author choosing joy messy middle podcast

Molly McGlynn Knoderer on Starting a Business and Writing Your First Book


This week, Molly McGlynn Knoderer joins me on the podcast. Molly is the co-founder of Legacy Concierge Services in Northern California. She also recently published a chapter in her first book, “Awakening and Deepening to Truth.”

She has deep experience as an entrepreneur, and has followed her own curiosity and passion in her career in elder services after graduating from UC Davis. In the last year, she also wrote about her own journey and truth and so many powerful things to say about the writing process, and how to overcome shame that was present in her life and in so many of our lives.

Finding Joy in The Messy Middle:
Molly and I talked about how to find joy in the messy middle, and she offers some interesting insight on it, having worked with elderly people who have witnessed difficult things in their lives. I asked how we remain resilient in hard times, and she shared her experiences in talking with seniors who shared their thoughts on the terrorist attacks of 9/11:
Their perspective was like, “This is a horrible thing, but we will get through it, because this is who we are as a nation.” Because they had lived through World War II, they had lived through so many traumatic things in their life, and to get those perspectives of, “Yes, we have to acknowledge what we’re dealing with in the moment, but we also have to have the hope and the confidence, that we can get through this and become better as a result of it.” You hear those things, and it’s really empowering. I was supposed to help them, and they were helping me.”

In this episode we talk about:

  • Molly reflects on her work with elderly people and families who are looking for elder care for people they love.
  • The importance of being part of a team, even when you’re not on a “winning” team.
  • Curiosity of trying things out, like when she shared what she wanted to do and then did an internship.
  • Listening to other people’s stories and recognizing and learning from the history they share
  • Being very present in others lives to really hear them.
  • Sharing your story, even when it’s hard, and the freedom that it brings.
  • The evolution and transformation that comes from sharing the fullness of your story.
  • Understanding the legacy we want to create and the legacy elders in our life want to create.

Resources:
Legacy Concierge Services Website
Legacy Concierge on Facebook

Interview Transcript:

Paula Jenkins: Welcome to Jump Start Your Joy. This week, on the show, I am so excited to have Molly McGlynn Knoderer on. Welcome to Jump Start Your Joy, Molly.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Well, Paula, so good to see you.

Paula Jenkins: I’m really excited to have Molly on, because she is both a published author, and she has started her own business in elder care services area called Legacy Concierge Services. And I wanted to talk to her about both things. You are multi-passionate, clearly, where you have all these things that you love to do. 

First question I ask everybody is, tell us a little about… What were your earliest sparks of joy? What did you find the most joy in as a child?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: That’s such a cool question, because it’s something I think about. Working with seniors, I think about those things a lot. And I think, going back, we both grew up in the same town, and I think a lot about the innocence of being a kid, where I didn’t realize how innocent I was growing up. Things that made me happy that I have memories of, I have two younger sisters, and being able to spend time with them in our backyard. We had a pool growing up, and we would spend hours and hours in the summertime in the pool, playing all kinds of funny, silly, made-up games, and just the innocence of that time together, that’s something so special. My youngest sister has three little boys, and I just see that those three boys are playing together like my sisters and I used to. It brings back that nostalgia of the happiness. I love seeing that. I that is a big thing.

And honestly, you and I played softball together, and I have great, fun memories of being part of a team. I played sports all through high school. I was not a great athlete by admission, but I loved being part of a team. And now, I turn that into, I love being part of a community. That’s something that I translate that into. I think those are the big things. I’ve always felt like I had some really wonderful friends, and I just think we were innocently living our life and just going along. We didn’t know about the big world in front of us; we just lived in our small little bubble, and it was pretty nice. And then as you grew up, more things come into that bubble and stuff.

The big thing, I think, is just remembering my sisters. Christmas morning or Christmas Eve, we would always sleep in the same room together and wake each other up. I mean, I’m talking when I was eight, nine, 10 years old. My youngest sister is six years younger than me, so we always wanted to maintain that excitement for her for as long as we could. And just going through that and giggling and laughing, and getting the giggles with my mom. My mom and I get bad, terrible giggles to this day. We’re not allowed to sit in church together, I’ll tell you that.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. I love that you brought up softball, because I still, every springI remember being out on the field at dusk and being like, “It’s softball time!” There’s a serious joy about softball for me.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: So much fun. I have so many great memories. And again, I know I wasn’t the best athlete, I wasn’t the best player, but I loved being part of the team and playing together and working hard together and winning together. And, I don’t know if you remember this or not, but in high school, I did play basketball. 

