Episode OverviewIn this episode, Jill tells us why she chose to walk away from her “perfect life:” a supportive husband, a beautiful house in California, and a good job. All before the age of 30, Jill files for divorce, moves to Chicago by herself with no job or friends, and deals with two life-threatening health concerns. We discuss the aftermath of her decisions, question why we believe certain things and quickly dismiss others, and consider her epiphanies along the way.
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Jill KnobelochJill is a brand expert, web designer, ice hockey referee, and a coworking startup founder. As a highly energy-sensitive introvert, she considers herself a recovering perfectionist and a left-brained creative, always working to balance her intuition with a more developed rational side.
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Shireen Jaffer 0:01
Hey, everybody, I’ve got Jill here with me who I recently was introduced to. But I’m not super deep into her story yet. So I’m super excited to have you here. And to learn more about your journey and the epiphanies along the way. Thanks so much for being here.
Jill Knobeloch 0:19
Thanks so much for having me.
Shireen Jaffer 0:21
Of course. So I know when we were introduced, you said something that immediately Of course, caught my attention because it’s, it’s why this podcast exists. That that, you know, you up until you were married, and even a few years after you were married, you did everything you were told to do. You did everything that you were told would look great on paper that would allow you to live a life that makes you happy. And then you had this realization that you weren’t doing those things for yourself. So let’s start there. I mean, that’s a that’s a you know, that’s a moment I think most people do. Do you have and you know, some people will choose to act on it while others will choose not to and you know, it’s either is okay, but tell us a little bit more about that realization for you and what really sparked it?
The Realization Of Living A Prescribed Life
Jill Knobeloch 1:13
Yeah, so I mean, I had a great childhood went to great schools, both of my parents together you know, they did everything they could to make sure that my brother and I had all of the opportunities that you know, we could possibly want or need. And I was very much perfectionist, you know, is the good little girl that got all the top grades in school I had straight A’s with the exception of one be in AP calculus. And I mean, I did sports, I worked outside of school, I just I did everything the way that you’re supposed to. went to college, got into a pretty solid school I met a guy there just like you’re always supposed to. And you know, from there we both moves move to California together. And we just, you know, we continued following the right track. And it’s kind of funny because I had a few things in my life that like were very non traditional. So I grew up playing ice hockey almost exclusively on boys teams. I refereed even in high school, I, you know, went to college for art, like it wasn’t necessarily one of those, like, stereotypical This is the right kind of degree to get. So I had those flexibilities where I really felt like I was making choices for myself. But it took a while for me to realize that I was still kind of leading a prescribed life. And it was unfortunately several years into my marriage when I finally it kind of clicked that this just wasn’t actually me. And everything was good. Like you said everything was right on paper. But it just it didn’t feel authentic to me.
What is that feeling? Right. I think that’s like one of the questions that a lot of people haven’t. And I can kind of share how this has impacted my life. And now when I felt this, I really want to hear from you, Joe. What What was the feeling though, right when everything feels? Or seems good? How would you describe that feeling where it still doesn’t feel authentic?
I guess it was just this sort of emptiness. So, you know, it’s, I don’t know, it sounds almost cliche. Like you hear it all the time in the movies and stories about I had everything but it felt like I had nothing and like, truly, I had married a great guy that had everything right on paper. He had a great job. We lived in a gorgeous house in Southern California. I had the flexibility. Beyond college I was still pursuing a career as an ice hockey referee, and it had me traveling a lot. And that had been a little bit difficult to balance the front Time jobs so my husband was phenomenal and supported me and my ability to you know, kind of contract and work freelance and just keep a flexible schedule and travel as much as I wanted to. And just like basically I had everything and yet it still felt like it wasn’t me like it felt empty and nothing I could do none of the levers that I pulled none of the things that like made me happy, like yeah, they made me happy, but they didn’t really feel fulfilling. It’s so hard to put into words.
Shireen Jaffer 4:33
Totally. I mean, first of all, thank you for sharing that. And absolutely, it’s hard to put it in words I but I think a lot of people have felt it and and they could never communicate it or not Never Say Never but they it’s very hard to communicate it and going back to what you said which was so beautiful. You know you were doing things that still felt like choices, right taking that arts degree major right things that still go unquote people don’t consider as the best, you know, path to pursue, which I think is silly. But you know, societally we still say that Yeah, you were making those choices. So even even me, I felt like I was I was making choices where I was quote unquote, rebelling. And I felt like I was thinking for myself, but I had realizations pretty much in my like 20s I would say around, like my mid 20s where I was, I was I was recognizing, wow, even though I think I’ve designed this life for myself, even though I, I genuinely feel like I’ve made very intentional choices and some I have and they do feel like mine, but a lot of them specially my beliefs especially what I chose to have such conviction and I started realizing, wow, I don’t even know where this belief comes from. You know, who or when this was introduced to me, but wow, I really bought it. To him, and it took a lot of digging into, you know, why I believe it and where it came from and doing all of that. But that feeling that that feeling really came from the way I communicated as resistance, like I felt a lot of resistance. You know, and it was weird, I couldn’t explain why everything was quote unquote perfect yet I would feel this resistance to it. And a lot of my friends who unfortunately aren’t in my life anymore, but you know, a lot of my friends would kind of give me a hard time and say, Well, I don’t understand like, why you’re complaining? I don’t understand like, why you’re not grateful. Oh, percent. Right. So tell me a little bit more about like when that when you started feeling those feelings that were hard to communicate what what was your environment like, how did they react or did you even voice it at the time?
