As an independent financial advisor or business owner, you shoulder many responsibilities, probably wear too many hats at work, and often have an “I’ll get it done myself” attitude. If that’s you, this outlook usually spills into your personal life, too. Even if you are one of the few advisors who run their practice as a business and delegate tasks to your team, there will be situations in business — and life — where the answers to a situation aren’t clear or just aren’t there at all.
If you have a business coach or consultant on your “team”, your regular sessions will often provide insights and solutions. But some situations need a different solution. When it seems like no one can help, your desired outcome eludes you, the situation is out of your control, or when you want to give up, let your problem go! But how?
If letting go isn’t working, the best place to put it away is a “God Box”. Call it whatever floats your boat: a Universe Box, a Prayer Box, a Serenity Box. It is a container that holds your written requests for solutions to the problems and situations you encounter that you need special help to get though.
I have used this concept for 20-plus years. Creating and using your God Box frees you to take action on the things you can do something about instead of fretting over the stuff that has no immediate answers. What I can tell you for sure:
- It works — although not always the way I want!
- It’s an excellent arts and crafts project to do with your family.
- The boxes are private, never to be opened except by the person who created it. That goes for children’s God Boxes, too.
I didn’t create this innovative concept, although I wish I had! In the late 1990’s, I had attended coaches’ training and learned about a concept called “tolerations”. In short, this is about identifying and purging what we’re tolerating in our lives — people, places or things that zap our energy, or somehow distract us from our goals or actions. We were to create a list of 100 tolerations and then start zapping them out of our lives! Many tolerations were things I could do something about. Register for our next Integrity Day and we’ll provide you with additional information on tolerations. www.ActNowSeminars.com/integrityday/
Things that I could control, like cleaning an office, fixing something that was broken, taking classes, etc., I could do and then cross off my list. However, there were people, places or things that I couldn’t control, but knew I had to let go of. I then remembered a concept I learned when I had attended a 12-step group for families of alcoholics. I found my God Box and started using it again.
The truth is that neither you nor I can control people, places or things, or fix everything — but you can create a place or space where you can let go of whoever or whatever is holding you back. Your God Box is the place where you can let go, even if for a little while, and let God take care of things. It’s what the Serenity Prayer says about accepting the things you cannot change. You can read the prayer here: www.CoachMaria.com/12steps.html
The concept of creating a God Box is something that has proved helpful to my clients. Their first use of their God Boxes usually revolves around relationship problems — with a spouse, a significant other, an ex, a co-worker, a child, a vendor, a client, etc. There is something about writing a problem down that is so beneficial. Then, when it flashes in your mind again, you can just say to yourself, “It’s in my God Box”, and then move on knowing that it will be taken care of — somehow.
How to Create a God Box
Make it yourself: My first God Box was an old shoe box. I slit a hole across the top, big enough for cards and paper to get through. I covered the box with pretty wrapping paper. You can use any type of paper, or even old wall paper that you like. Make it as pretty or as plain as you wish — hobby shops have a million ways to decorate it. Or, look around your home for a special box to use.
Buy it: You can purchase a box that catches your eye at a local store or online. You want it to be wide enough for cards or notes. Or you can purchase a God Box from one of the resources listed at the end of this article.
How to Use Your God Box
Here are examples of notes to place in your box:
- Help you let go of a trait or person that you need to let go of
- Pray for someone who needs your prayers (especially people you don’t like or get along with)
- Let go of someone who annoys you and describe the positive outcome you desire
- Give God your difficulties, fears, and character defects to work on
- Write your hopes or goals
- Manifest a dream you’ve been wishing for
- Give praise for something or pat yourself on the back for something
Then forget about the problem or situation, confident that “someone above” is listening.
Taking it a Step Further
Letting go is not easy. After trying to do it on my own, I decided to invite others to join me and created a Letting Go Party. Many of my clients have created their own version of a party, sometimes by inviting their family members, other times with friends, etc. Here’s how to start:
- Invite a small group of people you trust to participate. You can send them invitations. (If you’d like the one I mail out, contact me.) Ask them to bring a list of things they need to let go of, photos, etc.
- Find stories and quotes about letting go and celebrating life.
- Start the barbecue and ask each person to burn one thing they want to let go of, go around in a circle until all items are burned. Some people may talk, cry, or have their own quotes/stories to add. Then allow for some quiet time.
- Next, celebrate life. Move to a different area and spend time writing your wants, wishes, and goals for the upcoming year. Place them in your boxes. Again, read a poem or quote that fits the occasion and end with more quiet time.
- Have a pot-luck meal and continue celebrating life.
Having such a ceremony, with others committed to letting go, was so freeing.
While I researched the concepts in this article online, I found these resources that may interest you.
Book: The God Box: Sharing My Mother’s Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go by Mary Lou Quinlan
After her mother passed away, Mary Lou went searching for her God Box. But rather than one box, Quinlan found 10 containers stuffed with hundreds of origami-like folded papers. Covering the last 20 years of her mother’s life, the notes contained a treasure of brief prayers for family, friends, and people she had never even met. Note by note, Quinlan discovered the greatest lesson her mother could impart: the importance of letting go in order to live. Poignantly written and beautifully designed, The God Box is a gift for every parent, every son or daughter, every person who trusts in the permanence of love and the power of prayer. Find the book on Amazon here: http://astore.amazon.com/eyb02-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=31
Mobile App: The God Box mobile app is a companion to the bestselling book by Mary Lou Quinlan, who tells the story about her mother’s simple note-writing ritual for caring for friends and family. This hopeful and personal app allows you to write your wishes, prayers, and worries and place them in your own God Box while on-the-go. It’s a wonderful way to show people you care and create a legacy, too. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad with many useful features. http://www.thegodboxproject.com/mobile-app/
Fancy God Boxes: I always enjoy helping other business owners out; here are some online resources for God Boxes:
Other articles of interest, especially at this time of the year:
Create a Dream Board http://www.marketingwithintegrity.com/dream-it-create-it-become-it-create-your-dream-or-vision-board/
Design a Theme for 2014 http://www.marketingwithintegrity.com/have-you-created-your-yearly-theme-yet/
How to find serenity during the holidays, when serenity is the last thing on your mind! http://www.marketingwithintegrity.com/50-ways-business-owners-find-serenity-during-the-holidays/
To create your 2014 Business Vision and plan for profit, efficiency, and more free time next year! Go here: www.ActNowSeminars.com/businessvisionstatement/
©2013 Maria Marsala guides independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a business coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base.
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Doors and Solution with ? and !: Salvatore Vuono, Out of the Box arrows: jscreationzs
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Images thanks to freedigitalphotos.net Doors and Solution with ? and !: Salvatore Vuono