Before we get started today's podcast. I'm excited to share with you that the confident and consistent leader challenge is back. We launched our next group on September six in June, we had 11 leaders go through it and the feedback was fantastic. Brad who's a wealth manager said the challenge was extremely helpful and relevant to not only his business, but as a father and a husband, Steven who's a COO said his wife was sad. That challenge was over because she felt the difference it made in his life. Yes, I know it is only 30 days, but with daily emails and videos sprinkled throughout the 30 days, it is high intentionality. We have accountability through the different live group. Coaching calls. Change is possible, whether you want to grow personally, and that may be getting back to the gym, growing spiritually, growing in your marriage, or it's professionally. You want to identify the vision and values for your company. You want to improve culture, whatever it may be. We will identify those at the beginning of the challenge, and then through a bunch of different exercises and activity, you will in fact see growth on the other side, visit Corey M carlson.com forward slash leadership to learn more as well as register. And we will get started on September 6th. And I'm so excited to see this next group of leaders grow. Thank you very much and on to today's podcast.
Welcome to the win at home first podcast. I'm your host, Cory Carlson. This podcast is where we talk about how successful business leaders win, not only at work, but also at home. On this podcast, we will go behind the scenes with great leaders to hear stories of how they win. Thank you for listening and on to today's episode.
(02:03): Hello, this is Corey today's episode is Sean, who you'll hear more about in a minute is filled with a lot of wisdom. He is vulnerable sharing how he didn't win at home in the beginning of his career. And lessons learned that all of us can glean from. He talks about the power of humility, both at work and at home. We have a good discussion about the rhythm of life, how different moments of our life can look different. And we need to be aware of that. Sean talks about the power of surrendering and it's a day by day process. All of us have had a difficult last 18 months. Sean has as well, and he shares some of those challenges that he's encountered, which I think will help all of us learn and confront our own challenges that we've had this over this last 18 months. Hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed the conversation, Sean, on to today's episode.
(03:01): Hello, this is Corey Carlson. Welcome to the winter home first podcast today's guest. I actually learned of him when a few weeks ago I was walking the campus at the university of Missouri. My daughter is looking to be a lawyer down the road. And so this is one of the schools she's looking at. University of Missouri is my Alma mater. As we're in the school of law, walked by their, their alumni book case that they are kind of promoting everybody there. And I saw this book that has grabbed my attention. The title is meaningful, work, a quest to do great business, find your calling and feed your soul. And there's a bunch of words in there that meant a guy I wanted to meet about faith and family and work. And so Sean ASCA nosey was the author of the book. And I reached out to him after I did even additional homework and said, this is who I want to talk to. And kindly enough said yes. So Sean, thank you very much for being on today's podcast.
(04:02): Well thank you for having me, Corey, I'm looking forward to it, Sean, what is the key trait to win at work and went home? Humility is it's an aspirational practice, you know, so it's something that I pray for and pray that there will be opportunities during the day that my behavior can intersect with those opportunities in a way that will demonstrate humility and at work. I think that chances for humility are basically endless during the day. And so this is really a sort of moment by moment, as Paul would ask us to take our thoughts captive, this is a way that we do it. And so it can be in decision-making. It can be in not talking, not being the first to speak up listening, considering the opinions of new people, people who don't have the level of experience in the company. So, I mean, there are endless opportunities for humility at work and at home, I think it can change over the years, but really it's not much different than what it is at work. I mean, humility is not different at work than it is at home. It shouldn't be in my 34 years of marriage that I would say that over time, you know, this aspect of humility has changed for me. And so as I've gotten older, it's gotten easier for me to demonstrate this. And so it's a, it's a prayer and a petition and an aspiration because I think it's critical.
(05:48): You mentioned the verse where Paul says that we needed to take all of our thoughts captive. Do you have a practical way that you do that for about 10 years? I did have a fairly disciplined practice that started in the morning with prayer. And then at certain intervals in the day being reminded of, you could say a kind of mantra or verse or petition, and these would coincide with I'm not Catholic, but they would coincide with the Catholic divine office or the hours is what it's called. And that would kind of recenter me and sort of just a little bell that would go off on my iPhone. It would just for a moment, kind of pull me out of whatever thought pattern I might be in to sort of re position my mind. And so that to me is one of the ways that I try to practice this, the other is through mindful breathing, but I think it's important to begin the day asking, you know, for the discipline and the skill to do that.
