Top iTunes Business Podcast

47+ Million Downloads

SPI 452: Can You Actually Have It All? How a Mom of 8 Kids Tries to Make It Work (and the Hard Lessons Learned)

We can’t put 24 hours a day into our family or our relationships and 24 hours a day into our business and 24 hours a day into our hobbies . . . you get the picture. We all have the same 24 hours. It’s how we balance (or topple) our priorities within those 24 hours that’s the make or break.

Well, what if you had eight kids on top of running a business? (Is that even possible?) Like today’s guest Lisa Canning says: “the juggle is real,” and whether or not you’re a parent, I promise you at some point, you’re going to be juggling. And that’s what today’s show is all about because Lisa Canning is a mom of eight who is juggling, and juggling well.

So many entrepreneurs feel like success comes at the detriment of other areas in their life. What can we do about it? Is equilibrium even possible? If you’re asking questions like this, I highly recommend listening to this episode. Lisa’s going to take us through her own story, from a meltdown in her minivan to finding a more holistic approach to business and life. There are so many important takeaways in today’s episode, including Lisa’s three-part framework for balancing work and life, plus a great “litmus test” for checking whether that balance is off. Whether you have eight kids or none, this episode is for you!

Today’s Guest

Lisa Canning

Lisa Canning is a parenting, interior design and lifestyle expert. For the last 11 years, she has balanced running multiple businesses with her growing family of 8 children ages 11 and under. In her book The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time, she shares her philosophy on work-life balance, motivation, and daily habits that deliver results. Lisa believes that success is possible for all when priorities are clearly identified, time is used strategically, and activity is fuelled by belief. Learn more about Lisa at
The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time by Lisa Canning

You’ll Learn

SPI 452: Can You Actually Have It All? How a Mom of 8 Kids Tries to Make It Work (and the Hard Lessons Learned)

Pat Flynn:
All right, all right. Okay, I need you to imagine, just imagine with me: you had eight kids, yes, I said eight kids, and you are obviously taking care of them in the house and running a successful business helping other people. With eight kids. That’s insane. Didn’t even think it was possible. Is it even possible? Can you have it all? These are the kinds of questions that I asked today’s guest, who also happens to have eight children, Lisa Canning.

Now, whether you are a mom or a dad or soon-to-be, or maybe you’re not a parent or don’t even ever plan on being a parent, this is a masterclass on productivity, time management, and prioritization. And I highly recommend you listen through no matter who you are, because even I learned several things listening to Lisa here today. She’s got the wisdom. And as she says, “the juggle is real.” Whether you’re juggling kids, hobbies, friends, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. The juggle is real.

And she answers some very tough questions for me today and she answers them in a very beautiful way. And this is definitely one to remember. So I’m very thankful to have Lisa on the show today. You can find her at She’s also known as the Possibility Mom. Promise you’re going to learn some great stuff today. Hit that intro. Let’s go.

Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host — he thinks blue light is evil, but only after 8:00 PM — Pat Flynn!

Pat: What’s up y’all, Pat Flynn here. Thank you for joining me in session 452 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. I’m here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too, whether that means helping people through your business or helping little ones that are running around your house. I think the truth is that we know that we can’t put 24 hours in the day into our kids and put 24 hours a day into our business and put 24 hours a day … We only have 24 hours. We all have the same 24 hours. It’s what we do within those hours and how we manage our time that makes it worthwhile and successful or a struggle and a juggle. I like that. The juggle is real. I’m going to … That’s Lisa’s, not mine.

Anyway, just so much great stuff in this episode. Lisa is such an amazing person and I cannot wait to introduce her to you. So let’s not wait any further. Here she is. Lisa Canning from

Lisa, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.

Lisa Canning: This is just the best thing ever because you have been in my earbud since 2014. So to be here on the show is just such a thrill.

Pat: That’s incredible, 2014. So what was going on in your life around 2014 that you somehow randomly stumbled upon the Smart Passive Income Podcast?

Yeah, you were at a Michael Hyatt conference and you were speaking on the stage, and that conference changed the trajectory of my life. And that is how I came to know you and have been following along your journey ever since.

That was at the Platform Conference?

That’s right.

Oh man, so that was the first time I met Michael Hyatt in person. And that conference changed my life too, because I saw him in the audience learning with all of us. And I thought that was incredible. I had never seen a CEO participate like that. And the whole team just did all the work. And that’s what inspired me to build a team. And I know you have people who work for you too. I want to dive into that as well.

That particular presentation was one of my most embarrassing though.


