail for no other purpose than to say, “Thank you.” It’s never hurried and he’s always very present in the moment when he says it or writes it. That complete sense of sincerity comes across every time. When you are on the receiving end of it, you feel pretty darn good.

There are many things that other people do for us all day long that offer us an opportunity to say, “Thank you.” Who knows, those two words might really make a person’s day.

If you are a manager, a simple, sincere thank you might be all the recognition you are able to give. The surprising thing is that a thank you is enough for many employees. When you go through the check out line at the grocery store today, try looking the cashier squarely in the eye, smile, and say, “Thank you.” I’d be willing to bet you will be in a distinct minority and he or she will appreciate it and smile back.

Remember to use those two words regularly with your significant other and I guarantee it will bring you closer. Use them as a differentiator in business. Many in the business world forget to say it these days.

The amazing thing about spreading these two little words all day long is that you receive a gift in return. By remembering to say, “Thank you,” you remind yourself how many things, large and small, you truly have to be thankful for.

Give it a try today. Set the goal of saying, “Thank you,” five, ten, or fifteen times depending on how many interactions you have with other people.

You’ll feel better and so will the other person.

Thank you to each of you for taking a moment out of your day to read this blog. The website continues to grow thanks to all of you! If you enjoy the blog and the affirmations, tell a friend about us!

Peace…

Ray

Here are the Top 10 affirmation downloads at The Affirmation Spot for the week of Friday November 2 through Thursday November 8. Thank you!

#1 Wealth Creating Ideas
#2 Wonderful World
#3 Mind, Body, Spirit, Beautiful
#4 Part of the Solution
#5 Persistance and Enthusiasm Create Sales Success
#6 Thrive on Pressure Situations
#7 Great Writer Within
#8 Good to My Body
#9 Believe in My Selling Abilities
#10 Attracting the Perfect Mate

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Positive Thinking Myths – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday October 31, 2007

pumpkins.jpgHappy All Hallow’s Eve!

There are two destructive myths circulating around positive thinking today. Unfortunately, these myths are making it difficult for many people to buy into positive thinking as a tool and reap its benefits in their lives.

The first myth is the Kiss the Frog and it Becomes a Prince myth. Fueled by the popularity of a few books, this myth tells people that all they have to do is think happy thoughts and everything they want will manifest in their lives.

People know, instinctively, that this is not true. It leads many people to label all positive thinking as chicanery.

The second, and I find pervasive, myth is that somehow thinking negatively is more “realistic” than thinking positively. I don’t know where this idea comes from, but I wish I’d been there to stamp out the first few sparks before it became the mental forest fire it is today.

This myth claims that the world is an aweful place and thinking positively is unrealistic delusion bound to create heartache. For people who believe that, I have no doubt it is true.

The world is what it is. Thinking positively or negatively about the world does not change the world. It does, however, have a profound effect on a person’s experience of the world.

Positive thinking is not about changing the world it is about transforming ourselves into more capable, caring, compassionate, productive, and successful people. It is about becoming people better able to cope, adapt, and deal with life’s ups and downs. It grants us no immunity from trial or tribulation. Simply put, positive thinking gives us a fighting chance in a world that wants to tell us, “It can’t be done.”

There is a very real price to be paid when we think negatively. Our actions follow our thoughts and when our thoughts lack confidence, conviction, or positivity our interactions with the world will mirror that reality back to us.

All balance is lost and the problem magnified when someone follows this pattern over and over in his or her life. By projecting negative expectations onto the world and getting negative results repeatedly over years, the person’s experience of the world is all negative. The tendency is to think that negativity began “out there” and to react against it.

These people become known as unhappy, miserable, malcontented, criminals, or even terrorists. They believe their unhappiness comes from outside of themselves and so they create negative acts and spread negative energy in the world.

I suppose the debate over the significance of positive thinking will rage on regardless of what I say here. However, there is one truism and there is no escaping it.

Positive thinking is not a cure for all ills, but choosing to think positively will yield better and more consistent results in life than thinking negatively.

Thoughts are free, but the consequences cost. I can’t see any benefit to thinking negatively, though we all do it at times.

My conviction is that we can see the glass as half full without compromising reality.

May you have a peaceful and prosperous Wednesday!

Ray

“On The Pulse of Morning” – The Affirmation Spot for Monday October 22, 2007

maya_angelou1.jpgThis morning I am sharing what is, in my humble opinion, among the greatest poems ever written. It was written for and read by the poet Maya Angelou for President Clinton’s first inaurgural on January 20, 1993. If this doesn’t get you inspired for the day, nothing will.

“On the Pulse of Morning”

by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

As beautiful as it is to read, it is more wonderful to hear to watch the poet recite it. This will be the best 6:21 of your day.

 Video of Maya Angelou deliverying the poem in 1993.

You may be struck by how innocent that time seems compared to now, but if we heed the words of this poem there is hope for a still-more innocent future.

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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Amazing NASA – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 11, 2007

rocket_night_launch.jpg The past two days have been absolutely amazing! April and I spent the day yesterday touring NASA and reliving much of the history and glory days of the U.S. space program.

We were honored to attend a lunch with retired shuttle astronaut Jon McBride who provided a hopeful outlook for the future of the space program with plans to go back to the moon for good and then on to Mars by 2030.

Today we were making our way through another theme park (the third in four days) and decided to leave and drive to the ocean. We didn’t set out to wind up at Cocoa Beach. It was one of those synchronicity things.

We had dinner and went out to the beach to enjoy the evening. There was rocket launch scheduled for this evening and we thought Cocoa Beach might be a good place to view, as it is only a few miles south of Cape Canaverel.

We were not disappointed! About 30 minutes after dark, the entire northern sky lit up and the rocket slowly rose into view. The rocket was moving so fast that the sound of the launch and all subsequent sound did not reach us until as much a 30 seconds after the rocket had passsed a certain point. In other words the sound in the sky was coming from well behind the visual on the rocket. It was astounding.

I speak about goals and dreams and such often on this blog. The Affirmation Spot is all about producing audio pieces to help people achieve things in life. I cannot remember the last time I was as inspired as I have been these past two days during my contact with the space program.

It is so much of what we need so much more of in this world. We need a bigger vision that is centered on pulling together to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Space can do that! It has the potential to replace war as the world’s number one industry. It has the potential to expand our minds and our possibilities. It reminds us that our petty differences on this planet are miniscule in comparison to our common goals and dreams.

If you ever have the chance, I hope you will visit NASA and that you will contact your elected officials to support this important program for the future of this nation and humanity.

May this Thursday find you peaceful and prosperous.

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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