The world needs exactly who you were made to be! Let Whole Foods tell you the “Whole Story” of Consciousness Capitalism.
(Article now available in blogcast, listen now)
Don’t worry, I have never been a vegetarian nor will I ever be one but let me tell you about a vegetarian that I truly admire and respect! While the diet never makes the man, let’s be clear that even though I personally believe this man is missing out on the small pleasures of heaven by not eating meat, he is defiantly not missing out on finding the very secrets of pure altruistic achievements of life all of us wish we could find! Fear not, I will disclose these secrets below and you too, if you chose so, can embrace this altruism that will change your life forever!
Meet John Mackey. If you don’t recognize his name right away, he’s the founder of Whole Foods. Yes, those Whole Foods! The one you all are excited about when you hear that one is soon coming to your home town or city! John has embraced an ideology of capitalism that we can all learn something from but don’t worry, as you may well know, John’s idea of Capitalism still makes him a fortune as Whole Foods is now a $14 billion dollar company with over 350 locations and thousands of happy employees.
Back in the late 1970’s John was a college student in Austin Texas. John went to college like most people because he was taught by society and his parents that college was the ticket to a successful life, (sound familiar)? But John hated school and always did, academia was not for him and at this point in my first hearing John’s story is where I really started to identify with him. John dropped out of college and soon joined a grocery coop where he lived and worked. John loved this work and he was soon put in charge of ordering food and delivering the food to customers. While working in the food industry was what he wanted to do, working in the coop was still not letting him find his true passion in life. In 1981, John and his now wife started Whole Foods with a $45,000 loan from his friends and family.
John began to grow the company by starting other locations and began to be a real success. In the late 1990’s John’s mother was stricken to her deathbed as the result of a major stroke. John stayed by her bedside up to the last moments of her life and in the last conversation John had with his mother, she wanted nothing more than for John to finish college. She said, “John, your father and I gave you this amazing mind and you are wasting it. You’re just a grocer – you could be so much more if you just went back to school and became a doctor or a lawyer.” John admits that as a young and strong-minded man that he regrettably told his mom that there was no way he was going back to college. After she died, he wished that he would have just lied to her and said that he would finish school after she was gone. This situation to this day bothers John and he hopes that no matter what the hereafter holds, he hopes that his mother is looking down on him and can see that he is now doing what he loves with an immense amount of success that pales in comparison to law or a medical degree.
At age 19, John threw a book that he was being forced to read by a college professor on the ground and stomped on it. He made a declaration to himself at that point he was never going to do something that he did not love from here on out! He dropped the class the next day and soon after dropped them all! Ask yourself this, how liberating would it have been to have that kind of awareness of yourself at age 19? Personally, for me, it wasn’t until I was 37 that I made that same declaration when I lost my job at an oil company and then started my own business. But the nice thing is about being an American, it’s never too late to decide to only do what you love for the rest of your life!
Today, John believes in “love capitalism” or what he calls consciousness capitalism. He says that the old order of survival of the fittest and toughen up or you’ll be eaten by the dog-eat-dog, cold, cruel world of business is an outdated concept, and after looking at the popularity and demand of Whole Foods, I think we can say with a fair degree of certainty that he’s right. Putting love back into your business operations is a concept that has largely been in the closet for many years. We see the stoic bravado and dominating characteristic of most successful business people and because a lot of the population can’t identify with this kind of demeanor, they feel that the harsher side of a business is not for them. John disagrees with this notion and can back it up with the numbers in his bottom line.
“It’s time to love your customers and love your employees” and put a higher level of compassion and sympathy back into your operations. As you may have well guessed, love and compassion can be delivered in a whole host of ways in that Whole Foods is often referred to as, “Whole Paycheck!” How is this considered compassion if wanting to eat healthily is only for those that can afford it? John acknowledges this fact and reply’s that if you want the best in food, it’s simply going to cost more, this just how business works. With that said, Whole Food does offer a line of groceries for the lesser affluent as a means to get all people eating healthier no matter what their income is. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn puts it, “sometimes compassion and sympathy are taking the pitcher out of the game”, meaning that if you can’t handle certain things, maybe you don’t get to do that thing until you are ready for it. I say, “If you want better, do better” and prioritize what is important to you. (I know, Bravado right?)
Clearly, Whole Foods has a demand and a vast loyal customer base that is willing to pay the price for the best in foods. John also admits that when he first started Whole Foods, he knew nothing about running a business and still to this day, knows more about his passion for the healthiest food available to his customers than he knows about running a business. That is an incredibly significant concept on business when all we have ever been taught in our history about success was you had to be good at business and having an Ivy League degree. John tapped into an age of development long before it arrived. While everyone in the tech age of the ’80s and ’90s were scrambling for the linear and left-brain thinking of .coms and computer science and in the 2000’s the information age of the internet and social media, John was embracing the conceptual age, the age that we are heading for right now as you are reading this, long before it had arrived. The conceptual age is Love Capitalism or what I like to call it, “right-brained capitalism.”
Today, right-brained people hold the keys to the kingdom as the conceptual age is in its infancy. The doctors, lawyers, CPA, and coders and linear type people that developed the tech and information age are soon going to be the factory workers resembling days of the industrial revolution. Inversely, those that embrace the love capitalism concept and concentrate on delivering a much more pleasant, user-friendly interface and customer value-based business to build relationships and striving for customer experience for their customers, will rule the roast! You see this every day in advertising- fear-based marketing tactics trying to get you to buy, while you have never seen a commercial for Whole Foods trying to scare you into buying (or rather, experiencing their products).
What I have learned from getting to know John Mackey is that in the conceptual age, you have to remember that you can always hire an accountant, business manager that went to business school or an engineer to do your coding but to understand business to the level of altruistic success in the conceptual age, you are going to see that those that have an interest in philosophy, communication, leadership, unbending self-improvement, and self-success, will ultimately out-entrepreneur, out-hustle, out-emotional intelligence and out-sell any of the traditional old order ways of thinking. Here’s a quick lesson John Mackey and Whole Foods can teach you in this kind of thinking that you can do for your business right away, – in your marketing, rather than saying, “Here I am”, try saying, “There you are!” You will be amazed by what love Capitalism with do for you!!!