Shawn Askinosie is an author and the founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate. His book, Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, takes readers on his journey to self-actualization and is a guide to how they can discover the secret to purposeful business. He joins Kevin Monroe to discuss his book and how its teachings apply to current events.
Poet and philosopher John O’Donoghue would consider this current period a threshold, Shawn says. A threshold can be a dark place of panic, discomfort and depression, but also a place of teaching, awakening and connection with our higher selves, if we allow it. You have to understand your present position and acknowledge your fear, instead of waiting to reach the other side of the threshold. Kevin adds that he has realized that current events are the world’s “temporary new normal,” and we must learn to adjust to it rather than hold on to the normal of the past. We may all be in one of three places right now, according to Shawn: on a threshold; on the path to awakening, where you have a daily practice that keeps you grounded; or among the masters or teachers from whom we gain wisdom. The tools you can access on your path depend on where you are.
Kevin quotes a line from Shawn’s book and asks him to elaborate. Shawn shares a story about a young girl’s positive experience with an employee of one of his stores, and says that even if his business fails, that moment of impact will be around forever. He considers that as part of his redefined meaning of success. “What people want to know is that they are joyfully alive,” he says.
Shawn’s experience of losing the love and motivation he had for his career led him on a quest to discover a new passion. He shares some of the activities he participated in along his journey, a notable one being volunteer work in hospice care. Accepting his broken heart, caused by the death of his father, enabled him to connect with his true self. “Our greatest joy is sorrow unmasked,” Kevin quotes. This joy wants to explode out of our sorrow, and to access it we must be willing and open to find that pathway.
Floundering and Flourishing
The greatest freedom in humanity is the choice we make in response to the stimulus in our lives. Even in the midst of challenge and difficulty, we can decide whether to flounder or flourish. However, we must be able to surrender to the moment, and not just survive it. We do not have to wait until we cross the threshold to flourish, Shawn says.
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