When you’ve had a successful run in your career, leaving it behind can be especially difficult. So how can you tell when it’s time to make a change even when you’re good at what you do? In this episode of Career Relaunch, Shawn Askinosie explains how he relaunched his 20-year career as a criminal defense lawyer to found his own chocolate company. We’ll discuss how your intuition can be more precise than your logic and how to create the space you need to make a clear decision about your career. Afterwards, during today’s Mental Fuel segment, I’ll talk about how serving others helped ME figure out where to take my own career.

Key Career Insights

  1. How your body feels physically can send you clues about your job satisfaction that you may not be able to fully rationalize logically. Pay attention to the signals your body is trying to tell you.
  2. Don’t get lost in endless research. It can paralyze you and send you into a bottomless pit of choice. You have to also allow yourself to just listen to your own intuition.
  3. If you’re feeling stuck about what to do next in your career, shifting the focus from yourself to serving someone else can create some space in your mind for the answers to come more naturally to you.

Tweetables to Share

Resources Mentioned

Listener Challenge

During this episode’s Mental Fuel segment, I talked about how I myself gained some clarity when I was feeling confused about where to take my career. In line with Shawn’s advice, I challenged you to find some way to serve someone, ideally in a way that relates to your unique skills, strengths, or interests. It can be something simple. It can be something small. But just some way to help someone else out in a way you also find gratifying. If you can carve out some time to do it, you might be surprised where it ends up taking you.

About Shawn Askinosie

Shawn Askinosie with Vitaliano- Ecuador

Shawn Askinosie with farmer partner Vitaliano in Ecuador

Meaningful Work- A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your SoulShawn Askinosie left behind his 20 year career as a criminal defense lawyer to found Askinosie Chocolate, recently named by Forbes as “One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America“. Their business model has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and numerous other media outlets. Shawn was named by O, The Oprah Magazine, as “One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World.” He’s 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. Shawn and his daughter Lawren Askinosie recently wrote a book called “Meaningful Work: A Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling and Feed Your Soul.”

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Episode Interview Transcript

Teaser (first ~15s): There was this space that wasn’t trying to worry about me and my inspiration and passion and career. It was a space created because I was thinking about someone else. That’s when there was enough room for an idea like chocolate to come into play.

Joseph: Hello there, Shawn. Welcome to Career Relaunch. I’m super excited today because you’re calling in from my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. Welcome.

Shawn: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Come and visit us some time.

Joseph: I definitely need to get back there. I haven’t actually been there for a couple of years now since my most recent high school reunion, but I definitely want to get back there. Speaking of Springfield, I got to give a plug to Springfield, which is where I spent most of my childhood. I was just wondering, Shawn, if you could start off by telling us where you’re based there in Springfield, and what you’ve enjoyed most about living there for so many years.

Shawn: We are on Commercial Street in Springfield, Missouri. It’s like a lot of cities, especially in the Midwest, where we have a part of our community that’s undergoing revitalization and development—so we have on the streets some retail—mixed with the places that deliver social services in our community.

Candidly, that is what drew me to the street to begin with. I wanted to be near where people were who needed social services. That’s what this street is about.

Joseph: I do remember that part of Springfield. I guess, when I lived there, that was definitely an underdeveloped part of the town and not a part of town that got a whole lot of attention. When I went there a couple of years ago, it seems like there was some sort of revitalization that was happening there. That’s very cool.

I should probably say to the listeners, I moved away from Springfield in 1996 to head off to college. In the past two decades, I’ve lived in probably about 10 or so different places. I have yet to live in a place where people are more down to earth and friendlier than they are back in Springfield, so I definitely miss Springfield. I miss the people there, and I miss a lot of the places there.

Anyway, I digress. We got a lot to cover today. I want to talk about your time as a lawyer, your time working in palliative care, and also your current work as the founder of Askinosie Chocolate. I was just wondering, Shawn, if you could just kick us off by talking about what you’ve been focused on right now in your career and life. I think you recently just got back from a trip to Ecuador. Is that right?

Shawn: I’ve been traveling to meet farmers since we’ve started this thing 12 years ago. My trip to Ecuador was cool because I met with one of the farmers that I’ve literally been working with since the very beginning. I see him every year. His name is Vitaliano. Now I see his family, his kids growing up, and now I’m working with his kids. I was there just a couple of weeks ago.