Trying To “Adjust” To An Inauthentic Existence
Jill Knobeloch 6:57
Well, and I think that’s one of the problems was, I didn’t Really voice it. So and this is something that I’ve realized kind of retrospectively, but my family was very much the type that if you had a problem, you didn’t really talk about it. And the more I understand about myself and the more I see patterns in my own family and then communicating outside of our family unit, my brother married an absolutely incredible woman and the changes in inter familial communication that have come through his connections with her have been a little bit mind blowing, but that’s, that’s almost another story. But your comment about you know, your friends didn’t understand what you were going through that resonates so clearly. When I got to the point in my marriage, where I finally said, Okay, I pulled this lever that didn’t work, okay, I tried this opposing lever that really didn’t work. Let’s try just kind of letting things be. And that I mean, what and those two things were In our relationship, we’d had particular conflicts that were a problem from the very beginning. So we met in college, we dated for about two and a half years, were engaged for a year and a half and then married for four years. So we were married for four years together overall for eight years. And the problems that wound up ending the marriage were there from the very beginning. And we’ve kind of worked on them and they were things that I felt like I needed in the relationship but wasn’t getting. And I finally got to a point where I was like, Okay, I’m not going to get that. So let me adjust myself. I felt like I was almost making myself less in order to be okay with what I was receiving. And that really didn’t work. like trying to make myself less of me. I was like, I had hard resistance to that one, which I’m very, very grateful that I didn’t get very far down that path. But then I was kind of like, Okay, I need to just let go. I need to stop trying to change things. I’ve always been you know, perfectionist trying To be in control of my life in my environment, and everything else knows, like, let’s see what just happens if I just let everything go. And then we didn’t work anymore. But getting to that realization where it’s like, okay, I feel like I’ve tried everything that I can and it’s still not working, but I can’t explain to anybody why. And that made the divorce and leave a really difficult I was basically the villain. I was the villain and everybody’s stories.And, you know, my ex husband didn’t do anything wrong. He really didn’t. And even my, my close friends and my family. They all reached out to him in ways that and I don’t hold that against them by any means. But Want to reach out to him and say that, hey, they understood that we were going through something very difficult. And that they wanted to be able to that they wanted him to know that they supported him as well. And I think that that was great. I think it’s beautiful that my friends and family did that. But I didn’t receive the same.
Shireen Jaffer 10:22
Right. Yeah. And I’m sorry to hear that, because I will one because it happened. So I’m very sorry to hear that. And I appreciate your sharing that and I think that unfortunately happens to so many of us that, you know, I think it’s a common misconception that when you choose to let things fall, when you choose to let things go when you choose to let things just be frankly, it’s because you’re too lazy or too stuck up to you know, make it work and that’s absolutely Not the case. And that’s obviously clear from, you know, how you communicate it that you really did try all the angles. And several of them were self sacrificing, which usually leads, hopefully leads people to recognize that your self worth is, you know, precious and and you can’t actually really be a great partner and I’ve seen this in myself and my partnership, I can’t be a good partner, when I am not good. And, and making a decision to let something go ask the face, ask for time or just frankly, just let things figure themselves out. That’s, that’s a very hard decision to make. And unfortunately, not one that people recognize as a result of trying very, very, very, very hard,
Jill Knobeloch 11:52
right. And you said two things, though, that I really want to touch into and one of them was that if you If you don’t feel like you’re being true to yourself that you can’t be a quality partner. And I think that that was kind of there were a couple of like, big realizations that I had. But one of the really big ones was, I’m not getting what I need and deserve. And I’m sure as hell not giving him what he needs and what he deserves. But there was also the comment that you made about, you know, kind of, I think you said this, maybe my brain made this up, but like, looking right from the outside. And in our friends group from college, we were, I think we were the first ones maybe the second ones to get married. We looked like the right couple like it completely blindsided everybody else. And I think that that probably had a lot to do with everyone’s reaction to our split that anybody saw was that sort of rosy patina on the outside. So when we started telling people that it was over, I know my family didn’t know I think myself I’m always the only one that knew. And I assumed that my brother had known just because I was at his house all the time. But I found out later that he, he really didn’t have any clue. I’d spend about 10 days or so a month working a program in Texas. So and that was just, you know, kind of for a few months, but every time I was out there, I would work the weekends, and then stay with them in Austin during the week. And let’s see, my sister in law was pregnant with her second child. So she was a stay at home mom with her first and she and I had like very soul bearing conversations. And because I was having that with her in that house, it was, you know, my brother’s house. It never occurred to me that he would have no clue what was going on. Yeah, and like he and I didn’t necessarily have it, that rapport at the time either he and I weren’t having those open conversations, but she kind of laughed about it. To me in the last year, so she was like, you know, your brother asked me recently, he was like, you know, when when Joe was spending all that time with us in Texas, was that what was going on? And I was like, Yeah, yeah, that’s what was going on.
