Purpose Ignited with Dr Alise Cortez

Dr Alise Cortez is the Chief Ignition Officer at Gusto, Now! A management consultant who ignites passion and purpose. She’s the author of the book Purpose Ignited and the host of her weekly radio show; Working on Purpose Radio. In this show you can learn about:

  • How Alise found her purpose and how she ignites others
  • Why in finding our true passion, it will help us contribute to the world
  • How conscious capitalism is full of purpose
  • The steps and stages to ignite our passion

Transcript:Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: We’ve recently had International Friendship Day. So, in the show today, we explored the notion around should leaders be friends with their coworkers and teammates. So can you be properly friends with somebody you work with? While some will say yes and others will say no, yet there’s plenty of research to suggest that generally speaking, we highly value workplace friendships and having these friendships positively impacts on the work that we do and our approach to our jobs. A study of thousands of employees by UK based team building company, Wildgoose found that more than half. In fact, it’s 57% of workers said that having a work best friend made their work more enjoyable while 22% argue, it makes them as or more productive.

What’s more, it seems that many workers who don’t have strong relationships in the workplace may be struggling with things like loneliness, since 15% of those who were surveyed don’t have a work best friend, but would ideally like one. All of us appreciate having good friends in our lives says Nic Marks, happiness expert, statistician and CEO of the Friday Pulse. Nick’s also a good friend and was the guest on show 18, hacking happiness. Nic said, it’s good to have people whom care about us and who care for us. Why should work be any different? Especially when we consider how rational the world of work is. Nic explains, we have a thick core relationship within our team, as well as a thinner, more peripheral relationship with other colleagues and customers and suppliers. The quality of these relationships is not only affects our own experience at work, but work is indisputably better when we get along with people, it’s also business critical, but workplace friendships remain a controversial topic for a number of reasons, not least because they’re associated with the formation of cliques and friendships can also be potentially undermining effectiveness of teams.

Some of the worst performing teams, I know are great friends, but they can’t get anything done said Pam Hilton, a collaboration expert and author of Supercharged Teams – 30 Tools of Great Teamwork. Collective intelligence research tells us that teams who avoid constructive conflict in favor of consensus make fewer successful decisions because they don’t challenge each other enough. Hamilton believes that while it’s easy to assume that friendship is the first step towards team ship, it’s really the other way around. We need to come to work to achieve something, whether it’s to launch a new product or to serve our customers and putting friendship before team ship means that we might launch an inferior product because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or to forget to serve our customers because we’re too busy having a good time. So regardless of whether leaders promote or frown upon workplace friendships, they’ll continue to exist.

Humans are hardwired to form connections with others, and we’re likely to form especially strong bonds with those that we have something in common with. Inevitably, we’re likely to find more of those people at work. So, the leadership lesson here is awareness. If we’re aware of friendships that are productive and helping us as a business move forward, we should encourage and promote it. But where we recognize their clique and holding back performance of productivity, we should challenge it. That’s been The Leadership Hacker News. We’re looking forward to hearing from you, interesting stories and any insights that you might have. So please get in touch.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: Our special guest on today’s show is Dr. Alise Cortez. She is the Chief Ignition Officer at Gusto Now. A management consultant who ignites the passion and purpose in her clients. She’s the author of the book, Purpose Ignited and the host of a weekly radio show Working on Purpose. Alise, welcome to the show, my friend.

Alise Cortez: Thank you so much for having me, Steve. It’s so great to be on your show.

Steve Rush: It’s great to have you on our show too. And we’ve had the opportunity to have met a few times over the last year or so. Really looking forward to getting into the whole principle of purpose and passion. But before we do that, maybe just for the folks that are listening for the first time and haven’t met yet, be great to give us a little bit of a backstory as to your early life and passions.

Alise Cortez: Well, I grew up in a small town in Oregon and literally it was a great place to grow up Steve, but honestly, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And in my late teens, I found myself in Portland and then finally found my way into college at about age 24 after bottling around for a bit and made myself a promise when I got into college, Steve, and that was, I needed to learn French and play the piano. So, I did those things going through my first two years of college. And then I found myself with my boyfriend. And when I was 26 years old, he got moved to Madrid, Spain for his company. And I came with him. I was just a college student. I didn’t have a career. And so now here I am, mind you, small town girl from Oregon.

