1584 – Age Brings Resilience with Wake Up, Shake Up, Thrive’s Ellen Kocher and Dominique Ben Dhaou

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Founders of Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive!, Ellen Kocher & Dominique Ben Dhaou.

Wake Up Shake Up Thrive is a company and book that aims to challenge the misconception that starting a business after 50 is not exciting. Co-founders and co-CEOs, Ellen Kocher and Dominique Ben Dhao argue that people over 50 are five times more successful in entrepreneurship than younger startups due to their experience, financial stability, and resilience.

Their book covers the five dimensions of well-being and guides how to thrive in all of them. They emphasize the importance of aligning with one's purpose and values when starting a business, which becomes easier after 50.

The company's website offers free resources, including interviews with successful mothers and two free book chapters. Wake Up Shake Up Thrive provides valuable insights and practical tools for aligning with your purpose, utilizing experience and networks, and prioritizing sustainability.


About Dominique Ben Dhaou:

She is a Swiss National who has been working in Human Resources leadership roles in international organizations for over 30 years. She has experience in 12 different industries across continents. As the Founder and Managing Director of PointNorth International, she helps professionals and executives reinvent a career that truly fits their experience, values, skills, and purpose.

In 2016 and 2017 Dominique was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional in Human Resources award by the International Association of Top Professionals.

She has her CEB Black Belt in Internal Communications and is an accredited Board of Directors Advisory member. Dominique holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and resides with her family in Geneva Switzerland.


About Ellen Kocher:

She is an Economist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant. Master’s degree in health and Wellness Coaching, ICF PCC, NBHWC, Health and Mindful Eating Coach, Holding multiple global leadership roles in the Workplace Wellness Field. Educated in the USA, Ellen made some major lifestyles change and has dedicated the past 20+ years to walking her talk through workplace well-being, promoting a holistic approach to eating, physical activity, health, resilience, and self-care.

Through her company, Whealthness, Ellen has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes empowering them to go from knowing what to do to actually doing it! Ellen resides in Geneva Switzerland with her husband and 3 children.


About Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive!:

It is a powerful resource for the 50+ demographic, helping them understand and navigate the modern paradigm of aging. It seeks to inspire a shift in mindset to embrace future possibilities and provides practical tools to thrive in the present.

The initiative acknowledges the substantial presence of this age group, nearly a fifth of the EU workforce, and aims to address both individual and organizational challenges associated with aging.

The platform empowers older adults and organizations to capitalize on their rich experience while overcoming potential obstacles through innovative strategies and resources.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! website at

Check out Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! on Linkedin at

Check out Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! on Facebook at

Check out Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! on Instagram at

Check out Dominique Ben Dhaou on LinkedIn at

Check out Dominique Ben Dhaou on Twitter at

Check out Ellen Kocher on LinkedIn at

Check out Ellen Kocher on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, there thoughtful listener, would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than 10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget, the Thoughtful Entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you

Josh (00:00:58) - With us right now. Ellen Kocher and Dominique, Ben Dhaou. It is so wonderful to have you ladies. You are the co-founders and CEOs, I guess co-CEOs of Wake Up, shake Up, thrive You. That's your website as well. Wake up, shake up I am so grateful you are here and as I was kind of sharing with you just a little bit before we got going. This is actually a topic that I have actually, I have been so fascinated with. Thinking about where I am. I recently turned 51, not anywhere too close to retirement, but I think, in my brain, I've kind of been going through this deconstruction reconstruction when I think about aging and when I think about kind of this second stage of life, and, and here we go. I have the experts on this, and so it's so delightful to have you. We're

Ellen & Dominique (00:01:47) - So excited. We're so excited. Josh. Thanks for hosting us.

Josh (00:01:51) - Yes, of course. Let me, you know, I kind of teed you up here, but what is Wake up, shake up, thrive.

Ellen & Dominique (00:01:57) - That's bad. That's a good one. So it is basically waking up the conversation on the aging demographic, recognizing, and Josh, you just said it. I love what you said. You said the second half of life 50 is exactly midlife today. Mm-hmm. , which was not the way for our parents. And then it's shaking up the mindsets so that not only employers, individuals, entrepreneurs, everyone realizes what's going on and we change any biases we might have around aging so that everyone can thrive.