She was the first person that I told that it was over the week made the decision. And she immediately called my dad and told him, You need to have conversation with your daughter. And that made it that made it very clear to me that the only person who had been seen behind the curtain also didn’t understand. I think I think it was about six months later. We were I remember we were at my parents place in Colorado, so it must have been for something like Thanksgiving. And she and I took a walk just around the block, just to Get out of the house. And she commented to me, she was like, you know, when you left, I thought you were making the wrong choice. I didn’t understand it, you know, the way that you would explain things. It didn’t make sense to me. But at that point, six months later, she was like, You made the right choice. And I can see that
Shireen Jaffer 15:24
this is really this is something that is really important to call out. The a lot of people, I think it takes a lot of strength and courage to make that decision for yourself. Because and, and so many people have talked about this, right? This isn’t something that we’ve uniquely gone through. It is so lonely, to make those decisions. And it’s usually not until a year later, at best, maybe six months later, right? That’s someone who you really thought understood, for the first time say, Oh, you were right, or Oh, I’m proud of you. And that validation. And this is actually I would love to have kind of a conversation on validation. Because I think in our society, the way, you know, the way things are structured social media, you know, getting a validation from your teachers during school, they tell you if you’ve learned something, you know, well enough, or whatever it is. So, for a very long time, we’re constantly trained to seek out approval, right, seek out. So then there comes a point in our life, possibly where we have to make a choice. There’s no one supporting us and making that choice. There’s going to be this delayed timeline of when you even get that validation. Talk to me a little bit about that was that when when your sister in law did say those words to you, how did that feel, and then compared to also the journey leading up to that, you know, that that’s the
Jill Knobeloch 17:01
Yeah, I mean, when I left, I didn’t understand it either. And that’s why nobody else did because like, I was the one going through it and I couldn’t even explain why. I just knew this is wrong. I’ve done everything I possibly can to fix it. I’ve been unsuccessful, I need to do something else. And one of those kind of no tests or mental exercises, I guess, that I had for myself was realizing that I would rather be and I love being partnered. I’m an introvert. I don’t have wide circles. I like having like one or two very close contacts. So being in an intimate relationship, I don’t jump from relationship to relationship, but that’s very important to me and like I am, I want to be partnered, and even like going through all the processes since then, like I do want to get married again and everything else you know, I I think you kind of alluded to, you know, what beliefs do I have? Do I still believe them all of that. And that is one that absolutely, like, I want to be partnered. But one of the things that I realized was that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life. And 100% authentically me, meant to be partnered, and live a shell of myself to only be living shell of my life. And that was kind of the point where I was like, Okay, if that is really truly the truth, and when I said those words to myself in my head, that like, he was just sort of a deep grounding. So like, that’s a terrifying statement. But when I said it to myself, I was calm. And I was like, Okay, if that’s, if that’s the truth, then that’s what I have to do. And so that’s the choice that I made. Um, but you know, I can’t hold it against anybody else for not being able to say See a truth that’s so personal to me that I can’t even see that I can’t even explain. So, you know, for her to say what she did was hugely validating. But at the same time, I had already gotten to that point for myself. So like, Yes, I absolutely needed to hear it from her. But also, I’ve kind of already heard it from myself, which was even more important.
Shireen Jaffer 19:29
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s, um, that’s something I had to in my life, overcome this, you know, needing to find validation and trusting this feeling of groundedness which again, I know exactly what you’re talking about. This feeling of sense of calm and groundedness in so much turmoil mentally, but you feel in your body. It’s almost like you don’t feel it really in your mind. Your mind is still going through chaos, but you feel this. You know, it’s the right answer. You feel alignment and I had to work Work through giving that feeling and that conviction precedence over anyone around me validating it. And that took time. And I think it’s really easy. When you’re going through this journey with Jill, you’ve done beautifully. It’s really easy when you’re going through this journey to get to a point where you want constantly the validation of other people, and you want to constantly blame them for not giving it to you. But it’s very clear, you don’t blame and you don’t hold anything against anybody. And you’ll recognize this was your journey and, and you have to do it. To do it.
Learning To Trust Our Intuition
Jill Knobeloch 20:42
You made a comment there about you know, being able to speak to that feeling of grounding and sort of tuning into your intuition. And I think that that was probably the biggest lesson that I had in all of this was actually giving credibility. My intuition. And growing up, my family was all very rational. I come from a family of engineers, civil engineers, software engineers, chemical engineers, just very left brained, linear thinking. I think a lot of people in my life really expected me to go down a pathway of engineering as well. I just always, you know, math and science and all of that sort of linear logic worked very, very well for me. And going into the marriage, I knew that there was, you know, the fairy tales and movies and everything else. They always have that, you know, well, how do you know and it’s just well when you know, you know, and I had this thought that I was like, No, no, that’s just a fairy tale thing. Like I’m, I’m a more rational person than that. That’s just not something that I’m ever going to experience in my life. And going through the divorce and the preceding and subsequent therapy and self discovery and everything else that I went through, I finally realized that I wasn’t naturally any more of a rational person than I was an intuitive person. I just had been absolutely suffocating the intuitive side of my life of myself, not even my life, like it was so much more internal than that. And it was when I finally started listening to that the divorce was the first time that I’ve listened to my intuition, just for the sake of my intuition telling me something. And I’ve done so much in my life. Now, I still struggle with it all the time, like my rational voice speaks so much louder than my intuitive voice, which I think is kind of a tendency of a lot of rational versus intuitive. But I’ve done a lot of work to try to listen to that intuitive side a lot better lately. And I think it’s it’s helped me find that authenticity that I felt Like, I was missing that depth as well, that depth and authenticity that I felt like, was missing in my life as well as my relationship at the time.
