The Great Revitalization

“I asked an audience what they are passionate about just before the pandemic. Then as well as now, they admitted running the hamster wheel so fast that they have lost complete touch as to who they are, what matters to them, and what they want for themselves in the world. When we can create workplaces where people can feel like I’m doing work that enlivens me. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m reaching. I can feel myself growing toward my potential, that the playground of life where people really come alive and realize their potential while their organisation does business that betters the world” says Alise Cortez

The first part of the book “The Great Revitalization” touches on the world you find yourself in as a leader. The second part lists 21 best practices to create a workplace that is anchored by the activation of meaning and purpose. Sources of fuel include passion, inspiration and the attitudinal stance that we take whenever life throws it at whatever it’s going through at us and which shapes our mindset.

We learn how to activate and cultivate and presence these three sources of meaning whenever we can. An organisation is better able to articulate why it exists, what it stands for, and why anyone cares whether it exists or not. This points towards Gusto Now


G is for gumption, U is for urgency, S is for sustainability, T is for therapy specifically meaning therapy and O is for ownership around purpose.


N is for nurturing practices through IQ sort of things.

O is opening the heart, and that’s through EQ practices.

W is waking the soul through SQ practices.

 Opening the heart uses  EQ kinds of practices to  create leadership that’s caring,  and that demonstrates concern for people and that  treats them as precious .  People want to know that they matter.

Organisations are increasingly doing this better by developing their  leaders and managers with emotional intelligence.  The capacity to be able to listen more deeply , intently,  and meaningfully,  recognises people for their contribution. 

The last chapter “Wake the Soul” , focuses on spiritual quotient, spiritual intelligence, which is increasingly being discussed inside organizations.

The eco awakening and eco connectivity brings into focus conscious capitalism and  truly recognises the extent to which an organisation exists  in the world.

“What ails you in life that you have worked at to try to overcome? In the overcoming, what are you learning  that you can teach others?   That can be your path to purpose.

We want in organizations is to help people find more ways to do what they’re passionate about within that organization. Work should not be a bad four letter award like it is today!” concludes Alise.

Dr. Alise Cortez has developed her expertise within the human capital and organizational excellence industry over the last 25 years.  She is focused on helping companies, leaders, and individuals across the globe to live with gusto and make the most of their one precious life. Her specific passion is enabling organizations to lead from purpose and create cultures that inspire impassioned performance, meaningful engagement and fulfilment.