Josh (00:02:35) - Yeah. What is there to look, talk, Terry, talk about for a moment, why the, your years of 50 plus you know, let's say you're in your thirties and forties and maybe historically you've been not real excited about that for whatever reason. Would you mind maybe just talking for a moment about Oh, no, no. Listen, when you get to that, these are the, and I don't wanna be trite about this by saying that they're the best years of your life, but man, there are a lot of great aspects to finally arriving at this stage of life. Could, would you mind just kind of giving a little mini Ted talk on this ?

Ellen & Dominique (00:03:15) - Sure. We have the question very often. And to be honest, if we had the chance to go back to when we were in our twenties or thirties? Never. Never. Yeah. It feels so good now because at the time when we were in our twenties and thirties or forties, we were looking at the 50 plus with so many different views on what they were going through. And today, thanks to a lot of reasons and the economy is one of them, there's so much that we can contribute to when we are 50 plus. And we both created our business of when we were over the age of 50. And it feels much better to do that when we have 20, 30 years of experience in the background. We both come from a business background and a corporate background. And it definitely has helped us a lot to thrive today because we bring along that wealth of experience, failures, successes, networks, networks, experience in general, but also financial savings and the resilience level, which in entrepreneurship, as you know, is a key factor factor to not only start a business, but in a sustainable way.

Ellen & Dominique (00:04:32) - Mm-hmm. So what we notice is that people that are over 50 have gone through the covid years and through life with much more resilience than the younger generation. Mm-hmm. And we know what hard work means. We know what it takes to go through tough times through life experiences. So it definitely has helped us a lot to create our business when we were over 50. And the stats, well, you can mention the stats. Yeah, I could mention the stats actually. In entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs over 50 are five times more successful than younger startups. And it makes

Josh (00:05:14) - Oh my gosh.

Ellen & Dominique (00:05:15) - And that is global. That is global. The reason is they've made the, what Dome said, they've made the mistakes. They've got the network, they're often financially sound, they know the people, they know their stuff, and they've got that resilience five times more successful.

Josh (00:05:33) - Yeah. I believe that. I think about, you know, the mistakes that I made in entrepreneurship in my twenties and thirties and I think about, boy, I sure would not make those kinds of mistakes today because we've gained the wisdom. Plus, I think you pointed this out too. Typically, you know, folks, again, in their fifties and so forth, they're gonna have more access to more resources. So yeah, not only do you have more financial resources, you've got more wisdom. You also likely have a much broader network or maybe a higher level network, which the people can make all the difference in the world as to are you going to be able to be successful? So to, I'm thinking of our friend right now that might be they might be doing a little bit of part-time, business on the side. You know, they're, maybe they have a great position and eventually they see themselves making an exit from that job. And maybe they wanna get into consultancy. Something like that. YOu got a lot going for you today. Wouldn't I would imagine. You agree, ?

Ellen & Dominique (00:06:39) - Totally agree. And we have quite a number of people who come to us and say, well, can you share with us or with me your experience on how it feels to start your business after the age of 50? And what we notice is that the why they do it at any age is important, but when you have 20, 30 years experience in the background, your why is much more easily to to be specific and to spell it out. And it's not about money. It's not about making loads of money. It's about impact. It's about sharing legacy. Legacy. Mm-hmm. Experience and values. That values it comes down to values. And what Doic says is, right, as of after 50, when you're determining the why of what you do, you are aligning with your purpose much more. So because you get this feeling, Josh, and I can feel it in you already, that nudge, something's nudging, you wanna align. You wanna make sure that what you're doing actually matters. 21, 22. We just wanna do it. We just wanna do it. We wanna make money and build and questions are different.

Josh (00:07:50) - Yeah. That's absolutely correct. You know, it's really interesting, and as I was sharing, I've really, this has been an area where I've been deconstructing and reconstructing. Here in Florida, we have what are known as, you know, kind of these 55 plus communities. And you know, I said, you know, I just turned 51. I'm like, well, that is not very far away. And initially I was just kind of, you know, I was thinking about that with dread. And then I started really, I started watching a lot of YouTubers. I started listening to, you know, just really learning a lot about, you know, kind of this lifestyle that, that you can create for yourself if you don't wanna work 80 hours a week. I don't know many, you know, 50, 60 plus people that do, I want to enjoy every day.

Josh (00:08:42) - I don't always have to live for, I'll be happy. And this is what I saw myself doing this a lot in my twenties and thirties. Right. I'll be happy in the future. I'm gonna work my tail off right now so that I can have good stuff later. And I think that's fine. Maybe appropriate age appropriate, but now it's like, no, no, no, no. I'm okay. Like, I don't need to be a gazillionaire. Right? I love what I do. I lo you know, and, and I want to have a great work b life balance today. So that's kind of my journey. And I don't know if you've noticed that or if that's common, what I've just shared.