Also in the Amazon, which is another new, recent origin for us, working with a cooperative run by a woman. I love traveling to the Amazon. It’s as beautiful as you would think it is. It’s, of course, extremely diverse in terms of ecosystems, but it’s a great place for cocoa to grow. That’s why I was there.

Joseph: I want to definitely come back and talk more about Askinosie Chocolate and your work there, but I also know you haven’t always been the founder there. I want to start by talking about the 20-year chapter of your career, when you were a criminal defense lawyer. Can you just take me back to that time in your life? What sort of work were you doing at that time?

Shawn: The first part of my practice, right after graduating from University in Missouri Law School, I went to Dallas and worked for a big firm there, but I wanted to come back home. Specifically, I wanted to come back home to practice criminal law. I spent about 20 years defending really serious felony cases. Everything from drug dealers to embezzlement, white collar crime, bank fraud, tax fraud.

I would say that my reputation really was built on the defense of murder cases. They were all very high profile. It was something that I absolutely loved doing for many, many years. I spent hours in preparation for these trials and preparation for the court room. When I was doing it, it didn’t feel like work. I didn’t have any other hobbies. I had a family, which I enjoyed, and that was really it.

Joseph: I know that you’ve got plenty of cases where you’re helping to defend innocent people, but did you also have your fair share of cases where you had to defend people who weren’t so innocent? If so, can you just talk me through how that sat with you?

Shawn: This wasn’t by choice. It just so happened that my criminal jury trials, I did believe in the innocence of my clients. Gerry Spence, famous criminal defense lawyer, said, ‘The guilty people are easy to defend, it’s the innocent ones that are tough.’

Of course, as a criminal defense lawyer, if you have someone who’s guilty, let’s say somebody running drugs down the interstate, and they’re caught with 500 kilos of cocaine in a U-Haul trailer, then my job as a lawyer is to say, ‘What structurally happened? What was the process by which this person was stopped? How were they interrogated?’ and, ‘Where is the overlay of the constitution as it relates to that what we call highway stop?’

Even if the person is guilty, my job as a lawyer is to make sure that that person’s constitutional rights haven’t been violated. Why? Because when we make it okay to violate that person’s constitutional rights because they are ‘guilty,’ then those who are innocent have nowhere to hide. There’s nothing standing up, protecting them, if not the constitution. That’s the mindset and philosophy that I had through the years.

Sometimes it was tough, but I was careful to know the rules of ethics and know where the line was, and I knew what my job was. I knew who my client was in terms of I didn’t have to worry about who was governing the defense of the case.

I would say that, from a personality standpoint, you can’t do that job—especially in serious cases where the stakes are very high, like where someone would be killed by the death penalty or may spend the rest of their life in prison—you can’t do that if you’re worried about what other people think of you or worried about what prosecutors think or if the judges don’t like you. It does require, in some ways, a great deal of strength and inner fortitude, especially when people want to kill you, and you get legitimate death threats. I mean these are all things that happen, but you just have to realize that you’re there because you chose to be there and it’s your calling. That’s what it was for me.

Joseph: It sounds like this was something that, as you put it, was your calling. I also know from looking at your book, you had a really successful track record as a criminal defense lawyer. I know when we spoke before, you mentioned that in 1999, you sort of hit a road block in your career. Can you tell us what happened?

Shawn: It was at the conclusion of a murder trial, and without going into all the details—they’re in the book—what happened at the end of that trial, which I won by the way, I began to notice that something was going on in my body. That is my chest was hurting, and I was having these little mini panic attacks in the courtroom. If you were looking at me, you wouldn’t have seen it. You wouldn’t have noticed it, but colleagues did.

Ultimately, what is was is there was this convergence between mind and body. I think my mind was so detached from my body. Frankly, part of it may have been the reasons, some of the things we were just discussing. After a while, you can only do that kind of work for so long.

The need to change manifested itself in my body, and then I kind of had a bout with some depression and anxiety. I knew that I had to leave criminal law and law, but I didn’t know to what. That’s what was really causing me some anxiety, because I loved it. I loved it for so long. When you do that kind of a job, and you loved it for like a decade or more, and you know you had to quit that job, but you don’t know what else you’re going to do or can do, that can cause a lot of anxiety.

Joseph: That’s really interesting. It sounds like there was like a physical manifestation of something that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. We’re going to talk more about your book, but one thing you talked about in your book was how you had a childhood friend who was, as you put it, winning on the outside but rudderless in the inside. Was that something that you think you were feeling too?

