Marlena Fiol, author of Nothing Bad Between Us, has added a new segment to her “Choosing Compassion Over Fear” series, take a look.
Finding Your Passion by Facing Your Deepest Sorrow– My Interview with Shawn Askinosie
As part of our ongoing series, Choosing Compassion Over Fear, I am featuring some of our most cherished friends and colleagues to discover how they have navigated the landscape of doubt, insecurity, tragedy, and fear to move toward becoming their truest selves. *****
Today, I’m honored to introduce Shawn Askinosie, coauthor with his daughter, Lawren, of the book, Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. Shawn is the founder of Askinosie Chocolate, which was named by Forbes as one of the 25 best small companies in America, and he was named by Oprah as one of 15 guys who are saving the world. Shawn is all about chocolate. I’ve tasted it, in fact, I have the 72% dark chocolate from Tanzania in front of me right now and it is amazing. And no, he didn’t pay me to say that. But he and his chocolate company are also about so much more. Using his company’s revenues, Shawn’s chocolate business has provided over a million meals to hungry students in Tanzania and the Philippines. They’ve delivered thousands of textbooks to schools and they’ve drilled water wells for villagers.
I know you’ll agree after listening to him that Shawn’s life and work inspire each of us to become truer versions of ourselves.
The following is a taste of my conversation with Shawn.
Q: Can you describe how facing your deepest sorrow allowed you to find your passion?
Shawn: I believe, as Kahlil Gibran said, that we can experience unbelievable transformation and an acceleration of this notion of becoming and connecting to our true self, if we’re willing to explore our own broken hearts and what it is that happened when our hearts were broken.
Q: Do you believe there’s a danger of becoming self-help junkies and never doing the really hard, terrifying work of truly facing our grief and our brokenness?
Shawn: One thousand percent, yes. And it’s called spiritual bypassing, or it could be. There is a danger of addiction to these notions of well-being and self-help and I think that anything that can distract us from becoming who we are and becoming our true self is, in my view, a potential addiction and distraction to the point of danger.
Q: How do you decide which of your values to prioritize when it’s impossible to equally emphasize relationships, quality of the product and service?
Shawn: David Brooks wrote a column in the New York Times a couple of years ago, and he spoke of ordered loves. So, this is what we’re doing. We are ordering our loves in this business.
Q: Too often, the historical missionary model of service has been that the great healer shows up to serve the pitiful, the poor, wounded. What’s wrong with model?
Shawn: I think that it sets up a us and them relationship. It sets up a pattern that can be continued for generations and centuries, if we’re not careful.
When asked if there’s one last thing he’d like our listeners to hear, Shawn says, “It would be that you find someone who needs you right now and serve them. And don’t wait. And don’t wait for it to be the perfect moment. “
In 2006, Shawn Askinosie left a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer to start a bean-to-bar chocolate factory and never looked back. Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch, award winning chocolate factory located in Springfield, Missouri, sourcing 100% of their beans directly from farmers that they profit share with on three continents. Recently named by Forbes “One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America”, Askinosie Chocolate has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on Bloomberg, MSNBC and numerous other national and international media outlets. Shawn was named by O, The Oprah Magazine “One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World.” He has been awarded honorary doctorates from University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri State University.
Shawn is a Family Brother at Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery near Ava, Missouri and the co-founder of Lost & Found, a grief center serving children and families in Southwest Missouri. His new book Meaningful Work: The Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling And Feed Your Soul, co-written with his daughter Lawren Askinosie, is a #1 bestseller on Amazon.
A Mennonite Missionary’s Daughter Finds Healing in Her Brokenness
This story differs from similar accounts of childhood domination or abuse because it tells the story of the author’s seemingly paradoxical responses to the powerful forces in my life, but doesn’t leave it at that. It sheds light on the social and religious dynamics underlying these responses, giving readers insights into and understanding of her otherwise incomprehensible choices, as she found my way back into loving relationships with her parents and the Mennonite community.