Folks We Love with Lisa Corduff of Small Steps Living
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
I had all my kids away from home. My husband and I moved to Sydney just after we got engaged. I was pretty lonely after having a full social life and ripper work life in Melbourne.
After we got married my Father-in-Law passed away and the world was shaken.A few weeks later I had a laparoscopy to work out why my periods were so painful and we found out the issue and were told that ‘now was a good time to try for a baby’.
I always knew we’d have children, but at 30!? Seemed too young. We figured it took most people 6-12 months to conceive so we’d give it a try.
Then BAM! I was pregnant and life would never be the same.
My kids are the reason I created my business. I wanted something flexible to work around them (ummm….. STILL working on that balance!) and I wanted to share with other mums that it’s simpler than we realise to feed our family whole, real food.
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
My husband Nick 38 and me 37
How did you choose your kids names?
My son was going to be Elliott if he was dark haired or Luca if he was fair. I am blonde and my husband has black hair. All three of our children were born with a stack of black hair! Needless to say, Elliott it was. When we were brainstorming names we’d look through books on our shelves at authors names.
I named our middle child Penelope the first night in hospital. I was convinced I was having another boy so hadn’t put any effort into girls names. Penelope had been on our list and I thought it suited her. My husband had different ideas – his grandparents dog (lived for 15 years!) was named Penny. Back to Google.
We stumbled across Miriam. We both loved it. She gets Mimi, Mims, Mimsipops, Mopsy Moo – and all suit her perfectly!
I had always wanted an April. But my husband resisted on the grounds ‘you can’t call your child a month’. Such a bloke response! I convinced him in the end. I finally got my April, lucky last.
We live in Australia. Nick and I are Melbourne born and bred. But our first two children were born in Sydney and our youngest in Brisbane, where we have lived for four years. Melbourne is home and we look forward to getting back there ASAP. For obvious reasons of family and friends, but also because humid weather makes my hair frizzy 24/7! #firstworldproblems
I run my own online business, Small Steps Living. I absolutely love what I do. I love all aspects of business apart from the details!
My online programs have helped thousands of women change their relationship with food and make changes one small step at a time. I am not a nutritionist or naturopath, so don’t tell people what to eat – I just provide ideas and inspiration for simple and delicious wholefood meals.
Mothers can give themselves a hard time about pretty much every aspect of parenting. Anyone who enters the Small Steps world puts guilt on the back burner, starts a process of radical forgiveness and recognises that sustainable behaviour change can take it’s sweet time. No judgement and no guilt are allowed!
The Small Steps Living Membership encompasses the whole woman – we talk food, mindset and movement. It’s the freaking best community of women you could ever hope to meet. I adore my Small Steppers!
What’s on your manifest board?
“Power up to lead – what help do I need?”
I heard this quote in a podcast recently and it really stood out. For me, recognising that I am not superhuman and cannot do it all has been an ongoing lesson to learn. I really want a successful business, and I also want to be a present and available mother to my children.
I actually have rather low standards for lots of things (you should see my house!) but allowing other people in to help me with roles a mother ‘should be doing’ has been a big struggle for me. I feel like as my kids get older and I am not either growing them or feeding them, I am slowly working out what being a mama of children (as opposed to toddlers and babies) looks like. There’s a difference.
I need to allow my role to evolve instead of holding fast to habits that no longer serve me. If I’m powering up to lead – what help do I (honestly and without self-judgement!) need.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
The perfect Saturday starts with me sneaking off to the farmers market with whoever has woken early (usually my son). We find fruit and vegetables and usually buy some delicious croissants and coffee to bring home.
We all laze about a bit on the weekends but sooner or later it’s time for action. We might jump in the car and head to the Gold Coast or the local pool. We love being out and about. My son has boundless energy. I seriously walk him like a dog!
When we get home my husband might set up some big glass jars and do a bit of fermenting. We created a course called Small Steps to Fermenting in 2015 – so many ‘pickle’ jokes….! The kids love stacking the jars.