(07:08): You know, otherwise it's just a sort of monkey mind. And we are, we, we lose the ability to sort of retain our centerdness. I think, I think what happens is when we don't do that, we can spend hours or really years disconnected from what Thomas Merton would call our true selves. Now you could, depending on what faith tradition, but Martin of course was a Trappist monk, a Catholic monk who wrote seven story mountain and many other books, but really what he meant was our souls. And so I think that for me, I like true self. And the reason I liked the aspect of true self is because the implication is that there would also be what he called her, what maybe I like the more modern version of separate self and the separate self is the small self. The small self is the one in which our mind just completely wanders.
(08:16): The true self is, is the part of us that can take every thought captive. Why? Because it's our natural status. You know, it's, it's what we were created to do because it's much more challenging to be in union with God when our separate self is in the pilot seat. And so if we can have a practice that is rooted in the connection or the recognition or the awareness of our true self, when you could even say, even with the assistance of the holy spirit, then we're going to have a much greater likelihood of success. If you could say that in taking our thoughts captive and being able to let our true selves drive the train and sort of dictate our behavior, if you will, another
(09:15): Commonality that you and I have in addition to going to university of Missouri, reading your book, you talk about your dad passing away when you're 14 and I can relate cause my mom passed away when I was 15. And you go on to talk about how there was this almost showing your dad's showing God that you could do life without them. I had similar thoughts of hearing it's all up to me was a phrase that I heard an early age and both your story, my story come with ambition and always hustling, trying to get things done, you know, fast forward in your career for the listeners where you were a criminal defense lawyer, who was very, very successful and never in fact lost a trial and even did national cases as well as one, a death put on the case. So all kinds of incredible success with that ambition. How did you win at home during your career as a lawyer?
(10:21): Well, the short answer to that is I didn't. I had a great family and my work didn't feel like work. I was home for dinner and had a great relationship with my daughter and took her to the donut shop on Saturdays, you know, starting when she was two. And that was a special day for us and was until she moved out to go to school when she was 16. And she works with me now and is my co-author in the book that we're talking about and she's our chief marketing officer and co-owner with me in this business. And so, you know, that there was certainly a lot of right things about that, but my wife was very good at keeping all of the plates spinning at home and managing our money and, and managing all of it. And I was driven not so much to make a lot of money, in fact, not at all, but I was driven to, to win, you know, I was driven to win at work and I was driven to succeed and to win cases and be one of the best lawyers that I could be.
(11:36): And that one out, you know, for many, many years, I can tell now with perspective and reflection, what I didn't do then, and the, the best way that I can do that is because I have a new grand baby. So being with Goldie, just, you know, playing or rocking her to sleep in her nursery, I can tell that I am present in a way that is not comparable, not even close. It's not even in the same planet of presence that I had as a dad. When I was in my thirties, I thought, oh, well, I'm home by six and I can tuck her in bed and I can read Lauren A. Good night story. And Karen and I can have date nights. And, you know, I can you know, sort of go through these motions, but I wasn't really present
(12:31): If you were to talk to your younger self. And even those people listening that are in the throws of their career, trying to make a successful career, looking back, what would you say to that young executive, that young attorney of here's how to be present?
(12:51): I appreciate the question, but I'm, I'm, I don't know that I'm qualified to make the answer because I didn't do it. I wish that I'd done it, but I don't know that if you know, the 60 year old version of me, if he'd come back and sat me down and talked to me, if it would've made a difference, in fact, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have made a difference. I, I, you know, I don't know I was so driven and so ambitious that, you know, it just, I don't know that I could have convinced myself even me if I could have convinced myself otherwise. So I don't know because, you know, I think that sometimes people are on a path and you can relate to this because of what happened when you were 15, your mom died, your heart was broken and that can cause some pretty defined ways of thinking that are very, very hard to detach from.