Ellen & Dominique (00:09:17) - Very common. In fact, in our book, we actually say that as of 50, the present moment becomes more important. And this alignment in multiple dimensions. In our book, we look at five dimensions, physical health, physical wellbeing, it changes. Yeah. Emotional wellbeing, spiritual wellbeing, which is that personal alignment, financial wellbeing, you just mentioned it. And interestingly enough, financial wealth does not procure more happiness. Mm-hmm. in with age. It does not what does our connections and people mm-hmm. . And the last dimension is the intellectual dimension, which is brain health and neuroplasticity, which we know today, only phase away when you're die, not when you're alive and old, but when you actually die. And you know what, when you're 20, in your twenties and thirties, you look at life like, you take it for granted that it is, you've got 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, five 50 years ahead of you.

Ellen & Dominique (00:10:21) - But when you're 50 and you have friends who retired and, and fell sick right after retirement, or don't reach retirement age, you look at time and age in a much different way. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. . And that's when living the present moment does make sense because you never know how long it, it will last. And you want to enjoy it now, and not during the weekend and not during the vacation. And not during retirement, but now. And you wanna know and you want to do something that you really enjoy and have the impact now and not later, because later it might be too late. So the notion of time does have a different meaning, meaning mm-hmm. when you're 50 plus.

Josh (00:11:10) - And Dominique, oh, I'm sorry, please

Ellen & Dominique (00:11:11) - To interrupt. If I may say when you're 50, you may have 30 years in, in front of you, not only to be alive, but to be thriving, fall in love, create a business, make good fortune, explore the world. And we have number of examples when people are 70, 80 or even more, and they're still looking at creating businesses. Mm-hmm. making millions doing m and as and talking to investors. It's not the 80 years old that used to be, you know, sitting on the sofa and watching tv. Oh no. That's not what it is any longer.

Josh (00:11:51) - And Dominique, I know your background is in human resources leadership. Let's say that there's someone listening and they might be in their thirties or you know, just turned you know, into their forties, but yet, you know, they look at their teams and they're like we have a lot of great folks. They have bring a wealth of experience. We're so grateful for their wisdom and experience, but what can we do, to create a better work environment for our talent that might be in that 50 plus category? Again, I don't think we want to create an environment where we exclude that. Right. And so, when I think about kind of this stereotypical, alright, we're gonna create this Silicon startup vibe, and it's gonna be all about youth and working everybody 80, 90 hours a week. I mean, that is a culture, but I think that you might be missing out on some valuable elements of a workplace culture that, you know, it is kind of this, we embrace, hopefully you embrace diversity and diversity. Yes, absolutely. Also include, you know, folks that have more, you know, wisdom, they just have more career experience and that experience is crazy valuable. But from a human resources perspective, could you talk about this for a moment?

Ellen & Dominique (00:13:15) - Sure. And there's so much to be done still. We see, we've been to conferences and we are going to conferences very often, either as speakers or participants. And the good news is that things are changing. There's still a lot to be done, but things are changing. But there's different things. It's to include the older generation in the learning and development activities, either as trainers, facilitators, mentors, but also for them to learn new stuff. You know, with AI coming around, we can't just assume that the 50 plus generation will be excluded and cruising until they retire. They need to learn and update the skills as anyone in the organization. So it's to include them in giving them possibilities to learn and update their skills. That's one thing. Reverse mentoring. Mentoring are great opportunities to share knowledge and value the experience of the older generation to help the Multigeneration team work together.

Ellen & Dominique (00:14:20) - It's not because you have multi-generation teams that they get along and understand each other. There's loads of beliefs, assumptions, bias about the young generation, about the older generation. So as an HR person, it's our role to make sure that they understand each other, that they can work efficiently together. And we do a lot of work on bias. We do a lot of that as well, because that can go against collaboration and innovation and creativity and the performance of teams. So there's a number of things that go through learning activities, mentoring, working on bias, making sure that the five generation teams and workplace actually are thriving and not fighting against each other. Cuz that's not adding value, it's destroying value in the organizations.

