156. Overcoming the RM Struggle

Jennie here with episode 156 of the LDS Mission Podcast. This week we’re talking all about overcoming the RM struggle.

As many of you know, coming home from a mission can be a big adjustment. Here are the main things that I hear over and over from return missionaries, “I really struggled with not having a clear schedule and purpose anymore.” “I feel lost and I’m not sure what to do next.”

In this episode, I share some of the most common struggles returned missionaries face according to my strategy calls with RMs. I also provide 6 mantras and mindset shifts that can help ease the transition home.

Whether you’re preparing to serve, currently serving, or have recently returned, I hope you walk away with some helpful tools and know that whatever you’re experiencing is completely normal. Thanks for tuning in, and I hope to see you back next week for another episode!

As always, if you found this episode helpful, I want to invite you to subscribe if you aren’t already, share this episode with your friends and missionaries you know, and write a review. I know this work will help missionaries around the world and it would mean so much to me if you did. Until next week my friends.

HERE’S THE LIST OF MORE IN DEPTH EPISODES OF THESE TOPICS IF YOU WANTED TO GO BACK AND LISTEN:

16 -The Truth About Your Purpose

19 – Stop Using Tools as Weapons 

31 – 3 Quick Tools for Returning Missionaries 

52 – Trust Yourself

57 – Habits, Goals, Dreams 

62 – Stop Wrestling with Rest 

75 – Fostering Fulfillment 

103 – The Achievement High 

112 – It Isn’t Silly 

124 – Stop Chasing Happy 

126 – The Doing Diet 

134 – Decision Making 101 

140 – About “Feeling Better” 

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Get the Full Show Notes HERE

Free PDF Download:  Preparing Missionary Cheat Sheet

My Free Training for Preparing Missionaries:  Change Your Mission with this One Tool

RM Transition Free Video Series:  3 Tools to Help RMs in Their Transition Home

Free Guide:  5 Tips to Help Any Returning MissionarySchedule a Free Strategy Call:   Click Here

0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone is Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 156. Overcoming the RM struggle.

0:15 I’m Jenny, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:55 Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast. I am happy to be here with you. It is gosh, we’re just like midway through June already, what is happening, people feels like the summer is gonna go by super fast. Does anyone else feel that way? We just wrapped up an amazing session of Michigan prep. Plus, I wanted to give you guys kind of a heads up that we are going to be running a session in July starting July 8, also a session in August. And maybe September, but we might be taking fall and winter off. So if you’re interested in taking Michigan prep plus and getting in there and sort of talking about all the questions and concerns that you have that maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking about or asking the MTC. That’s what Michigan prep plus is for. And we dive into all of that and talk about all of that so that you can feel completely ready and prepared for your mission. But one of the things I started thinking about with Mission prep plus is I feel like I’m talking about it a lot. And I’m glad because if I talk about my process from the beginning, as I originally started, working with returned, missionaries did a whole bunch of work there sort of in that space, and then realized that, you know, more and more people on the mission needed help with things on the mission. And then the more I did that, the more I realized, like if we could just get these tools before hand how much easier it would be for missionaries on the mission, maybe we wouldn’t have as many people coming home, maybe we wouldn’t have as many people really struggling with their faith after the mission, if they just could have some tools to navigate the mission a little bit better.

2:42 So I love talking about mission prep plus, but what I sometimes forget is that maybe you guys don’t even realize that the LDS mission coaching that we do, we address all aspects of the mission. And today I want to talk about returned missionaries. And it’s kind of top of mind because over the last week or so, I’ve had several strategy calls with returned missionaries. And it was just brought to mind again, about how important it is to get a little bit of support, a little bit of help navigating that time after the mission. And I know I’ve said this before on the podcast, but many people have said to me, Oh, you don’t need to worry about that part, because they’re just normal people when they get home. But I completely disagree is that there’s some ways of thinking and sort of some brain shifts that happen on the mission that I think are really important to have a little bit of support and help to navigate through in your transition home. Sometimes we wait a really long time before we figure out how we felt about our mission before we process everything that happened on the mission. And you don’t have to wait that long. In fact, I will share a little bit of a tidbit with you is sometimes I’ll have people hop on a strategy call and a link for a strategy call with me is in the show notes. So you can just hop on a call with me if you want to talk through some of this stuff.