Because you might remember I played the trumpet in the beginning and tried to make it different. Well, I had like 120 slides and they only gave me 40 minutes. And I got to I think slide 50 and we only had five minutes left. And that was my first big lesson of, “Ooh, maybe I should time this a little bit better.” But anyway, it worked out just fine. I’m so glad we were able to meet each other in that way there. And so let’s unpack your story a little bit. You are an amazing entrepreneur. You are a mom of eight, which is, wow. We have two. How do you handle eight is my first question. Just how?

Two honestly can feel like eight. And you might think it’s strange that I’m going to say this, but honestly, I think it’s easier to have eight than it is to have two.

Why? Why is that?

I think a lot happens when you become a parent, and especially if you saw a lot of success in your career before becoming a parent, it is such a huge shift in identity. And there’s all of a sudden this incredibly huge learning curve where you are now thrust into a job that, number one, you probably didn’t get much skill training for, number two, you are not receiving hardly any positive affirmation when you think about it, and then number three, there really is no rule book. There are so many different ways that you can parent, there are so many different philosophies, what your mom did, what your mother-in-law did, what your sister’s doing, what your friends doing, what this group on Facebook is doing, whatever it is. So it can feel so challenging and just a shock to your identity.

And so to be honest, that’s why I think it’s harder to have two than it is to have eight because what I now have is the experience I can keep people alive, Pat Flynn. You know what I mean?

You’ve proven this to yourself many times now.

Yes. And that I can keep people alive as well as pursuing my personal goals and dreams, building a business and doing that all with excellence. But of course, I didn’t always feel that way. It’s taken me this many years and this many learning lessons and really has been the start of my career and my platform now in the current iteration that it is.

How old is your oldest child, if you don’t mind me asking?

I’ll give you all the ages. So my oldest son is John and he is 11, and then it just … Get ready. It’s 11, 10, 8, 6, 5, 3, 2, and then baby Colleen is 10 months old. So it’s like basically one of each number.

You have almost a whole basketball court with like both teams involved in fact. So 11 years ago, you had John, your first child. Were you into business entrepreneurship following your passions before John came in? And how did John … What were those and how did John rock your world?

So, it’s interesting. I had always had entrepreneurial spirit, a spirit about me. I remember my first business idea was when I was about maybe six or seven years old, and I realized that I could make these plastic string, I think it’s called, like where you could take this plastic string and make it into a key chain, wrap it around a pen. And I remember I was allowed to go to the store with my allowance and I just remember so clearly that I could buy the plastic string for 25 cents. I remember it so vividly, but I could sell a pen wrapped in the plastic string for 50 cents. And I just remember I’ve always been kind of always minded in that way. Like, can I buy something for this and then sell it for this and bring value to others and do something that is fun and enjoyable for both me and them?

So I’ve always been like this. And I had a feeling that even in motherhood, I would continue to pursue business or pursue something, but it was interesting. My personal story is that I had a foot planted very firmly in each camp. I wanted to be the best stay at home mom you could imagine. My achievement or my mindset around achievement, I absolutely transferred to being John’s mom. So I was like, “I’m going to make organic Play-Doh and I’m going to make everything from scratch.” And like, of course I’m going to breastfeed like as long as humanly… I just had all of these ideas around achievement and motherhood.

And then of course I had all these ideas around building a business. At that time, I was a recent … I had graduated from school, from university. I studied fashion communications at Ryerson in Toronto, Canada, and I had all of these hopes and dreams to work in television. I fell into TV completely by accident. A mom who had watched me speak at my high school was always like, “You have the gift of gab.” And I was like, “What does that mean Mrs. DeCastro? And she was like, “You’ve got to be on TV.”

And at that time, I was like, “People who are on TV are actors or news anchors. I don’t understand what you mean like, ‘make a job of TV.'” And so she introduced me to a casting agent who then put me in front of these people. And I hosted a show on HGTV. I was the designer and host of a show called Marriage Under Construction back in the day, 2007. So I had my one foot firmly planted in this sort of television, fashion, interior design, go-go-go kind of industry. My other foot firmly planted in wanting to be the best mom possible.

And of course, those two things became increasingly more and more challenging to co-exist as I launched my interior design career, I worked with people like the Property Brothers. I did a lot of work both in front of the camera and behind the camera. And at the exact same time as building my career, I now have eight children in basically 11 years. So that’s every other … If you can do the math, that’s basically every other year I’ve had a baby. And everything came to a huge implosion for me, Pat, one day in my minivan.

And I tell this story right at the beginning of my book, The Possibility Mom, because it was truly just the worst. I was hustling hard building this TV career and an interior design business that was going really well. And I was hustling hard trying to put dinner on the table, trying to be a loving and caring wife, trying to be a present mom. And I had put myself in this place where I had put so much of my self-worth in what I did for work that I convinced myself that just five days or so out of hospital with my fourth baby, I was delirious, I was exhausted.

