Askinosie Chocolate is a small-batch chocolate company that sources 100% of its cocoa beans directly from farmers in Ecuador, the Philippines, and Tanzania. It also shares company profits with those farmers. To keep themselves accountable, the company keeps open reports about how much money the farmers actually receive.
Meaningful Work is a book by Askinosie Chocolate’s founder Shawn Askinosie. It’s the story of his personal journey, how he overcame sorrow and went from successful criminal defense lawyer to discovering his vocation, and the secret of purposeful work and business.
For years, Askinosie spent every weekend visiting patients in the palliative wing of a hospital, keeping company with terminal patients who had no visitors. During those visits, he remembers, his ego would suspend, and he would realize again and again that not everything one does has to answer the question “what’s in it for me.” It was in those years that he found the answer to what he wanted to do next.
This is the great paradox, the mystery: when you immerse yourself in serving others wholeheartedly you find yourself, along with many answers to the “what next” questions you’ve been seeking.
– Shawn Askinosie, Meaningful Work, p. 19
The wrong conclusion from this story is that we need to do something extraordinary to suspend our ego and serve others wholeheartedly. We can find opportunities in everyday life where we don’t need to ask “What’s in it for me”. The first that comes to mind is at home with our family.