4:16 But I’ll have moms or parents sign their return to missionary up right after they get home like a week after they get home. And what I found is that after just a week of being home, you’re still sort of like running on a high on that adrenaline of being home. You’re still kind of a super in the thought process of the mission. We haven’t actually like in our minds realize that we’re home. And then if you wait till about week three or Week Four is when we really start to see the return missionaries kind of that sparkle of coming home starts to go away. We start to get faced with real life, we start to miss the mission for a lot of different reasons. And so if, if you’re gonna get hop on a call with me, which I would love to talk to you, then just kind of consider if you’re returned missionary, to give it a few weeks, because most often when I talk to return missionaries, when they’re newly home, within a week, they’re like, everything’s fine, I’m doing fine, everything’s great, I’m doing great, right. And then it’s a little bit later that they start to realize, oh, wait a second, I’m actually home. And I have some stuff that I need to sort of work through and think through. So and this would go, of course, for early returned missionaries, too. And you know that I don’t like to call it early returned. Um, I like to call it returning home sooner than you were expecting. And that all applies here as well. So let me one of the things I wanted to do is, I wanted to say that much of this particular episode, is going to be covered more in depth in other specific episodes that I have of my podcast. And this is meant to be just sort of like a quick overview of some of the things that I’m talking to returned missionaries about on those strategy calls, so that you can kind of have a heads up so that you can know, first of all, also that you’re totally normal. And we’re going to talk through all of that. But I did want to give a quick little list, and I might be able to include these in the show notes about some of these more in depth. If you want to take something a little bit deeper, and like understand it even more clearly and more in depth. You can listen to these podcasts. So I’m just gonna list them. If you have a notebook, you could write them down, I might be able to get them into the show notes as well. So number 16, Episode 16, the truth about your purpose number 19. Stop using tools as weapons number 31. Three quick tools for returning missionaries. Number 52. Trust yourself, number 57. Habits goals, dreams 60, to stop wrestling with rest, number 75 fostering fulfilment number 103 The achievement tie number 112. It isn’t silly. Number 124, stop chasing Happy Number 126. The doing diet number 134 decision making 101. And number 140, about feeling better. So again, those are going to go kind of deep dive into the things that I want to talk today, as talk about today, as more of an overview is what we’re going to do today.

4:19 So here’s the thing that we need to understand about the mission experience that I’m not sure that many of us really talk about much. But it’s what I see over and over is that on the mission, there’s a lot of stuff sort of handed to you, and spelled out to you. And it’s very clear. And it’s very specific. And it’s very explicit in the way that you’re supposed to show up. Okay, so this is seen with your schedule, right, you have a very explicit, clear schedule that you’re supposed to follow. Also, your purpose on the mission is very clear and direct and defined for you. Also on the mission, you have lots of opportunities to feel good about yourself. Now some of us end up feeling not good about ourselves. I think that’s true, too. But all of these little things that we get to do like these goals that we get to meet or even just doing service for people that gives us our brain loves just a little bit of that dopamine. And there’s lots of opportunities to get that little achievement high on the mission. There’s also a lot of stuff on the mission that makes us believe that fulfillment comes from those specific things. So we might have a tendency after we’ve served a mission to believe that fulfillment comes from right teaching a lesson or not having any distractions, like completely being engrossed and focused in the work. And it’s very explicit and clear on a mission and kind of, we’re told what will bring that fulfillment where else it’s also very clear and explicit and and spelled out for us what activities we’re supposed to do and not do what our goals are supposed to be. And by the way, they’re the same as everyone else in the mission. And so we sometimes start to lose a little bit of our identity. Because we’re all just kind of working towards the same goal. Also, the way we talk to people can be very scripted, or spelled out, I was talking to one missionary who they’re asked to kind of do these role plays where one person says one thing and then the other person answers in a specific way. And so that as can be also very, like, clearly spelled out. And, you know, we sort of learned Preach My Gospel and the way that we’re supposed to talk and the way that we’re supposed to just speak to people, and also what’s very clearly often on the mission spelled out and clear is what constitutes success. So I think after hearing this list, and there could be more, what I think we can see is, while this can be useful for some people to have this sort of like explicit handed to you scripted sort of way of living schedule, do’s and don’ts, opportunities to feel good about yourself, your purpose, all of that can be useful in the mission framework. You can see pretty clearly, I think, at least I can, how that could become problematic when you come home. Because then there is no one giving you this very clear, succinct, prescriptive guide about your goals, about your schedule, and offering you opportunities to feel good about yourself. No one’s telling you how to talk to people, what you should and shouldn’t be doing. No one’s telling you what your goals are, no one’s giving you a laid out plan about how to feel fulfilled.