I’ve landed in Madrid, Spain. I can speak French. And I learned some Spanish in the restaurant I worked at when I was waiting tables to get through college so I could speak the Spanish. And so, I’m going to Madrid and I’m like, oh my gosh, this place is amazing. Everybody is kissing, there’s amazing communication. So, I went all over Western Europe on my French and my Spanish for about six months. And then they moved us to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where then learned Portuguese and went all over South America for two years. And so, Steve, I just couldn’t get that out of my system, right.

Steve Rush: Right.

Alise Cortez: Once that had been imprinted for like almost three years, there was no going back. So that’s where the passion for language and travel started.

Steve Rush: And you still have that passion for language and travel now.

Alise Cortez: Absolutely, I do in fact, I still use Spanish. I do Spanish programs and I do some Portuguese programs and yes, I keep traveling, absolutely.

Steve Rush: What do you think it is that creates that Alise in you? Where does that come from?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, good question. So, you know, I remember distinctly when I was growing up in school, my parents had a big restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner place. And I worked there when I was in high school and waited tables. I was the oldest of four siblings and my parents expected, being the oldest that I would take over the restaurant, but what they didn’t know, Steve was that all those years that I was waiting tables in the small little town with 4,800 people. And it was that people from really exotic places like Portland, Oregon would pass through and I would learn from them and hear about these outside world experiences. And I just was drawn to what what’s out there. What could there be?

Steve Rush: You got a really curious mindset as well, haven’t you? Which I suspect is why you’ve ended up doing what you’re doing now. Tell us a little bit about how that epiphany came about?

Alise Cortez: I do have a curious mindset. I’m learning that more and more as I go through life. You know, I have to say, one of the paths to purpose I should say, Steve is paying attention to and learning from what’s ailed us in life. And so, you would think that amazing experiences that I had living in Spain and Brazil, where incredibly phenomenally positive, and they were, but at the same time here I was 26 years old living in Brazil. I had a maid, chauffeur and a gardener. I had the world by the tail, you would think, but there was just one problem. And I problem was that I was miserable in many ways, because what I really wanted to do was to matter.

I wanted to make a difference in the world somehow. And all I was doing was consuming a beautiful life. And what we know about meaning and purposes is, when you’re serving other people, that’s when you’re most fulfilled. So actually, had a meaning crisis back in my mid-twenties. And then later on in my early thirties, when I came back to the states, it manifested into what I would call a sort of an early midlife crisis. And so that my friend is when I found my way into getting a PhD. I didn’t have an affair, buy a sports car, no. My answer to a midlife crisis was to get my PhD. So that defining rod that I like to say was working its magic. And then just literally over time, I just kept paying attention to, trying to literally, you know, feel my way to what that dividing rod was trying to tell me to do.

And that’s when I found my way into the human capital industry, some 20 years ago. I began studying meaning and work and identity for my research and PhD, consultant along, engagement performance, leadership, et cetera. And then I have to say, I found myself just this incredible internal force of, you know, replicate that research, at least make it bigger and make it deeper. And I did that in 2014 and I got published by going to a business conference there. And of course, I was in India. So, I have three weeks in India. And I had that experience, right? The experience people talk about going to India, totally stepped into my soul and really realized this is where I need to be. I need to be doing this meaningful purpose stuff really more on a full-time basis. And lo and behold, Steve, right around in there is when VoiceAmerica called me and said, hey, do you want to host your own radio show? Oh my God, this is all connected, right? So that’s were working with purpose radio was born. And that’s really how it all started for me Steve. It was this ongoing, unfolding, unveiling of like literally my soul emerging from myself, I would say

Steve Rush: The one thing I noticed about you Alise is, I still don’t think you found the end game for you. I know from our conversations that we’ve had together, that, you know, every day is a school day for you and you’re continually learning and continually evolving your thinking and continue looking for new ways to ignite not only other’s purpose, but also finding new elements of purpose for you.