Shawn: I definitely felt a sense of direction in my practice, and I felt like the work I was doing was good work. I feel that to this day, but there was a shift, some kind of shift inside my body. As I said, I think that my body and mind began to make friends again in a sense. My body was saying, ‘Hey, you need to catch up here. I’m going to show you now by making your chest hurt and you feeling fatigued and depressed and anxious, then your mind needs to catch up and get with the ball game.’ That’s what happened. All I knew was that it was happening, and I had to do something about it. I couldn’t live like that.

Joseph: It sounds like this then started off, a period of time, where you spent a few years searching for what you wanted to do next. Can you just tell us about what you did to try to figure that out?

Shawn: I thought that this problem of what to do next, finding my next inspiration, could be solved through research and by just making it happen, just making it work. That’s the way I’d won cases for almost 20 years. Why would I be any different? My own client, me.

It didn’t work. I spent nearly five years searching for what I am going to do. I was looking for a sense, almost like a gravitational pull that, in some ways, either exceeded or at least paralleled to the kind of pull that I felt toward criminal law, and I just wasn’t finding it. It just wasn’t happening. The first thing, of course, I did was research. I tried Google. I tried reading books. I read Po Bronson’s book, What Should You Do with the Rest of Your Life?

Joseph: I’ve read that.

Shawn: Great book. It’s an awesome book. However, I thought, ‘There’s going to be a chapter at the end of this book written in invisible ink that it’s going to say, “Dear Shawn, this is Po. Here’s what you should do with the rest of your life,”’ and that didn’t happen, and so I tried. I looked at franchises. I looked at businesses. I looked at starting businesses. It just wasn’t it.

I started to get some hobbies. I bought a Big Green Egg and started grilling and baking, then making chocolate desserts, and that’s kind of how I started my way into food.

Joseph: I also know, when we spoke before, you mentioned you went through a period where you were working in the palliative care department there at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Can you tell us a little bit about that phase of your exploration?

Shawn: During this five-year period, when I was just so desperate, one of the things that I’d felt that one of the things I should do is volunteer at a local hospital in their palliative care department. For your listeners who may not be familiar with that, it’s essentially hospice in the hospital, people who were dying.

The reason I wanted to do it is because when I was 14, my dad died of lung cancer. He was a lawyer like me. He had cancer for about two and a half years before he died. It was just terrible to watch him suffer that way and for the cancer to spread throughout his body. I just loved him so much, and I didn’t want him to die. I was with him when he died, and it was such a desperate moment in my life, just begging God out loud to please not let him die, and he did.

I thought, 25 years later—here I am in this search, all worried about myself and what I’m going to do—to spend some time with people in palliative care. I was just volunteering. I just went into people’s rooms who often had no one visiting, no family or friends visiting, and these people are dying, some state of dying. I would just talk with them, have a conversation.

At the end of my visit, I would say, ‘One of the things I do as a volunteer here is pray for people. Would you like me to say a prayer for you?’ and 99.9% of people who were dying will take a prayer. I just say, ‘What would you like me to pray for?’ I prayed their exact words right back to them, whatever they said. In those moments, measured in seconds, I actually thought about someone besides me. It was kind of weird.

When I left the hospital, not every day but many days, I’d be walking out of the doors of the hospital to my car, and it was as if my feet weren’t on the ground, almost like I was walking on air. What is that? It’s joy. People say, ‘Wait, but that’s morbid. You were with people, in fact in some cases, when they actually died. Isn’t that morbid?’ No.

The reason is because of what I say in the book when quote Khalil Gibran who says, ‘Our greatest joy is our sorrow unmasked.’ That’s what happened to me. My great sorrow, the heartbreak of my life so far, had been my dad’s death and being with him in that time of sickness. To be with people and think about them and not me for just a little bit, was a great joy. I knew that I was at the right place in the right time.

Gandhi said, ‘If you want to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.’ I didn’t know that quote at the time, but that’s kind of what I did. I didn’t expect it. It’s not an ‘ends justify means’ sort of thing, but it was during that time. I did that for almost five years, even after chocolate for a little bit.

What happened is—this is the paradox—during that time of service, not at the hospital but just during that time of my life, there was this space created. It wasn’t research. It wasn’t talking to people. It wasn’t trying to worry about me and my inspiration and passion and career. It was a space created because I was thinking about someone else. That’s when there was enough room in my pea brain for an idea like chocolate to come into play.

Joseph: Before we get to that turning point for you and when you decided to start Askinosie Chocolate, could you give us a glimpse into what some of those things were that people would ask you to pray for?