I had a hospital bag beside me in the car. I had a purse full of interior design things beside me in the car. My minivan was covered in Cheerios and goldfish crackers and all this fast food garbage because I was just basically eating out of my car on the road way in the back to a job site that was being dry walled. I was bringing my brand new newborn. And I had done that because I was like, “This is what success looks like.” And I remember looking around my minivan at how dirty and how overwhelmed and how just like … I was asking myself the question, “How did I get here?”

And that’s the day I realized that my priorities were as messy as my minivan and that if I wanted my health, if I wanted my marriage, and if I wanted my relationships with my children to make it, that I had to make some serious changes. And so that was really the beginning of everything for me. And I became absolutely obsessed with the concept of time management, life management. What does it look like to raise a family well? What does that look like to run a business well? What does it look like to pursue your personal goals and dreams while being a great mom at the same time? And that is how I’ve come to do what I’m doing today.

I love it. You had mentioned your book. What was the name of the book one more time just so people can pick one up?

The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time.

Awesome. I can’t wait to unpack that here. I do want to go back to the minivan story. What a wonderful recollection of just that moment. And I have a minivan myself, 2012 Toyota Sienna, and I can imagine that. What was going through your head? Like what feelings and emotions were you having when that hit you?

I remember when I was packing up my baby that morning, just days out of hospital, my parents were there to help with the kids, my husband had taken time off work, and everybody was supportive. They were like, “If you feel like going, we’ll support you.” But they all also gave me this very like, hesitant look like, “Are you sure you need to go?” And I was like, “Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine. This is fun I promise. This is just going to be fun to get out of the house for a little bit. It’s going to be just honestly fun. I promise I’m okay.” But I wasn’t okay. I looked like success on the outside. I had this glossy exterior where my hair was always done, my lipstick was always freshly applied, my kids looked cute and were always cutely dressed.

But if you peeled back the curtain on my marriage, on how much I was showing up in my kids’ lives, on my health, all of that was crumbling and barely hanging on. So I remember sitting in that minivan just being like, “This can’t be it. It is not worth it to work this hard to build a business, but to feel this guilty, this pulled in multiple directions. This feeling of failure, it can’t be it and it’s definitely not worth it.” And that was … I think I had suppressed that for a while.

I think I had said to myself, “Look at all that you’re able to provide financially for your family. Look at all the adventures and the trips you’re able to go on.” I would get these fun opportunities for TV and the kids would come along with me and my husband. And I had let that be the leading force, if you will. The thing that suppressed or hid, like lipstick. The thing that really hid how I was truly feeling, and that was just falling apart at the seams. And feeling like an epic failure.

Where do you think this pressure comes from to have that sort of lifestyle? I know many people, even personally, who considered success exactly what you’re describing. The adventures with the kids plus doing this and that and this and that. And you look on the outside and you look at their Instagram, it’s like, “Wow, you’ve got it all together.” And I imagine that many of those same people maybe deep down feel the same way. Why do you think we all feel pressured to have this sort of exterior that seems that way?

We’re not taught otherwise. When you think about it, everything in life comes down to mindset and skillset. You can improve in your attitude or your outlook on any situation and you can improve in your skillset. If you’re terrible at paying your taxes, you can take an online course to get better. If you don’t know how to ballroom dance, you can take a class, you can go to a dance class and take a class and improve in that skill. I think parenting in particular is like this forgotten nebulous. That you can actually learn how to be a present parent. You don’t want to yell at your kids anymore? Guess what? You have a choice in that. You can learn skills in order to not yell. You don’t want to resent your husband and have a marriage that is full of fighting and animosity? Guess what? There’s probably some skills that you can work on individually and there’s probably some communication skills that you can learn.

When you think about it, in at least the North American culture, we are hardwired for: go to school, maybe go get another degree, and then go and do whatever that degree will lead you to. Gone are the days of home economics. Gone are the days of mothers parenting in community and teaching each other how to do basic life skills. And so it’s no wonder that we’re at this place now in history where moms are exhausted and dads … I speak so specifically to moms because that’s the group that I feel so called to.


But of course, parents in general, where we are so exhausted, where we’re constantly asking the question of like, “Am I going to make it through the day?” Where this concept of hot mess motherhood is almost celebrated. And do not get me wrong. If you’re listening to this and you’re like, “Well, okay, Lisa, I’m glad you’ve got all this figured out and you’re not a hot mess.” I call myself a hot mess regularly. But you can get out of hot mess motherhood. If you feel like your life is a hot mess, guess what? You don’t need to stay there. It’s your choice if you do.

And so I think to come back to your original question, “Why is this so common?” Or, “Why do so many people maybe experience career success at the detriment of other areas in your life?” It’s because we have not been taught otherwise. I do a lot of coaching and mastermind groups, and it’s all with this beautiful notion of what is wholeness? And my beautiful friend and mentor, January Donovan, who created the school called the Woman School, which is a program that I use to help women understand what it means to be whole.