Shireen Jaffer 23:11
I love that we just talked about rationality and intuition, because that’s something that I’ve been talking a lot about what my friends of mine that similar to you that traditionally happen, or that come from families that are incredibly rational. You know, they’re engineers themselves. And they have always had this like, strict belief that science and facts and logic rule right and that’s that’s how you approach anything in life. And I’ve recently had a friend of mine who, oh my gosh, if you had told me even a year ago that he would be going down a journey where he’s talking about our energy fields and he’s talking about our you know, racing and soccer is and the world that I carry. deeply about in addition to the world of you know, everything else. So I’ve fortunately been able to, like figure out my balance however, so my friend is really going through that and, and it’s he’s really been in that journey for maybe six months now. So it’s very, very recent for him. And it’s so fascinating for me, Joel, because I, you know, I’ve always looked up to him as someone that I can learn so much from he always helps me think critically, he always helps me be my best self. I’m going to give up Daniel call out, this is what I’m talking about. And, and he’s not going through this journey, and, you know, for a really long time, anytime I would hang out with him, or frankly, people like him, it was, it was hard for me because I would want to talk about the other side of things I would want. I would want to talk about our electromagnetic fields and I would want to talk about, you know, how our bodies process and what our DNA really means and how we communicate and You know, the power of the mind, right? And it would be really hard for me to communicate those things because I could never round them in Rational thoughts. I could never ground them in scientific evidence. And the beauty of Daniel going through it through this journey is he actually took the science path he took them. And now he’s able to give me all this beautiful, for lack of better words, evidence on why, you know, these things have basis to them.
Jill Knobeloch 25:32
I love that and I can actually relate quite a bit the last few years I’ve been I didn’t really necessarily seek it out. I think going through my journey of acknowledging and embracing and trying to empower the intuitive side of myself. I’m also realizing how incredibly sensitive of a person I am, you know, growing up with boys In hockey, you know, toughen up, don’t cry that you know, don’t let them see you bleed, you know, those sorts of things. And so I learned to be very tough and very resilient. But that didn’t negate the fact that I was very sensitive. And I think that the word sensitive gets a really bad rap, you know, people see sensitive as being excessively reactive, or too easily wounded. And I think one of the things about myself that I’m pretty proud of at this point is that I can consider myself both exceptionally sensitive, and exceptionally resilient. And those two things can 100% coexist together. Yeah. And that sensitivity I think, makes me a better friend. I think it makes me better at my work even. So ask a ton of questions and I see so many tiny little details. And that’s not just the logical side, but I get that on the feeling side too. Like now that I have brought my intuition more into focus for myself, I noticed those moments where I’m like, Huh, that’s not that doesn’t feel quite right. Why not? And then I ask those questions and I’m like why and so it is very much blending that Okay, here’s an intuitive trigger. Why let’s take this logical but bring the intuitive with it. I think one of my favorite phrases is in this is about love, but I think it works with with life in general, is follow your heart but take your brain with you. So like your friend Daniel, I have started seeing and hearing more about the literal physical scientific side about how and why those things work, you know, vibrating frequencies and you know how this interacts with this on chemical or molecular levels. And, you know, if you don’t believe it, you know, you Don’t believe that this particular crystal vibrates at a certain frequency that’s going to have this particular effect in your body. Okay, that’s fine. Like, you don’t have to believe it. But I will, it doesn’t mean that it’ll hurt you either.
Shireen Jaffer 28:11
Right? I love that. And I will say, I think a lot of people don’t believe it. But I feel like if you’ve done your research and you’ve gone down, my I have no desire to tell you what to think. Right? And and, like, I feel like you feel the same way. We have no desire to tell you what to think. However, I would love for, to inspire. Just like thinking in general and digging deeper and curiosity, right. And that’s why I do the things I do. And I think I’ve had friends who say, you know, they’ve gone down the research and they’ve come out and they’re, they’ve, they’ve come out with a different set of beliefs, which is beautiful and awesome. And if anything, there’s so much I can learn from those beliefs to then expand my mindset. However, I encounter more people though, that don’t believe in it and can’t tell Why ahead usually comes from a place of, again, you know, like, it took me a really long time to accept that, you know, I, in my meditation, the downloads, the you know all these all these things that I’ve experienced and frankly I’ve once I’ve tuned into, you know, just listening to people and their stories on Nepal, for example, he talks a lot, I don’t know if you follow Nepal, you know, so he, he, he has a really interesting background, but he talks a lot about, you know, his success in business and, and, you know, how he’s how he’s essentially built his life and, and I remember watching this, I think, I don’t know if it was a podcast or just a video he was speaking on but he talks about the downloads, and and meditation and I think he was actually on the Joe Rogan podcast and Joe was asking him, you know, Nepal when you meditate and don’t fact check me on this I am just riffing from a memory of like, almost eating Few months ago, but I believe it was Joe. And he said, You know, when you’re when you’re when you’re meditating, you know, I, Joe was saying, I focus on my breath. Like that’s how I’ve been trained to meditate. But is there a right way to meditate? And I don’t remember what Nepal’s response was. But he said something along the lines of, you know, his meditation fleet to downloads. And Daniel. A few months ago, Daniel was sitting next to me on that couch. And he’s like, downloads, what are downloads? Right, right. engineering background.
And right, who’s my who’s my who’s my husband and my partner and also Daniel’s best friend, and that’s how we met. Right? looks at me, cuz he knows I know all about the guy. But even in that moment, even in that moment, when I had a moment to just communicate, my truth doesn’t mean has to be anyone else’s truth. Just my truth. I didn’t. I didn’t speak up. I didn’t tell him what the downloads were. I didn’t tell him how I felt. I didn’t tell him my opinion on what the law was talking about. I didn’t because I was scared, but anything I would say, would be taken as woowoo by the very quote unquote, rational person, right and, and now, like we have in the last six months, like all our attacks are about, you know, downloads and experiences. So, I think if you and I’ve had these moments myself, I say things like, well, I don’t believe that that doesn’t exist. But when I truly ask myself, Well, why do I not believe it? And why do I think it does not exist? I don’t actually have a strong reason at all for believing or not believing that So yeah, I think it’s a it’s definitely a fascinating topic to explore as to you know, why these reactions exist in us and where they come from and why are we so quick to dismiss something and accept others?