00:00:00 Paula: Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your host Tesse Akpeki, and co-host me Paula Okonneh, where we share with you top leadership and management strategies. We’ve discovered that this is a journey of discovery. Believe it or not, we’ve discovered it’s a journey of discovery. And we are also learning that leadership can be personal as well as professional. And so we hope that you, our listeners, will walk with us in this adventure. We have today a fascinating guest, Dr. Alise Cortez, and I’ll tell you a bit about her. Having developed her expertise within the human capital and organizational excellence industry over the last 25 years, she is focused on helping companies, leaders, and individuals across the globe to live with gusto and make the most of their one precious life. Today, Dr. Cortez is focused on enabling organizations to lead from purpose and to create cultures that inspire impassioned performance, meaningful engagement and fulfillment, while encouraging a devoted stay within the organization for individuals. Dr. Cortez facilitates an online global community and various retreats to enable people hungry for a more meaningful and purposeful life to create it for themselves. Our theme today is the great revitalization, how activating meaning and purpose can radically enliven your business. And with that, I want to invite the one and only Dr. Alise Cortez. Thank you for saying yes,
00:02:00 Dr Alise: Paula. Thank you for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.
00:02:04 Tesse: Hi Alise, I’m delighted. Paula, and I are delighted that you said yes as well to coming. And for many years I’ve followed your work, which I really love. I came across a review of your book, “The Great Revitalization”, and it says it’s a new frontier and thriving into today’s business would require conscious, inspirational leadership and understanding of the new world we find ourselves. It talks of your book as being anchored in meaning and purpose and highlights the fact that it sets its strategies and applications that can enable any reader to create an experience in their own organizations. Where people give their best, feel fulfilled in their work and relationships and where people can work towards realizing their potential while persevering along the way. This is excellent. And I would love if you could share with our listeners about this wonderful work you are doing called “The Great Revitalization” and how activating meaning and purpose can radically enliven their business.
00:03:18 Dr Alise: Let me first start by saying that the book is in existence because in part like you, I am a radio show host. And so I host working on purpose radio, which is really a thought leadership platform that advances that conversation on creating those kind of workplaces where people actually want to come, give their best and stay. And so along the way, I met a lot of amazing authors and whose work I devoured and learned from, and I just kept learning and growing. And meanwhile, I’m doing my management consultancy practice where I’m helping leaders grow as leaders, helping them to develop and enrich their cultures. And so the book is really a wonderful combination of showcasing the work that I do to help develop leadership and cultures as well as all the things that I’ve learned along the way from these subject matter experts that have helped inform my path and journey and whose work and words I draw on to support my own. So that’s really what the book is about. And so it’s one part, let me explain for you the world you find yourself in as a leader. And the second part, 21 best practices that I recommend to create a workplace that is anchored by the activation of meaning and purpose.
00:04:24 Tesse: Well, that’s extremely helpful and we’ll kind of come back around to those two different parts. Because I think the layout of these part one and two are excellent. And before I do that, I’m going to hand over to Paula, cause I’m looking at her on our screen and she’s looking very thoughtful. Paula, what’s happening with you?
00:04:44 Paula: I’m so impressed by Dr. Alise. I wanted you to share some key steps that people can take to find meaning and to find purpose. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
00:04:58 Dr Alise: First we have to break down the notion of meaning, and let me back up and say, so my PhD is in human development. And then I have a degree in Logo Therapy. So Logo Therapy is an existential philosophy and psychology. And it really teaches its central tenants is that humankind central concern is finding meaning, and that meaning is our chief source of motivation. So if you start from that, that really helps you understand why activating meaning is so critical inside organizations. If we then drill it down further, which is something I did in my first book, “Purpose Ignited” that there are, according to local therapy, three sources of meaning that we have in our. So, and they’re all registered. We register them along our value system, so that’s what activates it for us. So what you find meaningful Tesse will be different from what I find meaningful and what Paula finds meaningful. So the first source of meaning is the creative contributions that we give of ourself to the world. That is something that we offer that is important to us. Again, this is what is important to us that we offer to the world. I translate that into today’s parlance, and I call that passion. So that’s our first source of meaning. The