And what it is is that we have to acknowledge that our lives are made up of multiple facets and it is simply not sustainable, or worth it — this is the true question I was asking in my minivan. This is the thing that I was lacking that day in my minivan. Only my career spoke of the wheel, so to speak, only that one arena of my life was thriving. And it is just not worth it if all the other ones are failing. We have to have a more holistic, if I may be so bold to say, we have to have a more holistic approach to what success looks like.

And I also believe that we have to grow in our skill — because I believe it’s a skill — our skill to dream. I think sometimes we can get into these ruts and they can be because of what we were culturally raised to believe, it could be because of what our friends tell us, what our teachers at school told us, what have you. We all come with all kinds of stories that inform who we are today and how we act. And what I see in the work I do with moms is that there’s been this forgotten element oftentimes when you become a mom where you just give up on all your dreams, and then you get to this point where maybe your kids go to school, or maybe they leave the home, for some women, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what do I do now?”

And I guess what I want to say, which is what I hope the legacy of my work is, is you don’t have to wait. Doesn’t matter how hot mess your life feels, it doesn’t matter if you have an infant, it doesn’t matter if you have grandkids. You get a say in the beautiful design that is your life.

In the minivan when you had this moment and these emotions were washing over you, what changes were made after that? What did you do to get out of the rut and start taking control?

The very first thing I did was I created some boundaries. And it was really difficult for me to say these things because I had been hardwired that success looks like working over 80 hours a week. So for me to say, I’m going to be at my kids’ pick up line at 3:30 PM without fail, my first boundary was three days a week. That was a huge, huge, huge shift in my mindset and my behavior, because it meant I had to say to clients, “Okay, we are not meeting past 2:30,” for example, it meant that I had to go from what used to take me sixteen hours and truncate that down to maybe six or eight hours, and it took some real problem solving and learning of new time management skills. But that was the very first thing I did was create a firm boundary, and that had an impact on the behaviors and the appointments that I put into my calendar.

The second thing I did was I Googled anything I could find on time management and work-life balance and that is how, of course, I stumbled upon the work of Michael Hyatt and that was, of course, how you and I got introduced. And that conference particularly, it was … I don’t know if you remember this, but Stu McLaren gave this keynote and he quoted David O. McKay, I hope that’s how you say his name right. But it was something to the effect of “no amount of worldly success can make up for failure in the home.” And so post my minivan meltdown, I just kept looking for things like that. I just kept searching for the habits and the hacks and the understanding that you can pursue your dreams but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of the things that matter most to you.

How does one navigate this idea and transition from eight hours a week of success to now some balance, when you know that you’re going to be saying no to clients more, you know that you’re not going to be doing what you had done for so long to make this change. How do you navigate the guilt that happens on the other side? Because there’s probably — and there was, like you said, guilt, “Oh my gosh, I’m not being the mom I can be.” But now it’s like, “Oh, well, now I’m not being the business person I can be.” How do we balance that?

So this is the framework that I teach in my signature program, Conquer Your Calendar. And this has been years of trial and error and failing. And I had a lot of years of messy after that minivan meltdown, where I would try things and then revert back to past habits. But I think it really comes down to three things. And the first thing is a very clear identification of your priorities. And so this has to do a little bit with thinking about your legacy, this has to do a little bit with really allowing yourself to dream and imagine the kind of mom you want to be, the kind of wife you want to be, the kind of business owner you want to be, and then working backwards from that dream to the tangible steps that will make that possible.

And this leads me to the second part of my framework, which is that to keep your priorities in the order that you want them, there have to be activities in your calendar that will make that true. So let me give you an example. If I want to be remembered as a loving and present wife, I got to love my husband. Like I can’t nag him every minute of the day. I can’t always be annoyed with him about X, Y, Z. I’ve got to do things like tell him nice things, go on dates with him. Similarly, if I want to be remembered as a present and loving mom, I should probably have time blocks in my calendar where I’m just hanging out with them on the floor.

Just one really practical example in my own life: between the hours of 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM I have a no cell phone, no appointment, no work block and I am on the floor, hanging out, going to baseball, like all those kinds of things. If I want to be a healthy person, if I want to be the kind of mom who is around to be able to chase my grandkids and all that kind of stuff, well, I better be working out, I better be eating well. Those all translate to appointments in our calendar.

