"I can't live without red blood cells. [But] the purpose of my life is not to produce red blood cells. I have a transcendent purpose that goes beyond that," Mackey said in a recent interview with Inc.
For example, Whole Foods' larger mission is to tackle the problem of obesity in the United States by helping people live a healthier life, Mackey said.
Defining this higher purpose is just one of the tenets of what Mackey calls "conscious capitalism." In addition, the concept involves:
- Creating value for all major stakeholders, including customers and employees--not just investors.
- A conscious leader--one who can separate his or her priorities from the needs of the business.
- An empowering company culture.
"I did not go up on a mountain top, have God speak to me, and say, 'Do these things.' It was mostly by making a lot of mistakes and learning from them," Mackey said.
To hear more about the inspiration behind the conscious capitalism movement, watch the interview with Mackey below.