second source of meaning is the experiences and encounters that we take from the world. So those things that happen to us or that we get from the world, and I call that inspiration. And then the third source of meaning is the attitudinal stance that we take whenever life throws it at whatever it’s going through at us. So it’s the response from the stimulus to the response. And I call that your mindset. So those are our three sources of meaning. And so the opportunity is insider organizations and individually is to learn how to activate and cultivate and constantly presence those three sources of meaning whenever we can. Because the more we do that, the more energized we are, the more turned on we are, the more capacity energy we have to fulfill what we’re out to accomplish. And that’s why activating meaning inside organizations through a culture and the way they work and communicate is so effective. So that’s the meaning part, right? Then if we layer in the purpose part, purpose is really this notion of when it comes to an organization really articulating why does this organization exist? And why should anyone care? This is not about making boatloads or trainloads of money, which is fantastic and necessary and important. And beyond that, what do you stand for and why are you here? So once an organization can articulate for itself and its people, why they exist and everybody else can understand that. Now the beauty and the opportunity in that is for people to recognize how their own individual purpose threads through that and is enlarged by your connection to and work and your employment through that organization. And that’s the beautiful amplifying power of purpose. So you know, if somebody, for example, really believes in, feels like they’re here on the planet to empower people to become their best. If they’re working for an organization that is all about punishment, they’re never going to feel aligned. It’s a collision of values and purpose. So whenever we can activate through leadership and culture, meaning and purpose, you can just feel the vibration of the organization just rising. I see Tesse just like, yeah, I totally get that.
00:08:10 Tesse: I am so excited. Paula knows me, this is my passion, what you’ve just said, and also my kind of ecosystem for me. And I’m sure a lot of our listeners will connect with what you’re think it would resonate. I love the fact, Alise, that you are part one, you’ve talked about it, about understanding the ecosystem. And we know since the pandemic, post pandemic, and we’re still in different variations of pandemic mental health, et cetera. This is so, so important. And the second bit, which is about the company going to another level, because it’s finding its own version of what the great revitalization really means. So I’m kind of like interested in hearing your thoughts on breaking it down so people have understood it, they’ve connected with it. What kind of support or what kind of framework or strategies can they adapt and adopt in order for it to be a journey that they don’t give up on? Because sustainability is key for this kind of being, this kind of thinking.
00:09:09 Dr Alise: Such a thoughtful question, Tesse. So let me first back up and say that the way that they organized the book is around the acronym “Gusto Now”. So why would that be? You heard my introduction, right? Starting to make a little bit of sense now. But so the first part of the book is really anchored in the Gusto acronym, and that’s, you know, G is for gumption, U is for urgency, S is for sustainability, T is for therapy specifically meaning therapy and O is for ownership around purpose. So that’s really how we anchor the concepts in the first part of the book to situate what’s so in the world of work and business today. So on those practices the second part of the book is organized around the acronym “NOW” N O W. So the N is chapter six, and the N is for nurturing practices through IQ sort of things. And then the O is opening the heart, and that’s through EQ practices. And the W is waking the soul through SQ practices. So what I was doing there quite intentionally was to take the readers on a tour of ongoing elevation, starting with, you know what we all recognize as important IQ. And that’s really where they’re examining intentionally and with mindfulness, their own current human capital practices, and looking for how do those practices actually really help unleash the creativity, the spirit of their workforce. And to what extent are they hampering all of that and extracting their soul in the process, right? Cause so many of those practices were oftentimes birthed decades prior and never have since been investigated again. So even just a simple audit or review of those practices can go a long way. So that’s one thing, every organization should be doing that periodically, period, because the world changes too fast now for you to stay stagnant. So then if we go on to chapter seven, which is around opening the heart, and that’s using EQ kinds of practices. Here we’re getting into how do we create leadership that’s caring, that demonstrates concern for their people and treats them as Bob Chapman. CEO Barry Miller often says like someone’s precious child. So, you know, there are organizations that are increasingly doing this better by developing, their leaders and managers with emotional intelligence. The capacity to be able to listen more deeply and intently, to be able to meaningfully recognize people for their