Pat Flynn, Flat Pynn, if I may, people ask me this all the time: “How the heck do you get this much stuff done in your life? Eight kids, businesses, speaking, traveling, all the things?” And I’m like, “I have just the same amount or number of hours in a day as you do.” I don’t say that exactly like that, but you know what I mean. That’s what I’m thinking. Like, we all have the same number of hours in the day, and it really comes down to an understanding of where do you, you yourself, only you, can show up, where only you uniquely can show up in that role, and what can be delegated, automated, deleted, all the rest.

And so that comes to the third part of my framework, which is an understanding that you cannot do it all. I believe that a mom honestly can have it all. I really do, but she cannot do it all herself. Let me say that again for the people in the back: I believe a mom can have it all, but she cannot do it all herself. And so the third part of my framework really comes down to understanding that how to delegate, what kinds of tasks to delegate, making almost a triage of: What are activities that really only Lisa can do? What are activities that maybe Lisa is good at, but other people could do it as well? And then what are activities that truly anyone else can do?

And so when we have this sense of that triage, we can start to get really strategic with, “Okay, that means that if I want to work only four hours a day, I have got to make sure that those are the things that truly only I can do that are going to move the needle forward in my business, and everything else gets pushed off to someone else.” And now I can hear the objections. I can hear the objections. Well, what happens when you run out of time? Well, what happens when everything is essential?

And this is where we have to get very … We got to pull up our pants, so to speak. We’ve got to really be able to take a hard look on our life and say, what is it do I want? Do I want this legacy that I’m dreaming of or do I want hot mess? And we have to be able to say, “If this is where I want to go, it’s going to mean some no’s, but those no’s, as we read in Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, those no’s are actually a big fat yes to something else. And as somebody who, I still call myself a workaholic, I would still call myself absolutely obsessed with business, with achievement, I think the biggest difference in my life is the level of guilt.

When I wrote my book, The Possibility Mom, I did a series of interviews when the book launched. And I remember one of the interviews stands out so much in my mind because she asked me, “How do you know you have achieved work-life balance?” And it really took my breath away for a minute because I was like, “That’s a really important question,” and I had never been asked that before. But what took my breath away I guess was how quickly the answer came to me. And this is what I said: “When you do not feel guilt, regardless of whatever activity you are in.”

So you can be working head down in your business, doing things like this, creating content, recording your podcast, and you’re not worried about, “Oh my gosh, my kids are missing me or I’m missing things that they’re doing,” because you know that you have blocks in your calendar regularly where you have reserved that time for them. And so truly for me, that has been the best, I guess, like the transformation. If I’m able to say like, “What did life before minivan meltdown look like?” Life before was full of guilt and full of exhaustion. And what does life look like now? That’s a lot more free. And this freedom is available for anyone.

Thank you for that answer. I’ve never heard it put that way before. And it’s great because it helps us imagine how we might feel when things are balanced in a sense. And I know there’s no such thing as perfect, 100 percent balance, it’s a balancing act, if you will. And that idea of just not feeling guilty doing one thing versus the other, knowing that the other thing is going to be taken care of is beautiful. Thank you for that answer. I’m going to quote you on that I’m sure, Lisa, in the future. When it comes to your relationship with your husband, I’d love to know with your goals, your business goals, family goals, communication with your husband, how does that happen? What do you do? What strategies do you have so that it’s a group effort?

I think it’s so important that we share our goals with our spouses. I coach a lot of moms who express their resentment. “He doesn’t understand me. He doesn’t understand why I need to take some time away from the kids to build my blog or build my podcast. He just doesn’t understand.” And I’m like, “Well, have you shared it with him? Have you shared it with him why this is so important to you?” And for me, this comes back to this concept of wholeness. We are meant to be complete people. And not all parents, some moms I know, their wholeness is … Their blue flame or the thing that lights them up is very much in the home. It’s very much in homemaking, in child rearing. They feel fulfilled by the activities that are in motherhood. But there are a lot of parents who have passions, who have areas where they are meant to contribute, that are meant to be shared for the benefit of the world, but the benefit of themselves.

And I’m sure that everyone who’s listening can relate to this. That you do something, like you speak on a stage, or you write a great blog post, or you coach a client, or you make something for a friend and you are alive, so alive that you can’t calm down. We need that all the time. Now, okay, does it happen all the time? Of course not. But I mean, consistently, you need that part of yourself to be fed. So where a partner is involved, we need to make sure that we communicate that dream. And it could just be as simple as like, “Hey hun, I just want to share something with you that’s really been on my heart and I’m so excited about it. Do you think we could take some time this evening to talk about it?” It doesn’t have to be this like big production or like a 140 PowerPoint slide presentation. It can just be a very simple conversation inviting your partner into your dream. So I think that’s number one is that we have to share the dream.