In the whole country, we were the most losing basketball team in the whole country. I don’t remember what the number was, but finally, in my senior year, we won our first game. It was such a big deal that we were on the local NBC station and on ESPN, because we broke the streak. And I remember that, because I remember… I didn’t care. We had so much fun being together as a team. I can lose. It’s okay if you have to get back up and start over again. It taught me a lot. But I just have so much fun remembering. But I remember the camaraderie of being part of that team, and we were friends. We all still showed up, and we got to be on ESPN.

Paula Jenkins: That is amazing. There’s probably a lot of lessons in how to show up and be present for each other, and still have fun doing something, because it’s not about winning at that point. It would be amazing if it happened, clearly, but that’s not the thing that’s keeping the team together.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: No. We’re like the team the Harlem Globetrotters always play. Globetrotters always win. We were that other team. But we did have a lot of fun. And we worked hard and we did try our best; we just weren’t as good as everybody else. I think those are the things that I think about that brings me joy. And even translating into today’s life, being part of a community, being part of a team, those are the things that bring me joy, and having camaraderie with people and helping each other. That still translates, but it’s maybe not as innocent as it used to be 30, 40 years ago.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. It’s always interesting, because there always are through lines, obviously, of what somebody loves as a child and then what they’re doing now. I wonder if you could tell us a little about how you became interested in elder care services, and maybe the journey to starting your own company.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Well, it’s an interesting one. It wasn’t expected, I’ll be honest with you. I went to school at UC Davis and went to junior college first, and when I transferred into UC Davis, I was pretty clear that I wanted to be a second grade schoolteacher, and I was very focused on that. I studied human development, and in human development, there was a daycare program on campus at Davis, and that was also considered to be our lab, so the students who were going to go into education would go and do some lab work there and observe and stuff.

And I remember the first day at the lab at the preschool, and the kids… You know how they get the shrieking, yelling, and screaming? The really high-pitched excitement? Well, I had my first panic attack at that point, because I couldn’t handle that volume. And I realized, at that point, that I love kids, but I just couldn’t handle… It wasn’t my space. I had to reevaluate, and at the time, I really struggled at Davis, and there was a story behind that.

I realized I didn’t have good grades at Davis, but I was doing really well and really enjoyed my aging classes, all the classes about gerontology, which was weird, because I never really had grandparents. Obviously, I had grandparents, but I didn’t really know my grandparents, so I didn’t have any mentors or people to look up to in that grandparent generation. And I decided that’s what I wanted to do, so I want to switch gears and go work with seniors.

And I announced that to my family one night. I think it was at a St. Patrick’s Day, so my whole extended family was together. I said, “I’m going to work with seniors. I’ve decided, I’ve changed my mind.” And my aunt, who was a social worker at a program in Petaluma, said to me, “You’re nuts. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re out of your mind.” I’m like, “No, this is what I want to do. I’m doing well in those classes.” And she said, “Okay, then I want you to do an internship with me at this day program where I’m a social worker at,” so I did.

For two years, I would drive from Davis to Petaluma at this adult day program, and that experience was probably the most powerful experience to this day. The participants in that program, many of them had dementia or stroke-related dementia in that program, and I was so fascinated and intrigued and in love with the authenticity of each person and each day, knowing that they may not remember me. We might have an amazing moment right now, but the next time I come next week, they may not remember me. It was my responsibility to create a safe environment for them so they could be themselves and not have fear of judgment of not remembering things or maybe not being able to say their words. The word is in their mind, but they can’t say it out loud.

I learned so much from that experience, and to this day, I hold that as one of the most influential experiences I ever had. And one of the ladies in the program, Marie, she was born in Yugoslavia, and she gave me a frame that she brought when she immigrated to the United States for my graduation gift. When I graduated from Davis, I was still doing my internship. That was my gift, and I have that right above my light switch in my office. Every day, I see that, and it’s my influence and what grounds me to remember this is why I do what I do and this is who influenced me to do what I do, so I always have that grounding.

