016: From Criminal Lawyer to Chocolatier (Shawn Askinosie)

Shawn AskinosieYou’ve probably read about or even know someone who was at the top of their career, only to walk away. What leads someone to do that?

In episode 16, Shawn Askinosie sheds some light on this very topic because he’s done it. He was a top criminal defense lawyer and left it all to become a community-conscious, sustainable farm-supporting chocolatier.


For most of his life, Shawn wanted to be a lawyer. His father was a lawyer and he dreamt of practicing with his dad. But when he was only 14, his father died of cancer and that dream vanished.

That didn’t stop Shawn. If anything, it made him more determined to become a lawyer. Some of Shawn’s dad’s law colleagues took him under their wing and as soon as he could, he started working in law firms.

It seemed very clear the direction Shawn would go in and for all intents and purposes, his future career was locked down. And for the next 20 years, it was.


  • What was the process of finding his next career?
  • What was one of his failures in his new business?
  • Shawn shares the best way to fix problems.
  • Did other people’s opinions impact his next career choice?
  • Would he do it all overall again?

While there wasn’t one particular moment that led Shawn to leave his thriving and highly lucrative practice, there was a moment when he knew it was time to go. And from that moment, his quest was finding what was next for him.

But it didn’t happen overnight. It took time, 5 years in fact, and a lot of soul-searching and prayer to come up with the answer. During those five years, there was no one thing, no magic book or formula that helped him figure it out. It was a process and a series of explorations that showed him chocolate-making was his next career path.

Today he runs a small chocolate manufacturing shop; they source beans from sustainable farms and sell their wares to specialty stores around the globe.

If that wasn’t enough to make you want to support their company, Shawn and his staff also profit share with the farmers after a sales cycle! They also work on community development projects in the farmers’ communities and in Springfield, Missouri where Askinosie Chocolate is located.

It seems Shawn was spot-on to listen to his intuition, he has built a company he and everyone involved can be proud of.

Let’s all thank Shawn for being on the show and following his path! He is an example of what it means to lead by example.  Leave a comment below or send a Tweet and tell him how much you appreciate his story!

Tweetable: “Working harder to find the next thing becomes the obstacle to finding the next thing.” Shawn Askinosie 



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