And then number two, especially where parents are concerned, we have to do this strategically. So, in the beginning, when I was building my business, I had an infant and I would write blog posts at like 3:00 AM when I was nursing him. We didn’t have that much disposable income to devote to babysitting or anything like that. So my business grew very organically during nap times and when my husband wasn’t working, but we also have to do this strategically. We can’t burn the candle completely at both ends. I have seen time and time again with the women that I coach what happens when both parents are working and pursuing something without the understanding that it’s going to pay a toll on the other end, right?

Doesn’t mean it’s not possible. But again, like we were talking about earlier, it’s like we kind of… In this culture where we’re told to pursue our dreams, sometimes at all costs almost, so like this just whole spirit of like, “You can do it, rah, rah, rah.” What I hope my book answers is the how. Like there are things that need to be thought about like who is getting dinner on the table? Who is going to pick up kids from school? Those conversations need to be had, and they need to be had strategically when it comes to the pursuit of personal goals and dreams.

I know personally that when you don’t get that support from somebody important to you, it can crush you. What happens if a conversation is had and the other person, the other party is just not really feeling it? They don’t offer that support. They’re not reacting like the way that you are about this idea. How do you compromise and still push forward and still have pursuit of that dream if you aren’t initially getting that support from the other?

In all circumstances, we can control our reaction. So that’s the number one thing I want to say is that you always have a choice. And you can show up as a kind of person who is gracious, who is kind, who is generous. And then I would say you do it anyway. And what I mean by that is obviously … Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying … I don’t want people calling Pat Flynn and being like, “Lisa Canning broke up my marriage.” That’s not what I’m saying. But I’m saying you start to find the pockets of time where you can pursue. So when a baby is sleeping, you can begin researching the thing for your next product. When the house is quiet and the kids are at school, in small pockets you can start writing that book.

I think the thing that people also fail to remember, and I have to remind myself of this every single day, Pat, is that anything in life when you think about it — building a multi six, seven, eight figure business, losing 50 pounds, having an organized home — is one action at a time. I’m not going to make $1 million in 24 hours unless there’s some really freaky … You know what I mean? But it’s just not going to happen. It’s that first $100 and then the first $500. I know we have a mutual friend, Ryan Lavesque. He has been a business mentor of mine for the last couple of years. I’ve been in his world for a bit. And I was just on a virtual conference that he had. And it was so fascinating because there are … You join these online courses, you join these inner circles and you start to look at other people and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m never going to be like them. They’re reporting their earnings from fast cash, these, and it’s all in the six figures.”

And I would sit there on these calls or in the Facebook group being like, “This is never going to happen for me. My earnings are only $1,000 a promotion.” But it was so fascinating, this last conference, Ryan shared from three years ago, results from some of these people’s first Black Friday promotion or first quiz funnel or whatever it was. And they were all like $500, $1,000, $2,000, like attainable numbers. And I think we can forget this, that you don’t eat an elephant in one sitting. I think that’s the weirdest expression, it’s in coaching circles all the time as an analogy, but it’s just the truth. And so if your partner doesn’t support you from the onset, I would just say, what can you control? What can you do in strategic moments? And how can you invite him or her into your shared mission along the way?

Yeah, I think another component of this is oftentimes that negative feedback or that negative response comes from a place of, “Well, then I won’t be able to do this,” or, “Then this isn’t going to happen anymore or something.” And I think being aware of why the person isn’t acting negatively and asking and digging to find out why, you might be able to determine and help ensure that, well, that’s not going to change or this isn’t going to change, like you might think it is because sometimes we just overreact many times. And it’s going to take a discussion, I think, and a very serious one at that. But these kinds of discussions are required. And these sorts of higher type topics mean growth in the relationship, and can hopefully compromise and things like that can come into play. So thank you for sharing that, Lisa. I’d love to know what your day is like, if I may ask. And I know every day may be different and things like that, but from the moment you wake up, I’d love to get a sense of what life as Lisa is like.

So I’m going to give you the very unfiltered version. My ideal would be to wake up at least an hour before my kids, but I’m in a season of life where that has been increasingly interesting to navigate. So some days I hit it and some days I don’t. But when I do hit the hour before, it is spent getting dressed, it is spent putting on a full face of makeup because, oh my word, the power of a full face of makeup, just like even … That is what, honestly, during this whole quarantine experience, just the difference in my mood when I would get dressed, when I would put on makeup. So anyways, that happens. And then for me, it’s reading the Bible and drinking my coffee and being quiet. So that all happens before my kids get up.

Then I’ve got about an hour and a half window, I would say, where we’re doing the regular getting ready for school. So I’ve got eight kids. Five of them are school-aged. So I’m getting the five school-aged kids out the door. And then I go into my morning work block. So I work about four hours-ish a day. Two of those hours are very deep work-related and then I say “ish” because I’m catching up on the admin and stuff in the evenings as I can. But my first block is typically client focused. So that is when I am hosting a mastermind group, or that is when I’m coaching a mom one-on-one, or that’s when I might be having a one-off coaching call or a discovery call, that kind of thing. So my mornings are typically client focused. Then —

The other kids are where during that time?