10:35 Okay, so one of the most important things is that I want us to understand is that, and I’m gonna circle back to this in a minute, but whatever you’re experiencing as a return missionary is completely normal. Okay, so it’s okay, that there is such thing as a return missionary struggle. Now, do we want that struggle to go on and on and on and on for years? And for number us to never address it? No, I don’t think that’s necessary. But does it make sense that we would have a little bit of a struggle when we get home? And the answer is, yes. Because the mission is very clear, concise, we’re given a lot of things where a lot of things are spelled out for us. And then we do that for a while, and then we come home. And it’s like, all of that is gone. So it makes sense that this is a tough transition. And so on this episode, I wanted to talk to you about a couple strategies that I have for returned missionaries, I also wanted to share with you in their own words, some of the things that these returned, missionaries have been saying to me over the last few weeks in the strategy sessions and see if they sound familiar to you. Okay.

13:22 So I’m just gonna read some of the things that they’ve said in their own words, I feel like I should have more of a schedule, there is so much I need to do. I don’t know what my purpose is anymore. I just have so many expectations for myself, and I’m not meeting any of them. I get overly upset when things don’t seem to go my way. I’m worried that God is disappointed in my efforts. I’m not keeping up on my spiritual habits. I’m worried that I’ll go back to the person I was before my mission. I’m worried that I didn’t change enough on my mission. I’m having a hard time talking to people. I just don’t know what to do next. And I feel lazy when I’m doing nothing. Anxiety, they have anxiety about the future. They’ve said, I’m worried about my interactions with old friends and family members, because I have changed, but they haven’t. And so this is just a small sampling of over the last few weeks strategy calls that I’ve had with returned missionaries. And my guess is that these sound familiar to you. Because they are the same things that I hear returned missionary say over and over and over and over again over the last four and a half, almost five years that I’ve been doing this. So let’s give you a few strategies to overcome this struggle. And again, I would say you and I hop on a strategy call. Let’s talk about it. We can help you get clear on your purpose. All of that we can help you find fulfilment again, but I’m just going to address a handful here. And they’re going to be just like short little mantras that you can sort of believe, as you come home from your mission and kind of hold on to when you come home from your mission. And then let’s get help for the rest.

15:19 Okay, so number one, this makes sense. And there is nothing wrong with you. And I’ve kind of alluded to this already. It makes so much sense when we spell it out, am I right? It makes so much sense that there is this transitional period, where we’ve got to start figuring out what we want our schedule to be what we want our new purpose to be, what are opportunities to feel good about ourselves, our how we gain fulfillment, what activities we want to do, and what we don’t want to do, what our goals are, the way we talk to people, and what constitutes success, it makes so much sense that there is going to be a small amount of time, and it doesn’t have to be long, but there’s going to be a period of time where you’re trying to figure that out, again. And that totally makes sense. You’re supposed to feel a little bit unsettled. When you get home from your mission, it would be weird if you didn’t, right, you’re supposed to feel a little bit out of sorts, what’s happened is we’ve literally forged on your mission, new neural pathways in your brain of different ways to think about things, all the feelings that you’ve had all of the experiences that you’ve had, you literally come home as a different human. Because your brain is different, and you felt different emotions, and you’ve had different experiences. So number one is this makes sense. And there’s nothing wrong with you I had I always loved when I get to tell missionaries this. I had a strategy call yesterday with the return missionary and she was visibly there was just like this undercurrent of like sadness and disappointment in herself a little bit of anxiety. And I was like, listen, there’s nothing wrong with you. This is okay, this makes total sense. Okay.