Letting Go Of Resistance To New Ideas
Jill Knobeloch 31:53
Right, and I think it there is a lot of fear based resistance that we see in our families. In our culture in, you know, the region’s in the neighborhoods that we grew up in. And I mean, we could go down a whole political road that I don’t really want to get into. But like, we’ve got that fear based resistance. And I think one of the things that I’ve kind of learned to do, and I think has served me very well, is that when I have that resistance of Oh, no, I don’t believe that. I kind of reframe it as and I’ve, I’ve taught myself that I don’t, I don’t think I usually get the Oh, no, I don’t believe that I get the huh. I’m not sure about that. And then I start asking the whys. And if I don’t have a strong opinion about something, I’m not going to tell you one way or the other. And if I do tell you that I have a very strong opinion, it’s going to be because it’s backed up and researched. And I can tell you exactly why. I feel and think the way I do about something. And I think some people it’s funny, they they’re like, Oh, well, you just always have to win all of your arguments. And I’m like, Well, I’m not going to get into an argument that I’m not confident about. First place. So like if I’m not confident in something, I’m not going to fight you over it, I’m going to listen to you I’m going to ask questions. And if I am feeling strongly enough and I do have a strong enough background to quote unquote fight on it, it’s because I’ve gone down that path already and I know what it is that I believe
Shireen Jaffer 33:17
And why I mentioned this by the way, I get that reaction a lot so I feel you I also I have started by the way that reaction for so long programmed me to believe that I do need to fight right like and I’m a fighter, by all mean are as survival and thriving and fighting for people like I will do that. But I have learned and this this is a recent thing that I’m trying right? Because I also know learnings change. I want to fight for my for my opinion anymore. It’s not really an argument. It’s more like hey, you Let’s talk about it. Let’s debate and debate coming from more of a discussion and expanding mindset. But I don’t need to fight to convince you that I’m right. We don’t i don’t care about being Right. Right. It just, it’s I care about, frankly, when I communicate like even right now what I’m communicating to you what I believe and why I believe it, it’s for my own health, it’s for my own reinforcement and retraining because 95% of your retention and again, don’t quote me on this stuff. Why around but the one of the most effective ways to retain your learning is by teaching others.
so so i i do think our we’ve we’ve, you know, I don’t know I don’t know what, I have my theories of where it comes from, and I thought I go into education every episode I do. But I, I do think there is value in us just wanting to talk and just bring us to be okay with not having this defined conclusion. There’s a time and a place for sure. But I think some of the most the beneficial conversations I’ve had recently that I’ve been really enjoying are the ones that we talk and we sometimes talk in circles and we sometimes bring in new ideas and new concepts and go through experiments and, you know, play devil’s advocate and we just discuss and learn and expand our mind and at the end of it, we probably leave with two different understandings, you know, and takeaways, but that’s okay. Because our intention was not to, you know, problem solve and come to a definitive answer. Now, what that is the intention, of course, the conversation is different. So I think the value of all kinds of conversations has been dismissed. But you know, one that I think we should bring up more often.
Jill Knobeloch 36:06
Let’s go through and parse things out and ask each other questions. And if we don’t have the answers, it’s okay to say, I’m not really sure about that. And you don’t have to leave with a final decision being made. Growing up in Colorado, we had a fair amount of Native American culture in the general area. And for some reason, I had a particular fascination with it. And I don’t remember which tribe it was, it may have been across a number of tribes, and honestly, somebody’s probably going to come back and tell me that I got this completely wrong. But when pioneers were interacting with tribes, you know, they would come and want to have a conversation and have, you know, make a request and get an answer right then and there. But, you know, they would, excuse me, they would travel the hours or days or whatever it took to get to those tribal leaders and they would present their case or whatever it was, and the leaders would say, Thank you come back tomorrow. And you know, the white man took huge offense to that, like, Did you not listen to me at all? Like, I asked you for something I need help, why would you not give me an answer? And you know, the white man from the white lens took that as being highly offensive and very rude. That, you know, I requested something I gave you reason, and you didn’t even give me a yes or no, you just kind of dismissed me. But from the Native American perspective, it would have been rude to give an answer that day, because it meant that there hadn’t been adequate consideration given to the request. And I think that that’s something that I’ve always really held on to that. I don’t want to give you an answer before I’ve had an opportunity to sit on it. And I’ve had a few people that, you know, they want to present me with something now and have an answer within five minutes. And I’m like, No, I’m not going to give you an answer. The answer is not No, but I’m not going to give you an answer until I’ve had a moment to. And really, for me, this is going back to checking in on my intuition and I might have a rational thought for What the answer should be. But until I’ve been able to double check that with my intuition and make sure that that rational thought is not coming from some sort of conditioned background that I don’t still subscribe to. I just need to take that second. And usually it’s within a couple of hours. And I can come back and give you a much more definitive answer. But if I give you that answer right then and there, there’s a significantly higher chance that I’m going to flip flop on my answer later. Then if I say, Okay, I’ll get back to you. And again, like not even necessarily the next day, but even a couple of hours later, I can give you an answer that I’m completely confident in
Shireen Jaffer 38:36
thoughtfulness has been undermined completely awfulness this. And you know, it’s so interesting because I was talking about it from the work contacts, I advise a lot of companies on people operations and, you know, how work is done at our companies and one of the big things that you know, constantly is brought up as you know, our Our team members with slack and you know, work, workplace by facebook, facebook, these internal communication channels where we we expect live time communication, you know if i ping actor response immediately and we’re getting distracted and they get anxiety because they’re they can’t work they can’t you know, they don’t feel like they’re being productive because they’re constantly on slack and something that we implemented at Volvo quite a long time ago was, you know, asynchronous communication and the expectations always thoughtfulness over speed. And, you know, there’s there’s times to move fast. Obviously, we’re startup we know that however, in our communication, I don’t need you to send me a response if it’s going to be half assed if it’s going to one that comes from no basis, right. So thoughtfulness is so critical yet i don’t i think it’s, it’s going back to you know, focusing on the outcome, right. If you if you are presenting something to somebody If you want, if you want to be heard, you know being heard is more than just the sound they hear in their ears right on how they process it in their brain, it’s, it’s then how they internalize it, and then how they want to respond to it. Like that process just logically takes some time. And so if you want to truly be heard, you also have to give someone the time to hear you. And if your outcome is to is to come to some sort of conclusion or, you know, agreement or whatever it is that, you know, that is that is solid. Well, yeah, it’s probably going to take the other party to be thoughtful and to give you a response, that’s, that’s, that’s going to be that solid thing. So it it’s incredible that you shared that example as well, you know, and I, and I think again, different communication has different places. But thoughtfulness is definitely something that I think we undermine as a as in the way we do our work and the way that we you know, we teach in the way that lesson plans are created the rush to have immediate answer takes power over being able to think through things and come up with an opinion.
