Dani Johnson is a teacher I will always love for setting me on a saving path. When I attended her First Steps to Success seminar over 2 years ago, I had been trapped in a cycle of grief from a family tragedy and she gave me a lifeline with her compassionate and spirit-driven coaching. One gem I came away with was an introduction to FORM, particularly as Dani teaches it. FORM is a way to connect quickly and authentically with others, and with FORM you give the grace of true listening.
FORM touches the heart of another so powerfully that we were asked to promise that we would ALWAYS use it for the good. Each of us knows times of feeling unnoticed, unsung for how hard we are working to do the right thing, lonely, or that our love has fallen on dry ground. In those times when another asks us with true listening how we are, in their listening, our floodgates can open and we are renewed. And a bond is forged. Dani taught us how to do this as a purposeful way of being.
What is FORM?
It is an acronym for Family/Friends, Occupation, Recreation, and Money/Mission. These basic issues drive our lives, our emotions, and are at the core of our goals. FORM goes right to the heart of who a person is, what they are about, and what is crucial for them in the moment. Offering the gift of our listening can allow another to make a declaration of Self and recommit to their Why. And it allows us the privilege of experiencing the blessings we get from serving another. It teaches us generosity of spirit.
Forming can look like this. You meet an acquaintance and you slow down to focus on your friend. You move your attention off of yourself and onto her. And you say, Hello Susan, how are you? How is your family? Make eye contact, be still, and listen. And she will sense you are in a quiet place, willing to receive. She feels the safety you have just created, and begins to open up. She may unburden herself of a worry, or a loss, or she may share with you a particular joy.
And when the moment is right you ask her in turn about her work, what she has been doing, and her finances (if it is appropriate) and mission. And she will tell you. As the conversation flows, resist the urge to chime in with how the same thing just happened to you. Forming is a conversation about your friend.
After she has gotten to share with your focused listening about her family, her work, what she has been doing, and how her money situation or mission in life is progressing, you will see an aliveness you did not see before. You have just validated a fellow human being. And, now you too feel more alive because you receive the grace that comes from serving another. So practice and learn FORM, and become a blessing to life.