15:19 Number two, your schedule is not a sign of how successful or unsuccessful you are coming home. It’s just not. You can switch your mindset when you get home to something different. Like if it’s going to take you a minute to kind of settle down to get your head in the right place to enroll for school to get a job, that is fine. Stop making that mean that you that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re doing it wrong, or that you’re unsuccessful or that God’s disappointed in you. Guess what I think what I choose to think is this transition time, when you come home from the mission is necessary to get your bearings is a time for you to rest. I mean, think about what you’ve been doing for the last several months. It’s it’s a lot and there’s been a lot of expected of you a lot expected of you. And you felt a lot of things. And this time when you get home is necessary. You might sleep a lot, you might veg a lot and that’s okay, it’s a time for you to rest, recharge and regroup and don’t like I kind of think maybe that this time is designed this way that we feel a little out of sorts that we fill out a little out of place so that we can recharge and regroup so that we’re ready to kind of climb the next mountain in our journey, right picture this like the meadow. And when you get home, instead of being like, oh my gosh, I just so upset that I’m here in this beautiful meadow and have time to rest. None of that just be like, Okay, this is where I’m getting my water bottle filled up. This is where I’m getting the rest that I need. Maybe I’m changing out to a new pair of shoes, whatever it is, and change your mindset to I need this time this time is important. There’s nothing gone wrong, because your schedule is not a sign of how successful or unsuccessful you are.

17:18 Number three, your purpose is whatever you decide it is when in the podcast episode, um, where did it go? Number 16 The truth about your purpose I talk extensively about this, about how your purpose is simply a list of thoughts that you have about yourself and about your role in the world. Okay, and it’s just thoughts. So that means they’re all up for grabs. That means we can change them. That means we can have multiple thoughts about what our role is in the world. And it’s all fine on your mission, you were sort of told what your purpose is. But now that you’re home, isn’t it kind of fun that you get to decide that you get to be creative that you get to chase your dreams, that you get to be multifaceted. Like I don’t see myself as just having one purpose, I actually have a lot of purposes. And I get to choose was what those things are. And you totally get to as well. Number three is your purpose is whatever you decide it is not going to drop in your lap. You just get to pick something and try it. And then if it wants to change, you can change also.

20:44 Okay, number four, fulfillment doesn’t come from the thing you’re doing. This is one of my favorite things to do with returned missionary clients, is we talk about when on the mission was the time that they felt the most, like successful and fulfilled when we talk about that time. And instead of focusing on what was going on, during that time, in their mission, we focus on what they were thinking. And usually they’re having thoughts that sound something like this, like I’m doing a good job, what I’m doing matters. I’m the kind of person that likes to help people, I’m so grateful that I get to do this. And what we can do is we take those same thoughts, and we can create fulfilment, now. So a nap can be fulfilling, or it cannot be fulfilling. If you have a thought like that. I can’t believe I had another nap What a loser I am. That’s not going to be fulfilling. But you can feel fulfilled when you think I’m so grateful that I get to do this and that I have this time, I’m doing a good job. This is exactly what I’m meant to be doing right now. Okay. Teaching can be fulfilling on the mission. And teaching cannot be fulfilling. Also, like it, let’s say you’re, you know, got asked to teach something at church, or, like, who knows, I don’t know, something that’s, maybe you got asked to train a new employee or something like that at your job. If you have thoughts like, this sucks, I can’t believe that I got asked to do this. It’s not going to be fulfilling. But you can choose the same thoughts like I’m doing a good job, this really matters. This is important to me, I’m the kind of person who helps people. So working at Sonic can be fulfilling. Anything you do, in and of itself is not fulfilling. It’s the way you choose to think about it. This is also if when it comes to service, we’re just like on the mission, I was doing so much service. And so I felt fulfilled. But the service itself is not what creates fulfillment, I think we would know this because we could go to a bunch of mutual activities all over the world, young men’s Young Women’s activities where they’re doing service, and they’re not fulfilled, they’re just many of them annoyed. And that, that’s because the thing itself doesn’t create fulfillment, it doesn’t come from what you’re doing. So choose fulfilling thoughts in the stage that you’re in as a return missionary.