Jill Knobeloch 41:10
yeah, and I see a ton of that in the work that I do. So I had mentioned that when I first left college and was getting into the professional world, you know, it was difficult to balance kind of a full time job with, you know, a corporate job with all the traveling that I was doing with hockey. And I’ve kind of resisted that for my entire life. I had nine months that I worked full time for an agency and then I worked nine months for that same agency part time and the rest of my career. So Geez, how long ago that would have been. It’s been 10 years. So 10 years of my professional career, and only a year of that was I working full time in a quote unquote traditional job. I think part of the resistance is that I don’t trust anybody else to have enough of my best interests at heart to basically put my life in their hands. And some of that has to do with mental health. Some that has to do with physical health, some of that has to do with just that. I know I as an individual do better. Kind of being a little bit more multifaceted. I don’t ever want to be about just one thing, and I don’t want to be about just my job. But that corporate culture, too, has been something that has just never really sat well with me. That quick reactivity that constantly engaged, you know, so many businesses now being online, there’s almost never an off switch. But just the general like, process in corporate structure has always driven me crazy that it’s like, okay, problem, give a solution work on it. Oh, no, that’s not actually what I meant. I actually In this, so then you have to go back to the starting block and do it again. And I think we see this a lot more in design than maybe some other aspects. But it always drove me nuts, getting a briefer project, and putting out something that I put so much energy into so much thought, so much depth, and then giving it back and then saying, Oh, no, it’s totally wrong for all these reasons and me being like, that’s not what you gave me in the brief at all.
So the way that I work now, and I think with new clients, it drives them nuts. But I asked a million questions, and it probably feels like it takes forever for me to get started on any given project. Because I sit and I think and I poke holes and I, I am looking down the path like 1012 steps ahead. And I work in a fair amount of user interface design as well and as well as just kind of like storytelling through words visuals and like how a user will learn about a person story on a website. So I’m thinking about, okay, if somebody does this, then what is the influence? And how is somebody going to react to that? And I think through all of that, before I ever put pen to paper as far as actually developing a strategy, so these new clients that aren’t used to working with me, they will see that they’re like, Oh, my gosh, like, Why is it taking so long? Like, if it takes this long just to get started? How long is it going to take to, you know, get a final product? And the truth is, because I asked so many questions and get so deep into the problem up front. There’s so much less time wasted in incorrect designs and fixing iterations and going back and forth and round and round and round. Because we got all the questions answered up front. And there may be some things you know, a lot of clients don’t necessarily know and clients, people, whatever. I mean, this applies to life. They don’t necessarily know what they’re asking for in the first place. And you have to just kind of try something and see how it goes. And then based on that, and this is advice, Man, I wish I’d had this information back when I was dating before I’d gotten married. But like, sometimes you have to try something just to see what that reaction is. And then say, okay, No, that wasn’t quite it, let’s course correct. But I also want to dig into things as much as possible, get as many answers as possible before I start digging in to something and going down the wrong road. And if you don’t have all the answers, then make sure that you know you’re checking in regularly along the way.
The Move To A New City
Shireen Jaffer 45:32
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Jill, tell me a little bit more about you know, you’ve obviously made some very difficult decisions and, and, obviously, you know, you’re sharing your story for a reason, which I so appreciate. So tell me a little bit more about what you’re up to now and kind of where you’re at in your life and how long it’s been and how how has the aftermath? I guess been I mean, we’re always
Jill Knobeloch 45:57
Shireen Jaffer 45:58
But yeah, tell me more.
Jill Knobeloch 45:59
Man, I wish I could say that, like life has settled, but it seems like everything since that point has just been constant pivots. I mean, I guess it was constant pivots before then too, but you know, you kind of have different assumptions for how your, your 20s should go. It’s constantly changing in your 30s. It’s kind of like, Oh, I wish things would just settle down. But yeah, so I, I started off 2015. married. In March, we separated in June, I moved out and moved to Chicago. I took about a month road trip a little bit of time, just kind of like moving slowly moved in here in July. I didn’t really have anything waiting for me here. You know, I had worked enough around the country with hockey that I had a little bit of a network here. So I was going to jump in with the amateur stuff here in the Chicago area. was going to jump in with some collegiate stuff. I was really hoping to just like, kind of kickstart My hockey career again, you know, kind of being back where I didn’t have to travel quite as far to get regular access to, you know, high level hockey and college hockey and this, that and the other. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a network I didn’t. My dad’s family is an hour and a half outside the city. So they’re sort of in the area, but not really like here, here. So I was just basically 2015 I burned my life down. And the last thing that I had left for myself was hockey, and then the design skill set and I made sure to move to a city that was big enough that I knew I could find work.
