Find your purpose beyond literal thinking

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find your purpose beyond literal thinking. Your pupose isn't in a box, and neither are you.

As I cleaned my house while listening to Dean Dwyer’s “Make Shift Happen” podcast, I heard the most amazing sentence. Dean, a writer, blogger, podcaster and online educator, broke life down with just a few words:

“You want to find your purpose in life? Stop thinking so literally!”

Wow. That really hit me in the gut and caused my heart to swell to an unfathomable size. As soon as I heard those words, I knew exactly what Dean was trying to portray. We all go through life thinking that the only way we can find our purpose is to decide on what we want to do, what we are great at doing, and what calls to us. This is the way it should be. But, when we make that list of what ignites our passion, we keep the titles as literal as possible. Teacher, writer, biologist, etc; the titles are plain yet we are never “plain” people. What if we are meant to be something that has no original title? What if our purpose is something that we will have to create ourselves? Or, what if the plain titles that we decide on need to be more elaborate to fit what’s in store for us?

For example, I love to teach. I have had the idea of being an English teacher in my heart since high school. I was an English major in college, and I always thought that I would become the high school English teacher that looked like one of students, but was just as hard as someone who’s taught for 20 years. I was sure that was my purpose. As I took the steps to pursue that purpose, I felt murky inside. Something wasn’t adding up. As an introvert, the idea of standing in front of 20 to 30 teenagers, everyday, trying to convince them of the literary genius of Roald Dahl, Toni Morrison and my man, Billy Shakes (that’s William Shakespeare to you) didn’t sit well with me. It gave me an anxiety attack. But, this was the only way I could teach the things I knew, right?


After years of writing on my small corner of the internet, and becoming more in tune with my love of create YouTube videos, I’ve realized that I AM a teacher. I’m exactly what I sought out to be. I’ve been blessed to speak at two conferences this year, and while those experiences caused mild heart palpitations, I felt that passion to teach yet again. My view of the literal word of “teacher” has been changed, and I realize that my purpose (for now) has been found. I spent 2013 allowing myself to place only a few key experiences and opportunities into my “cubbyhole” of life, and it turned out that life was showing me exactly what my purpose has been this whole time. It was also pushing me into creating my own title for what I have been providing to my online and offline community. If I had been caught up in the literal definition of teacher, I never would have allowed myself to do most of the things I’ve done this year.

As we start to wind down at the end of this year and think about what we would like to contribute to the world within the next, I make this plea to you. Are you on a journey to find your purpose? Look back at what you’ve accomplished this year. Take the literal out of what you want to become in the future. Elaborate on what your best qualities are, and intertwine them into your passions.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 10.16.13

    I love this post! I can’t wait to see some of your you tube videos. Also, I am looking at the picture of your son and daughter on my side bar and just about dying over the cuteness. How adorable are they? LOVE!

  2. 10.16.13
    Melissa said:

    This is such good advice. I’m so happy you are taking on your passion!

  3. 10.16.13

    Girl, THIS! That is all I can think of to say immediately. LOL

    I totally am right there with you. I had always wanted to be a teacher/counselor myself but wasn’t feeling the traditional “get an education” degree and so glad I didn’t. I did get an opportunity to teach at the University of Phoenix and though I liked it, it wasn’t the exact medium I felt was right for me.

    Writing and sharing in this online space is helping me bring teachings to the world in a way I never imagined and it feels soooo right for me, so great, so awesome…I know there’s so much in this realm that is in store for me now that I’ve accepted “teaching” in this capacity. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your journey and story and here’s to more of us laterally thinking!!


  4. 10.16.13

    I’ve never heard it described like that, and it makes so much sense! Society is always trying to pigeon hole us into one word, but no one really fits one word. And that one word can have so many definitions. Love this post.

  5. 10.16.13
    Brandi said:

    This post is everything, Amiyrah. I could have never envisioned the work that I’m currently doing and love dearly, because there are not words really to describe it. When I decided to focus more on the core of the actions of what I wanted “to support others”, “to motivate and inspire”, rather than the title…life really opened up. 🙂

  6. 10.16.13

    Once I found my passion a whole new world opened up for me Amiyrah. My passion takes me into so many roles and opportunities people who are way more academically qualified than I am only dream about.

    I’m still amazed by where my love of writing, talking, encouraging and helping people has taken me.

  7. 10.16.13
    Emily said:

    Wow. This is great. Finding your purpose means many things for many people. It’s easy to feel trapped by society, or misunderstood.

  8. 10.16.13
    Danielle said:

    Love that you found what moves you! I love your writing.

  9. 10.16.13

    Love, Love, Love.
    So true.
    We expect things to look a certain way and before we even turn around – they’re exactly what we wanted them to be.
    All mothers are teachers. We teach our infants about love and tenderness, we teach our toddlers to walk and talk, we teach our children that the world is amazing.

  10. 10.16.13
    Gina B said:

    I love what you’ve written here! Such a great way to think outside the box. Such a great idea to take your passion and make it something awesome. Good luck and I lover your channel.

  11. 10.16.13
    Heather H said:

    I agree. We must determine and define our destiny at time. Life isn’t cookie cutter. I color outside of the lines, and am OK with that! Teach on mama!

  12. 10.16.13
    Vaneese said:

    I love this. Finding my purpose, what I’m passionate about, has been a downfall for me for years. It wasn’t until I realized, like you, that at my core I’m a teacher, did I start to visualize myself as doing more than the status quo. I even took the traditional route of enrolling into a teacher’s education program, only to leave because it was too stifling. “But I thought you wanted to teach?” <<<That question had me at a standstill for what seemed like forever.

    It wasn't until years later and after MUCH self-analysis, was I able to definitively say that, "Yes, I want to teach" and know EXACTLY what that meant…for me. Thank you for this post!!

  13. 10.16.13
    Heather said:

    I entirely agree with you! As an advisor to preservice teachers I often encourage them to consider the non-classroom options for teaching too (tutoring, online, developing creative educational products). I am glad you found your path that made your heart feel good!

  14. 10.16.13
    Val said:

    This is so true. Can’t put everyone’s purpose in a box. Thanks for the encouragement.

  15. 10.16.13
    Emily said:

    Beautiful! I love this.

  16. 10.16.13
    Estelle said:

    I love this. I struggle with finding my purpose, and although I’ve accomplished a lot in my career, I feel there is still something new ahead of me; perhaps something that hasn’t even been created yet. Today, I saw that the future most important job will be that of Director of Content. That is a job I can get behind.

  17. 10.17.13

    Awesome post! Sometimes we know our purpose from a young age, and sometimes we have to work our way into it.

  18. 10.18.13
    Tazim said:

    Love it – like, I like to create, and went to school for art history and interior design. . .doesn’t mean I have to pursue those as careers. Through my blog I’m able to be creative and share my passions.

  19. 10.20.13

    Exactly! I tried teaching myself. I worked in an elementary school for years but something was missing. I always saw myself as an inventor and a teacher but not as an actual “teacher”. Its great not to pigeonhole ourselves because the possibilities of being increase exponentially. As your Billy says …”To thine own self be true!”

  20. 10.21.13

    Amen — love the words of wisdom you share here!!!