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“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time to Be Great Parents” with Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Cody Green

Scheduling and defending time for my family is one of my biggest priorities. Unless you have made a plan well into the future for extended time together, it will ultimately never happen. Work calendars fill up and when confronted with having to take a week away from the office on short notice, the juggling and […]

Scheduling and defending time for my family is one of my biggest priorities. Unless you have made a plan well into the future for extended time together, it will ultimately never happen. Work calendars fill up and when confronted with having to take a week away from the office on short notice, the juggling and rescheduling make it nearly impossible. I’ve learned that if a family trip is planned three to six months in the future, I can begin optimizing my calendar long in advance. This ensures that the time is not only available but also set up so I can be as free from as many distractions as possible.


I had the pleasure to interview Cody Green. Cody is the Founder of Canada Drives — a Vancouver based financial technology that serves over one million consumers a year. When not active in his business, Cody spends his time running, travelling, playing music, and spending time with his wife and two boys.


Thank you so much for joining us Cody! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Igrew up in a smaller town in British Columbia, Canada with my parents and younger sister.

I have extremely supportive parents that encouraged me to explore all of my interests which ranged from sports and academics to camping and music. I joke that I may have been the first kid to expose the scheduling conflict of football practice and Jazz Band.

Summers were spent camping across the province or with my family following me around to different baseball tournaments.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Out of high school, I enrolled in business school, but after one year I realized that wasn’t the right direction for me. I made a complete switch and signed up for a two-year music program and to my parents’ credit, they fully supported my decision.

Coming out of that program I worked as a performing musician. The nature of that career led to working weekend nights — which left the 9-to-5 of Monday to Friday wide open. After some chance encounters I started selling cars at a dealership and ended up working in the auto industry for a number of years.

It was during my time working at the dealership that I was exposed to the inefficient and archaic ways that most shoppers were obtaining car financing. This was where the idea of allowing customers to apply for auto financing online before they got to the dealership was born, and ultimately led me to start Canada Drives in 2010.

Today we have a team of over 500 people, and we serve over a million people a year between the variety of financial products we offer.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I’m typically awake by 5:30 am and I will head straight for an hour of exercise. Then I get ready and have a quick breakfast with my family and am out the door by 7:30 am.

Once at the office, it’s pretty well non-stop until 5:30 pm. I really try to ensure all of my meetings and work obligations are completed in that ten-hour window, so to not have work blur into my evenings.

With a short commute, I can be home in time for a family supper on most evenings. From 6 pm until bedtime is family time. This can include anything from arts and crafts, to sports, to watching a movie. With a two-year-old and a five-year-old, the action definitely doesn’t slow down once I get home from work.

After we put our boys to sleep by 8 pm, I spend the remainder of the evening finishing any urgent work-related activity that may have come up and relaxing with my wife.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I am a strong believer in leading by example whether in business or with my children. This simply isn’t possible if I’m not there.

My wife and I are very aligned in this. We want our boys to be influenced by us and by the people we love and surround ourselves with.

Every shared experience and time spent builds a foundation that carries on later in life. Whether it’s putting them to bed every night or having dinner around the table, those memories and experiences have a lasting effect. That time together strengthens our family’s bond.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

At every age I see my child, I realize that they are only this age once. They are developing and growing so quickly, and I do not want to miss out on any of it. It is fun, challenging at times, and ultimately the greatest moments. I hope that they will look back and remember all the time we got to spend together as a family.

I think about some kids I grew up with where their parents weren’t around and engaged in their lives. These kids would start going down some troubling paths and the parents weren’t there to see those subtle shifts and that ended up creating a lot of challenges.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Scheduling and defending time for my family is one of my biggest priorities. Unless you have made a plan well into the future for extended time together, it will ultimately never happen. Work calendars fill up and when confronted with having to take a week away from the office on short notice, the juggling and rescheduling make it nearly impossible. I’ve learned that if a family trip is planned three to six months in the future, I can begin optimizing my calendar long in advance. This ensures that the time is not only available but also set up so I can be as free from as many distractions as possible.

I also schedule one-on-one time with both of my boys. This time is crucial as it allows me to be fully present. To that end, a morning playing with their toy trucks can be higher quality than a weekend at Disneyland where I may be distracted on my phone.

Prioritizing is also key. I ensure that I am home most evenings and weekends. I put my boys to bed nearly every night and we eat a meal almost every night at the dinner table. We make a priority of sharing how our days were and being invested in each other’s lives.

My wife and I also schedule regular date nights and weekends away every couple of months. This time is important as it lets us focus on our relationship. Investing in our relationship creates value that spills out to our broader family.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

Create rules that you adhere to. That can be as simple as putting the phone out of reach to avoid the inevitable temptation to pick it up and check emails. I’ve definitely been the parent at times that’s physically there, but mentally checked out on my phone. It’s something both me and my wife watch for and have that accountability to call each other out.

Make plans with your children. When I make a plan with my son to go play baseball on Saturday mornings, it starts creating value from the time the plan’s made. We both get to look forward to the time we’re going to spend together, and formalizing the plan gives it the importance to schedule in and defend the time.

Redefine what quality attention means. Your children look at quality time through a different lens than you do. For your children it’s less about the activity and more about getting that special time with their parent. Being fully present is often easier with the simpler activities like having breakfast or playing with their toys. Don’t underestimate how powerful that time can be.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

Being a good parent has many components. Part of that is figuring out how you individually can be the best parent to your children. For myself, that means living the values we want to instill in our children.

My wife and I make a list of values that we as a family want to embody and review them every year. This list includes things like being present, leading with love, continual learning, showing gratitude, and being healthy and active.

We then try to ensure that our actions and the time we’re spending align with these values.

I also believe that being a good parent goes beyond the time I’m physically with my children. Leading by example means working on myself and setting that example. If we value continual learning and being healthy and active, then I want to be able to share with my children the joy I got from going for a run or reading a new book.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

Our children are five and almost two years old — so we are still working on that.

I know that growing up I had a much narrower view of what I could achieve in the world. It really took me seeing the world — the experiences I had and people I met along the way — that made me understand what was possible.

Our goal is to give our children those same experiences so that they can see what’s truly possible and dream big for their own lives.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I find life tends to flow and parts of my life will always be getting more attention than others.

Sometimes that means a week away with the family where professional growth doesn’t have the same intense focus. Alternatively, that can mean work is busier and a few dinners are missed.

Success is being able to ride those waves and keep moving forward in a positive direction.

What are your favourite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I really like listening to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk as an audiobook. I find that when I listen to this, I end up nodding my head and saying things like “of course, this makes so much sense”. It’s very down-to-earth and relatable and has helped me become a stronger communicator with my children and with people generally.

I’m also a member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) which has provided a ton of resources beyond purely professional leadership. The peer-to-peer nature of the conversations allowed for a lot of shared learning on what’s worked and what’s not worked for professional parents.

Can you please give us your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom” — Jim Rohn

For me, it’s really a reminder of all the things in life that I’ve overcome. You don’t achieve great things because everything comes easy. Instead, you achieve great things when you conquer the hard things. When I get presented with that next challenge, I try to embrace it. And I find excitement in who I will need to become in order to conquer it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Keeping going. I see so many people give up too early when things don’t happen instantly or don’t come easy. The value of moving forward each day towards your goals is so powerful. That incremental growth compounds over time and that sustained effort can produce amazing results.

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