With my husband. So right now we are currently flip-flopping how we work. So then I emerge from the office full of energy because coaching is the thing for me that just like can … It’s my gas tank. Like I can coach a mom and then I just feel like I’m on cloud nine. So then I emerge, I’ve got all this energy for the kids. I typically, either he or I are preparing lunch. I’m a Catholic and I have the wonderful ability to walk to daily mass. And so oftentimes, I’m taking three small kids — for anybody else who takes small children to church, it’s a dance. It’s a whole other dance. So that’s usually my midday break.

And then at 1:00 PM, I’m back, and I have currently a mother’s helper. So she’s a young girl in the neighborhood and she plays with my small kids while I do my second work block for the day. And that is typically like, I would say content-creation, a little bit of admin. It’s usually the block where I do things like this. So I would say it’s like marketing, content creation, and admin. And then come three o’clock, my kids are walking in the door from school and then I’m putting my phone away usually for the two hours between four and six. And every day is different when they’re home. Like some days we have baseball, some days we’re at the park, some days we might have friends over for dinner.

We love to entertain. I am mildly obsessed with my Traeger grill. It’s a smoker, like a wood pellet smoker, and, oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Like I … Anyway, that’s a whole other topic for a podcast. You can come and listen to my podcast about why I love Traeger grills. So we live in a very small town in Southwest Florida and we intentionally moved here. So I grew up in Toronto, Canada for my whole life. And just a year ago we made this big move because we wanted a very quiet, slow pace of life. And so activities are all here in my teeny tiny town. We don’t have that many. Baseball is really the only thing that we’re involved in. Meals are cooked at home. I no longer have fast food garbage all over my minivan. And yeah, we really like … And I love my slow existence here. It makes me so happy.

And then 6:00, 6:30 or so, we were moving into bedtime and all that kind of stuff. And then 8:00 PM is wine and cheese time. So I am a big achiever. Like achiever is my second StrengthFinder strength. I have a tendency to not celebrate anything. Like I’m just like, “Done, next. Okay, awesome. Done, next.” And I’ve had to train myself to literally celebrate achievements every day and actually celebrate them. So come 8:00 PM, it’s like literally cheeseboard — that’s another obsession I have is making beautiful cheeseboard. I sometimes share them on my Instagram @lisacanning if you’re just as obsessed with charcuterie as I am.

Then we drink the wine and then some evenings, I have mastermind groups that I run or events. I might host a webinar or that kind of thing. I do try to keep those really limited. I have basically like four evenings a month that I allow myself to do evening things. And then that’s it. And then I want to say that I’m in bed by 10:00 and it’s this beautiful languid evening routine. But I’ll just be honest with you, it’s not. I have the ideal evening routine and I would say that I hit it about 60 percent of the time. And that’s something that I’m actively working towards. Yeah.

That’s great. Thank you for bringing us into your life and letting us in on that. I’m curious, when we have a plan, often that plan can often be derailed by one kid, let alone potentially eight. How do you, when you have a plan for the day, whether it’s client calls, work to do at home, whatever, something happens in the middle of that work time, how do you handle that moment? Is it a like, “Don’t interrupt … Nothing can come my way unless the house is on fire?” Or is it, “Okay, let’s listen and let’s assess from there.” I’d love to know how you handle those curve balls, kids, or just other things externally that aren’t a part of the plan.

This is what I think having eight children has really uniquely equipped me for, the challenging dance it is to be an online entrepreneur. And I really, really believe that this is the most important skill to build in parenthood and in entrepreneurship, and that’s resilience. I still struggle with this, but I used to have these really ideal rigid pictures of what anything in my life was going to look like. So for example, a blog post needs to look exactly like this with this kind of photo, a recording of any kind, whether that be YouTube or podcasts that would have to be like this quality, etc.

And I just really came to understand that the more children that I had, and I hear you say this all the time, actually, to be honest, I think I learned this from you if I’m being really honest. There’s this whole concept of just ship it. Like, is it good enough? Is it minimum viable product? Is it just like … Is this good enough? And that was really difficult for me to learn in the beginning and I still sometimes really struggle with it. But by building that muscle of, “This is good enough,” by being okay when you’re interrupted and not having it be the end of the world, by understanding that the things that maybe really bother you actually aren’t only you are bothered by them, like only you notice them, these are really important things to remember.

