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It All Begins With Asking Why

The following is a guest post from Lee, author of Becoming Unencumbered

“Creating the best life management system is LESS about WHAT you do & HOW you do it & MORE about WHY you do it & that you actually DO it.”

It All Begins With Asking Why

I spend a lot of time talking and listening to women about managing our lives.  Those lives are busy and demanding.  They need constant maintenance and organization.

In many conversations, there is often an undercurrent of battle fatigue, often times bordering on despair.  Phrases like, “I don’t know what to do, or how to do it, or I can’t …” pop up with regularity.

So does, “…if I could just do it like…, get it like…, … it needs to be like…, I can’t because it’s not like…” and so on.

I empathize, because I know of those frantic, tired moments where it feels like everything is a whirlwind.  But also, the defiant side of me thinks, “Where did the idea originate in our heads that we don’t know how to manage our own lives?  Why do we believe that someone else has the right answer, or holds the secret, to making everything just right”?  Why do we have to do it that way? and why does the word “like” keep showing up!?”

Like what? Who? Why not like me?


These are not idle questions when trying to reshape our lives.  The answers to these questions can be key to helping us realize that no matter how many tips we read, beautiful pins we see on Pinterest,  or how much advice we are given, none of it matters if we don’t understand and acknowledge our own motivations.

If we don’t understand the why that is motivating us, we could spend a lot of time doing one of many non-purposeful actions, such as:

  • Testing and trying, but rarely achieving. (Because we weren’t clear on our intended outcome in the first place so we risk being more overwhelmed and giving up.)
  • Planning and perfecting, but stuck in start. (Because we are unsure of achieving the vision of some other person’s outcome and insecure.)
  • Trying but not satisfying and feeling like we failed. (Because we think our good enough isn’t as good as what other examples has convinced us is success.)

This is where it needs to be emphatically emphasized that none of this usually requires deep analysis.  It should not be another form of analysis paralysis that keep you from taking action.  Rather, it should be considered a part of the necessary tools and supplies before starting any project to ensure our actions are a purposeful and valuable use of our precious time.

The Importance of Why

Everything we do has a reason or trigger, whether we are aware of it at the time or not. That is the why.

Our actions and behaviors stem from some desire, ideal, or instinct we have either developed from within, or incorporated from outside ourselves (the triggers).  This forms the basis of our habits and those habits become our lifestyle.  Every day, through either our passive or active actions, we either emphasize or reduce certain habits.

So, if we want to change those habits and our lives, we will have to reverse the process that led to them.  We might need to address some triggers, by implementing new ones or eliminating others, in order to create new habits.

And that will bring us back to WHY.

What The Why Can Tell Us

Why we want to do something or not (or think we want to or not).

Why we want or need something a certain way (patterns, influences and examples).

Why this or that makes us feel a certain way about ourselves (leading to an examination of whether that is valid or not).

Ultimately, managing our life is about us.  Our habits, quirks, rhythms, preferences and dislikes.  There is no system that can quantify that for us without our unique input.  It will only work if it reflects who we are.  And while it may never be perfect in practice, it is in form because we have created a system based on our perfectly imperfect selves.

Starting with why sets our foundation and provides clarity.  Oftentimes we will find that what we thought we needed or wanted was not it at all.  Or, how we thought we should do it, didn’t matter very much.

Most importantly, we will (hopefully) realize that all we really need is to get to the act of doing and adapt as we go along.

About the author

Lee Chinshue Coello is a WAHM mother of three dedicated to living simply, but fully.  She is an avid reader, runner, cyclist, lover of crazy workouts and organizing projects.  She describes her life as “raising her three kids as her biggest challenge, being married to her husband as her greatest adventure and striving to live life as she feels it is supposed to be as her personal goal”.