Alise Cortez: Oh my gosh, thank you for seeing that. I agree with you. And it’s so amazing to be seen like that Steve, thank you for that beautiful gift. Yeah, every day is a learning day for me. And I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. I have no idea what I’m doing next in terms of how I use this meaning and purpose work in my life and for my clients, but I love it.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and we’ll come back to mindset, which I think determines whether you see things as really exciting and alluring versus scary and doubtful. We’ll come back to that in a moment because I want to kind of get into the premise of when you started to do your studies, you bumped into the notion of logotherapy, and that really was quite an inspirational guide for you, wasn’t it? In terms of how you evolved and developed your own thinking?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, you know, I really ran into when I started my PhD studies in my early thirties. And of course, you know, here I was doing a PhD in Human Development. So, I was studying Lifespan Human Development Psychology. Of course, I ran into Viktor Frankl work, he’s written like 22 books or something, but logotherapy became really sort of a way of life if you will, for me. And what I was drawn to is that it’s really a therapeutic approach that helps people find meaning in life. And the whole premise is that our primary motivational force in life is to find meaning. And so that just made a lot of sense to me. And of course, what did I do? I went off and studied me needing work and identity, but today, why is that one of my two main anchors? It’s because that local therapy is really an optimistic approach that teaches that there are no negative or traumatic aspects of life that via the stand we take to them, which is also about mindset. They can’t be transmuted into positive achievements. And I find that so empowering.

Steve Rush: Yes, yes.

Alise Cortez: Why wouldn’t I want to stand in that space.

Steve Rush: Yeah, so thinking about its linked then to mindset, so you call it your governing star. So, what do you mean by that?

Alise Cortez: Well, you know, I love that question. Thank you for that. And so, when we think about mindset, it’s really our internal operating system, right. It orients where we put our attention and how we interpret the world. And really frankly, it dictates our success and failure. If we think we can? We can. If we think we can’t? We can’t. It’s just so deciding, right? It’s so definitive. So that’s why I call it your governing star.

Steve Rush: That’s quite neat, isn’t it? And I suspect that’s the reason why when you frame it, as it’s exciting, I’m really excited about what’s coming around the corner. However, perhaps with a different mindset could feel in fear of that?

Alise Cortez: No doubt about that, absolutely right. And thank you for that. That is such a really important point to make for our listeners because how we orient ourselves to the world. In fact, I was just listening to a podcast this morning when I was getting ready. When we say things like, well, I have a terrible memory. Guess what? You’re going to forget things. If you say things like, I remember people’s names like nobody’s business, guess what? You do. It’s just so definitive. So, when you think, what’s this great beautiful life that I’m going to go live today versus, oh, what am I dragging myself through today? You can see the difference in the energy right there.

Steve Rush: And people often say to me, you know, Steve, this is a little bit kind of pink and fluffy, but actually it’s based in science. It’s neuro-plasticity, it’s creating new layers of memory that are either going to help us or hold us back. And I wonder what your experience of that was with perhaps your clients?

Alise Cortez: Oh gosh, no question about it. You know, one of the greatest things speaking, neuroplasticity. One of the greatest things that I get to do my work, and I think we talked about this when you were on my show is, I have never replicated the positive feeling of witnessing someone, literally their molecules change in front of my very eyes as they transform themselves, right.

Steve Rush: Right.

Alise Cortez: I don’t know of a better feeling than that. And the work that you and I get to do allows us to do that. So, we literally are witnessing that neuroplasticity in the works as we watch them grow. So yeah, and teaching them away. And that’s why like therapy so much Steve is because logotherapy teaches them a way to be able to achieve this for themselves every day of their lives. And therefore, I’m empowering them. They don’t need me after we work together. If I do my job right, I’ve empowered them.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and the empowerment creates habits and positive rituals, and eventually it becomes the way we do things, right?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, and then it’s got infinity to it, right. And magnitude to it, and who knows where that goes.

Steve Rush: Yeah, exactly. In your book, one of the things that I read that I really loved, and I want us to explore and share with our listeners is the fact that you encourage people to be moment hunters. So, if I’m listening into this today, how do I become a moment hunter?