Shawn: There were people who would say, ‘Could you pray two more weeks so I live to my 65th wedding anniversary?’ or, ‘Would you pray that I’m healed?’ ‘Would you pray that I die today because I’m in pain, and I’m ready to go?’ I’m 57 years old. I would say I’m most grateful for those experiences, perhaps, of any experiences in my life.

Joseph: When we spoke before, you mentioned a moment when you were driving to the funeral of your mother’s cousin, and you did have a moment where you made some decisions. Can you take me to that moment and what ran through your head at that time?

Shawn: Yes, and thanks for asking about that. I was literally at that cemetery on Memorial Day, where my grandparents are buried. It’s a little farm cemetery here in Southwest Missouri.

I was on my way to that funeral in 2005, then on the way back from that funeral is when I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll just make chocolate from scratch.’ I didn’t have a clue where it came from. I didn’t know it was in a bean, a grounded bean. I didn’t know it grew on a tree. I didn’t know where. I thought it was like a chemical that was just melted and poured into a mold, but within three months of that idea, I was in the Amazon trying to understand how farmers influenced the flavor of chocolate by how they harvest these beans.

Joseph: You went through a five-year process of trying to figure out what you wanted to do. There wasn’t necessarily this moment when the skies parted. How did you know that this idea was the one that you felt was worth pursuing?

Shawn: ‘It was a sense’ is the best I can say. It was a strong sense, and you’re right – I didn’t hear an audible voice or anything like that at all. In many ways, it’s what I was looking for in a book or looking for on Google. It was just a sense in my spirit, ‘This is what you should do.’

Joseph: Let’s switch gears here. Let’s talk a little bit more about Askinosie Chocolate. You mentioned you went to the Amazon within three months of that moment in the car. What exactly did you go do in the Amazon to figure out the whole industry of chocolate?

Shawn: It was a cool experience because I’d never been in what’s called primary forest before. There were farmers there in Ecuador who were teaching about the way they ferment beans after they take them out of the pod and how they dry them and the different nuances in that process that can really have a dramatic effect on the flavor of the resulting chocolate. I just kept going back to Ecuador. 

On that trip, that would’ve been fall of 2005, at that point, I was hooked. I’d already been making some chocolate desserts, but then I was really hooked. I knew I was going to wind down my law practice, which took a year. You can’t just turn out the lights in your office, ‘Bye. See you 200 files later,’ so I had to get a partner. She was awesome and a great friend of mine and is to this day. She helped me wind down my cases. It was quite a process.

Joseph: For those listeners out there, Shawn, who are interested in starting their own company, just throwing yourself into this Amazon region and just figuring things out as you went along, was there something about that process that you learned about starting a business that you think might be worth sharing with others who are thinking about maybe going into an area or starting a company in a segment that they don’t know a whole lot about?

Shawn: It wasn’t that I didn’t know a whole lot. I knew nothing. It was beyond that because I didn’t have any skills in science. I didn’t have any skills in agriculture. I had no skills in finance. I took zero finance and accounting at the University of Missouri.

What I’d say, and I say this to anybody who will listen to me, from high school students to people who are in their 60’s thinking about starting a business, please, please, do this with an understanding of finance and accounting and what the numbers mean for your proposed business idea. I don’t care if you’re going to be guitar player in a band. Take accounting and finance, because we need financial literacy when we’re thinking about starting businesses or even working in a business.

If you have this beautiful idea, it’s attracting you, it’s pulling you, you must do it, but if you lack the finance experience, please reach out to a friend or a family member who can help you with this because it could make the difference in the success or failure of your startup.

Joseph: Askinosie Chocolate has been listed as one of the Forbes 25 best small companies in America. I think one of the things they talked about in the article was about your direct-trade model. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about Askinosie Chocolate and your products and your direct-trade model.

Shawn: We have a laser, laser focus on the quality of our chocolate. We’re only 16 people in the company, so we’re tiny, but we must focus on trying to be the best-tasting, direct-trade chocolate in the world. The reason is because we do all these other things, but I want people to buy the chocolate because they love the flavor first and foremost. Over time, if they connect with our story and believe in what we’re doing, even better.

That direct-trade model for us is we focus on the chocolate, and then we realized that it’s about more than the chocolate. It means traveling to meet with the farmers. It also means profit sharing with the farmers. We have profit shared with farmers on ever bean buy since I started doing that 12 years ago, and we open our books to them.

