Being Different is 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 we make 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, we embrace it as a significant strand that weaves people, communities and organisations into richer, more colourful and creative tapestries. At the same time, we are guided by and give expression to our 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
Being Different works 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.
Being Different was founded by Sharon Wakeford, a mediator, facilitator, executive coach and trainer, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sharon has a background in law and over twenty years’ experience in conflict resolution. She loves stories – both hearing peoples’ stories about their own journeys and sharing the stories of her own life’s learnings and lessons. One of Sharon’s great passions and challenging teachers is the Camino de Santiago, a series of pilgrim paths in Spain, on which she has walked more than 3500 kilometres over the past eight years – paths that are about ‘doing’, but even more so, are about ‘being’.
Sharon loves to walk, run, and ride her 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, she loves to sit and just ‘be’, especially where the being is accompanied by a good cup of coffee or a cold beer!