That’s how I got into senior care, and when I graduated from Davis, I started working at an adult day program in Sacramento and just flourished from there. I was activity director for two years and just loved every single minute of it. You get to learn so much, there’s so much, and then you’re dealing with the history of people. I mean, I met someone who was 100 years old. This was back in ’95. She was 100 years old, and she came to California from Tennessee in a covered wagon.

Paula Jenkins: Wow!

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: And she was able to tell me the story. Those are the things you don’t get to read in the history books. I met a man who was in an apartment by himself, and he was going to come into this day program, and I was evaluating to see if it was appropriate. I said, “Tell me about you. Tell me your history.” And he said… He pointed over at a trunk in his apartment. It was a teeny, tiny apartment. “My whole life is in that trunk.” I said, “Tell me what’s in there.” And it ended up, he was a Black gentleman who was arrested in the late ’50s, early ’60s, and he was put in jail for an amount of time for… He was accused of raping a white woman, and he didn’t. He was innocent. He was released. But he turned his life into advocacy, and he became a preacher, and he preached with and marched with Martin Luther King. I’m getting goosebumps telling you this part.

To be able to have the honor to hear that story and to hear it from him directly, and the emotions and the experience, and some of the shame he had and the pride he had. That’s the gift, that you get to not only help people, but then you get to learn about the treasure of their life, and that’s a huge motivator for me, every day. There is a person that gets to tell you their story, and most people want to tell you a story, like I’m doing to you right now.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah, I can totally relate to this. It’s so fascinating to hear the inner workings, and also understand the hardships or the life events that people overcome to be where they are in the moment. That’s a really powerful story about that gentleman. Wow.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. I mean, I still remember his name. I won’t say it. He’s long passed away, but I won’t say it because of confidentiality. I mean, those are the things, you learn perspective. I remember when 9/11 happened. That was the first real traumatic experience on a global level that I had been in, and I just remember being overwhelmed. And at the time, I was working in Sacramento in an assisted living community. And it happened, and I remember going in and saying, “I’m going to go hang out with my residents and see what’s going on. What are they thinking about it?”

Their perspective was like, “This is a horrible thing, but we will get through it, because this is who we are. We, as a nation, will…” Because they had lived through World War II, they had lived through so many traumatic things in their life, and to get those perspectives of, “Yes, we have to acknowledge what we’re dealing with in the moment, but we also have to have the hope and knowing, in the confidence, that we can get through this and become better as a result of it.” You hear those things, and it’s really empowering. I was supposed to help them, and they’re helping me.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. That is amazing. And I love the perspective there, because here in season six, one of the things that I’m wanting to dive into in a bigger way is, how do we find joy or meaning? It’s still teasing out for me, even, but in what many people would call the messy middle, meaning we’re in the middle of it right now. We’re recording in September 2020, and it’s messy. How do we find meaning in that? And I love what you’ve just said about… There’s connection in other generations who have seen other things, but also that the human spirit and our individual spirits are that of, “We’re going to get through it, because that’s who we are.” Yeah.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: That’s who we are as a culture, and that’s who we are as a… For them to share that and say, it gives you that hope of… You feel so overwhelmed and helpless in those moments, and sometimes in this moment right now, too, you feel that level of helplessness. But then, you talk to someone who has life experience and they’re willing to share it, and you go, “This too shall pass.” That’s the saying. This will pass, and that’s pretty powerful.

Paula Jenkins: It is. Yeah. Thank you very much for sharing that. Let’s dive in with your role in becoming an author and what you’ve done there, because I love the story that I heard you discuss Dorris Burch. Similarly to the way you described finding your life’s work, you found your way into becoming an author. Would you tell us about that story?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Again, by accident. I’m part of a national organization called Polka Dot Powerhouse, and I met Dorris through Polka Dot. She is an incredible influencer, coach. She’s a very powerful presence, and she stood up at this meeting that I was at and introduced herself and I was instantly drawn to her. She actually sat down near us, and I went over and sought her out, and just told her, “I don’t know you, I don’t know anything about you, but I have to meet you, because there’s something about you that is just… I’m drawn to you.”

We started conversations and we started connecting and talking, and she was asking me about my story, and she was sharing her story. It was just a really interesting time, and she said, “I want you to tell your story.” And it started off with when I was going to school at UC Davis, I learned I have a learning disability. We started that process, and as writing, she wanted me to share that. And as I was writing, she kept pushing me and saying, “More. I want you to do more. I know that there’s more you’re hiding right now. You are hiding. I want more from you.” And you don’t say no to Dorris. And I mean that in the best compliment. You do not say no to her, because she has this intuitive way of being able to just see beyond what’s in front of you.

