I am driven by a strong desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives, however modest this difference might be. A key to making a difference is the invitation to people to ‘be’ a little different in their own lives, in their way of understanding and interacting with the world around them, a world that holds equal measure of uncertainty and possibility. While appreciating the complexity and challenge difference brings, I embrace it as a significant strand that weaves people, communities and organisations into richer, more colourful and creative tapestries. At the same time, I am guided by and give expression to a deeper recognition of the humanity we share, across language, identity, culture, country and background.
Our differences are beautiful yet sometimes connection requires us to focus on our similarities, like the fact that we are all trying, all struggling, all wanting to be seen and to be loved. Perhaps if we start there, with this basic understanding of what it means to be alive, we will grow in our connection to one another and learn to love the beautiful differences that embody our improbable human reality.” - Scott Stabile
I work with people in a wide variety of settings and contexts, using a range of approaches and processes to support them in ‘being’ different and ‘doing’ differently. And at the heart of this, is just this: our heart. It is open hearts that can open new horizons of possibility for how we see, engage and are in relationship with the world, far beyond the ways that open minds could.
I am Sharon Wakeford, trading as Being Different. I am a mediator, facilitator, executive coach and trainer, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a background in law and over twenty years’ experience in conflict resolution. I love stories – both hearing peoples’ stories about their own journeys and sharing the stories of my own life’s learnings and lessons. One of my great passions and challenging teachers is the Camino de Santiago, a series of pilgrim paths in Spain, on which I have walked more than 4000 kilometres over the past ten years – paths that are about ‘doing’, but even more so, are about ‘being’.
I love to walk, run, and ride my mountain bike, not just for the enjoyment of the actual exercise, but also for the opportunities this provides for exploration and discovery – whether in her own neighbourhood, in South Africa or elsewhere. Equally, I love to sit and just ‘be’, especially where the being is accompanied by a good cup of coffee or a cold beer!