contribution, because people want to know that they matter. So when you as an organization, institute a practice of being able to call out someone’s great contribution and behavior, they feel special, they feel seen. Everyone wants that. So that if you craft that into your culture, you’ve got a much better chance of creating a sticky culture where people don’t want to leave, and that’s what you want. So that chapter contains many different practices that can help develop and bolster that kind of acumen in leadership and culture. Then the last chapter is “Wake the Soul”, and this is around sq, spiritual quotient, spiritual intelligence, which is increasingly albeit still slowly adopted being discussed inside organizations. Some of the best organizations are starting to measure spiritual intelligence or spiritual quotient in the organization. I believe companies like LEVER is one of them, for example. I’m not remembering right off the top of my head who else. But these, you know, these are best in class companies that are really pulling us all forward into the possibilities of the realm. And this is where we’re really heavily, not just trafficking in the idea of purpose, the organization’s purpose, and really layering it through the whole organization. But also reaching for, you know, the beyond in that whole eco awakening sort of movement that’s been occurring here. Not just around conscious capitalism, but truly recognizing the extent to which an organization exists inside the whole of the world. You know, we’re part of this interdependent planetary system. You don’t exist as a single entity, and there’s both beauty in that. You can expand yourself as an organization to tend more deeply into your community, serve at a higher, more beautiful level. All of your stakeholders when you reach like that. So there are practices in there about how to be able to articulate your organization’s purpose, help your individual employees understand their own and how they can relate it to organization, and again, reach for that higher eco connectability beyond themselves in the world. In my view, it’s definitely some readers are going to find that chapter as out there. And others who have said, wow, that’s really interesting, I would’ve never thought about that from an organizational vantage point. And that’s what I hoped for.
00:13:44 Tesse: Wow. Alise, I am fascinated IQ, EQ, SQ a totally different ecosystem where people can connect and people can revitalize, and people can say, look, I’m, I never thought of this before and Alise has given us a way forward. Wow. Paula?
00:14:06 Paula: I’m also super impressed, but also was wondering how did you come up with these meaningful acronyms? Because they make sense.
00:14:18 Dr Alise: Ladies, can I just tell you what great gobs of fun it was. Well, and this is the first time, this is, you know, I have four books out and this is the first time I’ve ever tried to do something like this. And I will say that I was certainly inspired by Dr. Raj Sisodia, who is the co-founder of Conscious Capitalism. Has 11 or 12 books of his own out, and he tends to use acronyms quite a bit. So I was inspired by him. He’s a mentor, he is a colleague. I’ve had the privilege of being one of his faculty when we were teaching 115 CEO’s, conscious capitalism in Latin America. Amazing human being. So that’s kind of where the idea came from. The idea was, I hope that in doing so, it would make the material more accessible to the reader. They could remember “GUSTONOW”, wait a minute, what does “GUSTO” stand for again? What does “NOW” stand for again? That’s what I was hoping for to make then the concepts easier to recall. Because I am a researcher at heart, which means I can regurgitate a lot of information, a lot of ideas, but to make them accessible to others, I want it to be as simple as I can, so well remember it and thus use it. So that’s where the effort came from. And then I was going through, and I had a pretty good idea that I knew I wanted to do something with “gusto”. Well, the first chapter is really about, you know, it’s about oomph. You know, it’s about how do I get business leaders and owners to fall in love with their organization again, so that they will care for and nurture it? What is that G? Gumption, let’s call it gumption. So, you know, I started with the acronym “GUSTO”, and then I was looking for the words, which became the chapter names to describe the gist of what I was trying to convey in that chapter. So that’s how I did that, the acronym thing, and I’ll say it was so fun.
00:15:56 Paula: Not only is it fun, Alise, it conveys what you’re trying to say “GUSTO”. I think of energy, I think of energizing. I think of people.
00:16:04 Dr Alise: That’s right. That’s right. That’s exactly it. That’s it my friend. In fact, I was just speaking to a group of 80 business women here in my backyard in Dallas on Wednesday. It was the Chamber of Commerce. The talk title was called “Grab Your Gusto, Live With Passion, Work On Purpose”. And whenever I give that talk, I always ask people, what does Gusto mean to you? And I hear from the crowd things like, hmm, energy, passion, shine, zest, like yeah, it’s all that.
00:16:28 Paula: Beautiful.