I’ll do a bit of food prep for the week – roast a chicken, bake some cookies for lunchboxes, dump stuff in the slow-cooker. The kids have always been active participants in the kitchen and it gives me a stack of joy watching them learn how to measure and pour. Obviously I am not high on the OCD-o-metre because the mess doesn’t faze me.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
My kids just saw the movie Sing. (Great movie – I cried about four times!) Lots of lovely lessons, but of course the one thing my two-year-old took away from it was the most inappropriate line of the whole movie. We were sitting at the kitchen table that night and she says “oh ma gosh. look at she’s buh”. Yep – the two year old version of “Oh My God, Look at Her Butt” – she didn’t even know what she was saying but we all cracked up laughing (of course) and she has therefore said it 43 times a day ever since!
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
When I was a teenager I dreamt of being the first woman Prime Minister of Australia. I was beaten to it. And obviously, I have chosen a different path. I love speaking, I can rally a crowd, but politics did not pull me in.
I also thought journalism might be fun but after working as a cadet journalist I thought that daily news was about the least inspiring profession I could imagine!
I NEVER saw myself running my own business. I have honestly just followed my nose and it’s got me where I am. The funny thing is that my current role in my business is a culmination of all the crappy and awesome jobs I have ever done.
What are some things you really believe in?
I believe in human strength and the ability to shift a situation with our thoughts.
I believe in connecting and it being the foundation of a happy life.
I believe in our ability to change – but I believe most of us go about it the wrong way.
I believe in souls.
I believe that we are our own worst enemy.
I believe that the sound of rain on the roof is about the best sound ever.
And I believe three is a tough age!
Where do your passions lie?
My passions lie in helping women transform the way they move through their life. Whether it be the food they eat, the thoughts they think or the way they move their body.
I am passionate about women giving themselves a freaking break and speaking to themselves with radical kindness. We owe it to ourselves to recognise our own brilliance. Sounds flouncy – but far out – why should we go through life thinking we are less than our extraordinary selves? I would HATE for my girls to talk to themselves the way I often talk to myself.
We need to practice self-love and PROCLAIM it as a way to empower our children to do the same.
This morning my daughter said “you look really lovely mum” and I said “thank you sweetheart, I know”. Felt uncomfortable but I need to be an example to her of someone who loves and accepts herself, so she can too.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
Yes and no.
Yes because, um, three kids in four years. I changed! My focus was shifted away from him and onto the kids. We have three more people in our family – all with their own needs and quirks. We have less time for each other and the time we do have has to count.
No because we still need each other just as much, so we make time for the conversations and affection. We are still the dreamers who committed to a life of adventure in their marriage vows. We still wholeheartedly believe in the goodness and potential of the other.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
“Lisa, THINK before you speak”.
Gah! I grew up hearing that daily. And it’s still a problem for me. But it’s also one of my biggest strengths. I know lots of people struggle with small talk – not me! I have a knack of opening my mouth and words coming out, with very little need to pre-plan! But while this can be a strength, there’s also a part of me that overshares.
I used to have no filter. But that has changed. People don’t need to know everything and I don’t need to share everything. I need to stop and think before I speak, when the moment requires it.
“What got you here won’t get you there”
This is a big one that I am currently working on. My mentor shared it at a recent retreat and it’s just so true. We are constantly up-leveling our lives and need to be open to new ways of doing things. The most important part of this lesson is knowing when to let go of something. I am often asking myself – what can I let go of to make room for the stuff that really matters.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
It will all make sense.
You ARE beautiful.
The stuff that FEELS right – is right. Do more of it.
DON’T GO TO THE SOLARIUM – YOU WILL REGRET IT!
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
As they are growing older the problems are more complex. I love the baby stage, toddlers are more challenging but still their needs are pretty simple – but my son in Grade 1 who is dealing with a bully? That shit is CHALLENGING! I feel that as they explore the world and become more independent the role of a parent is going to become important in different ways.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
I want them to learn adaptability. I want them to feel nimble in a complex and evolving world.
The world absolutely has a place for them and their unique gifts and I want them to know it’s theirs for the taking.
While the world is a big place, there is so much that connects us as humans – I want them to know the ‘oneness’.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
1. A large handbag. For obvious reasons #allthethings
2. Bandaids. Because they actually do fix everything
3. Banana’s. Smoothies, Ice-cream, Cakes, the perfect snack. There is nothing it can’t do.
4. My husband. Adore him for all he does and is.