Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) Co-Founder John Mackey’s Career Advice to Entrepreneurs

Last month, I interviewed Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey in front of a live studio audience at Motley Fool headquarters. Mackey just published Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business with co-author Raj Sisodia, and stopped by our Alexandria, Va., offices on his book tour.

Mackey and Sisodia make a compelling case for moving away from so-called shareholder capitalism, which posits that the one and only aim of a business is to create value for its investors, toward a multi-stakeholder model in which a business should serve customers, employees, suppliers, local communities, the world, and, yes, shareholders.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM)Toward the end of our talk, Fool co-founder Tom Gardner asked Mackey to share some career advice. See his answer in the clip below. (The run time is 3:00; there’s also a lightly edited transcript below.)

Tom Gardner: What career advice would you have here in terms of the journey of self-discovery, finding your strengths, your unique strengths, your weaknesses? You said you feel that you’ve been pretty self-aware in your life and your professional life — just provide any guidance for us in how to find that, and deploy our unique talents to the greatest effect in the organization that we work.

John Mackey: What I usually tell people — particularly young people — I really think that this is the secret to life, so I’m gonna let you in on it. You should follow your heart in life. It sounds very simple, but it’s very difficult to do, because most people are too afraid to do so. Most people want to play it safe in life, and I’ll tell you an anecdotal story. When I began to follow my own heart, I was 19 years old, and I was at the University of Texas, and I was studying philosophy, and I was reading Being and Nothingness by John-Paul Sartre, the French existential philosopher.

That was a very boring book to read, and I will just say it outright for the record. I’m trying to make heads or tails of what this guy’s talking about, and I just didn’t like it. And I remember, I threw the book down on the ground, and I said I’m never ever, going to read another book in my life that I don’t want to read. That was the first step.

The next day, I dropped the course, and I said I’m never ever going to take another course that I don’t want to take, which led to having 120 hours of electives, and no college degree; but I had a very interesting college experience, anyway. Then that led to, you know what, I’m just not going to do things anymore that I don’t want to do, because life is just too short. It’s too short to do anything but what you really care about, what you’re really passionate about, and that was when I had latched basically onto following my heart wherever it led me — and not to do things because I was afraid. If I was afraid of something, then that was a challenge to try to master the fear, and not let that fear hold me back.

And that’s very good career advice if you’re an entrepreneur in particular, because that led me — you know, I was a shy guy in my 20s — to start Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), which seemed an improbable thing; but I had a passion for it and, even though I had a lot of self-doubt and not enough self-confidence, I just went ahead and went for it anyway. So my career advice to you, and my life advice, is find what your passions are, things that you most care about, and do it and follow it, because it’s going to lead you to this amazing adventure. Your own inner guides are your best guides you’ll have in life, and if you listen to it — you have to be self-aware to listen to it — you will find that there’s a tremendous amount of wisdom within your own being. And once you can tap into that, you’re, you’re there launched, and it’s gonna be fun and scary sometimes, but a great deal of fun.

The article Whole Foods Co-Founder John Mackey’s Career Advice to Entrepreneurs originally appeared on managing editor Brian Richards owns shares of Whole Foods Market, as does The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool recommends Whole Foods Market.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.