Alise Cortez: That’s such a delicious question. And thank you again for such a lovely read of my book. So, you’re the one who read my book. It’s so good to know. So, where I got the whole moment hunter idea Steve, as you know, I’ve been hosting my radio show, Working on Purpose for six years, and generally speaking, the last two or three years of that has really been interviewing subject matter experts and authors and business leaders. And so, I happened to come across a book called Ichigo Ichie and it’s by two authors name, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. And essentially what they are talking about is this Japanese concept Ichigo Ichie, which means something like what we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And so therefore we have to evaluate each moment like a beautiful treasure, and that takes being present and mindful and grateful for the moments and cherishing them as part of our one precious life.

And so, when you realized that you literally can be, at least if you allow yourself. A child skipping through life, really enjoying and savoring the moment, what a difference that is again, then dragging yourself through a day, right? So, if I teach you to become a moment hunter and I I empower you and you learn a lifelong habit of doing that, that is a night and day difference to the way that most people tend to go about living. And that’s where I want to be. I want to be at moment hunter.

Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. It’s one of those things it’s academically very easy to say, but it’s quite difficult to practice to into a habit of doing so. So where would I start with that?

Alise Cortez: Well, it’s first it’s mindset and I will tell you the first thing, this is a great story actually, the very first thing you can do is literally I kid you not just at the end of your day, just write down, maybe in a journal, three things you’re grateful for. And what that starts to do, is it starts having you look for what’s good and right in your life. And the story that I want to tell is one of my clients actually started reading my book and he got to the bit that we’re talking about here, a gratitude and writing it down. He said, I got through that in my day. And I realized, I couldn’t find three things to say that I was grateful for. This is a very successful man, runs an engineering practice. And he said, that’s when I realized I need to fire one of my clients, they are just making me miserable.

Right? And so, he said, as soon as I got present to that reality, and I then realized what I needed to do, I began to see that there were things to be grateful for. And then I could actually enjoy more moments, but it took him getting present to being miserable with this one particular client and then firing them literally. And what a difference in the lift he got. So again, if you start with what you’re grateful for, you’ll start to be able to step into the place where you can experience being a moment hunter, and more of that Ichigo Ichie.

Steve Rush: And in your experience, the more you do that, does that present itself to be more natural in the future?

Alise Cortez: Absolutely, it’s a habit so many things in life, right? It becomes a habit, a way of being, right. I bet you I’ve gone through this, just like any one of us have, if we really think about it. Moments in time where we are more high on life, right? Then other times when we’re a bit more low, but there is a way to cultivate that high. And it centered on mindfulness and centered and that’s why mindset is so important, right.

Steve Rush: Right.

Alise Cortez: And you know that in your work that you do, right? If we’re in charge of our mindset, we don’t let it govern us. We have a much better chance of being able to be an ongoing moment hunter versus someone who’s literally either auditing life or worse yet, walking through life dead.

Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so, and much of your work is focused on igniting purpose in others now, and you call out that relationships are a massive part of that. Just tell us about your experience? And also, maybe we can get into some of the techniques that you call out in your book.

Alise Cortez: Yeah. Yeah, so in my book, I talk about this notion of in terms of wellbeing informed by what Dr. Martin Seligman refers to as the PERMA Model, which of course is an acronym and the R is for relationships. So, what we know about relationships is, we as human beings, we really are, you know, created as a social being, I don’t care how introverted you might be or extrovert you might be. We still really do need meaningful relationships in our life to be mentally well and healthy. And so, what we find is that it’s the lack of meaningful connection with other people that often contributes to mental and physical demise and where we get into depression and isolation, et cetera. So, finding a way to stoke relationships in a way, the ones that are important to you, not everywhere all the time, but the ones that you choose so that they’re healthy and mature and reciprocal is really, really important.

And let’s take it one step further, right? So, when we’re working from the place of purpose, the reason that purpose works so well is that it requires us to be serving other people. So therefore, it got a self-transcendent quality to it. And the moment we step out of being absorbed in our own life and our world, and we focus on serving and helping others, we’re already in a better place. We’re already in a much more healthy place.

