A Road Less Traveled

Spoiler Alert:

The following post has absolutely nothing to do with social media, so if that’s why you are here, then flip to another post. Otherwise sit back, grab a tissue and plug into the longest post I’ve ever written for a blog.  In being fully intentional and in the moment, the subject of a previous post, I decided to be fully authentic and transparent and share a personal side of my life and my deepest thoughts here on these pages…..

Feeling incredibly blessed in my life and truly glad that I took the path less chosen and walked away from an incredible career with Procter & Gamble. Friends and family thought I was crazy as I had spent the most amazing 15 years that took me all over the country on countless adventures for the company, but I felt a bigger pull. Here is the purposeful poem I included in my letter of farewell to all my colleagues within the company:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The road has come to a new fork demanding contemplation.  What is rending my heart in a positive, yet bitter-sweet way today is that I stand on the cusp of a change. Tomorrow my baby graduates from eight years of Parochial school.“So what!” you say, “Kids grow up- get over it!” My journey has been an intentional and focused one.  I never grew up with marriage and family on my agenda- never got the parental message that I should focus on meeting the right guy. I always got the message that I could change the world and do and be whoever I wanted to be.

So I did just that and years later when I did have my own children, I wanted to bestow upon them every aspect of nurturing that would help them grow to discover their strengths and talents. Being somewhat of a Type A Over-achiever personality…ok, not somewhat- Class A overachiever, I was used to running sales territories, sales campaigns and sales personnel as well as my own life quite successfully.  When I decided to walk away from my career and get rid of all the “extra” people helping me run my life:  the nanny, the gardener, the housekeepers, I turned my leadership and organizational efforts to the business of building my own personal brands: my two kids. I focused on creating experiences for my children that included the best educational opportunities from Kindermusik to Little Gymnastics to pre-school art classes and pre-school experiences to help them learn to socialize with others.

All for you....

I read to them before they were born and instilled a deep love for literature and reading.  We had trips to the zoo; to the Children’s theater and to the Art Museum.  We played in the sand at the local parks and in the Kids Zone at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Children’s Museum.  We even traveled to nearby cities like Indianapolis, Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland to experience first-hand the wonders of their local children’s museums and zoos.  Speaking of zoos, I can’t tell you how many times I have ridden the red train around the perimeter in the Cincy zoo and stood in awe of the giant polar bears swimming through the windowed pools.

As I write this I realize, that what I did, was give the gift of TIME to my children.  I left an incredible career with P&G when they were 3 and 5 years old.  I walked away from working in a leading area of the company: New Business Development.  I wanted to be in control of my children’s lives, not the nanny, not the Kindergarten, not the babysitter.  I walked away and I will never, ever forget it.

Years later, I turned down opportunities to work for fabulous global CPG companies to run my own business which allowed me to call the shots and maintain flexibility.  I wanted to be there when they came home. I wanted to hear their news.  I wanted to help them sort out issues- to be all that they could be.  This sacrifice of self, and for those that don’t know me really well- the statement “sacrifice of self” is truly a verbatim statement for someone who is known to be some-what self-centered and slightly narcissistic like me.  This giving up of self to focus on other has created two of the most incredible kids on the planet who have achieved great things in their short lives.  Way too much to share in writing (we’d be here all night), so I’m just going to bullet point some of the highlights:

My son

  • Straight As through Jr. High and 2 years of High School at a very challenging private school
  • Eagle Scout
  • Scholarship for Community Service Work for 8th grade
  • Aubrey Rose Foundation Scholarship for Community Service for high school
  • Earned the Magis Award for Academic Excellence in the study of World Cultures
  • Made Mock Trial Team for 2 years
  • Finalist for 2010 College of Mount St. Joseph Writing Contest for Sophomores

My daughter:

  • Straight As her entire academic career
  • Massa Scholarship for 8th grade (stewardship)
  • Scored 99th percentile on the Private High School Entrance Exam and won scholarships to all 3 schools she applied to
  • Received the Fr. Schroeder Award from the IHM Boosters for being the top Academic Student Athlete -2010
  • Named 2010 Anderson Student of the Year by the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Played seven different sports, 2 which were select/club organizations over the last 8 years- usually doing 2 sports/season (couple of times 3- yeah, I know CRAZY!)
  • Percussionist in School Band
  • Thespian/performer in just about every school play and Talent Show

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I will be sad tomorrow when I witness the final school mass; the final time she will sit with her little first grade buddy; and I will remember her first grade days that seem like they were yesterday. Mass will be followed by the little ones singing a special song to their big buddies and we parents filing out of the church to watch a video packed with photos and memories of our kids over the last eight years.

So yes, tomorrow is a huge day for me.  A turning point in the road, but more than that, it is one hell of an affirmation that I did the right thing 10 years ago when I put myself and my career aspirations aside.  Because you know what??  I have been paid back in spades.  The close relationship I have with my kids and the ability to talk about anything and everything with them in a mature and intelligent way is worth its weight in a forty ton truck of Tide.  Pass the Puffs, I’ll need them tomorrow!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference…..

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2010 All Rights Reserved


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