23:21 Okay, number five unti your success, also from what you’re doing and not doing on the mission, this tends to get really black and white, right? If we get up on time that success if we meet our goals, that success, if we have baptisms that success, if we’re getting along with our companion that success, but the problem with deciding that all of those things equal success is then inadvertently we’re also saying that if we don’t do that things that were not successful, okay? So untie the way you feel about yourself, to untie it from the things that you’re doing. Like it doesn’t. If you have a job, right, if you’re, let’s say you stack your schedule full, or whatever, just decide that you’re already successful ahead of time. Feel good about yourself. Now, despite the things that you’re doing or not doing, just decide that whatever you decide to do is an experiment, and we’re just going to try some stuff. Listen, sometimes people will feel anxious when they get home because they don’t have something they’re constantly doing. But that’s not because of the thing itself. That’s because of what they make it mean that they’re not doing something like I’m not reaching my goals, I’m not progressing. I’m not fulfilled, whatever it is. We don’t need to do that. We can just I decide that all of it is success. You know what I would just say to myself, yo, I served a mission people. Isn’t that awesome? No matter how long it was, like, that’s enough. Like I that’s pretty awesome, you guys. That’s pretty stinkin. Awesome. So just untie your worth, from your achievement achievements. And this one I talk really explicitly about in episode 103, the achievement Hi.

25:33 Okay, so if you want to learn more about that, number six, you don’t have to prove anything. So this kind of speaks to the people who say, Well, I’m worried that I haven’t changed. I’m worried that I’m going to revert back to I’m worried what other people are going to see if I’ve changed or not, I’m worried that I haven’t changed enough all of that. And this causes a lot of anxiety, right? Because we have this expectation of ourselves of how we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to keep on our spiritual keep up on our spiritual habits, we’re supposed to schedule our day the same way we did on the mission. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even this is one of the reasons I think we’re nervous to talk to people, because we’ve been told through the whole mission about like, what we should say and where the conversation could should go and what we should teach. And one little hack I have for you is to just ask questions, instead, just ask questions. You don’t need to prove things to people or show off how much you learn or show off how much you’ve changed. You can just be interested in the other person, this works really well for me, is I walk into a room of people who want to hear what I have to say. And I’m just like, Oh, this isn’t even about me. And I start getting to know things about them. No, your brain wants to make it about you. Your brain thinks it’s all about you. But it doesn’t have to be you can be interested in what’s going on for other people and realize that you don’t have to prove anything. In fact, our heavenly parents trust you, I think that you should remember that. And where you are right now, with this transition time is designed for you. It’s not meant to make you feel terrible or hate yourself or think you’re failing or think you’re the laziest human on the planet. It doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a time for growth, rejuvenation, regrouping, figuring out who you are, again, and and getting back to the identity of what you like, of what you want to do of what your purpose is.

27:53 So the last thing I’ll say, and I’ve said it a couple of times already is just get some help. Like there are people that want to help you there are therapists that can help you. Of course, there’s I can help you I have a team of coaches that want to help. And it’s pretty amazing. And you might be surprised at how quickly just learning a few skills through this transition time can completely change that process of coming home, you’ll be able to navigate it so much easier. Like it’s meant to be a little discombobulating. It’s meant to be a little bit like confusing. It makes so much sense that you’re trying to figure out who you are and what your purpose is. But it doesn’t have to be cost suffering and a lot of pain. If that makes sense. It doesn’t have to leave you wondering like, Am I doing this wrong? Did I do my mission wrong? It doesn’t it doesn’t even have to leave you wondering like maybe I don’t feel the spirit in the same way. What’s actually true you guys is that process when you come home from the mission is you’re right where you’re supposed to be. And you can keep up on some of the goals. And you might not keep up on some of the goals. And that’s all stuff you just get to experiment and figure out if you want to learn more about that you can listen to episode number 19 Stop using tools as weapons. Okay, sometimes we even use my plan against ourselves. People get on strategy calls and be like, I just I’m not doing any of it. I say yeah, that’s because it’s a plan and then we try some stuff and then we try some more stuff. And it’s all good. Listen, my returned missionary friends, if you want to talk to me, if you want to hop on a call with me, I’m open. Let’s do it. I’m down. And when I talked to the gal yesterday, after 30 minutes, she was like I already feel so much better about this process of coming home. And that’s amazing. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to help. So the last thing I’ll leave you with, wherever you’re at, in this transition home, whatever that process is looking like right now for you. Totally fine. You’re right on track. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. Okay? Everyone have the most amazing week, and we’ll talk to you next time.

30:27 Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges, and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you’ll want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries might video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you are involved in, just know that Jenny, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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