Steve Rush: Right.

Alise Cortez: So that’s two reasons why relationships are so important.

Steve Rush: And you’ve got a technique called lifeline that you call out in your work, tell us how you would use it?

Alise Cortez: Yes. So, lifeline refers absolutely to those meaningful connections that you have in your life, whoever they might be. Maybe it’s your best friend, maybe it’s your partner, maybe it’s a child, but the lifeline is really about being, again, mindful and present to that relationship. What are you doing to nurture that relationship? What are you doing to really go looking for and see that other person? And I know that you know this too, because of the work that you do, developing leaders, right, Steve, right. So, to me, what’s a great leader? It’s the same sort of technique that you would use in the lifeline approach. And that is a great leader of goes looking for what’s great and fantastic about the person on their team. And then they look to see how can I lead them to a greater sense of themselves? How can I bring them to see and realize, and go after what I know is even a greater aspect of who they could become? So, to me, a lifeline as you’re practicing that sort of set of behaviors in those close relationships in your life.

Steve Rush: Yeah, the one thing that struck me in reading that as well was we all have choices about our relationships, but we often don’t bring that to our conscience enough and that helps us do that, right?

Alise Cortez: Absolutely, exactly right. And again, that’s why, you know, it’s so important to have silence in our life too. We are the ones in charge here, not the rest of the world. So as fast as the world moves today, right. If we can come back to hold on just a second, I always have one thing under my domain, and that is my mindset.

Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. And it starts there, doesn’t it? It literally starts there.

Alise Cortez: Literally, yes. And ends there. I would say.

Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely so, yeah, I agree with that. Now, true passion. You’ve called out in your radio show and the work that you do and it’s in your book, you call it out as it being a real contributor to the world. Where have you may be seen that play out the most, or maybe some experiences where you’ve really seen that work?

Alise Cortez: This is just where it gets really yummy. How much time did we get to talk about this Steve? That’s so awesome, right. Okay, so I want to distinguish two things. So, passion is absolutely a mechanism to be able to contribute to the world meaningfully. So, what I say about passion, and this is absolutely explicated in the book is, passion is really one of our three sources of meaning through energy. I do this through for my local therapy sort of work. So, what passion really is, it’s the creative value of what we give of ourselves to the world. It’s something only we can uniquely give through our being, right? And so, the more we give of ourselves our passions, the more energy we have, right. And everybody understands the importance of energy, right? So, when we show up and we really channel our passions, what happens there is that can then lead us to our purpose.

Not always, but it can, it’s one path to our purpose. And when we serve from our purpose, of course, now that’s where the real magic happens. And this is where it gets really interesting from my perspective, Steve. So, purpose acts as a unique filter through which each of us sees the world. And then when we look through that lens, we see possibilities, or we do something that no one else we’ve seen or done. And that is the source of innovation impact that we all aspire for. So, you know, that notion of people confuse passionate and purpose. They’re not the same thing, right? Passion is really a way of being in the world. It’s really sort of anchored in meaning and the expression of what it is that you find meaningful of yourself and purpose of course, is your north star, why? Which orients all of your activities and why you’re doing something and the difference that you hope to leave in the world. So that’s how I like to see those two together. It’s profoundly important to be able to go after passion and purpose.

Steve Rush: And they’re not mutually exclusive, are they?

Alise Cortez: No, not at all.

Steve Rush: And people often get them confused. What causes that?

Alise Cortez: That’s a great question, you know, one is, we can’t go through a day to day, I don’t think Steve, without encountering, at least the words, meaning and purpose. People confuse those two words as well. And so, I think the reason people confuse them is because that word, passion, purpose, and even meaning has become so overly utilized and therefore it diminishes its utility. And it just becomes part of the parlance almost like saying things like yeah and huh.

Steve Rush: Yeah, indeed.

Alise Cortez: It delude it.

Steve Rush: Yeah, I can see that. And unconsciously then by just merely saying, I have purpose, doesn’t actually mean that you have purpose. It needs to be backed up by lots of other evidence and actions.