Josh (00:15:12) - I wanted, I wanted to ask you, I wanted to ask you this. I'm so grateful that you're here. Sometimes I think, culturally and social media and stuff, it can be very easy to put people into boxes and just say that is just a boomer mindset, versus a millennial mindset when in fact that some of those aspects and good and negative per potentially right. Are not so much about the era in which they were raised, but it's more of a factor of guess what Millennials, you're gonna feel, oh, you're gonna share a lot of those commonalities when you get, so it's not just so, you don't wanna just blame, oh gosh, yeah. Because you were born in the fifties or sixties, you know, therefore x Right. It' more of a No, no, no, no. It's, that is a natural age appropriate, you know, maybe mindset. And I'm not thinking necessarily about

Ellen & Dominique (00:16:14) - Shake up Josh have things. Exactly. This is exactly the shake up. And as you were speaking about your communities in Florida, the 55 plus, we are not looking at that anywhere. Two things I would come up with, with what you had said. We are looking at what we work essentially in the workplace. Cause everybody works. And we are looking at a multicultural, multidimensional diverse and in inclusive organization today. And yet today only 8% of companies include age in their d e I programs. So that's a very interesting thing to think about as we go forward. Age is not, is just a number. We just did a year with a major multinational company. We ran a series of workshops. Age is just a number. And I wanna come back to your thought when you talked about that potential Silicon Valley startup. Mm. Millennials will not do it.

Ellen & Dominique (00:17:11) - They are as smart as their boomers that are the 50 plus nudge. Yeah. It's happening much early. And we're very happy to see that they are not willing, we saw it during covid, we saw it with the great resignation, and they are not willing to work those 80 hour weeks. No. They want that life balance from the beginning. And they want, and they're right. They want a planetary balance. We talk about that in our book. They want a life balance. They want and age. They, they don't consider it an issue. So this is the wake up call and this is the shakeup that we're doing. And I think everybody needs to be careful not to put people in boxes.

Josh (00:17:51) - Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Categories.

Ellen & Dominique (00:17:53) - That's not helpful. And we consider ourself as millennials, as the millennials in the way we look at life. And sometimes you have the bias or the self-belief that older people are not great with change and transformation. They're not great with digital. They're not gonna be leading any change initiatives or transformation initiatives. And that's not just right. We see number of older generation helping the younger generation with AI and digital as we see younger people helping the older generation with digital. So it's not a question of age, it's a question of education, personality, bias, beliefs experiences that do create those differences. But generations are just an excuse in our way to say, well, because of your age, this is the way you should behave and this is the way you be and because of your age, this is, you should retire. That conversation as well.

Josh (00:18:59) - Yes. Yes. Agreed. Agreed. I, we just have a couple minutes left. I just purchased your book and it's called Wake Up, shake Up, thrive. It's, I just bought the Kindle version on Amazon right now that you can also get the paper back. Tell us about this book.

Ellen & Dominique (00:19:16) - Well, the book we wanted, we are very pragmatic people. So what you'll find in the book is not only data, stats, explanation, information, but you'll find also what we call the Thrive guide so that people who read and go through the book, gets instantaneous tips, tools, exercise that they can implement tomorrow. So they can already start in their journey and they don't have to go through lots of workshops and things like that, which we would love to do. However, it really allows them to take that one step forward mm-hmm. and look at the Thrive cost. And it does explore the five dimensions of wellbeing we mentioned earlier. And since we are in Switzerland, we bring in a Swiss touch because Switzerland is the country in the world that actually, uh, lives the longest is the happiest. And now that goes up and down between a few countries. But that's, and Josh, we eat more chocolate than any other nation .

Josh (00:20:16) - So people correlation there

Ellen & Dominique (00:20:18) - Interesting correlation there. Ah, that's right. That's right. A very clear one. And, and we have also the thumb, the green thumb, green thumb, in the book because we do take sustainability very, very seriously. And we do want to leave a planet's after we gone. Yeah. It's not only about human sustainability, it's about sustaining our planet. So that's also a red thread that goes through the book,

Josh (00:20:42) - The website, wake up, shake up When our friend who's listening to our conversation goes there, what should they click on? What should they do?

Ellen & Dominique (00:20:52) - You know, I would say that they should click on the resource hub. Because they're gonna find lots of free resources. This month we have interviewed four phenomenally successful mothers to celebrate Mother's Day. The interviews are amazing. And then beyond that, they can also download two chapters of our book for free from the Resource Hub.

Josh (00:21:13) - I love it. Again, wake up, shake up, thrive. My new good friends, Ellen Kocher and Dominique Ben Dhaou. It's been a joy having you. Thank you so much for this conversation.

Ellen & Dominique (00:21:24) - Thank you, Josh. Thank you Josh.

Josh (00:21:33) - Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi. I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe. So that tomorrow morning, that's right, seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening, and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Movement.

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