Many of us give lip service to work-life balance.
Adam LaRoche, though, walks the walk.
At spring training in March, the Chicago White Sox told LaRoche (their designated hitter) that he couldn’t bring his 14-year-old son in the clubhouse like he had for years.
LaRoche is a veteran player who in 12 years in the majors has made more than $70 million. He’d get $13 million more this season.
But his values weren’t worth it.
You’ve heard of sudden death in sports. This was sudden retirement.
Was he right?
Of course, the media and fans and other people took sides.
As a sports agent, I represented working dads who constantly made these kinds of high-dollar decisions. Pro sports offer them a time-sensitive opportunity to perform and profit. Kids grow up so quickly. That’s a lot of weight on both ends of the work-life seesaw, and these dads are under an intense microscope.
The ones who achieved the most balance got crystal clear on what is most important in their life and work. Their purpose helped them fearlessly make a difficult decision and own it. That kind of clarity creates the balance they strive for.
Adam’s decision highlighted a growing trend. It’s not just working moms who are struggling with balancing family and career. Working dads also are navigating the challenge.
Major league baseball runs in Adam’s family, and that’s important context for his decision, especially as Father’s Day approaches.
By the time Adam was 14, the same age as his son Drake is today, Dave LaRoche had been a two-time All Star closer. His next career was as a pitching coach. Meanwhile Adam and his brother Andy became major league players. In 2009, he saw them play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“That was just neat seeing them,” Dave said of his sons. “Andy making a play and throwing it across to Adam … was very rewarding. Watching them be successful and fulfill their dreams is just exciting.”
What he and Adam both get is this: It’s never only about us. We all participate in small moments that lead to big outcomes. When we know our mission, we can find confidence and courage to navigate conflicts in our work and personal life.
Adam’s decision to retire was exactly the right decision for him.
“I love it. It’s a passion,” Adam says of baseball. “But I think every one of us is put here for a bigger purpose.”
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Working dads, what is your purpose and how does that drive how you balance your work and personal life? Navigating these conflicts is easier with a mission statement (even if an eight-figure bonus isn’t at stake!). If you know a working dad, share this column with an encouraging note for Father’s Day.
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.