00:16:29 Tesse: It could definitely do with gusto. Yeah, we could definitely do that. I also like the, “NOW”, I do. There’s something about the immediacy of that that comes to my mind. But also there is something there about application, which is pace and plan, and do that with a certain level of ease while having gusto. So for me, you know, Alise, coming across your work, even from the very beginning when I first connected with you back a few years ago. There was that bit about yes you can have this and you can have the passion and you can have that bigger vision, but also make it real in pace. Make it real now. So your n o w really the how is just brilliant.
00:17:17 Dr Alise: Thank you. I really enjoyed it. I just really thought it was important to be able to, again, anchor it in something that people could remember. And I did want the agency involved in the word “now”. I wanted that, this is important, do it now kind of feeling. Yes, very intentional.
00:17:34 Paula: So, as you say, very intense, you know and I agree with you Tesse. That acronym now brings about that immediacy, you know. I also love that “wake”. I think about it how the young people now say, you woke. So the wake goes hand in hand with, now, you know what’s happening right now, what’s current. You mentioned that you recently had given a talk with about 80 Women Leaders, business leaders, And it was very well received, my question was how successful, I mean, what’s the feedback you’re getting on this? You know, organizations are made up of people and when we have, not new, because some of these concepts have been there, as you said, but they’re now being revived and more research is going into it. So what’s the feedback you’re getting from this gusto? For me, I’m already energized about it, but how’s that been going?
00:18:31 Dr Alise: Well, so my general body of work is well received. How it started, you know, let me back up a little bit here. I’ve been a management consultant for many years, but really it wasn’t until mid 2018 that I really jumped off the cliff again to really focus specifically on meaning and purpose, make my niche in meaning and purpose. And it really started when I was out speaking to an audience in November of 2018, and I asked the audience, what are you passionate about? And I watched as the sea of faces pondered that question and realized they did not have an answer sitting right in their forehead. And the answer was, I don’t know. And I thought to myself, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We have one precious life. We do not know when the exit ramp is coming in, you can’t tell me that you don’t know what you’re passionate about. You need me, we got to fix this, you know? So that’s really where I started the notion that I realized that I wanted to be an agent. I wanted to be that catalyzing agent that helps people awaken to their passion, their inspiration, and their purpose. And I’ve come to really believe that it’s necessary because we live in such fast-paced times that people are on that hamster wheel. They’re running the hamster wheel so fast that they have lost complete touch as to who they are, what matters to them, and what they want for themselves in the world. And so I’m kind of that intervening agent no matter what, wherever I go. So in inside organizations, right, the engagement numbers are dismal. I mean, as it’s right now something like, you know, 80% of the world doesn’t want to go to work on Monday morning or whenever the shift starts. That’s awful. They’re dragging themselves through their lives and through their work. If we can turn them on just a little bit more, one, they’re going to perform a little bit better. They’re going to want to stay a little bit longer. They’ll maybe innovate just a little bit more. So there’s so much utility in just being able to start to turn people on, and that’s the work that I do through the meaning and purpose. Turning people on from the inside out, so you know, on an individual level, on a team level, on an organizational level. And so when we can create workplaces where people can feel like I’m doing work that enlivens me. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m reaching. I can feel myself growing toward my potential. Wow. You know what you get on is you get the vibration in those kinds of organizations is so alluring, so stunning, so provocative, you know? And when you go inside organizations where people are literally dead at the wheel of life and sleep at the wheel, if you will, you can feel that too. So, you know, when it comes to, I want to help more people, you know, become alive and really give and realize their best, and I want to help steward those journeys. And ultimately what I’m out to do is I want to make work not a bad four letter award like it is today, but rather the playground of life where people really come alive and realize their potential while their organization does business that betters the world. That’s what I’m out to do. Cause I grew up actually believing that work is not something you have to do, it’s a way of life and something that you get to do, but it doesn’t occur that way for so many people.
00:21:31 Paula: You hit the nail on the head. That’s so phenomenal. That’s so insightful because on my podcast I was recently speaking with a woman who has, she has a coaching business. Her background is in admission. She was a college admissions officer, and she was talking about the same thing, but from the other angle. Starting to proactively prepare our children for life after college. We focus a lot on getting them into college and then what next? And she said, once we start letting them know that their passion matters, their purpose matters, so that you know, there’s certain courses that she said many years ago used to be like, okay, you’ll be the starving artist, or you can’t do this course. You’re not going to be able to feed yourself. But more and more research is showing that when they’re passionate about these things, that they’re able to produce way beyond what they even anticipate that they can. So I love what you’re doing. I mean, talking about my guest she was approaching it from a different angle, but it’s all leading towards, you know, the next generation bettering themselves from the previous one.
