There are so many things you learn about yourself when you’re alone and leaning on faith ALL the time.
— Nyitre Rodgers

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Nyitre Rogers, this month's Purpose Driven Woman. Nyitre is one of my closet friends and I've been so inspired by her testimony that I knew she had to be the first Purpose Driven Woman to be featured. At 34, she literally walked away from everything - career, house, family, and livelihood to move to Charlotte, NC to attend culinary school and pursue her dreams of becoming a chef. She’s currently serving as a cook for the North Carolina Panthers Stadium. See more from my interview with Nyitre below:

How did you know it was time to move on?

Nyitre:  God! There is no question. I was praying for direction on what the next step would be, I was praying for direction in regard to whether I should stay with the federal government, etc. and I tuned in to watch my church’s service online, because I didn’t get my lazy butt out of the bed that day [laughs], and the message was about stepping out on faith…I was in tears while watching it online and thought to myself ‘it’s time to make moves’, [teary eyed] that was the beginning.


What were you afraid of?

Nyitre: Comfort. I’ve been fortunate my entire life and never had to struggle so letting go of financial  independence is hard, letting go of healthcare, salary wages, leaving everything that’s comfortable…it’s still scary.


When did it get so tough that you wanted to give up?

Nyitre: While trying to leave federal service because they make a lot of offers and promises to get you to stay- like any company that values you and wants to keep you. They start offering you things that have you thinking “maybe I should just give it another year”, “maybe I should do this [pursue my dreams] while doing that”, “maybe I should do this [my dream] on the side” or “maybe I should just go to school locally” which would have changed my whole experience if I had done that…So you end up negotiating for your future [thinking] ‘do I just stay with the money? Do I just want to do this [my dream] on the side?’ which is what I was already doing anyway so I was still compromising my own personal dreams. So you question whether you are making the right decision for your life, and that’s tough.


What surprised you the most?

Nyitre: EVERYTHING! Everyone was inspired by my actions…people are so motivated by you for taking the step. School was surprising, I loved school although it was very challenging. It was everything I wanted it to be and things I never thought it would be at the same time. I was surprised at how focused I was because I was never that focused in undergrad or while pursuing a master’s degree. I was so focused on this because I was passionate about it and it is near and dear to my heart. You value it more when you love it and I didn’t realize how much [I loved it] until it started happening.


What did you sacrifice?

Nyitre: I sacrificed literally everything. Financial stability, my health…shoot! I don’t even have healthcare right now (LOL)! I sacrificed my relationship with my now fiancé- we broke up when things got rough but God brought that back. I left my family and very close friends. I walked away from my home and everything and anything that was nailed to the ground, that I had built up, I left. But now in retrospect, I didn’t leave anything. Nothing is gone. It’s just on pause. It’s still attainable, it’s still in reach. It’s still all mine!


What did you learn about yourself?

Nyitre: That I had more fight then I thought I had. When you’re young and in this area (DC/MD). You kind of fall into jobs, you fall into opportunities. You just take them and ride them along…they’re not really your purpose, they’re definitely not your purpose honestly- they’re what you fell into and they’re safe. What I learned is that I can push the envelope. When I’m on the tightrope, I can choose me. I learned that I have resilience, that although things don’t fit neatly into this little cup, my spillover is okay. There are so many things you learn about yourself when you’re alone and leaning on faith ALL the time. You embrace the messy when neat was so comfortable.


How do you feel today?

Nyitre: I feel great. That sounds so small, but I feel like I’m in the right place and although it may not come the way I saw it….[pause] You know, small mindedly, you wanna jump out there and be an amazing chef or whatever thing that is [for you] but honestly going through the stages makes you better. Everything happened the way it should have and although I can’t see the outcome I know the outcome will be amazing. I know I’ll be happy whether I’m Oprah’s new private chef, a small private business owner or whether I’m someplace in between, it’s okay. But I’ll be happy, because I’m doing what I love to do and [knowing that] I did it with God and the help of my family and friends. I’m happy because I did it as opposed to just falling through life taking whatever landed in my lap.