#PurposeIs with Tiffany Leyba

 collage by Yarminiah Rosa, image by Timothy Rosado

collage by Yarminiah Rosa, image by Timothy Rosado

INTERVIEW BY YARMINIAH ROSA.

 
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Yarminiah Rosa (YR): Who are you?
Tiffany Leyba (TL): I am a native New Yorker. I’ve lived in New York my entire life. I can’t help but boast how much the city’s grit has made me a stronger woman. I am glad I was placed in NYC first. When I travel or meet people it’s easier for me to adapt and be aware. My name is Tiffany Nika Leyba and I am broken, free and purposely fulfilled.

YR: How do you define purpose?
TL: When we intentionally focus on goals and accomplishments, it becomes purpose. Purpose is a lifestyle. It's the ability to motivate myself, knowing I would love to do more and can do more. Purpose is waking up each morning determined to make use of the day. Purpose has helped me reach a place where I can breathe better, see better and believe there is better, beyond my present circumstance. Purpose has given me strength and a reason to function because I now have a sense of worth and ambition.

YR: Do you believe in purpose, if so how do you live it?
TL: The truth is I know what I am capable of. I am capable of striving for more and being honest with myself. There are times I get burnt out, and that’s how I know I am actually working towards a goal I care about. For example, I am an artist, I love to paint, I love music and I love fashion.  Also, I love people. I love serving and helping others. If they are happy, I am happy. I’m always asking myself “How can I fuse all of this together?” Now, I’m finishing a degree in behavioral science while working, nannying and modeling part time. In this season I can't help but think about what I am doing and if I am doing it with purpose. My way of living with purpose is to propel myself through it all while keeping my faith.

YR: Do you believe purpose changes throughout people’s lives?
TL: Oh hell yeah, but only if people can accept the change. This year brought a lot of healing for me. I am blessed to have everything I need. I am highly grateful. However, I did not have what I needed emotionally. I didn’t have the best relationship with mother growing up. We are both strong minded women who have similar traits and attributes. This resulted in us always bumping heads. We didn't agree on much because I was always a free spirited person. My mom was the same when she young. It wasn’t until I prayed to see life through my mother’s eyes that I began to witness a change in my attitude. Slowly but surely, the hurt and pain in our relationship began to shift into love without remorse. It wasn’t until I gave myself up to the Lord, that I saw the bondage I was in by living a life that wasn’t for me. Ironically, I’m learning that if the negative parts of my behavior are used for good, I lead very well. I always knew what my next steps were even if they weren’t towards the brightest future.

YR: What are the characteristics of someone who lives with purpose?
TL: Woof! Purpose can be many things but one common trait I’ve noticed in people who live with purpose is persistence. Some people live a life of purpose without even knowing. It can be the ambitious person who has given it all up and is ready to take on the world with purpose. Some people show purpose through their confidence in navigating life, work, school and relationships. I have friends who put so much effort into their work, if they are a dancer, they’ll make sure they are the best dancer in the room. If they are a musician, they motivate themselves to end the show with a great vibe. The purpose in their work is what pushes them to keep refining their craft. If you love what you do, it doesn’t necessarily become easier but the love comes naturally. It’s your job to foster the dedication to hone it.

YR: What’s your purpose story?
TL: My purpose is to help people realize they are capable of doing what they love with confidence. I’ve always struggled with vulnerability and self confidence. As I mentioned before, this season has helped heal me. It wasn’t until one day I stood in an uncomfortable part of my life that I literally called out to God boldly “I want to be vulnerable. I want to live out my life with purpose.” I knew I was capable of so much more. Deep down I know I am able to accomplish almost anything, as long as I do it with purpose and God's strength. There were times I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t know my boundaries, but through trial and error, I’ve learned to set boundaries for my peace of mind. For instance, when I wanted to get a job or project done, I attacked and conquered it, only to realize later that it completely consumed me. I have since learned how to step back and breathe. In 2017 I became familiar with 28-year-old me, the strong confident woman I am, the woman who can walk into a room without feeling discouraged or unsure of who I am. My story is a platform for women to see anyone can be called to any place and boldly be themselves with no fear of failure. My purpose is to be a woman who  speaks from a place of vulnerability with no cease.

 Tiffany as an adult with her mother, courtesy of Tiffany

Tiffany as an adult with her mother, courtesy of Tiffany

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 Tiffany as a child with her mother, courtesey of Tiffany

Tiffany as a child with her mother, courtesey of Tiffany

YR: What is the biggest misconception about purpose?
TL: Man, misconception is ignorance. People believe in order to have purpose, they must  be successful. That’s BS. A drug addict who has no money can have a mission to get heroin or crack and that becomes their purpose. A homeless mom’s purpose can be asking for change on the train to provide for her family. On the flip side, a wealthy drug addict can be stressed out with a purpose at work to fulfill his needs with drugs as well. The word purpose has infinite meaning. The beauty in purpose is achieving the goals we hope we can make come true. It can be anything you intend to be - starting a magazine, nonprofit, dance studio, teacher, checking into rehab, becoming vegan, apologizing, forgiveness, writing - literally, anything. Purpose is not set, its produced. It’s sad that people have such a misconception of purpose because they don’t understand it or believe that they know it. Webster dictionary defines purpose as motive, motivation, cause, reason, goal, end, target, scheme, ambition, value, worth function, design, and aspiration. We are built with purpose, we are on this Earth for a purpose and we can continue to spread it by pursuing our purpose with excellence.

 Image of Tiffany by Timothy Rosado, courtesy of Tiffany

Image of Tiffany by Timothy Rosado, courtesy of Tiffany