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Inner development goals

What personal skills and qualities will you need for a sustainable career? Find out more about the inner development goals.

What personal skills and qualities will you need for a sustainable career?

As well as knowledge, such as ocean literacy, and opportunities to gain experience in your preferred sector of the blue economy, researchers have also identified some key transformative skills workers need to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, which you learned about in Week 1. These skills and qualities have been identified and combined into a list, called the Inner Development Goals. Even if you are not yet ready to begin your next career step, you can begin developing these personal skills and qualities now.

About the Inner Development Goals

To tackle the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally, humans need to deal with the increasingly complex environment and challenges, and to work with people with different needs, values, and convictions.

These 23 Inner Development Goals (IDGs) launched in March 2022. These science-based skills and qualities help to create purposeful, sustainable, and productive lives. The IDGs are a global initiative aiming to further action towards achieving the United Nations SDGs.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Infographic of the 23 inner development goalsClick to expand

The Inner Development Goals

1. Being — Relationship to Self

Cultivating your inner life and developing and deepening your relationship to your thoughts, feelings and body help you to be present, intentional and non-reactive when facing complexity.

  • Inner compass
    Having a deeply felt sense of responsibility and commitment to values and purposes relating to the good of the whole.
  • Integrity and authenticity
    A commitment and ability to act with sincerity, honesty and integrity.
  • Openness and Learning mindset
    Having a basic mindset of curiosity and a willingness to be vulnerable and embrace change and grow.
  • Self-awareness
    Ability to be in reflective contact with your own thoughts, feelings and desires; having a realistic self-image and ability to regulate yourself.
  • Presence
    Ability to be in the here and now, without judgement and in a state of open-ended presence.

2. Thinking — Cognitive Skills

Developing your cognitive skills by taking different perspectives, evaluating information and making sense of the world as an interconnected whole is essential for wise decision-making.

  • Critical thinking
    Skills in critically reviewing the validity of views, evidence and plans.
  • Complexity awareness
    Understanding of and skills in working with complex and systemic conditions and causalities.
  • Perspective skills
    Skills in seeking, understanding and actively making use of insights from contrasting perspectives.
  • Sense-making
    Skills in seeing patterns, structuring the unknown and being able to consciously create stories.
  • Long-term orientation and visioning
    Long-term orientation and ability to formulate and sustain commitment to visions relating to the larger context.

3. Relating — Caring for Others and the World

Appreciating, caring for and feeling connected to others, such as neighbors, future generations or the biosphere, helps to create more just and sustainable systems and societies for everyone.

  • Appreciation
    Relating to others and to the world with a basic sense of appreciation, gratitude and joy.
  • Connectedness
    Having a keen sense of being connected with and/or being a part of a larger whole, such as a community, humanity or global ecosystem.
  • Humility
    Being able to act in accordance with the needs of the situation without concern for one’s own importance.
  • Empathy and Compassion
    Ability to relate to others, yourself and nature with kindness, empathy and compassion and address related suffering

4. Collaborating — Social Skills

To make progress on shared concerns, you need to develop your abilities to include, hold space and communicate with stakeholders with different values, skills and competencies.

  • Communication skills
    Ability to really listen to others, to foster genuine dialogue, to advocate your own views skillfully, to manage conflicts constructively and to adapt communication to diverse groups.
  • Co-creation skills
    Skills and motivation to build, develop and facilitate collaborative relationships with diverse stake-holders, characterized by psychological safety and genuine co-creation.
  • Inclusive mindset and intercultural competence
    Willingness and competence to embrace diversity and include people and collectives with different views and backgrounds.
  • Trust
    Ability to show trust and to create and maintain trusting relationships.
  • Mobilization skills
    Skills in inspiring and mobilizing others to engage in shared purposes.

5. Acting — Driving change

Qualities such as courage and optimism help you acquire true agency, break old patterns, generate original ideas and act with persistence in uncertain times.

  • Courage
    Ability to stand up for values, make decisions, take decisive action and, if need be, challenge and disrupt existing structures and views.
  • Creativity
    Ability to generate and develop original ideas, innovate and being willing to disrupt conventional patterns.
  • Optimism
    Ability to sustain and communicate a sense of hope, positive attitude and confidence in the possibility of meaningful change.
  • Perseverance
    Ability to sustain engagement and remain determined and patient even when efforts take a long time to bear fruit.

Source: Inner Development Goals. (2022). Inner development goals: Transformational skills for sustainable development.

Consider the information provided and reflect on the following ideas;

  • Can you think of an example of when you have been able to utilise any of these skills or qualities in your work, school, community.
  • Is this something that might help your career?
  • This week, take time to notice when you see these in action around you. Does noticing these qualities in other people inspire you to practice them also?
  • Is there one that you would like to consciously try to improve on in the coming year?
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