122. When the “Why” is Useful

In this podcast episode, we discuss when asking “why” is useful. I begin by explaining how our brains naturally gravitate towards asking why, as it keeps us in a state of questioning ourselves and our circumstances. However, constantly asking why can lead to confusion and hinder our ability to move forward. Making asking “why” not very useful.

I use an analogy of being on a boat in the middle of a lake to illustrate how asking why can keep us stuck and prevent us from taking action. They describe how certain emotions, such as confusion, worry, and overwhelm, can act like a fog that keeps us comfortably sitting in the boat without having to put in the effort to row towards our goals.

We then dive into specific examples of unhelpful why questions, such as asking why certain things happen or why we feel a certain way. These questions only lead to more questioning and judgment of ourselves and our circumstances. I emphasize that while these emotions may feel indulgent, they do not serve us in moving forward.

On the other hand, we highlight the importance of asking the question “what is my why?” or understanding our purpose. This type of why question propels us forward and helps us focus on what we want to create in the future. Examples of useful why questions include wanting to make a difference for others, transforming oneself, or aligning with who we want to be.

In conclusion, we may not always have the answers to why questions about our past actions or experiences. However, having a clear understanding of our purpose can provide motivation and guidance in challenging times. The importance of our values help determine our why and how we show up in the world.

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0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 122. When the why is useful.

0:13 I’m Jennie, 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.

0:49 Hey, everybody, just wanted to give you a warm, warm, welcome to the podcast. Maybe it’s starting to get a little chilly where you are. Unless you’re in a different hemisphere, then you might be heading into a different season than I am here in the Boise area of Idaho. But I’m sending you love wherever you are, and warmth and good feelings and happiness. And I’m excited to be hanging out with you today. We’re going to talk about today when the why is useful. And the reason I decided to do this podcast is because sometimes I’ll be on a coaching call with a client. And they will say something like, Well, I don’t know why my brain just keeps spinning like that. Or I don’t know why I feel so triggered when this certain thing happens. Or I don’t know why I beat myself up all the time. Here’s the thing our brains love to ask why. And here’s the reason why our brains like to ask why. Is because it keeps us spinning in this place of questioning ourselves questioning our circumstances. And it causes us to sort of get stuck or become unable to move forward. So the the emotion that I think kind of comes to mind with why is with asking yourself a question and maybe not knowing the answer to it is confusion.

2:29 I just recently shared this analogy with a client this week. And I’m pretty sure I’ve shared it on the podcast before I think on the episode called what is it called, it’s called when you don’t know. But I’m going to share it again here, which is if you picture you’re on a boat in the middle of a lake, and our brain wants us to just stay in that boat just like enjoying the weather or enjoying you know, the scenery or whatever, because then we don’t have to exert any energy. We don’t have to feel any emotion. Everything just feels safe and kind of comfortable right there in the middle of the lake. But sometimes when we ask this question why, it creates confusion or worry or overwhelm and then that is an emotion that comes in and picture it like circles you on the lake like a fog, okay, and that fog, our brain loves because then we don’t have to pick up the oars and row somewhere and we don’t have to exert energy, we don’t have to open ourselves up to any sort of emotional pain or uncertainty. And so we’ll just sit kind of in that boat forever, not really moving forward.

3:41 Now again, nothing wrong with that. I call those emotions indulgent emotions, it’s worry, overwhelm, confusion, because our brain loves it, it feels indulgent. Think about like, a hot chocolate on a cold day or some ice cream on a hot day, or just like kind of binge watching Netflix or something. It feels like indulgent or good to our brain to sort of be there and not have to do anything else. So nothing wrong with those emotions. But it can sometimes make us feel like we’re stuck and we’re not moving forward. So those emotions, they’re not bad emotions. They’re just not super useful and getting us where we want to go.

4:22 So here are some thoughts or questions you might want to just kind of be on to your brain a little bit if you find yourself asking yourself these questions about what’s happening on the mission, what’s happening maybe as you’re preparing to leave on the mission, the other one I was just recently thinking about is if you get reassigned because you don’t have your your visa yet or whatever, something like that. Or maybe it’s a you’re a returned missionary and that transition homes getting super rough or whatever. Here are some questions that you could maybe watch out for some why questions, ones that are not useful. Why did this have to happen? Why am I feeling this way? Why do I keep thinking or doing this certain thing? Or there’s this age old question that many of us ask, Why me?

5:20 So you’ll know that it’s not a useful why, because it will lead you down a rabbit hole of questioning yourself, or questioning your circumstances. Okay, so if you’re on the mission, and you’re asking, Why did this have to happen? Why did I have to get this companion? It’s not a useful why question. Okay, because it’s going to lead you to question your companion, question yourself or question your circumstance?

5:51 Why am I feeling this way? Again, not a useful, why question because it’s just gonna, like, we could go back to your childhood, we can go back to something happened when you were bullied on the playground or something like that. And I don’t think it’s like, we shouldn’t talk about those things. I definitely think that there is a time and a place for it when you’re ready, and maybe you’re working with a coach or a therapist, but maybe in that specific instance, don’t go down that rabbit hole, okay, of questioning yourself, or questioning what happened to you in your past? Why do I keep thinking or doing this? It’s just not useful. Maybe you’re applying for a job after your mission. And then right before the interview, you just decided to cancel the interview? It’s not useful to be like, Why do I keep doing that? It just sends you down a rabbit hole of like questioning yourself and questioning your circumstances.

6:49 And then again, this age old question why me, is just not useful. It doesn’t propel us forward. It keeps us on that lake sitting there confused, overwhelmed, worried. Okay. And many times judging yourself. So you’ll know that the why question is not useful, if it leads you down that rabbit hole of more questions. Okay.