So the first few months, I had a little bit of savings that I came out of the divorce with and so I kind of was trying to just give myself grace to kind of like, settle in and deal with all the changes and the people and figure out where life was taking me. And within about six months that December I wound up in the hospital for the better part of a week. It wasn’t a whole lot. Having just had a couple of strokes. So at the age of 28, I had burned my life down. And then all of a sudden I had a stroke, two strokes really. And the last thing that I’d held on to was slowly slipping through my grasp as well, because the standard protocol when you have a stroke is to go on blood thinners for the rest of your life. And that doesn’t really mesh real well with a high contact sport like hockey. Yeah. So yeah, that was 2015 was definitely a year of burning just everything down. And then 2016 was a year of just kind of, you know, trying to slow the slide.
I wasn’t working nearly as much hockey, having to be a lot more conscious of my risks. Because I was on blood thinners. There are some alternatives to being on blood thinners when you need to be on them specific Typically so my stroke the clot came from my heart based on where it affected my brain. They know that it came from my heart. I have always had a, an irregular heartbeat. We first found it when I was 10 years old, we’ve kind of kept an eye on it since then, the first time that it hospitalized me was in I think 2014 the fall of 2014 might have been 2013 but I was in California a couple years later come out here and want to put the stroke so they think that it was probably a perfect storm of those heart that the rhythm irregularities hormonal birth control, it drives me nuts how little they talk about clotting and stroke risks with that. I think we’re starting to be better with hearing about that. I still don’t hear it talked about much with the pill but I hear about it with some of the other hormonal like long term hormonal birth control things. But I’m a huge, like, if I hear somebody going on hormonal birth control for the first time, I’m like, Hey, you need to know about this. So those two things in combination, and then just like the stress that I went through that year, they think that it was a combination of those three things. So the hospital that I wound up at initially, was in my neighborhood. I took an Uber to the hospital. I didn’t know I was having a stroke at the time, I thought I just had like a pinched nerve in my neck. But yeah, I took an Uber to the ER, and got admitted and they wouldn’t tell the took me back for a scan. I didn’t even get my paperwork filled out in the ER, like, That’s how quick they took me back. So they took me back for CT brought me back to the waiting room, come back and they’re like, okay, we want to get a better picture. We’re going to take you for an MRI. They get that take me back to the ER waiting room. They’re like, okay, we’re gonna admit you and I’m like, Well, hold on, like, You haven’t told me what’s going on? And they’re like, Yeah, well, we’ll tell you. We’ll tell you upstairs when we get you admitted. Like so. In this new city where I had started dating somebody at this point, but hindsight, that wasn’t a fantastic relationship, it wasn’t a very supportive relationship. It was one that I just needed to, like, learn a lot about myself in. I had one very good friend who did come and she spent a couple of nights in the hospital with me. And then I was, you know, sitting in the ER, texting my sister in law, and my brother and my family’s got like a texting chain. So I was texting them and my dad like, calls his brother and he’s like, Oh, can you go up to the city and check on her? Like, she’s not asking for help, but I think she needs somebody there. So yeah, I got admitted and they’re like, so you you had a stroke. I was like, Okay, so what does that mean? What do we do? And I think it kind of like shocked them like, they were like, We just told you you had a stroke. Like, do you understand like, why are you not freaking out right now. But I think just like being in that year, it was like, well, I’ve also had a lot really ridiculous injuries from hockey too. So it wasn’t the first time that I’d been in a hospital with something just like absolutely ridiculous. And so I mentioned that like, I didn’t realize I was having a stroke, it didn’t present typical symptoms like you would expect, you know, there was nothing on the left side of my body like you didn’t get the droopy face. I didn’t like I wasn’t slurring my words. Like I had no corporal deficits from it. But the reason for that was it happened in my occipital lobe and I actually lost vision from it. So I had this really intense headache, and I lost vision. So initially, I thought that I was having a migraine, which I’d never really experienced before. So I blew it off. That’s how I wound up having two strokes was because the first one I thought was a migraine. The second one, I was like, Okay, well maybe this is like a pinched nerve in my neck from an old hockey injury. So yeah, I just I wasn’t freaking out. I was like, Okay, well, this happened. I’m in the hospital. Now. What do we do? And unfortunately the hospital that I wanted, that was not a great one to be at for anything outside of very basic protocol. There is a heart surgery because of the type of stroke that I had and the cause for it that you can have to not be on blood thinners.