(13:53): And when we're doing good along the way that provides further kind of rationalization and justification for the, the pace with which we try to do this work when we're younger, you know, it's relentless. And we tell ourselves that it's okay because we're providing income for the family. We're making a better life for our family. And, and if you're doing the kind of work, that is what the Buddhists would call right work, and you feel in line with your work, then you will be truly fooled into thinking that the relentless pursuit of your work is okay. And so I think it's very hard.
(14:42): I appreciate the honesty and I know of my heck, even my own 45 year old self, if I went back to in younger years in my twenties and thirties, when I made some dumb mistakes, I also wouldn't have listened because I probably had why no, I had wise counsel around me at the time, but I still was ignoring it because I had the blinders onto what I wanted, what I thought was the right answer. So I appreciate your honest answer, but I, I mean, I think we all can relate. And I think it's even just in the unpacking of how you do it now would be some wisdom that people could hear as they are processing what it looks like.
(15:21): I can give you a bit of good news the while. I don't know what I would say. I can tell you that I've worked with young people now through our chocolate university program for a long time, over a decade. And we have an specifically, we've been taking high local high school students to Tanzania every other year to meet cocoa farmers and in doing so, I have to interview high school students who have applied to this program. It's very, very competitive because we take them for free and raise the money to bring them. And what I've noticed, especially in the last couple of years before the pandemic is an unbelievable amount of self-awareness of juniors and seniors in high school. And so it's almost shocking really. And I've seen this progress over the last 10 plus years in talking to high school students. And it's really very heartening because what I'm seeing are, you know, 18 year olds who are so self-aware that they won't need, you know, their 60 year old self to come back and talk to them about, you know, what they might be able to do to sort of pull back in this relentless pursuit of work and success.
(16:41): And because they will, they will sort of be self-governing, you know, because they have this heightened level of awareness that I've, I mean, now I'm just talking about Southwest, Missouri. I can't say what it is like in Cincinnati or in other places or in west Plains. But I, but I see it here and I think it's, it's good news and it's, it's good news for our future. I think
(17:04): I'd echo some of that good news. Now, obviously, you know, I had my daughter take the Enneagram. My 17 year old daughter took the Enneagram itself you know, assessment tool, which I'm a big fan of. But I think part of the reason they have self-awareness is because they've seen fallout. They've seen the consequence of workaholics. They've seen the consequence of people putting all their money and then a 2008 recession may have hit or COVID it hit and whatever it could be, they've seen some as fallout. And even as we look right now and this whole great resignation people across, I think all generations are thinking, Hey, I want purpose over profit. I want a more of a balanced life as opposed to focused on one vocation, because what if it goes away? So I think that's great news to hear that you're doing
(17:52): That. You're seeing from the junior, the high floors. Thank you very much for listening to today's episode. I hope you are joining so far before we go back to the rest of this episode. I want to share with you my book when at home first, some of you have read it. So thank you very much for others of you. You have not. And I encourage, if you're looking for a resource to help you with these times of your work is now in your home and your home is now in your work and what this looks like. This book is being helpful to many leaders like you. His magazine said it was one of seven books. Everyone on your team should read in the book is broken up into four different sections to help you versus about you. Understand who you are. The second is marriage in ideas and tips to help with your marriage. Third is parenting and the last is work. So these four different sections to help you recalibrate during this time and to help move forward. So if you are needing additional resource, I encourage you to check out my book went home first. It is available on Amazon, as well as audible and so on to the rest of the episode. Thank you very much.
(19:06): We not told listeners exactly your transition from going from the trial attorney to ask an Ozzie chocolate. And we'll tell that story a little bit, how that transition happened, but while we're on the topic of ambition and balance, how do you do it now? Cause you know, yours and your daughter's name is on the chocolate. The idea of being the best chocolate working all the time, you could fall back into those old habits of nonstop work, but you're doing something right in the standpoint, you've been married 34 years. Your daughter wants to work with you. Yes, there are most, most days, most days. Yeah,
(19:44): That's right. So what are you doing now that looks different as you're still successful, but now you're spending time with granddaughter. Now your S w w what's that look like?
