Congratulations to Renissa Garrett for Winning the August 2019 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:

What’s the toughest decision you’ve ever made?

Renissa told a moving story about taking a stand against the “typical” life path she was stuck on… Find out how she broke free.

What’s the Toughest Decision You’ve Ever Made?

Choosing to go against the flow — the corporate workplace flow — is the toughest decision I have ever made.

I left my corporate job in January 2018, after almost 19 years.

I always knew that I wanted to write, but I just didn’t know how to get started. I then found Barefoot Writer and AWAI.

AWAI seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, and I immediately signed up for a couple of programs.

I hit the ground running… Then, life happened. I was consumed by this tremendous family ordeal, and I placed my aspirations on hold.

Though still dealing with the “life” situation, I returned to my workplace in October 2018 after unexpectedly being called back to work on a project.

I was back to my uncomfortable comfort zone…

  • ridiculous work hours to barely keep my head above water
  • long commute, only to go home and burn the midnight oil
  • ever increasing responsibilities and limitless expectations
  • stress level through the roof

So why… why would I go back with all those cons?

You guessed it: Because it was all I’d ever known… what I was familiar with.

Also, because we are still conditioned to believe that those are symbols of “hard work,” thereby making us worthy of earning the great corporate employee badge.

You’re supposed to work hours upon hours until you are worn out and then go home to start the next round of duties: Make dinner… pack tomorrow’s lunch… iron clothes… help kids with homework… and the list goes on before you collapse in bed… and rise a few hours later to rinse and repeat the cycle.

I almost made the fatal error of abandoning my writing aspirations to permanently live the corporate cycle again.

Well, as my family situation came to a poignant conclusion, I changed the lens through which I saw life.

Life is fragile. Life is short. Life is meant to be truly lived and loved!

So, I completed the part of the project I had committed to and declined an extension, because I made a new commitment. I signed a virtual contract with myself.

Yes, I made the decision to take my work life’s script and rewrite it.

This was tough because I had to break up with fear… the fear that had me paralyzed at the thought of launching my own business.

Fear wanted me to cling to the relationship with the proverbial “devil that I know”… because the unknown appeared to be more terrifying: the thought of falling flat on my face as a writer.

I discovered that the leap of faith to break up with fear is liberating… refreshing… empowering! Fear had previously blinded me to this truth and therefore kept me in bondage, enabled by my own deception.

I am now no longer part of the school of fish, synchronized in swimming together in the same direction.

I have broken away from the current of consensus and now go against the flow.

I choose freedom!

I choose fulfillment!

I choose the writer’s life!