Scott Couchenour, Founder and Owner of Serving Strong Enterprises, was interviewed by Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Startup Podcast.
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Scott Couchenour is on a mission to empower leaders in their 40s and 50s to realize the fullest expressions of their most successful selves in the years ahead Coaching on a part-time basis from 2007 onward, Couchenour arrived at a crossroads when the family business he’d been serving as COO for almost 25 years began struggling in the wake of the 2008 market crash. Even after he moved into the role of CEO and spent several years orchestrating a reinvention, he says, the company couldn’t overcome its cash flow problems and ultimately had to close its doors.
“I was a 50-year-old without a career,” he recalls, but notes that after several years’ worth of “self-doubt, anxiety, and a profound identity crisis, I began to emerge with some principles. The reinvention I worked on for our business contained principles universal to the reinvention of a person’s life,” he continues. “That’s where (my) 5D process comes from.”
Explaining that his pivot at age 50 helped him change his perspective and begin looking at life as a series of quadrants, he says, “Given the average life expectancy is around 80, I break that down into four 20-year segments.” The first, from birth to age 20, he says, is the first quarter, meant for learning; the second, from ages 20 to 40, is for building; the third, from 40 to 60, is for reaping, and the fourth, from 60 to 80, is for transforming.
So, he says, “I began to codify reinvention for those in their 40s and 50s in preparation for their 60s and 70s.”
How do business owners in their 40-50s prepare for their 60-70s using the 5D model?
For those in their third quarter to prepare for the fourth, Couchenour advises five steps: download, discern, design, do, and dig. In other words, it’s important to begin by getting out of your head, then make sense of the mess, identify a primary objective and some related actions, execute on those and track your progress, and finally, step back and learn what you can from the experience, keeping an eye on what’s next.
“It’s an iterative cycle, not a linear progression,” he explains. “Each rotation through the steps builds on the cycle before it. We accumulate learning and insight so every cycle is more impactful than all the previous cycles.”
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Why are you on a mission to help those in their 40s and 50s specifically?
Couchenour says that back in 2015, when he was in his own “third quarter,” “I was suddenly back in a ‘building’ phase again. It wasn’t easy to experience as I rapidly approached my 4th quarter, and I felt behind and out of control of my circumstances.” During that period, he recalls burning through a lot of time, money, stress, and sleepless nights trying to figure things out.
“I eventually reached a tipping point and resolved to be the partner I wish I’d had when I lost everything in 2015,” he remembers. “I’ve dedicated my life to being a fourth quarter coach.” Right now, he notes, people in their third quarter are all members of Gen X.
“I love the Baby Boomers, but they have handed us a grave misunderstanding of what it means to grow old,” he says. “They have modeled the concept of retirement, decline, aches and pains, isolation, loneliness, and irrelevance. That burns inside me because it simply doesn’t have to be that way. I want to change the narrative of what it means to grow old. It’s not growing old as much as it is growing UP. I believe today is the first day of the rest of our legacy.”
How does Serving Strong Enterprises make an impact?
Couchenour is owner of Serving Strong Enterprises, a coaching/consulting firm taking a holistic approach to addressing the complexities of being human. “Sometimes my work involves business coaching and consulting because we have (integrated) personal and professional systems that cannot be ignored,” he shares.
Serving Strong Enterprises has a membership program called The Community, in which members can choose the level of involvement that works best for them. At present, it offers six touchpoints: an online curriculum covering the 5D process and more, group coaching sessions, private coaching sessions with a personal coach, a community of peers, and weekly live chat “office hours” with Couchenour.
“I’m designing The Community to be an alternative to groups like Vistage, Convene, or C12,” he notes, “Each of which is a fantastic program but can be quite an investment and out of reach for a specific market segment. I don’t want to journey through my 4th quarter alone, and I’m not the only one in their 3rd quarter who feels this way. So I’m building a space for all of us to engage with one another, learn from one another, and give to one another,” he says.
The Road Ahead
Planning to launch a podcast soon for third and fourth quarter listeners, Couchenour says the programming will focus on exclusive interviews with people leading the charge on everything from physical and spiritual health to relationships, emotions, vocations, and finances. He’s also working on a book outlining his story and describing how it culminated in the 5D process. The book, he says, should be available for purchase by this Fall.
To learn more about the 5D process, register for a 20-minute presentation at www.servingstrong.com/thecommunity, then download a guide to get started. Registration comes with two months of complimentary access (valued at $700) to The Community. To contact Scott Couchenour, connect with him on LinkedIn or email [email protected].