(19:55): I know I used the word path before, but this is the rhythm of life. And so part of it is by design of our bodies and minds. And what I mean by that is I'm 60. So I mean, I don't have the stamina to put in an 80 hour work week that I did to get ready for a murder trial. You know, when I was 35, I don't, I can't do that. And wouldn't want to do that. So my body is part of the limitation. My mind would also be I think part of the limitation beyond that it is accumulation over time of prayer and practice and trying another way. And so for me, this all started, you know, 20 plus years ago, going to assumption Abbey assumption. Abbey is a Trappist monastery in Southern, Missouri, out in the middle of the mark Twain national forest.
(20:54): I started going there on retreats and then I became a family brother there about seven years ago. And that means that, you know, it means that I live with amongst when I'm there and follow their routine of getting up at three in the morning for the first prayer service, there are seven prayer services a day. They live by the rule of Benedict, which is a document that manages monasteries around the world. That's been in existence for 1500 years. And this is a sort of balance of Ora, et labora or prayer and work. And so this is the rhythm of prayer and work. I've been able to witness among the monks now for over 20 years. And I had to write what's called a rule of life. And I talk about it in my book in order to become a family brother that the Abbot approved, which is loosely based on the rule of Benedict.
(21:46): So for me, the part of the rhythm of life that has taken place in the last 20 years, really starting when I was 40. So just right before I was 40 has brought me to this moment where you and I are talking and I don't work 80 hours a week and I am present for my granddaughter. I'm much more aware of when I'm not present to my wife. And it's an evolution of the awareness of like we were talking about in the beginning of my true self and wanting to remain connected to my true self as much as I possibly can. And over time, just, just as if, if, if you were working out, it's the same thing sort of, and that has given me a different perspective on the end game.
(22:53): Part of my story I'll talk about is there's a moment where I had the handover, my story for a greater story, and reading your book and seeing, and hearing some of your talks elsewhere, this idea, you know, in that, in that courtroom where he almost had the panic attack and crying with Debbie, you know, your client at the time, and just some incredible stories that you've had, as I say that for phrase handover your story for a greater story, is that the story that comes to mind or is there even another one of just doing it? Sean's ways not work. And I've got, I got to hand this over to you, God, you know, I'm all yours.
(23:33): Well, I think that this notion that you've hit on which I love this idea, it's one way of looking at it or another way of saying it is surrender. And one writer that I really love has said that surrender is the greatest form of what, and I believe that to be true. So if, if handing over my story in surrender to a greater story, then that's worship. That's my connection to God. That's my demonstration of love of God. And so what we hope for is that this happens more than once in our life. You know, it may happen when we're younger and then maybe it happens again. And we pray for these stories, right? We pray for the opportunities. It's like these, these gates it's that keep opening one gate opens to something, oh man, I gave up, I gave this up, I gave this story up, I've surrendered my story.
(24:30): This is amazing. And then we're on the threshold as John O'Donohue would call it of this sort of not knowing what's going on, not knowing what's happening. Where are we? And before we know it, we reorient ourselves and say, I'm going to surrender this story now for a greater story. And then that gate opens and then we do it again. So you're right. Those story with Debbie and the courtroom, you know, outside the courtroom at the end of a murder trial, that was a time when I, upon reflection can say, I surrendered my story to a greater story. And there are multiple times that this has happened in my life, but the thing of it is now I'm ready for it. So I'm looking for that. And it's not easy. I'm not saying that this is easy at all. Why? Because we don't want to give up our story.
(25:18): And we like our story. Our story can mean money. It can mean fame. It can mean all of these things that the separate self thrives on this is fuel to the separate self. My small self story is fuel for that. But if we come to this, as we get older, you know, when we're in our forties and fifties, and we're now looking for the opportunity and praying that God will reveal to us in the day or the next day, a chance to give up our story, that's when it just starts happening. I mean, we see it happening all the time. So I would say for me, the most recent example is the last 18 months. I mean, the pandemic has been thankfully my business is doing well and we have, you know, almost 20 employees and everybody's doing well, but from a personal and spiritual standpoint, this has been very, very hard for me, really, really hard.