Alise Cortez: Boy, now you’re getting at one of my major pet peeves, Steve. So, when people say things like, you know, if I see another sign that says muffin on purpose, tires on purpose, I’m going to go ballistic, right? So, people say things like, well, you know, I do this on purpose or such is my purpose. Well, just because you declare something which becomes like a goal for you, does not make it purpose. The only thing that makes something purpose is that one, it literally is that which is called from within you and the service through that you’re channeling for, makes a difference to the world and is in service of other people. Very often when people say things like, well, such and such is my purpose, engineering is my business or my purpose or whatever. Developing people, even as my purpose, if you just declaring it as something that you do or a goal, it’s not your purpose, it’s not the same thing at all.

Steve Rush: Totally agree with that, totally.

Alise Cortez: Right.

Steve Rush: So, one of the things that struck me and I’ve never come across this notion before of conscious capitalism, but underpinning that is all of those things around passion and purpose. But I wondered if you could share with the listeners, what your view of conscious capitalism is and how we might want to use them in our roles as leaders?

Alise Cortez: Another yummy topic for me, I actually devoted the last chapter of my book, as you probably know, because you read it, too the idea of conscious capitalism, that’s chapter nine. And I have recently joined the board of Conscious Capitalism here in Dallas as well. To me, it makes so much sense. So let me share, there’s four tenets actually of a conscious capitalism that will help our listeners really understand how it works and why they might want to be involved. So, the first tenets is just higher purpose. And so, this really gets to knowing your company’s why and doing business beyond profit. If you’re just in business to make money, that’s one is going to get empty pretty fast. And two, you’re not going to distinguish yourself in the marketplace among others that have elevated their gaze above just profit.

So hard purposes is the first tenant, the second tenant is stakeholder orientation. And what that is, Steve is that’s really a recognition that a business has an interdependence on the ecosystem in which it operates. And so, it’s important that a business is focused on serving its employees, its customers, its suppliers, investors, the community, and the planet. Those are all part of the ecosystem in which it operates. And too often, what happens is we’re focused on investors at the expense of everything else. And that’s where the train falls off the tracks. So, the third tenet is conscious leadership. And so, this is the notion really that, you know, the human social organization, right? And so, it’s guided by leaders who understand that they need to inspire others to travel along the same path of consciousness and purpose with them. To raise them along the way like I’ve been saying, and then the fourth tenet is conscious culture, right?

So that’s the FOS, the values, the principles, the practical’s that underlie that social fabric of the business and connects the stakeholders to each other, united in their purpose and their processes. And of course, there people, so those are the four tenets. And if you listen to those, I can’t imagine that you go, heck, I don’t want to do that, right.

Steve Rush: Exactly, yeah.

Alise Cortez: What about any of that would make you say that you don’t want to play with that? I don’t understand. So, to me it’s such a natural obvious path that unites the best of what we’ve been doing together as humanity to bring us forward. So, I think for me, it’s a no brainer and it’s important that listeners also know that conscious capitalism is only one of like 20 different organizations that are stewarding a similar mindset like this in business. So, this is becoming much more ubiquitous.

Steve Rush: And its okay, to make money and be a capitalist underpinning all of the service to other people, if it’s purposeful, right?

Alise Cortez: Absolutely, in fact, you know, that’s the thing about it is, what I appreciate about conscious capitalism is it celebrates capitalism as the best system that we found so far in the world. And frankly extends and expands it so that it actually serves even more interest to lift more boats. So yes, absolutely, profit is fantastic.

Steve Rush: There’s almost a mystique around the word capitalism because it has a different connotation in people’s minds, but actually as you’ve described it with those principles, it becomes a really honorable and emotive thing to be thinking about as a leader, right.

Alise Cortez: Oh, I liked the way you said that, Steve. Yeah, so to me what that is, is why would you get out of bed in the morning and go, you know, I think I just kind of want to fly under the radar and just do the minimum that it takes to get by. Why would you do that? When you could lift your gaze just a little and say, hmm, who could I help today? Who else could I help today? What else could I do to make the world slightly better today?

Steve Rush: Yeah, and suppose if there were people listening in today who maybe don’t naturally have that passion or still haven’t yet found their purpose, maybe having a mindset that says, you know, it’s too late for me to change. What would you say to ignite that passion today?