This summer, when I go to Tanzania in July, our financial statement will be in Swahili. They now expect that. We profit share with them. They understand the profit share calculation.

s of last fall, we published that on our website. It’s called our transparency report, where I publish every bean buy since I started the company, who I paid, how much, how much we profit shared, and what that price is compared to what’s called the farm gate price, the world market price, and the fair trade price. That’s about as transparent as you can get.

We have this belief that who we are, how we behave, how we treat people, is inseparable from the resulting product: our chocolate.

Joseph: Before we talk about your book, I just have to ask you this, because I know you’re talking about different feelings that you felt throughout your career. On a day-to-day basis, how would you describe how you feel now compared to your days as a defense lawyer?

Shawn: I feel more relaxed. I feel more open, not as wound up, not as ready to do battle at all times. When you’re a criminal defense lawyer and if you spend much time in the courtroom, you have no friends.

One of these murder cases, I might spend over 2,000 hours preparing for the trial. That’s even before the trial. You sort of build in these insular practices to shield you from all of the distraction. Over time, that creates a closed-off person, almost by necessity.

Joseph: I want to make sure we talk about your book, which is titled Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, which you published in 2017. I was hoping to get your perspectives on three of the topics you touched on in your book.

The first is how you decided it was time to make a change, which I know you talked about before where you had this sort of stress and discomfort which manifested physically, and your body was telling you that you needed to make a change. I’m just wondering, aside from physical exhaustion and stress, what other sorts of tipping points do you think people need to watch out for, that signal it might be time for a career change?

Shawn: We need to really just take an inventory as you mentioned. Physically: How do I feel? What’s causing these feelings? Is it my job? Is it the work that we’re doing? Is it that I’m done with it, I’m just tired of it?

Then I think there are other things to look at. For instance, are there other things driving this decision? Are they financial? Do you have commitments with your family that this current job is unable to meet? In some cases, there can be a draw and a sort of message that we receive that is unfinished with this vocation that I had at this time in my life, and now, I see this next step for me.

I just think it requires a lot of introspection, and I would encourage people to get out of Google. Step away from the Google search box. The answer isn’t there. It’s not even in my book.

If someone listens to your podcast, Joseph, or maybe they just read a couple of pages, and they’re inspired by a sentence or a paragraph in the book or just a few second of our conversation together today, then put it down and begin a practice of reflection and introspection that is not dependent on other people necessarily, but just in your own mind. I think that’s where the answer is going to come. ‘Should I stay in this position? Is it what the Buddhists call right work, or not?’

I do believe there is a lot of value in sticking it out and making that a discipline. The reason I say that is because when people make the leap, I want them to be all in. I want it to be whole hearted. I’m not saying, ‘Look, I’m the one who jumped off the cliff and figured out how to build a parachute on the way down.’ I get it, and I support that, but I encourage people to get as much input as they can right before they jump.

Joseph: One of the other things you talked about in your book as you’re trying to figure out your professional calling, you talked about the importance of not doing endless research, which I think you were talking about when you’re speaking about not going on and trying to Google everything. What do you think is important about not doing endless research, which I think is an interesting perspective coming from someone whose career was built on that very principle?

Shawn: It’s because it’s essentially an endless feedback loop. You’ll never stop. That is what I mean by the paradox of choice. It paralyzes us. It’s a bottomless pit of choice. I bet we could see there’s probably a billion searches of ‘What should I do with my life?’ in the Google search box.

I love meditating. I read books on meditating, but it doesn’t make me a better meditator. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do research once they say, ‘Oh, I want to make kombucha. I know that’s what I’m called to do.’ I’m not saying don’t, then, do research on kombucha recipes. I’m saying just go into a quiet room, literally and figuratively, and start thinking. Let the ideas bounce around in your head to the point that it’s actually uncomfortable.

We, in this world today, are uncomfortable with silence and solitude. We are no longer familiar with it, and it’s painful to sit and listen to the voices in our head that are so loud. We need to find a way to calm those and understand that the balm is not going to be found in a book or from a Google search.

Joseph: That’s a good reminder that you got to give yourself some headspace and some permission to just have a little bit of down time, which I’m definitely not very good at doing myself.

Shawn: I’m not either, but I think it’s an important practice to start even in small ways.

