Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creating Change Through Purpose

I recently talked with the Chief Operating Officer of Whole Foods Market, Walter Robb. I'm interested in starting my own health food business that sells low-sodium products. Who better to talk to than the guru of all gurus, the main man of Whole Foods Market. We talked about many things from the Olympics to Austin to the economy. The one thing that left the biggest impression in my mind was when he told me, "Business is the greatest thing in the world because it gives us the opportunity to create change." Wow, I was shocked. The sentence sounded so perfect, so true.

This also ties in very closely to a book I'm currently reading called "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For." The author is named Roy Spence who is the CEO and founder of GSD&M, one of America's top Ad agencies that is here in Austin. Truly this book is one of the best reads I've ever picked up. It isn't because it's written with such grace or in such a unique writing style. This book is so good because it stresses the importance of doing something for a purpose that will help people and make a difference, not because you could make money doing it. Roy impresses upon the reader to find your purpose, define it, make it concise, and make it a reality. He realizes that not everyone has a purpose just yet but that we must all be working to find ours. Southwest airlines is mentioned a lot in the book. Roy elaborates about how Southwest really came into its own when they decided they were going to be 'Freedom Fighters.' Their goal was to give average Americans the freedom to fly in a time when only the elite could travel by plane. This purpose and staying true to this purpose has guided them to be one of the greatest companies of all time.

I get so excited thinking about starting a business and making a difference. Seriously, when I read this book my heart rate sometimes gets elevated just learning about all the innovative ways people have made a difference in the world through business and how I too will someday do this.

As many of you already know, I have battled high blood pressure for over three years. A big focus of mine since being diagnosed is to live a low-sodium lifestyle. It is very difficult to find good tasting, low-sodium products in grocery stores, therefore I make a lot of my own. I plan to create low-sodium products and help fill this void so other people will have an easier time following a low-sodium diet. Truthfully I have no idea how all of this will work out, nor do I worry about it. What I do know is that my purpose in business will be to help people with high blood pressure find better and easier ways to live a low-sodium diet.

It's so exciting and fulfilling to do something we're passionate about. Swimming has been my passion for many years and has given and taught me things I could have never dreamed possible. I realize swimming will not last forever, nor do I want it to, that is why I'm working on finding my purpose and passion beyond swimming now.

A wise woman I once knew always left by telling me, "do something nice that will help someone today, you'll both feel better." It's really true!

Let's create change!


Anonymous said...

Garrett, I hope (scratch that... I KNOW) that you will succeed... you are most deserving. I found myself getting psyched up reading your words about said book and how it is about the belief in the purpose behind the business that creates the potential to impart change in the world. I love that! WHAT AN EMPOWERING REVELATION! You are right about typical "low-sodium" pre-packaged foods found in traditional grocery stores... they taste awful (which is why I too always prefer to prepare my own meals at home as much as possible). Garrett- I am so excited for you and the possibilities that lay ahead for you!

-Jessica C.

ande rasmussen said...

excellent post

Alyssa23 said...

One of my favorite quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt, he said, "Believe in Yourself and you're halfway there." We all have the power to influence and create change and I think that President Obama has proved that true to Americans.
And good luck with your business:)

KZA said...

Business is awesome! In my econ class, we've been discussing how things like competition of firms allow for beneficial innovations to be brought about by the need to go above and beyond what is currently available.

You would be such a positive addition to the healthy foods market! I'm backing you all the way on your health food business. I can name lots of people longing for good, low-sodium food--one of whom is my dad.

Keep working on establishing your biz, Garrett! You'll definitely go far!

J said...

J--I think the reason I love this blog it incorporates everything from business principles learned in graduate school to little things like spending time with family. Its amazing how you can take idea....creating change...whether it be to motivate youth...or create a new product. You remind me of Louden Swain from Vision Quest(Old 80s Movie). His character had a real passion for making a difference!

Robin said...

I'd buy from that line of products!

Regarding low-sodium ingredients, have you tried Pomi strained tomatoes and chopped tomatoes from Parmalat? They have great pure tomato flavor and only 10mg of sodium per 1/2-cup serving. This works great for making homemade pasta sauce, soups, and so on. Convenient, delicious and healthy, can't beat that.

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