Alise Cortez: Oh, well you’re not going to like the first thing that I would probably say to them, let me say it anyway. So, if somebody said to me, you know what, it’s too late for me to change. I can’t find my passion. What I would say to them Steve is, get your shovel. Let’s go ahead, you and I both start digging your grave because you’re practicing death right now. And that’s what I would say. So, it’s never too late to work on passion. I don’t care if you’re in your nineties or a hundred, you know, I will tell you, Steve definitively, both of my parents died 28 days apart in January of 2019 and I’m firmly and all the more affirm in my logotherapy work. My mother was 73 years old. Yes, she had suffered a long time from COPD and she was tired of the suffering. She was ready to leave, but I am absolutely 185% convinced that if she had done something, than sit and watch the TV all day, she got out and even volunteer one hour, a week of her beautiful mind and given to the community. Gave her humor, which is part of her passion. She would still be with us today. That’s how important passion and meaning are today. They actually literally can save your life, do save your life.

Steve Rush: Yeah, I agree. And it, again comes back down to mindset because if you think you can’t, when you think you can, you probably, right,

Alise Cortez: You are right, yeah.

Steve Rush: So, the next part of the show we get to do is spin around a little and I’m getting now tap into your awesome leadership brain. And the first thing I’m going to do is try and distill your experiences and ideas into your top three. So, if you had to do that, what would they be?

Alise Cortez: My top three are, just coming off the last question that you asked. The first and foremost, find and plug into your passion. And the reason why is, just I’ve shared, when you live and work from it, you’re irresistible, you’re magnetic. People want to follow people on fire in their own life, right? So that’s the first thing. Find and plug in your passion. The second thing which I’ve already alluded to is become an inspirational leader. And the way you do that is first you’re on fire for your own life. And then you go looking for what’s amazing and different about each team member that you have and you help them lead them into their greater self. That’s how you become an inspirational leader. And then third go looking for and articulate to each of your team members, how their work threads up into the company’s overall purpose. So, it’s really important. What this does is it helps that individual person recognize just how important the work that they’re doing is, and therefore it gives them meaning. And so, when we feel like we’re connected to something bigger than ourselves, it’s incredibly motivating. So go help them understand how the work they’re doing, connects to the company’s larger whole and purpose.

Steve Rush: I love that, and also connecting those dots will create that higher purpose, which will lead to yes conscious.

Alise Cortez: Yes, if we do it right, exactly.

Steve Rush: So, the next part of the show, we call it Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something in your life or work hasn’t worked out. Could have been catastrophic or you screwed up. But as a result of the experience, you’ve learned from it and is now a positive in your life or work. So, what would your Hack to Attack be Alise?

Alise Cortez: Well, I’m not recommending this for everyone or anyone for that matter, but this really worked well for me. And it’s this little called divorce.

Steve Rush: Yeah, little thing, right.

Alise Cortez: It was not my idea to get a divorce. I’d been together with my ex-husband for 18 years, but it was a very good idea as it turns out and what it did was it forced me out of a certain apathy that I had fallen into in life. And it forced me to catalyze into a higher being and to grow and to learn from the pain and, you know, starting off in a different place in life. And I needed that. In fact, I will tell you that in my view, we all need this agitation catalyst in our life to grow and change. And I’m not saying it needs to be divorced, but usually it needs to be something pretty hard.

Steve Rush: A disruptor.

Alise Cortez: A disruptor, yes. Thank you.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Alise Cortez: And so that was a huge disruptor for me. And what it did Steve, was it gave me this fantastic clearing that I could pursue, whatever I saw in front of my path that I wanted for myself. There were no more excuses for myself. And that was one of the best Hack to Attacks for me in my life to date so far.

Steve Rush: Yeah, do you think you would have found your purpose had that not happened?

Alise Cortez: I already had found my purpose. Here’s the amazing thing. I was not living not living Steve and you know what? I hated myself for it. I hated myself for it.