That’s where it started. As I started diving into it, I started diving into first learning about the learning disabilities. And then, even going back further about the insecurities of knowing that I have certain struggles that maybe no one else knew about, and those insecurities that come up with it, that was a pass. But then, at the time, then moving to the present, I also had a lot of problems, and I talk about it in my chapter in the book, with… I just had a lot of problems.

My husband and I, we really wanted to have kids, and we just were not successful. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, and I ended up having some serious issues with fibroids and possible ovarian cancer and went through this three-year journey of hell, basically. Those insecurities came out like, “I’m a woman, I’m supposed to have kids.” Everyone asked me, “Why don’t you want to have kids?” That started coming out in the writing, so we dove into that area.

I tell you, I always had it as a secret. My closest friends and of course my family knew that part of the journey, but now, there’s a freedom of being able to share both sides of the story, because I don’t have to hide it anymore. And it’s amazing the discussions you can have around… When you make yourself vulnerable, you learn a lot about other people, and there, it really creates these amazing conversations and trust-building and community-building. It’s not easy to this day, still.

I still cringe sometimes a little bit when someone asks me questions about, “Why don’t you guys have kids? What happened to this?” But I realize that, by writing this chapter, it allowed me to have the freedom to be honest and be open, because I’m not the only person, my husband and I are not the only people who have gone through what we’ve gone through. I think the more we talk about it… What I realized, especially after the book… It’s been out for a year now. What I realized, especially after the book came out, is I had a lot of people send me letters and emails, and it was pretty powerful and overwhelming.

But I realized that the more that we talk about these things, the less shame that there is, because you do have shame, and you try to hide it and cover it. But when you do share things like this, that shame starts to go away, not only for yourself, but for other people, and you allow people to start feeling more comfortable with what their journey is, too. It’s still overwhelming to me that I wrote that. It’s really overwhelming to me that I shared all that, but it was a major risk, and I have to say, going back to Dorris, I took the risk because I trusted her, and I took the risk because she trusted me, too. That was something that was pretty powerful in itself.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. Thank you. And there’s so much in there. I think the truth of it, especially when you say yes to something and digging into it about even things from me and my own past, even this show came out of that place of wanting to really be vulnerable, but also wanting to open up a safe space for people to share their own stories, so that we all can see that there’s places that people struggle, while they are all different, but that if we can maybe share it and show somebody else that there’s hope, that’s the thing that makes the difference.

For me, it was being diagnosed with PTSD after a very long childbirth situation and having a lot of trauma around that. When I fought through that and got real with it and then had a therapist say, “Someday…” She’s like, “Not now, but someday, you’re going to want to share, because your strength in this,” and I see that in you too, “your strength in getting through this is really inspiring for other people.”

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: And what you just shared, and with your show, how you create a space, you start with a level of compassion, because you know. That’s how, with what you’re doing, it translates, that your compassion translates into, “I’m going to share and be vulnerable so you can, too.” And the compassion creates that trust. That’s coming from you. That comes from you.

Paula Jenkins: Well, thank you. Yeah. Because it’s never about going in just for the sake of going into a topic. It’s always in this service of greater good, because we’ve all had a messy moment or a really hard thing, and we’re like, “Oh, no. This isn’t going to be thing. This isn’t what defines me. I’m getting beyond this, and that’s the thing that will ultimately define me.”

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Exactly. And you have to keep doing it. It’s going to keep evolving, it’s going to keep changing. I mean, you hope. That’s the hope, that everything keeps evolving. That’s the goal.

Paula Jenkins: Yes. So true. That’s so good. I know, in a previous interview, I heard you talk about, with Dorris Burch, how you woke up and found the internal yes of sharing your story and being the authentic person in an outward way. Do you want to talk about what that internal yes is and how you woke up to it?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Gosh. And even since I wrote it, it’s probably changed and evolved. For so long, I was told no, I wasn’t worth it, I wasn’t worthy of, and I bought into it and believed that. This is going back from being a little kid. I remember being told, “You’re not worthy, no.” Having dreams, being told no. “You can’t do it. You’re not capable.” And I still have those insecurities, and I still have that internal dialogue.

