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Seattle Seahawks great Doug Baldwin has left behind the instant gratification and self worth that he associated with being a professional football player. Coming to terms with life and personal value away from his longtime career has been a struggle at times, and one that Baldwin encourages people in any arena to recognize for themselves.

Employees in tech or business or education or any other field who place an outsized emphasis on what they do for a living should pay attention to Baldwin’s advice when it comes to really living, after work.

“As an entertainer it’s very easy to make that business your identity,” Baldwin said of his 8-year NFL career. “I was the Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with its perks, but at the same time there’s an emotional, mental, physical, and even more so spiritual consequence that comes from selling yourself to that industry.”

Baldwin said his performance on the football field was directly tied to his value in the world. After retiring before the 2019 season, the self-professed geek is now stretching his muscles and mind in new and intriguing ways.

Ex-Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, right, and GeekWire’s Taylor Soper on stage at the GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Baldwin is one of the forces behind the creation of the Family First Community Center in Renton, Wash., a local hub for families that will serve to help kids reach their education potential.

Years after tinkering with LEGOs as a kid, Baldwin is tinkering with tech ideas at Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Wash.-based invention and investment lab.

And he’s flexing his desire to continue to speak out about injustice everywhere — defying those who shout back on Twitter at his pointed observations about the state of the country and world.

“Typically, when someone says, ‘Well, you’re an athlete, stick to sports,” Baldwin said, “Well, f*** you.”

The guy who famously came into the league with a so-called chip on his shoulder, with something to prove to football critics, may not exercise much caution when taking on his post-football critics, but it’s not like it will affect any political aspirations.

“No,” he said before even being asked about whether a run for office was in his future. “I want to work outside of politics. I feel like I can be more effective working outside of the red tape.”

(GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

With a refreshing ability to tell it like is, Baldwin asked those in the room not to root for the Seahawks or simply support his efforts in Renton, but to make their own necessary adjustments in life.

While technology has been so pervasive in making life easier and we’ve bought into it, it’s still lacking empathy, in Baldwin’s view.

“What I would ask of you as members of society … I wish that we would be more empathic to one another,” Baldwin said. “Not only as business leaders or intellectual minds or entertainers, but just as human beings on this planet.”

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