A week ago, I stood in the Stockholm concert hall, moderating the first-ever Inner Development Goals summit, when wonderful Renee Lertzman asked me to describe in one word why I was there. Out of the top of my head, I said, "connection".
Rarely has this felt more true.
When I stumbled across the IDGs two months ago, they seemed to connect so many dots in my life. They are the decision to look inward and work on ourselves and, by that, increase our ability to tackle the challenges of our times together. This belief has driven me for many years. But it is only in the framework of the IDGs that I feel my belief resonating in a concept that is simple and carries the potential to go global.
Standing in front of 700 people on-site, 4000 online and even more in 40+ hubs from Bejing to Cairo, Sydney or Kyiv, strangely enough, this crowd didn't feel like an anonymous mass - but rather like my very own tribe. I felt connected to them by our shared enthusiasm to take this idea forward, the authenticity they showed in the exercises and the sincerity of the feedback I received.
The speakers shared their life's work to grow the idea further: e.g. fierce Johan Rockström made us feel the urgency but also that this is an "exciting moment" in history for change; gentle Fredrik Livheim guided us to the end of our own lives; "Harvard's most entertaining professor" Bob Keagan warned how our fear of dying is in our way of being our best selves; master of imagination, Phoebe Tickell took us on a powerful journey to talk with the generations to come; "chief cultivating officer" Jennifer Garvey Berger made us ponder on what we miss in our own way of relating to others; ever so sharp, Otto Scharmer called for collective action; quick-minded grand-lady Amy Edmondson challenged us to look differently at our mistakes; Jonathan Rosen | Visual Artist's magical mirrors made us reflect deeply and Jules Sentore turned the stage into the hottest dancefloor.
The team combined professionalism with humour, lightness and humanness: wonderful Åsa Jarskog, bright-hearted Staffan Åkerblom (thanks for teaching me thumb-wrestling!), spot-on Mats Larsson as well as the entire IDG team and their partners at Ekskäret Foundation (thank you Tomas Björkman!), The New Division, Karolinska Institutet, 29k, Stockholm School of Economics etc.
The heart of it all, brilliant Jan Artem Henriksson reminded us of something crucial: "Inner development does not mean individual. It is something we do together." My friend Eduardo seemed to have known this, since he sat with me till late, the day before, supporting me in the stupidly banal task of cutting moderation notes, saying no more than "sometimes, it helps not to be alone".
With this in mind, I carry the feeling of connection with me on a journey that has just begun - to spread the Inner Development Goals to the world. In this, for sure, I will not be alone.
pics by Michael Göthe