And so I was like, okay, sign me up for that, like as soon as we can do it, and you can do it three months after a stroke. But it’s safer if you do it six months or more. And I was like, three months let’s do it. I don’t like I had come to Chicago to try to like kickstart my hockey career. And I was like, I can’t miss a lot of the season like I need to get this fixed. And of course, this was like the mental state I was in I was like, just fix me just fix me already. Just fix me. Let me get back to my regular life after having had a stroke. So this doctor was we did the purchase. seizure, but she kind of dodged it to make it aligned to her timeline instead of what I was requesting. And then it wound up being a failed procedure. And I was like, Okay, well then what’s next? She was like, well, you can make an appointment for eight months from now and we’ll discuss your next option, son. And I’m like, wait, we’re not even going to talk about what’s next for another eight months. And she was like, nope. I was like, Yeah, okay, so this isn’t gonna work. So that year 2016, I wound up seeing specialist teams at three different hospitals. Over the course of that year, I think I had something like 36 or 40 different doctor’s appointments over the course of the year, doing all sorts of different cardiac testing and figuring out okay, was this properly diagnosed? Is this the right way to move forward? who is willing to work with me? In a kind of a typical way, you know, I was 28. I turned 29, about a month after the stroke. So I was I was 29 at the time. I’m like, I Not ready to just sit down and take a medication every day for the rest of my life. I’ve always been pretty, not anti medication, but I don’t want to be taking medication long term if I don’t have to be. So I finally wound up landing at Northwestern University of Chicago was fantastic Northwestern, which was fantastic. By the end of the year, my insurance changed and I had to basically pick one or the other. And so I stuck with Northwestern and the doctors there were wonderful. They gave me so many more options than the first hospital that I was at. They really listened to me. You know, that year of 2016, I clearly had to really advocate for myself to get the care that would result in the life that I intended to lead.
So then in 2017, I finally had a repeat of the heart surgery repeat and an addition so they wound up diagnosing me with having atrial fibrillation. Initially, it had been sort of kind of diagnosed as atrial flutter, which is similar, but it’s a slightly different part of the heart that causes that issue. And I think to some extent they went with the diagnosis just to have a protocol to follow. My irregularities still never really fit exactly within that diagnosis, but it was the best that they could that they could go with. So we did what’s called an ablation, which is where they put a catheter through your leg and run it up through your, through your arteries to your heart, and literally burn scar tissue into your heart to disrupt overactive electrical impulses basically. So the first surgery that I’d had in 2016 was that but for atrial flutter, which is a more complicated one to try to fix. So 2017 they did the one for a fib. And they put an implant into my heart that basically blocks off a particular part of the heart where it’s kind of like having an appendix on your heart, they haven’t figured out a purpose for this particular part. But 90% of clots that originate from your heart originate from that specific part of it. So they didn’t physically remove that part of my heart, but it’s been blocked off. So it’s I, I say it’s kind of like amputating a part of the heart without physically removing it. So um, I was able to get off the blood thinners, I was back on the ice. Unfortunately, there were certain organizations with hockey that they never really gave a reason. But the the timelines just kind of made it very clear to me that they weren’t interested in investing in somebody who was complicated. And no matter the the work and the sacrifice that I had put in didn’t even really validate a conversation about what was going on, which was something incredibly painful. Something that it’s taken me a lot of therapy to kind of work on and work through. But I’m still working at the collegiate level. That has been a massive saving grace here. There were two levels that I thought I would never work in my life, I thought that had been cut off with that sort of changing career path. And I actually got opportunities to work variations of both of them this year, which was kind of a big deal. So that’s kind of where hockey’s at I continued on working as an independent graphic designer. I’ve had a pretty consistent client that I’ve been working as a contractor for the last like four years since shortly after that stroke. And then I’ve got independent clients that come in for, you know, four and six month contracts and then I just kind of like stay in touch with them afterwards.
And Recently I have started looking into opening a brick and mortar co working space in the neighborhood that I’ve landed in in Andersonville. So one thing in my life that I feel like I’ve always kind of just been drifting in general and I feel like I’ve struggled to really dig my roots in anywhere and find a really good community. And when I found this, this neighborhood of Andersonville it, it almost feels like a small town in the middle of the city. It’s up on the north side. It’s just south of oil, it’s north of Wrigley Field. And it just it’s such a tight knit community. And opening a co working space here serves a significant need that is vacant. There’s so many people that need that sort of a space here on the north side, and it just doesn’t exist. I’m one of those people. It’s very much solving one of my own problems, but I also know that there are a lot of people in the area that needed as well. So I mean, I’ve I’ve continued with skating as a wrestler I have continued working as a designer, that has morphed in a number of beautiful and wonderful ways. I’m now finding myself opening a physical business, which I never would have guessed ever in my life. But I’m just kind of embracing, you know, not knowing where life goes and seeing what sort of a journey it turns into.
Shireen Jaffer 1:00:27
You I mean, you’ve lived quite a journey, all before the age of 30. Oh, it’s and I’m so appreciate you sharing and I it’s been such a pleasure, Joel to talk to you to hear about everything that you’ve navigated and, you know, the decisions you’ve made and found yourself within. So thank you again for being here and sharing that story. How can our How can our listeners find you? How can they follow along?
Jill Knobeloch 1:00:56
That’s a really good question. I have three different Instagram accounts. I’ve got my personal one and the business ones. If you find me, if you find my personal one, it’s Jill Marie, underscore one to five on Instagram and then there you can link to both my Grapeseed designs is my business account, where I talk about all things branding and telling your story and you know, to give tips to small businesses that are trying to get off the ground and bootstrap to get started. And then you can also find the account for evil cowork. It’s AV io e.co work. And that’s all things digital community and working independently and remote and tips and tricks and strategies. And then we also get into some fairly local conversations about Andersonville, specifically in the Chicago area on that page too.
Shireen Jaffer 1:01:49
That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Joe, again for being here. I feel like we could talk for hours and hours more.
Jill Knobeloch 1:01:56
I know this went forever and thank you so much for your patience and forgiving me an opportunity to tell the story
Also, our CEO, Shireen Jaffer, hosts weekly virtual hangouts to bring people together. If you want to know when the next one is happening or get the curated email update,
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