Shawn Askinosie: Doing Meaningful Work and Eating Good Chocolate


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By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Today we’re going deep with entrepreneur Shawn Askionsie!

Not only is Shawn an exceedingly intelligent, kind, and driven individual, but he also happens to be the man behind the creation of my two absolute favorite chocolate bars! Yes, as any chocolate connoisseurs may have now realized from his last name, Shawn is the founder of Askinosie Chocolate, the company behind the most delicious, mind-blowing chocolate I have tried (and I’ve tasted a lot of chocolate!).

You will of course learn a good amount about artisanal chocolate from Shawn, but the main theme of this episode is also the subject of his book, Meaningful Work: A Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. Many will be able to relate to this self-reflective and motivating conversation as Shawn explains how he went from high-powered criminal defense attorney to dark chocolate entrepreneur, and you will be inspired by the integrity and passion infused into every aspect of his work (Askinosie Chocolate is award-winning for good reason!).

Shawn talks about how a career high was immediately followed by an overwhelming feeling that “something wasn’t right” in his life and the power that comes with truly surrendering your dependency on the outcome. He also highlights how often we perceive what is actually our greatest strength as our greatest “weakness” and brings up a profound quote from one of his favorite books, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, about the power of letting go: “Surrender is perhaps the greatest form of worship.” Shawn points out that surrendering is powerful because it allows you to shed expectations for what you thought your life would be, and connect with your true nature (something that is difficult when you don’t surrender control).

Shawn also gets real about the dark truth behind the commercial chocolate industry; breaking down the true meaning behind the “Fair-Trade” label and revealing shocking facts about it that will forever change how you choose and buy chocolate. We then wrap up with a brief discussion about the importance of having an open mindset and seeking out challenges in life.

Check out to try Shawn’s phenomenal chocolate (my personal two favorite flavors are the 88% dark chocolate and dark chocolate mint!) and click here to order Shawn’s book, Meaningful Work!


It is important to learn the distinction between the mass-produced chocolate and the special chocolate prepared without slave labor and with regulations. [01:55]

It’s not about the chocolate, it’s about the malnourished kids who work in those factories. [06:41]

Shawn describes his journey from criminal defense attorney to chocolate. [08:55]

What are the ethical principles of a defense attorney? [15:49]

How did Shawn learn to make chocolate in an ethical way? [22:11]

What does it mean to temper chocolate? You have to raise and lower the temperatures perfectly. [26:51]

The next step is marketing the “bean to Bar” chocolate. [32:07]

Reverse Scale is questioning the idea that if you are going to start a business you need it to grow. [33:50]

What are some steps a listener can take who might be extricating from the career that's causing disillusionment and burnout? [44:37]

What is the difference between bean to bar chocolate and the standard chocolate we can buy everywhere which are made with child labor? There are 1.58 million child slaves in West Africa.


The Fair-Trade label doesn’t indicate that the farmers get the money. It is deceiving. [01:04:41]

We are in an age where we can research for the ethics and values of the things we buy. [01:08:48]



  • “Often, we find our greatest strength can be our greatest weakness.”
  • “If we can reach a place — even if momentarily — where we surrender this notion of outcome dependency, then we have a chance to live a real, true life.”
  • “Sometimes just putting the question in our head can really open up a flow of understanding and awareness that we’ve never even experienced before.”
  • “Write a long-term vision of greatness for you personally, for your firm, for your idea, or for your life.”
  • “Michael Singer says, ‘Surrender is perhaps the greatest form of worship,’ and I love that, because surrender doesn’t mean ‘Plan B will help me.’ It means letting go.”

Join Brad for more fun on:

Instagram: @bradkearns1

Facebook: @bradkearnsjumphigh

Twitter: @bradleykearns

YouTube: @BradKearns

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Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, Brad won’t sell out to anyone if he doesn’t love the product. Ask anyone.


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