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 for a follow-up episode to further explore concepts included in the book, as well as how they enabled him to help others.
How Much is “Enough”?
Kevin asks Shawn when he started thinking about the concept of “enough.” Shawn replies that as he embarked into a new career the idea of financial success and notoriety began to lose its luster. The paradoxical and mysterious connection between his joy and sorrow gave him clarity of purpose during those years of transition. “If you want to find yourself, lose yourself in service to others,” Shawn quotes.
Shawn claims that rapid growth is the temptation of our time, especially for entrepreneurs and people with ideas. In certain cases, scale is necessary and optimal, but you risk losing something when growth is valued above all else. He describes scaling as a dark temptation and warns that even when it’s for ostensibly good purposes, it may not actually be good. He describes an experience with a major retail company in which they give a fitting depiction of Askinosie Chocolate: they are about reverse scale.
Kinship, Shawn says, is woven deep within the fabric of his company, is highly valued, and is another part of the human connection. He details how Askinosie Chocolate strives to engender kinship among their members, partners, and customers. Doing business with these values at the forefront is a much more rewarding pathway, he points out.
Relationships Affect Your Product
If you bake a loaf of bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger, Kevin quotes. He asks Shawn to elaborate on the correlation between a good product and a human connection. Who we are and the product or service that we deliver are inseparable; we can’t peel them apart, Shawn replies. The value chain is enhanced through relationships. Shawn talks about the projects Askinosie Chocolate has undertaken, the impacts they have made in numerous communities internationally, and how the connections he has established with people have positively enhanced his life.
Fair and Direct Trade
Fair trade began with good intentions but has become so ubiquitous that it is now a victim of its own good marketing. Studies show that the premium added to the market price of products is not making its way to producers and is gradually lost along the complex supply chain. Shawn describes how Askinosie Chocolate has redefined fair trade into direct trade, including modified travel practices that ensure their producers get the profits they rightfully deserve.
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