Steve Rush: Interesting, Isn’t it? Yeah, it was always there, but you were probably suppressing a lot of it?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, the worst thing is, is that when you’re aware of it and you’re not doing something about it, I will tell you that it’s hell on earth. It really is.

Steve Rush: I can see that. The last part of the show, we give you the opportunity to go back and meet Alise and do some time travel and you get to bump into her at 21. And give her some of your words of wisdom. What would your advice to her be?

Alise Cortez: Oh gosh, you know, I would tell her to listen to the wisdom emanating from within. So, Steve, when I was about 21 years old, I did know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was one of those people that felt like to your point, I’d always been very curious. I’d done a lot of reading. I found all of this self-help literature in Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. And you know, I was reading all those kinds of books and I came running to my mother one day and I said, mom, I know exactly what I want to do when I grow up. And I said, I want to lead success seminars. And she burst out laughing. She said, you can’t do that. You are not successful. And then of course the little dream in me shriveled up and died.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Alise Cortez: Well, what am I doing today essentially is, I’m helping people to really discover that which ignites them and helping them steward their field of human growth and transformation. And I didn’t know how to call it anything else back then, except for success, which she was right. I wasn’t successful back then. But what I would tell my 21-year-old self is listen to that just because you didn’t quite get the words, right. There is a wisdom in there that when you listen to that, which is emanating from within you, it’s trying to tell you something. Now the divining rod ultimately came around and took me there, but it took me 20 some years later to get back on that track.

Steve Rush: Yeah, indeed. Good words of wisdom to have had at the time, maybe.

Alise Cortez: Exactly.

Steve Rush: And of course, everything happens for a reason, doesn’t it? So, the other kind of, part of your evaluation that you take us on through your book is that it’s kind of, everything is a learn. Everything is a lesson. If you choose to have that thought process around it, right?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, absolutely, I love that. Everything is a lesson, there’s so much to learn and enjoy and appreciate in this wonderful thing called life.

Steve Rush: So, what’s next for Alise, what are you working on?

Alise Cortez: Yeah, gosh, what am I not working on? So, I’ve got my next a women’s anthology book is coming out as being published next month, where I found 25 women from across the world to tell their stories, it’s coming out in a book called Passionately Striving and Why. So that’s one thing, I’m also working on the men’s anthology as well. Looking for stories of men who are working from purpose from around the world, would love to hear from someone if they are. And then the other thing that I’m working on, that’s really got my attention. You know, when we were going through the pandemic, I was trying to figure out how can I help? What can I do, right? How can I help more people, especially get out of any kind of a mental or wellbeing, demise or malaise? And I discovered that I could actually take the first part of my book which is really about how to develop passion and purpose within yourself and create that as a wellbeing, subscription, mini model for employees inside companies. So, they get literally a wellbeing, drip of content, of exercises and listening to something for a podcast every week. So, what I’m doing now is bringing that into companies as a subscription model. So that’s what it’s really got my gaze and my focus right now.

Steve Rush: Excellent stuff. Good luck with that. Both projects or good luck with all three projects.

Alise Cortez: Thank you. Yes, I told you, I’m having more fun than I’m supposed to have, so don’t tell anybody.

Steve Rush: I know, it’s too late now. It’s all out there.

Alise Cortez: The cat’s out of the bag, is it okay?

Steve Rush: Exactly, yeah. So, if folks wanted to find out a little bit more about your work, where’s the best place for us to send them?

Alise Cortez: Easy to go to my website, alisecortez.com, that’s the easiest place to go.

Steve Rush: And there’s a bunch of resources on there. There’s links to your other social media that you’re active on as well. And of course, you can get hold of a copy of Purpose Ignited, can’t they?

Alise Cortez: Absolutely, and please do.

Steve Rush: So, I always love chatting to you. There’s never a time where we’ve spoken, where I haven’t felt juiced up as a result of it. And that’s no exception today. So, I just want to say thank you for unlocking purpose in our lives.

Alise Cortez: oh, thank you so much for having me Steve, it’s been a delight.

Steve Rush: Love chatting to you.

Alise Cortez: Likewise. 

Steve Rush: Thanks, Alise.

Alise Cortez: Likewise, thank you.


Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

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