(26:20): And I have been talking with a teacher slash therapist in Austin every week for the last year, this week marks the one year point. So the handing over to use your words is not static. I mean, this is I, this is a dynamic behavior. The handing over of the story is a sort of in itself, an ebb and flow. I'm going to hand it over to Dan. I'm going to pull a little bit back. I'm going to hand it over. I'm hopefully I'm two steps ahead, and then maybe it flows back a little bit. But when we look back over time for me the last year and a half, I can say, okay, and almost like breathing, you know, and, and of course breath is, is is, is is a prominent feature of a scripture. And of course, one of Christ's last act after the resurrection, when appearing to his disciples in the rubber rooms, he breathed on them.
(27:22): And then he said, you know, may I leave my peace with you? And so this concept of breath is really, really important. And so, and I liken it to this that we're talking about now, because we have this, this inhale and exhale of our story and what we're hoping for and what I'm hoping for in this, this last year. And what I'm seeing is that little by little I'm handing over my story and I can sense God's grace in my life right now, and I can see it and I can feel it. So I'm literally handing over my story as we speak
(28:06): You're right. It is a daily surrender every day, being willing to die are our cross. And I just think for the listener, I know when I've had some different trials and tribulations in my life, I went on them head on and I hope I do that for all the ones that come my way again, because that was one thing that's guaranteed right. Is a different storm adversity. So our listener, if you've got that wound that slightly getting exposed, tackle it head on and go after it.
(28:36): Yes, I would. I would maybe myself use different words. And I might say that sometimes it isn't even the dark force of the world. In fact, it can be much more cunning and deceiving when it's in our own voice. And that would be our mind, just our our mind, our separate self, not our, not our soul, not our, not our true self. Some would say I have a friend that died a couple of years ago. And he used to say, you know, the scariest time was when the devil spoke to him, but in his own voice, that's when it's really scary. And you're like, oh wait, Hey, that's. But, but at the other thing I would say too, is that just as a alternate consideration to not tackle it, when one would say, you know, I'm going to tackle this, I'm going to, it sort of connotes I, and what I would encourage is just the consideration.
(29:39): I'm not saying it's the right way, but I would encourage a consideration consistent with what we were talking about earlier of surrender. And that doesn't mean surrender. People think that that somehow is weakness. No, it is strength. My friend, it is strength to surrender, especially for us doers to just literally just surrender is really, really hard. And it requires faith and trust and love, and it can be very painful. And we don't want that. I love this passage in Isaiah when he's talking about, you know, going through the rivers and it's not that God will remove us from the river, but that God is with us in this dangerous time or this moment of fright. And to me, that is that's really comforting, you know, to know that someone's going to be with me and not just someone, but the creator of the universe,
(30:41): Sean, this has been fantastic. And thank you very much for the time. And just the overall discussion, opening my eyes to a lot of different things we talked about. What's the best way for listeners to get ahold of you?
(30:53): Best way is through my, well, me personally would be my blog site, which is Sean askenazi.com. And my email address is on there and it's firstname.lastname@example.org. And then of course our chocolate is asking osi.com and we ship it all over the country and we didn't even talk about chocolate. That's okay. I will do a part two. Yes, yes, no, that's fine. This is, this is good. I'm thankful for this conversation. And I say, one of the things I say a lot is it's not about the chocolate. It's about the chocolate. So in many ways, even though we didn't talk about it, we did because it's all wound up together. It's all bound in the same thing. It's all the same. And so everything that we've been talking about influences the chocolate. So we have talked about it
(31:46): Really. It's an integrated life. Yes. Thank you very much for being on the podcast today, Sean, I look forward to future conversations and continuing the relationship. Thank you. Thank you so much. I want to thank you for listening to my podcast. When at home first, I am so grateful to hear from listeners like you, that this content has been helpful. So now I would love for you to pay it forward. I want to get this message in the hands of more listeners. We need leaders to be winning both at home and at work, especially during this time. So please take a minute to share this episode with somebody you think would find value in it, as well as rate and subscribe as a thank you, please visit my email@example.com to download a free resource that people are finding value in. Thank you very much.
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