The Power of Soft

By Hilary Gallo

How to get what you need and still be nice

Monday, 8 December 2014

Opening the Power of Soft shed

Many great things start as a result of an impromptu chat. The other day John-Paul Flintoff and I were doing just that. John-Paul also has a book project here which I'd heartily recommend. One of the things John-Paul talked about was his shed and his love of it as a place to hang out. As he talked about his shed I got more and more curious. Where was my shed and would it be like? Yesterday I found it, hidden under some old ivy behind an old apple tree. The door opened creakily but it did open. Today I'm exploring what is in here and what I want to add.

Opening the door I have realised what sort of shed I'd like this to be. It's got some chairs and an old crate for a low table. We've got water and can make a pot of tea and some coffee. On the shelf over there I've even got a few bottles of last years village cider and maybe the odd bottle of wine might find its way in. Best of all, there is an old stove where we can start a bit of a fire. It's cold out there and I like a bit of warmth. 

One of the reasons I've chosen to crowd-fund this book is because two of the themes I explore in it are power and people. A journey this morning on a crowded Victoria Line tube train in London has reminded me how our daily lives can easily suck at our feelings of our own power and our respect for other people. In the busyness, its all too easy to defer to the power of other systems and to treat our fellow commuters as objects. Sorry madam, if I stepped on your toe! 

Being on unbound is a participative project so I want to ask you all, what would you like to see in the shed? I can put information on progress of the book, potential extracts, blog posts based on ideas, something about the process, how it is to be a first time book writer - all of these things. What I will say is that if we can make this more of a conversation I am likely to share more. Mind you, if it's fairly quiet that is fine also. There is no need to all come to the shed right away but if you can make your way here one or twice I am hoping you might want to come again. And when you do, do feel free to bring a friend. 

That reminds me of RN Commander (Retd.) Lamb who we used to go sailing with when I was a kid, dangerous though it was. He was famous for once shouting out loudly to us all "You terrible lot. I don't want to see you down on this river ever again! And when you do, make sure you wear a lifejacket!" 

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David Nolan
 David Nolan says:

Thank you for inviting me to the opening of your shed. I don't think I have attended a shed opening before. I hope you don't mind the casual attire, full evening dress seemed a tad over the top given the venue.

Will you be answering questions here? Here's one for you. In your video you suggest that a key feature of applying "The Power of Soft" is to have a strong inner core. Can one be full of doubt and uncertainty and yet still apply these principles?

posted 8th December 2014

John-Paul Flintoff
 John-Paul Flintoff says:

Thanks from me, too, Hilary. I very much admire the way that you have welcomed people to your shed, and described its interior. I wish I had seen this before I just threw opened the doors on mine, no decoration, no cosy fire or sofas, and started banging things together in the hope that people might wonder what all that noise was, and pop their heads in. It's time I installed some of those home comforts...

posted 9th December 2014

Hilary Gallo
 Hilary Gallo says:

David, it's great to see you here. Soft casual is perfect but the shed is open for all. Do take a seat! Tea, coffee or something stronger?

Yes to questions. With answers I can only try: so much depends on context. It depends on what the doubt or uncertainty is about. What the making a difference between core and front allows is the ability, say, to be completely uncertain in front about how we might achieve our needs but sure at core about what our needs are. So we might be open to a different way of approaching a situation but at the same time know what we need out of it. This gives us more flexibility, particularly if our needs are less positional so they can be met in a number of different ways.

If one of our needs at core is for certainty then it becomes a question of what that really means for us - certainty about precisely what - when we set about to design a solution.

posted 10th December 2014

Hilary Gallo
 Hilary Gallo says:

Thank you John Paul and a particular thank you for oiling the creaky door. I am very pleased to be able to help in matters of shed inspiration. Who knows what we might yet be able to do with that bit of scrub ground between our sheds? I've just been round to yours and I must say it's looking jolly lively!

posted 10th December 2014

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