Our souls are not hungry for fame, wealth or power.

Our souls are hungry for meaning,

For the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.

Harold Kushner


“Learn about the mission-driven business model that unifies profitability with integrity, compassion, and global responsibility.”  Reading this drew me in to signing up for an upcoming event where John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO & Co-Founder, will be discussing his new book, Conscious Capitalism.  He will also be diving into his stakeholder philosophy — how a company can benefit shareholders, employees, vendors, customers, and the environment without compromising its financial viability.  While we may jokingly refer to Whole Foods as “whole paycheck”, Whole Foods has consistently ranked within the Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for over the past years.  Whole Foods is one of the companies that understands financial success is contingent upon serving its employees, vendors, customers, communities while also serving its shareholders.

The Whole Foods founders were able to harness the philosophy outlined by Harold Kushner above – namely adding value to their own lives and positively impacting others instead of chasing fame, wealth or power.   This isn’t to say that fame, wealth or power are bad things.  As motivators for business success, though, they leave a leader in the long run continually searching and hungry for more without truly being fulfilled.  How can you as a corporate leader also embrace this philosophy?

You figure out your personal mission.  This requires that you embrace your own unique qualities and can see them clearly.  There isn’t anything arrogant about this.  It’s plain and simple the truth.  We all have a characteristic or skill that sets us apart from everyone else.  Decide to harness this characteristic or skill and emphasize it.  Through this, become known for your own unique passion and live this out in your daily corporate life.   We all crave connectedness at work since we spend the majority of our time there.  Therefore, we’re often willing to play small to not outshine others or force ourselves to fit into a prescribed mold.  We’re worried that our bosses, employees or peers won’t like us.  Know that there will always be someone who doesn’t like you.  It even happens to you in your own family.  However, there will be plenty of others who love what you’re up to and will support you.  Another factor from remaining attached to the herd is that your belief in yourself will be highly influenced by your herd members.  Have you ever heard your own limiting beliefs echoed by your friends?  Unconsciously, they really don’t want you to leave the herd because it might point to some of their own dissatisfactions, and that they aren’t willing to do anything about it.  By learning how to differentiate yourself and showing up as the unique person that you are, you’ll find opportunities to build your career that you never could have imagined.

By leading from your own personal mission, you’ll find that you’re eager to serve others and make sure that your own life matters.  And this in itself helps structure your organization for powerful impact – on its employees, customers, vendors, communities and shareholders.

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