00:22:41 Dr Alise: Yes. And to your point on passion, Paula, you’re right. So, you know, once we’re doing things that we’re passionate about, we’re going to persevere longer, we’re going to find more ways to keep at it. You know, it’s just passion, really. It’s part of our fuel. That’s why it’s one of, remember, it’s one of the three sources of meaning. And therefore when we’re doing things that we’re passionate about, we’re putting ourselves into those things with and through them it’s a fueling mechanism. You know, there’s an ongoing regenerative fueling nature of that, right? The more that we do those things, the more energy that we get the energy that we have to keep doing those things and better. It is absolutely what we want in organizations is to help people find more ways to do what they’re passionate about within that organization.
00:23:20 Paula: Yes. I love it. I love it. It’s all about making best even better.
00:23:26 Dr Alise: It is. And I will say to your point, I do also work with younger people too. I’m also a Gallup certified strengths coach, so working with youth and doing, one of the programs that I offer is called “Grab Your Gusto”, and it starts with being able to assess your strengths so you understand what are your strengths of the top 3, 4 that this organization measures. And then we layer around how to start awakening to and accessing your passion and then starting to recognize your purpose. So that’s the grab your gut to a program that I do inside organizations and for organizations. But I also work with high school students. I work with foster kids in organizations. I’ve worked inside institutions, nonprofits, as well as churches. So I really am out to awaken as many souls as I possibly can. Most of my work is done through organizations, but I do do it in these other capacities as.
00:24:15 Tesse: I knew that today was going to be special. You know, I came to this conversation with that hope and the faith and also the expectation that we’re going to have a great conversation and now I know why. Because having a conversation with you, Dr. Alise, you come in with those expectations and so on, you walk away feeling so full, not just of something that is different, but actually knowing that it’s possible. And for me, that’s what makes your work really special.
00:24:49 Dr Alise: Thank you, Tesse. Thank you. It’s critically important for me, and I say this, there’s known paths to purpose that have been identified through research and you know, inquiry, et cetera. One of them is what ails you? What has ailed you in life that you have worked at to try to overcome? And in the overcoming of that you’ve learned something that you can teach others. That’s my path to purpose. The reason I traffic and meaning and purpose is because in my mid 20s I experienced a few years when it was totally absent from my life. I had this incredible lifestyle. I was 26 years old, living abroad in Spain, in Brazil. Grew up in a small town in Oregon. I had a live in maid, chauffeur, gardener. I was traveling all over the world, didn’t have a care in the world, wasn’t working. I was just studying just one problem I was miserable, and it was because it turns out just consuming from the world is terribly unfulfilling, very miserable. What we need as human beings is to be of service to the world. When we do that, then we’re lively and vibrant. So in my investigation, trying to understand why did this feel so icky, and how can I fix it as how I learned about meaning and purpose and how I could help others activate it and live through it.
00:26:04 Paula: I’m speechless because that has touched me to the core. You telling us a bit of your personal life and in the world’s eyes, you had everything. So what could be missing? But as you said, knowing that it’s not just all about consuming, but serving, giving back. That’s beautiful.
00:26:22 Dr Alise: I wanted to matter. I really, I really wanted to matter and I didn’t know how to do it in that confine. I didn’t have a working visa, could have volunteered I guess, but that’s, I wanted to matter and I didn’t know how to at the time. So that’s what kicked off, I should say, the beginning of the procession of my career.
00:26:38 Paula: Awesome. Awesome. Oh, all good things have to come to an end. So to our amazing listeners, that was Dr. Alise Cortes. Wasn’t that beautiful? I know it impacted me, it touched me, and certainly I can see that it did the same for Tesse. I know it’s going to also impact your lives. So we thank you for tuning into “TesseTalks”. We ask that you head over to “Apple Podcast”, “Google Podcast”, “Spotify”, anywhere else that you listen to podcasts, and please subscribe to our show. And if you like what you just heard, who wouldn’t we ask that you leave us a raving review. And if you have any other questions or topics that you’d like us to cover, please reach out to us. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, we ask that you head over to our website, which is “” to apply.