7:16 So here’s the truth. We may never know why. I know that that’s a hard thing to swallow sometimes. We may never know why you have spinning thoughts. We may never know why you showed up with your companion that way. We may never know why your companion decided to show up that way. And that’s okay. Sometimes we’ll want to figure out why. But most of the time, we won’t know why. Okay, so if someone is like, tell me why I’m like this. I’m like, Well, I don’t know why. But let’s think about the future and what you want to create, you know, moving forward. And there are times when I, you know, feel like it’s appropriate for us to kind of go back and figure that out and can be super useful and cleansing and healing. But it’s not always useful. Again, if it leads you down a rabbit hole of questioning yourself or questioning your circumstances and there’s no answer, maybe if I would have just done this on the mission, then I wouldn’t feel the way I do right now. Maybe if I hadn’t have said that thing, then I wouldn’t feel the way I’m doing right now. Maybe. But we don’t know. We don’t know. It would be cool. If we could have an experiment where we could go back in time and change the way the thing you said to your companion, or change this thing that you had said to an investigator. Maybe if I just would have, blank, said certain thing or done certain thing with this person I was teaching them they’d be in the Gospel? Well, we don’t know. We don’t know why they decided not to keep going on the path of teaching and receiving baptism.

8:47 Okay, so let’s now talk about when the why can be super useful. And it’s a question that sounds like this, what is my why? We could also call this your purpose, the reason for what you’re doing, okay. And here are some really amazing reasons. Some really amazing wise, I want to make a difference for others, I want to transform myself, sometimes if you’re on the mission, and things are getting rough out there. And it’s not really working anymore to be like, I just want to serve other people. Sometimes you have to be like, I’m doing this for me, because of who I’m going to become in the end. It’s really hard and I’m going to keep going because of the transformation I’m going to make up myself. Another good Why would be it just feels like the right thing to do. Sometimes it does, or just like this just feels like the kind of person I want to be. This feels like the right thing to do. And then that kind of leads me to another one. It aligns with who I want to be okay. So, what is my wh,y what is my purpose can be a super useful why, like when the why can be useful.

10:00 Okay, that’s kind of why notice how it’s not really past focus, it doesn’t reach like lead you down a rabbit hole of questioning yourself or questioning what’s happened or what’s happening, it actually points you forward, it points your nose in the direction that you want to go. What is my why? Why am I even here? What am I doing? On this mission? What am I doing in my business to help missionaries? Why am I even dating? Right now? Why am I even looking for a job? It I think it can be useful to figure those things out, because then when things get tough, you can have a why to fall back on. Okay. And a lot of this would go back to your values, what you feel like is important, that can also be a useful why. On my applications, for our mentors, and for all of the coaches I hired, I asked, What are your three main values, and that is super important to me, because that shows me their why for what they do and how they show up in the world.

11:08 Okay, so here are a couple why, to watch out for, even in the same realm about your purpose and things like that: because it’ll make me a better person, or because that’s what someone else wants. Okay? So because it will make me a better person, or more valuable, can work for a while it can be a useful why, for a while, or a useful purpose. It can sort of kickstart but then, like, think about when you’re a returned missionary, and you’re like, why I’m reading my scriptures is because it’s going to quote unquote, make me a better person. But then the opposite of that has to be true, then at least to your brain, if I don’t read my scriptures, then then I’m a bad person. So just watch out for that one, like I, I, my why for are running a marathon is because I think I will be more accomplished. Watch out for that. Because then if we don’t run the marathon, or if we don’t train one day, then that leads us to sort of beat ourselves up and think we’re less valuable. Okay, so watch out for that. And then because that’s what someone else wants, that, again, is only going to get you so far. I did a whole podcast on people pleasing, that’s kind of what people pleasing is, is, it’s not actually our why it’s someone else’s why, and it could kickstart things, but it won’t last you as long if things are getting challenging.

12:42 Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about when the why is useful, and when the why is not useful and I want to add one caveat to all of this. You don’t have to know your why, you don’t have to know it always when you get started. A lot of times you’ll get started, it will feel like the right thing to do, it will feel like something that aligns with who you want to be and then the why will get more clear as you go along. So I don’t want anyone out there just being like, well, I don’t know my why. So I can’t get started. I can’t get started creating that thing that I wanted to create, I can’t get started on my mission, I can’t get started creating this better relationship with my companion, I can’t get started dating because I don’t have a useful why. Like, I don’t want anyone using this podcast against yourself. The truth is, you can just get going. The truth is you can be in the middle of the lake, with the fog all around you and you can just pick up those oars and you can start rowing towards what you want. And the Why won’t get clearer as you go.

13:50 Okay, and one other thing, your why doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s. Your WHY? For being on the mission, your why for dating your why for getting a different job. Your why for going home for the weekend to visit your family can be different than everyone else’s. Why? That’s why it fuels you, because it’s your why. And it doesn’t have to be the same as everybody else’s.

14:19 Okay, so just a little litmus test, I’ll offer you right here at the end to how to know when the why is useful. You will know by how you feel when you ask the question or when you answer the question. You’ll either feel confused or full of self judgment. It’ll send you into resistance of your circumstance like this isn’t fair, this shouldn’t be happening. Or it will cause you to be forward thinking, move towards the future that you want, the goal that you want and you will actually with the right why, will be able to formulate answers. It won’t cause you to be in confusion you’ll actually be able to formulate, this is why I want this, I want to make a difference for others, I want to transform myself. It feels like the right thing to do, it aligns with who I want to be. Alright, so don’t go down the why rabbit hole of questioning yourself, or questioning your circumstances, use the why in a useful way. Alright? I hope all of you will have the most amazing week sending love to the missionaries and the RMS and the missionary families and the mission leaders all over the world. I think about you guys every single day, take care.

15:37 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 want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my 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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