But yeah, for so long, and even sometimes today, that comes back, that ghost comes back. I was just told, “No, you can’t. You’re not worth it.” If I did something I thought was really good or positive, “No, you can’t share that. You can’t brag, you can’t boast.” And I was never bragging. It was more like celebrating, but I learned it to become bragging, which was shameful.

Anyhow, I think, over time and learning to have confidence, but surrounding myself with people who allowed me to just be myself without having shame, that is where the yes came from. I needed to be around people who were authentically supporting the yes, and I need to hear it enough that I started to believe it. And then once I started to believe it, that became my internal yes.

And I will tell you, I’m a big believer in therapy, and I have gone to my share of therapy, and I probably will. I haven’t gone for a year now, but I probably will go back at some point again, because it’s something I believe in, because I do go through my ups and downs, and I do struggle sometimes, and sometimes the internal dialogue becomes really destructive rather than constructive. That’s something I have to always be mindful of and keep track of, but it’s about surrounding yourself with people who are going to support and celebrate the true person rather than put the expectations of who I should be.

I think you and I both have a similar path in the sense that we grew up in the same area. There were expectations to be somebody that you can’t be, or you’re not, or you don’t want to be. There was a lot of no’s and a lot of shame, but I think, as I grow up, and I’m almost a year and a half until I’m 50, I’m surrounding myself with really good people. And it’s taken me that time to do that, and then it’s taken that time for me to believe them, though. That was the other thing, and once I believed them, I started believing in myself. It started externally, and then worked into the internal. And therapy. Definitely therapy.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. I have my fair share of coaching and therapy. Yes. It is interesting, because I think so many of us listen to the “should” for so long, and it is always interesting to take stock in where the “should” got established, because I don’t even… I mean, I think some of it’s just wherever you grew up and not necessarily even your family, but sometimes it’s even a silent “should”. In our case, I know one of the big ones in the school that we went to was, “We dress this way.” We wear pink on Wednesdays or whatever that is.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: I still don’t follow the guidelines.

Paula Jenkins: No, I clearly don’t either.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah.

Paula Jenkins: It’s such a strange programming of things, and then we get into this place where we don’t trust our own self and our own judgment, even the clothes that we wear, which is so ridiculous. Thank you for sharing about how you found your way back to the true internal yes, which is a guidepost for wherever you’re going.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Exactly. And then being able to have the confidence. I think, going back to losing a lot in basketball, I know that there’s going to be failure sometimes, but I have to have the confidence that I try. And as long as I try with 100% in the moment of what I can do, as long as I’m making that effort, then that’s the yes.

Paula Jenkins: Let’s talk a little bit about your company. I know that you started it with two other folks, and it’s called Legacy Concierge Services. Do you want to tell us about the business and what you do? I don’t know. Any nuggets about having a business that you’re running and that you started with other people?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. And it’s two people who are running it now, so we’ve had transition in the very beginning as well. Yeah. When I say we, I have a wonderful, amazing business partner. Her name is Deanna, and we started about four and half years ago at this point. And we both had worked in senior living, senior care for… Myself, at that point, was about 25 years for myself, and for Deanna, it was about 10 years. We worked in a skilled nursing together and realized the corporate world was, just the investors, the corporate world was overtaking the quality of care and service for the people that we serve, the seniors.

We were feeling very disillusioned. I’ll be completely honest, I got so frustrated with the focus on just profit over people. I spoke up. The company didn’t like that I did that. I got in trouble, and I no longer had a job with that company soon after, which was the greatest gift. And at that point, Deanna was still working there, and we felt like we could do something better. We felt like we could do senior care better, we felt we could do it with integrity, we felt we could it with the focus of dignity for the people that we serve, so we started Legacy Concierge Services. And we use the term legacy because it really comes with the idea of what we do as care coordination and senior living placement.

We will help families who are navigating the aging process with themselves or with a loved one. We really, truly listen in, peel back the onion, and then based on what we learn and what we share, we will coordinate the services for the family so they don’t have to, whether it’s in-home care, a dog-walker, a chef, a contractor to help retrofit the house so it’s wheelchair safe or walker safe or whatever it may be, we do that. And then on the other side, when someone’s no longer able to safely be at home or maybe spending too much money to stay at home, we will help them relocate into assisted living or Alzheimer’s-type communities. We’ll walk them through that whole process.

