In 2006, Shawn left a successful 20 year career as a criminal defense lawyer to start a bean to bar chocolate factory and he never looked back. Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch, award winning chocolate factory in Springfield, Missouri, which sources 100% of their beans directly from farmers that they profit share with on three continents. Shawn chronicles his journey in his powerful book, “Meaningful Work: The Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling And Feed Your Soul”.
Not only is Askinosie Chocolate one of Forbes’ 25 Best Small Companies In America, but it’s products have earned International accolades for it’s quality and taste. When you combine that with the way Shawn leverages his business to do good in the world, the result is truly mind blowing.
Places to Find Shawn:
Shawn’s Blog: https://shawnaskinosie.com/
Askinosie Chocolate Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/askinosie
Askinosie Chocolate Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/askinosie.chocolate
Find Askinosie Chocolate: https://www.askinosie.com/locations
3:00 minute: What life was like growing up and how it shaped the person you became?
- Growing up in the 60’s in Missouri with a Father who practiced law and worked on social justice.
- Father diagnosed with lung cancer when Shawn was 12.
4:50 minute: In your book you mention you didn’t deal with the emotions of your Father’s death until well after the fact, could you tell us about that process and how it impacted you?
- Was with his Father the moment he died.
- Spent 25 years not living the best version of his life. Felt like he was searching.
- Paradox of choice.
8:10 minute: The change wasn’t immediate right? You left law and then had a few years before you got to your new company, what was that transition like?
- Didn’t actually leave law, had to continue for 5 years while he got things figured out. Was depressed most of the time.
- Happened into a volunteer program at a hospital.
- Unresolved grief over Father led him to co-found a grief center for children and families whose family member has been lost.
- Decided to volunteer in a hospital visiting with people who were terminal and just wanted a visitor.
- Allowed him to spend some time completely thinking about someone else for a few moments a day instead of himself.
- Felt joy, and that was new to him.
- Paradox of helping yourself by helping others.
16:30 minute: The idea of a personal vocation, what do you mean by that, and how can we find it?
- A Calling, or a Drawing. We are being pulled towards something. The thing we are doing.
- Put the distractions aside and go do the work.
21:00 minute: Does pursuing your vocation mean a massive career change like it did for you?
- No, Shawn gets emails all the time from people who read his book and realize they are right where they need to be.
- The hero’s journey.
23:00 minute: You mentioned the limiting belief in your book that most companies think that doing good isn’t beneficial to the bottom line, why do you think they would think like that?
- Culturally conditioned to believe this.
- Beholden to shareholder value.
- Millennial generation is helping to change this status quo.
- His 17 person company has supplied over 1 million school lunches through his program, while using only ingredients from farms that he profit shares with. He could cut costs and make more money, but he doesn’t care.
- The choice for less financial success is worth it to the thousandth power.
31:00 minute: Go pick up a copy of Shawn’s book. One final point to come back to from it that resonated with me was the idea of “being” instead of “doing”. What does that mean and why is it so important?
- Was challenged by a monk to live a life of being.
- The voice in our head tells us you can do more, you should be doing more, and you eventually burn out and lose sight of why you are doing whatever you are doing.
- Examine the why, the purpose behind doing what you are going to do.
37:30 minute: Who has been the most impactful person on your journey to do well and achieve financial success?
- Father Cyprian, his 87-year-old spiritual director who is a catholic priest monk.
- Same person for who has impacted his journey to do good the most, because he feels they are the same thing.
38:45 minute: When you are having a bad day what do you do to get yourself out of the funk?
- Go for a walk.
- Try to start day off with routine that’ll set him on a path to success that day.
39:35 minute: What book do you find yourself recommending to people most often?
- Depends on what they need. One would be “The Joy of Full Surrender” by Jean Pierre de Caussade, a Catholic French Monk who most say sounds the most like zen buddhism.
- Another frequent would be “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom.
40:40 minute: What is the best piece of advice related to happiness you’d give our listeners?
- Ask yourself, “who needs me, right now?” Consider that, and then go do it.
Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nominee:
About Chocolate University:
At Askinosie Chocolate, we strive to serve our community, our customers and each other in everything we do. Our goal is make great chocolate; our mission is to positively impact the lives of those around us to leave the world a better place than when we found it.
The social purpose of Askinosie Chocolate is not only to compensate our farmers fairly and treat them like they crucial business partners they are, but to connect those farmers with our customers to build relationships of mutual understanding and appreciation. Our chocolate and our business is better for it.
Chocolate University is a neighborhood and global outreach initiative of Askinosie Chocolate. As an experiential learning program for local students with an international reach, we aim to inspire students, through the lens of artisan chocolate making, to be global citizens and embrace the idea that small businesses can solve world problems.
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