Mena Impact Academy

The Vital Link: Inner Development for Sustainable Growth

In the realm of sustainability, there’s a critical yet often overlooked factor: the significance of inner development in achieving sustainable progress. While discussions typically revolve around reaching net-zero, addressing climate change, and tackling social issues as the root causes of environmental disasters, the focus tends to evade our role as human beings in this crisis. We possess the means, the people, and all the necessary tools to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the UN in 2015. So, why is progress alarmingly slow? Let’s delve into the root cause.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a powerful catalyst for collective introspection, prompting individuals worldwide to reassess their fundamental purpose in the face of unprecedented challenges. This global crisis forced a pause in our fast-paced lives, urging us to contemplate the deeper meaning behind our daily actions. It sparked a universal questioning—why do we do what we do, and how does our existence contribute to the greater good?

The pandemic didn’t just reveal vulnerabilities; it unveiled a shared sense of purpose. It acted as a societal mirror, reflecting our interconnectedness and the need for a more meaningful and sustainable way forward. This collective pause wasn’t just about surviving; it was an opportunity for introspection, a moment for individuals to align their personal missions with a broader, more significant purpose.

As we grappled with the challenges posed by the pandemic, a global purpose crisis emerged—an existential questioning that extended beyond individual lives to encompass the very fabric of our societies. This awakening, triggered by adversity, propelled many to reconsider their values, priorities, and the impact of their actions on the world. In essence, the pandemic served as a crucible for forging a renewed commitment to purposeful living—a crucial foundation for any meaningful contribution to the broader goals of sustainability and the SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs

Zooming out, the SDGs provide a shared blueprint for global peace and prosperity. Envisioned by all UN Member States in 2015, these 17 goals aim for a sustainable future for people and the planet. However, global progress toward these goals has been sluggish, raising concerns.

It’s disconcerting—why the hesitancy to take urgent action against climate change (SDG 13), reduce inequality (SDG 10), or promote sustainable consumption (SDG 12)? The answer lies in the need for human beings to undergo a transformative change. The impetus for action begins with us, with the imperative for inner transformation—a shift from an ego system to an eco-system mentality.

“We need to move from ego system to eco-system economics.”

Otto Scharmer

The Inner Development Goals – IDGs

To effectuate sustainable change, our mental and social operating system must evolve from ego-system to eco-system awareness. Enter eco-system leaders—change-makers capable of guiding individuals from silo thinking to system thinking. This necessitates a profound personal transformation and a new leadership paradigm.

Inner Development Goals (IDGs) offer a transformative skills framework for sustainable development, encompassing categories like Being, Thinking, Relating, Collaborating, and Acting. These goals empower individuals to be catalysts for change, fostering a mindset conducive to achieving the SDGs.


Systemic change begins with a collective elevation of consciousness. Living a purposeful life is not a luxury but a birthright, and embracing this reality positions us as agents of change capable of comprehending the world’s complexity. The IDGs framework serves as a powerful tool for this inner work, particularly for individuals in positions of influence.

As ambassadors of the IDGs, the Mena Impact Academy supports leaders in cultivating inner sustainability for outer sustainability—building the necessary skills to lead the sustainable transformation in their organizations.

Learn more about our commitment to the IDGs and our efforts to nurture leaders capable of driving impactful change at the Mena Impact Academy.

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