And then the ability to pivot once that thing happens. I honestly, like I have … this is my next book. My next book is the crazy things that have happened when I’ve tried to record podcasts or I’ve tried to be live on television. Oh my gosh, the pandemic has been so interesting. I used to do a lot of broadcast TV segments where I’d go into a studio and present on a topic, whereas now we have conferences going virtual. You can now host anything basically from your living room or from your office. The number of stories I have of children like banging on the door or appearing in screen, or what have you. And you simply need to just build that discipline and that behavior of it’s all right, and be able to recover and pivot and move forward.

But the other thing I want to share that’s very much related to resilience and for anyone else who struggles with perfectionism or delaying things because they’re not good enough, is this whole concept of self-forgiveness. I don’t know where to begin with this, but it’s … I would host a webinar and I would like mess up the format, or I wouldn’t know how to get my slides to share or whatever, and I just would beat myself up about it. I would sit there and be like, “You’re the worst. You’re a fraud. Who are you trying to build this online business? You’re never going to be like X, Y, Z.”

And the faster we can get over that garbage, and that garbage — I’m being flippant, but I’m also being super sincere. This inner struggle, this turmoil, these critical thoughts come from someplace in your story often. It might be just wounds from childhood, wounds from somebody important to you, but you can number one, uncover them and become aware of them so you can become aware of why you’re so critical or why you’re hard on yourself in certain moments. And then you can learn to love yourself and learn this concept of self-forgiveness and just say, “Okay.”

Ryan Lavesque, I mentioned him earlier, I don’t know who he’s quoting when he said this — I think he’s quoting somebody else, but this notion of you either get the result that you want or the lesson that you need. And I just think that’s a beautiful thing to remember, and that imperfect action is so much better than no action at all. And that’s it. And I also like to think sometimes, how would I want one of my kids to respond? So if one of my kids, for example, like baseball. Baseball is a big thing in the Canning family. So if one of my kids has a hard game or has a situation where they’re frustrated, we really try to build this culture and skill of self-forgiveness. And I think it can be easy to say like, “Yes, for our kids, of course, that’s what I would want for them.” But then when we turn it back on ourselves, it can be sometimes really difficult.

Lisa, this theme of self-awareness, this theme of understanding you and where you want to go and consciousness has come up many times here. And I just want to thank you for that reminder. Sometimes, especially as a parent, we can just fly on autopilot and we forget to internalize and talk to ourselves about how we’re feeling sometimes. And I love that that came up in the minivan and then now here at the end with how your kids deal with baseball and how we want to treat ourselves in the same way too and be that great example for them. That’s something that I resonate a lot with too with April, and I want to lead by example. We don’t tell, we show. And I think that’s really key.

And so, thank you, Lisa, so much. I want to talk to you for like a whole ‘nother hour, but we’re at the end of our time here. And I’m sure we’ll be able to connect again, maybe in-person one of these days, but thank you so much for the inspiration, for the wisdom, your knowledge and the advice and strategies that you’ve offered. One more time, Lisa, where can people go to find more of you?

You can visit my website,, which has all the information on my signature program, Conquer Your Calendar, as well as the coaching I do through the Woman School. And then my favorite place to hang out, I have to say is Instagram. So come on over for the party @lisacanning if you’d like to see a little bit of a glimpse in my life of raising eight kids and building my online business at the same time.

Incredible. Lisa, thank you so much. We appreciate you and we’ll chat soon.


All right, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Lisa. Not just inspirational, but very practical as well. And obviously, every person is different, every life is different, every set of kids is different, every set of circumstances is different, but hopefully, you can take some inspiration from one or more components of this interview. And again, you can find Lisa at, or of course, if you want the links and everything mentioned here in today’s episode,

Thank you so much for listening in. I appreciate you. Hit that subscribe button if you haven’t already. And again, thank you, thank you so, so much for all the amazing feedback and reviews coming in on Apple Podcast reviews. I literally get them in my inbox thanks to a cool tool at So I see them, no matter what country you’re in, I see them. I appreciate you. That means the world to me. If you haven’t done that yet, I would very, very forever be grateful for that.

And the last thing I’d be grateful for is for you to take action, because it’s one thing to listen to these episodes, it’s another thing to listen and take action, because I know that you can do whatever it is that you’re looking to do. You just may need some guidance, you just may need some inspiration, you just maybe need some practical tips and some starting points, and that’s why I’m here. So hopefully, we’ve gotten you started. Looking forward to seeing your results and maybe featuring you here on the podcast one day. Thanks so much. Take care. As always, I appreciate you, and I’ll see in the next episode. Peace out, and Team Flynn for the win.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at!

Share this post

Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building your online business the smart way.

Get Unstuck in just 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly Unstuck newsletter helps online entrepreneurs break through mental blocks, blind spots, and skill gaps. It’s the best 5-minute read you’ll find in your inbox.

Free newsletter. Unsubscribe anytime.

Join 135k+