Legacy came out, the term, because I personally was one of the primary care givers for my mother-in-law, who lived up in Nevada City about three and a half hours away from us. And when we would go and visit her, which was often, we realized that we were so focused on the task that we had to do while we were there to visit her, and she was very stubborn and not willing to accept a lot of help and wasn’t always necessarily the nicest person about it either. During that time, the resentment built, and we would get there, we focus on the task, get her meals made, clean the outside. She lived on 20 acres of property, clean up. All these tasks, and we lost the relationship with her.

That’s where the legacy comes, is that we want to take on those tasks for the family so that they can focus on the legacy of their relationship. As things transition in life, as they do, at the end of the day, we want the family to be able to say, “I’m so glad we had that time with Mom or Dad,” or whoever the person is who needs the care, because they were able to actually spend time and connect and learn. And we help to model that. We have the conversations with the seniors themselves, which are the best, and we ask a lot of questions.

And a lot of the times, the adult children would be like, “I didn’t know that about my mom. I can’t believe my mom shared that with you.” I’m just like, “Well, I asked the question.” I have no preconceived notion, I ask the question, and they answered, because I have a curiosity. And sometimes, families lose that curiosity of each other as caregiving becomes more intense and more needed. That’s where that whole thing came up.

Yeah, we’re four and half years into it now, and being an entrepreneur is like going through a tunnel full of water without scuba gear sometimes. But it’s also the best thing in the world. We’re constantly learning how to be better, do better. We just say, “Let’s go for it.” We don’t have anyone telling us how or what to do. We are paving our own path.

And we have mentors that we’ve reached out to, and one of the first things that we did when we did launch Legacy is that we found ourselves really seeking especially women entrepreneurs. We joined, there’s a local group here in the North Bay called Marin Women at Work. That was one of the first groups that we joined and committed to, and we were surrounded by women entrepreneurs who were there to help each other, and they guided us. If we had questions, they took us under their wing, because we had the deer-eyed, what-the-hell-are-we-doing look. We were trying, and they knew it, so they wanted to help us.

Ultimately, our goal is to be able to give back, too, when we see someone who wants to or is ready to start a business. My hope is that, someday, we’ll be able to give that same mentorship that we received. That was really a powerful thing, and we’re still learning. We trip and fall. What is the saying? We fall forward. We’re still making that happen.

But I’m very fortunate, too, because Deanna is my business partner, and she’s also one of my best friends, and she is an incredible… We complement each other. She’s a go-getter, dive in and make it happen, and I’m the big-picture, creative, drive her crazy, because I come up with the different ideas all the time. But she has the ability to hear that and take that information and make things happen, and she gets things done. It’s just so awesome to be able to have that type of a partnership where we really a yin and a yang, but we love what we do and we know what our focus is, is dignity and integrity in our service and for the people that we serve. And we do not lose sight of that. That is our value and our ethics, and we hold true to that every single day.

Paula Jenkins: I love that. There’s the core values that pull you together closer, probably. Yeah. And if something comes up, you’re like, “What would dignity and integrity do right now?”

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. And we’ve had those hard conversations with each other. Not questioning each other’s motive or anything, but just in terms of a general situation we might be dealing with, and we’ll talk about what’s the integrity or where’s the dignity in this situation for the person that we’re serving, and how do we… Maybe a family is not providing dignity to their loved one for whatever reason. How do we approach that family and bring dignity back into the situation? And to do it with respect. We don’t know what the dysfunction of the family is. We have to be respectful of that, but we also to have those hard conversations of, “Look. Right now, in this moment, this is what we need to focus on, and that’s the quality of life of your loved one, and this is what’s going to be required of that from you and from us to ensure that happens.”

We’ll have those conversations, and she and I will be a good checks and balance in that process, and we come from a place of what’s best for the person that we’re serving. That’s it. We don’t have investors. We both say our husbands are our investors. There’s no one standing over us telling us how or what we should do, and it’s what’s right for the person and what’s right for the family.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: It’s pretty awesome.