With degrees in International Affairs and Public Health she is very passionate about issues affecting personal health and well-being.   With the birth of her children, she chose to prioritize family life and combined her passions and knowledge to work for herself providing life management solutions for individuals.  Always on a quest to learn about and create the best quality of life, and help others along the way, she writes about life and its lessons on her blog Becoming Unencumbered.


photo credit: Kel Wilson

One Response to It All Begins With Asking Why

  1. A great guest post. I’ve read it through twice now and I’m still absorbing.

    How do we root out the “why” of something? Why do I procrastinate so on office stuff, bookkeeping, accounting for our business and personal life? Once I begin, I’m deep into it and all is fine, but I’ll put it off for days and days, all the while letting it gnaw at me because I am not doing it. I never procrastinate when it comes to my crocheting!

    Time to quit and just do … even reading this blog post has been a further way to procrastinate!

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The Shame of Being Sick

I’ve been suffering with a health problem for quite some time.  It’s hard to nail down the exact starting point, but it’s close to 2 years.  If that time frame isn’t correct it just means that it has been longer than 2 years, not less. It’s a sinus infection, but not any old sinus infection.Continue Reading

5 Responses to The Shame of Being Sick

  1. Nin-Carol says:

    I may have inadvertently taught shame about illness to our daughter, all the while being well meaning.

    Our second child weighed less than 2 pounds when he was born; our daughter was 3.5 at the time. Needless to say we were on a roller coaster for years. He began with a lot of health related issues.

    And I found myself telling our daughter that she was our healthy child. It wasn’t until she started getting really upset when she would get sick for me to realize what I had done.

    By calling her our healthy child, she felt as though she let us down when she got sick. Recipe for shame in a young child for sure.

    I think – I hope – I caught this early enough and spent enough time asking for her forgiveness and explaining how I didn’t know what the result would be. Here I was trying to make her feel special and important even when she wasn’t the center of a million doctors’ appointments, but the result was very different.

    But, yes, I feel ashamed whenever I don’t live up to what I perceive to be other people’s (who are close to me) expectations. Part of the self talk I really have to work on. More about mental things (forgetting to pay a bill and the like) rather than health/physical things, but really it’s all the same.

    • Kel Wilson says:

      I know! Without any intention we somehow make something worse. I really didn’t realize these feelings underneath. Hopefully by shinning a light on them, it will get better now!

  2. Tracy says:

    Kel, I may have to write a post of my own on this one, but the short answer is YES. So very much.

  3. Sonja_Amsterdam says:

    I know I’m a bit late to reply to this post but I am very much in the same situation as you are, down to the sinus and lung problems! I too think I should be able to fix myself and that I don’t need a doctor. I’ve been trying more sleeping, doing more art, thinking positive thoughts and eating healthily and organic. I also cut lots of surplus responsibilities and hobbies out of my schedule. And for a few months things went well, looking back those were the summer months. But as soon as October rolled around and it got colder, darker and wetter I caught some very persistent bug. Until the Christmas break I was coughing, having difficulty breathing and taking nose spray daily so I could function. Did I go and see a doctor? I mean, 4 months of this, anyone else telling me this I would send to their doctor! But having been to the doctor for fatigue two years ago and being prescribed, very effectively, some vitamine D I thought I could (should) be able to take care of it myself. And I should at all cost avoid taking regular medicine and/or antibiotics. My body did eventually overcome all of this by Christmas when my husband was home for two weeks and I got to take some proper rest. But now it’s March and I caught it again for three weeks. And boy was I disappointed in myself….

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Kel’s October Tech Clutter Update

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with this month’s challenge. I was in Wisconsin for two weeks.   Since I have been home, it’s been a little busy.  As an example here’s a rough outline of tomorrow’s today’s events.  We have a piano recital, puppet show (both starting at 10:00 in the morning), two HalloweenContinue Reading

One Response to Kel’s October Tech Clutter Update

  1. You managed to accomplish a lot, even with traveling! Congratulations, Kel!

    We (I) have been setting up a new business this month, complete with registering the LLC name with the state, etc. I still have a lot to finish up this week, but the process has been made somewhat easier by the fact that over the years, I’ve slowly organized our financial records, both in paper file system and on the computer, so things are where they should be and I don’t have to think too much about where to put newly created items. I’m grateful for the small things this month!

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