Joseph: Absolutely. Finally, Shawn, before we wrap up, you also touched on the fact that, after you left law, you described in your book that you went through this challenging period of having escaped from your old job without a new dream to pursue yet, which is where I think a lot of listeners find themselves. What do you think was most helpful to you in getting through that daunting period between leaving your law practice behind and finding a new path?

Shawn: I practiced law up to the very end. In fact, for a very short period, I would be in court in the morning on a meth lab sending, and in the afternoon, I’d be making chocolate.

I did have both legs. I had one leg, and one world, and one in the other, but I think the most important thing during that search, during that time, was what we’ve talked about, which is these two things: one, where is my heartbreak, my sorrow, and is there someone who needs me that I know of, that I can serve? Does it relate to my heartbreak in my life? If so, then ‘the greater the sorrow, the greater the joy,’ as Khalil Gibran says. I think that’s the most important thing.

It’s counterintuitive. I’m saying, when we’re struggling—and your listeners, they may be frustrated and saying, ‘Look, I know I want to leave. I know I want to do something else. I don’t know what it’s going to be. I need to go do this research. I need to go talk to these people. I need to attend this conference,’—what I’m suggesting as a possible alternative is to roll up your sleeves, find someone who needs you, and serve them without expectation of anything in return.

Joseph: I want to wrap up, Shawn, by talking about your social initiatives there at Askinosie Chocolate. Can you tell me a little bit more about the charitable work you do in other parts of the world for students in need?

Shawn: We have had this school lunch programs for about eight years in places where we buy beans in the Philippines and in Tanzania. The way that worked was, we have a program called Chocolate University that we started when we started the factory, to engage neighborhood kids in our business.

The way they started in the Philippines is I noticed the kids were malnourished. Talking with the principal of the school, she talked about the severe malnourishment in the school. What we did is we decided that the PTA—there’s a very active PTA there, and I found that in Tanzania as well—they made a product. It’s called tablea. It’s a hot chocolate product traditional to the Filipinos. They put it on my container of cocoa beans in a separate box. We sold it. We sold each unit, and we still do it now on www.Askinosie.com to people for $10, and they get 10 servings. That feeds 220 kids.

What we do is we take all of the sales proceeds, not profit, and monthly give it back to the school where the PTA and teachers manage these school lunch programs, sourcing food locally. We do the same thing in Tanzania but with rice from the PTA. Our little 16-person company has funded over a million meals in the last eight years to kids with zero donations, all 100% self-sustaining. That’s one of our programs.

As I mentioned, we have these school programs, the high school programs, where it’s very competitive for kids in Southwest Missouri, junior and seniors in high school, to get into our program. Half of them were scholarship, the other half are private pay. We raise the money for these kids. It’s $4,000 a kid. They spend a week on the Drury University campus near our factory and learn about our business and Tanzania language, culture, and history. They go home and pack, they meet me at the airport, and we take them to Tanzania.

Maybe when you were at Kickapoo, you might have been in Chocolate University and had this kind of experience. I think you’re a great example of this. I mean, here you are, living internationally. You have an international practice. We’re looking for students that we believe this experience will be a catalyst for them in their future careers.

You mentioned charitable work that we do. That is what it is, but we don’t look at it as that. We had this dualistic philosophy and charitable philanthropy work that really stems from this corporate social responsibility silo in companies that really were started by risk managers, otherwise known as lawyers in big companies that is now turned into CSR, which now is turned into this. What I’m saying is don’t silo it. Find ways in which this can infiltrate the entire company. The good works are just part of being a good business.

Joseph: I totally agree. I think that sometimes people think of ‘charitable work’ being done by NGOs or non-profits, but actually there’s a lot of great work. In fact some of the most impactful work is being done by businesses like yours that are actually profitable and are commercially oriented, but they’re also serving a greater need and a greater good.

Shawn: That’s right.

Joseph: Thank you so much, Shawn, for taking time out of your busy day to tell us more about your life, formerly as a criminal defense lawyer, how you found clarity during your transitions, and also a peek into the great work you’re doing there at Askinosie Chocolate. We’ll definitely include a link to your book in the show notes, which I would highly recommend to listeners. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck with your ongoing work there at Askinosie Chocolate. The next time I’m back in town in Springfield, I’m definitely going to try to stop by.

Shawn: Please. Thank you, Joseph. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me today. I really appreciate it.

About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu is dedicated to helping people relaunch their careers and do more meaningful work. As a public speaker, career consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch® podcast, he shares insights from his decade of experience relaunching global consumer brands to help professionals to more effectively market their personal brands.

About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.