Paula Jenkins: And I get a sense, because I think you and I are also very similarly minded and rebellious, maybe, in spirit. I was also having difficult… Just to rewind a little bit back to where you were talking about when you were working in a nine-to-five in a corporation, I also have been the person that’s like, “But wait.” Maybe it’s not about, “This sounds like it’s all for profit.” Sometimes it was that discussion, but really calling people out on, “Wait. Why are we doing it this way? It doesn’t make sense.” And then everyone’s like, “What’s she doing?”

But I think there’s something really beautiful about that, when you then go to be an entrepreneur, because then you’ve already seen the things that you know you don’t like or that feel wrong or whatever, but you’re also not afraid to question the things that maybe you… how you set your business. You have that… I don’t know, something about it, a hunger for something very different than what you’ve seen.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. We’re constantly trying to evolve. Again, the word evolve. We’re constantly trying to evolve ourselves. But yeah, I’m sure, looking back, I was a pain in the you-know-what for these companies, because I would get so frustrated and so agitated, and it was like, “We can do this better. Stop following the status quo. We’re dealing with human beings, and humans are so dynamic, so we have to be dynamic in our service.” That’s what we’re always looking at. We’re always looking at, how can we take the next step?

Even four and a half years ago, who are seniors were and our elders were four and a half years ago and their families, to who they are now, we’re going into another generation of elders, and we’re also going into another generation of their family. Even though it’s only four and a half years, but things are changing. Now, we have elders who are internet savvy. Their tools and their access is so much more readily available, so we have to constantly change and we have to push the envelope. There is a status quo in senior care, and it’s very stale. To me, it’s very antiquated, because it’s the way they’ve always done it. We just don’t believe in that. That’s just not our thought process.

We started out as a company four and a half years ago. I literally remember the first meeting that we had to try to tell someone about our services, we met with Alzheimer’s Association up here in the North Bay. We were good friends with them. I volunteered with them for many years, as has Deanna. We were like, “We’ll go tell them about our services.” Well, when we sat down, we didn’t know what we were saying. We didn’t how to describe our business, we didn’t even really know how to define our pricing, none of it. We just were like, “This is what we want to do.”

Now, here we are four and a half years later, with have a better sense of who we are and what we’re doing. You ask a question, I’m able to answer the question somewhat articulately. But you ask me in a year from now, and I might tell you something completely different, because our base is still there, the integrity and the dignity, but our service may evolve, because the people that we serve are evolving. We have to stay on our toes. I can’t stand when I hear some of the things, “Well, that’s just the way we do it. That’s just how we do it.” That, to me, is a curse word. “That’s just how we do it.” No, that’s not. That’s a curse word. That is a curse phrase to me. No.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. It makes me go a little crazy when I hear that. Especially process-wise, at least for me, when people are independently maybe doing data entry in two different places, for example, and you’re like, “You could connect, though.” What’s going on here? Anyway, yeah.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. My least favorite term right now, I heard it recently on a different level, but, “It is what it is.” I literally hear that term, and I go into a crazy person, because it’s not… No, it’s not it is what it is. No. On any level for anything. No.

Paula Jenkins: Why is anyone going to accept that as an answer?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Exactly. No. That’s how we take what we’re doing, is that who we are today and how we evolve, we will evolve, because we have to. We have to change to the people we serve. Not to what our needs are, but to what their needs are.

Paula Jenkins: Yes. That’s really good. Thank you for that perspective, too. Yeah. And I would love to have another time when you come back and tell us more about… At least our age range, we all are going to start to either need to think about, how should I think about becoming an elder? That makes me sound like I’m going to lead a group somewhere. How do I think about my own retirement? Or what do I need to know about my own parents and getting them care, if, when it comes to that. I think that’s also an interesting perspective on joy and how we find joy in that. If you’ll come back, I would love to have that discussion.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: I will. We should have Deanna come back, too, with me on that one, because I will tell you, there is joy in aging, and there is joy in relationships, and there’s joy in caregiving. But the joy comes because you plan for it. You don’t plan for the actual emotion of joy, but you plan for and prepare for and understand what, because so many people are in denial of… I’m like, “Yeah, I’m 48. I’ll be 49 in February next year. I’m cool.” I don’t have a problem telling what my age is, because I feel like it’s a gift and it’s an honor.

Now, there are some crappy things that may come with it as each year ticks up, but if I understand what’s available to me, or as my parents… Both my parents are in their mid-70s now. As things go for them, if things change, I have to understand what is my role. But more importantly, what is it that they want? And when I learn that, we can create joy in the process of aging. And it can be very traumatic, it can be very sad and emotional, but when you take control of what is in front of you, there’s joy in that. No one can predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, but there is joy in that.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. For sure. And I think that ties really closely into… Sometimes, I talk even from a project management standpoint, it’s well-planned, but loosely held. We have a direction we’re heading and we understand it, but then we also, like you’re saying, we evolve. We allow for the other things to come in so that we can react to them, but also remain in that, “Okay, this is the planning. This isn’t just us reacting and getting emotional.”

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: I had a client who brought us onboard, someone I knew from the Marin Women at Work group I was with, and she hired us. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer and it was a very aggressive cancer. Basically, the opportunity for him to survive, they were going to go through some experimental treatment, but we saw the rapid decline coming. She called and said, “Look. I don’t know what I need, but I need a project manager.” I do everything by a project manager, so she said, “I need to be able to ask questions, and I need you to help me be the project manager to make these things happen, and we’ll go from there.” The project manager, that’s a good way to put it.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. That’s my background, so it’s interesting to layer in, how can we be more analytical and less heart-involved? If you can pull those pieces of your own self out of a situation, I think it is good to have somebody who can guide you through that process, if it’s something where you know, “I’m going to be emotionally involved with this loved one and their aging. How can find an objective outsider to help me see the things for what they are instead of it being scary or upsetting or all that?” Yeah.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Yeah. It’s just such an important… You do. You have to have the … and the emotional, so hopefully… But there is joy when you figure out what the balance is, but you have to plan it in advance. It can’t just be in the moment, and it’s a little bit of planning that comes in with it. And sometimes, the planning can be a lot of fun. It just depends how you approach it. We make it fun.

Paula Jenkins: I’m sure that you do. Let’s see. If somebody wants to find out more about you and Deanna and how they might work with you, would you let us know where your website is and how they can find you?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Absolutely. Our website is legacyconciergeservices.com, and within the website, on the top right corner, there’s a little icon where you can actually click to set up an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation. That is just to see, is there opportunity for us to start planning or start doing whatever needs to be done? And then also, is it a good fit? Are we a good fit for the family, is the family a good fit for us? It’s an opportunity just to start the conversation, and it’s safe. It’s very safe. We keep it safe and confidential.

But also, we have a pretty active Facebook page, too, which is just Legacy Concierge Services. And we have a newsletter, also, people can sign up for. We try to be as accessible as possible. It is just me and Deanna, so we’re very reachable, very transparent in everything we do, so when you call, it’s going to be either me or her that answers the phone. We will help you, and if we can’t help you, we will find someone who will, and that’s really important to us.

Paula Jenkins: Thank you. I leave those in the show notes, if people are driving and they want to click through later. Yeah. And your book, if somebody wants to dive into that, where can they find it?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: It can be found on Amazon. It’s called Awakening and Deepening to Truth. There are several editions. The most recent edition was just put out last week, actually. It’s the fourth addition, and you can find it on Amazon, or you can shoot me an email through our Legacy Concierge Services website, and you can buy it through me. I may have some extra copies laying around. But yeah, whatever works best for everybody, and I’m happy to share. I have a chapter. There’s other chapters from other women who are amazing, have great journeys and stories. Dorris has done a really good job with compiling those, making it an anthology, basically.

Paula Jenkins: And then I have one last question that I ask everybody, and it is, last and most joyfully, what are three ways that you can think of to jump start joy in your life, in the world, or in other people’s lives?

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Oh, gosh. I love that. Okay. The first one, I think is so important, is to listen. I think to listen, and allow people to share, and listen authentically. I should add that. I think that’s important. Number two is to laugh. Find the opportunity to laugh. And I think number three, too, is be humble. I think when you’re humble, that allows other people to share who they are, and there’s great joy in seeing other people’s happiness. My dog agrees.

Paula Jenkins: Thank you. I love those. It’s funny, in six years, no one’s said, “Be humble.”

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Really?

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. I love it.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: Oh, wow. Yeah. I think that’s joy.

Paula Jenkins: Well, thank you so much for coming on, Molly, and I look forward to having another conversation with you and Deanna.

Molly McGlynn Knoderer: It’ll be awesome.

Paula Jenkins: Yeah. Thank you so much.

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