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Top Themes to Pull Forward from 2013

This past year has been amazing. The amazing year is primarily due to the engaging conversations from a thoughtful and thought-provoking community. My gratitude is immense to the community of readers and the writers of guest posts and insightful comments.

During this past year, my blog continued to concentrate on leadership topics but I made a shift to focus more intently on how to close the leadership gap between generations and empower Millennial leaders. Why Millennials? The simple answer is they are the next generation to lead and they are entering our workplaces and communities with their talents and gifts. An added reason is there is too much focus on differences and inaccurate stereotypes rather than on engaging and supporting the next generation of leaders.

Top Themes and Posts of 2013

Top ThemesWhile reviewing the top 10 posts of the past year, I was intrigued to see what resonated the most. Themes of mindfulness, trust, philosophy, empathy, and problem-solving are vital ones and all hit a strong chord. These themes highlight leadership principles close to my heart and soul.

Highlighted below are the top 10 posts on Thin Difference.

  1. A Mindful Difference: Respond vs React. “Being mindful in our responses ensures integrity in our interactions. Absence of mindfulness will raise the likelihood of emotional reactions and unproductive arguments. We need to gain control through attentiveness and awareness, centering ourselves to lead our conversations fruitfully, honestly, and fully.”
  2. How to Gain Trust – Simply Four Ways. “To gain trust, we must be believable so that another will have confidence in our ability to keep our word, do our part, and follow through on expectations set. It is what authenticity is all about – consistency of character through all actions and words.”
  3. Challenge Your Status Quo. “The new reality, I believe, is this:  Change can only happen from within and enabled through the right social and emotional conditions. We stare at our status quo, and we freeze. It is a stalemate, unless we go deeper and understand what we need in our living and leading capabilities to change and proceed in good, purposeful directions.”
  4. Is It Better to Have a Life Plan or a Life Philosophy? “Life plans set a direction and key objectives to pursue. It may even include key milestones to check along the way. Again, all positive. However, what is the meaning behind the plan? What character traits are embedded in plan? What is the aim of the plan in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or a lifetime?”
  5. Do You Need to Aspire to Inspire? “In tandem, aspiration and inspiration work amazingly well together, better than any duo you can possibly imagine. One powers the other and leans on another. When one is weak, the other re-engages us. When one is stronger, the strength pulls the other up. When both are robust, anything can be accomplished.”
  6. Five Practices to Enhance Your Problem-Solving Mindset. “Solving problems is what leaders do. It is what people do. We solve problems or, at least, it is what I am suggesting is a necessary life and work skill. Some are better at it than others, but it is a skill anyone can learn and enhance.”
  7. What Makes an Authentic Leader? “More than actions and characteristics, I believe we need to have an authentic being and intelligence on what makes us real, positive, consistent influencers.”
  8. In Collaboration We Trust. “Trust and collaboration go very well together. It is not about dampening individuality; it is about knowing everyone’s talents and gifts and using them fully. Effective collaboration requires trust, and trust empowers effective collaboration.”
  9. The Truth About What Gen Y Really Wants at Work by Mona Berberich. “That said, when it comes to generational differences, we might want to stop making them a bigger deal than they actually are. We’re all searching for interesting meaningful jobs that challenge us and give us fulfillment in life.”
  10. Empathy: Making the Connection. “Our call to action is simply to let our guards down and let others see life in full – joys, messiness, tears, laughs. Life contains all, and empathy can only be given and received when we understand.”

Thank you for a wonderful 2013! Looking forward to 2014 with an open mind, an open spirit, and a curiosity to explore new themes in the months ahead.

Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and is a leadership populist, writing to empower Millennial leaders. When we share experiences rather than focus on differences, we realize a thin difference between two generations and a vast opportunity exists to create a big leadership story.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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  • http://www.worklifenation.com JudyMartin

    Jon,
    This is so beautifully done. An inspiring take in reviewing the year. I’m working on my own right now for my blog and you have inspired me to move in a different direction in the delivery. Happy New Year – wonderful to be connected to you, your work and our fantastic network of incredibly creative souls. @JudyMartin:disqus

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Thanks so much, Judy. Looking forward to reading your recap as well as the continued exchanges and learning during the year ahead. Thanks! Jon

  • Let’s Grow Leaders

    Jon,
    An excellent recap. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2014.

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Thank you, Karin. Looking forward to your continued leadership insights in 2014, too! Thanks. Jon

  • http://www.dralicechan.com/ Alice Chan, Ph.D.

    Jon, thank you very much for what you shared in 2013. I appreciate the commitment you have toward millennial leadership because they are the next generation of leaders. Beyond that, definitely enjoyed your perspective on trust, hope, and the 2×2 matrices whenever they served as the framework around the topic of your posts. Looking forward to more engagement and exchanges in 2014!

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Thanks so much, Alice. That means a lot coming from you. I have enjoyed reading your insights and journey, and I am grateful for what I have learned from you. All the best to you in the new year ahead and look forward to learning more! Jon

  • Alli Polin

    Definitely see some of my favorites on the list, Jon! Loved your recent post on what makes an authentic leader. Look forward to more great content, engagement and shared learning with you on 2014!

    I was actually really intrigued and inspired when you changed the focus of your blog to focus on the generational gap. I’ve learned new things, been exposed to new organizations and individuals doing great work and am excited by what the future will bring.

    Thank you!

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Alli, Thank you for your wonderful feedback. I really appreciate it. You are one of the key leaders I always enjoy reading and learning from. You bring a great balance of being practical while challenging us to lead in better ways. I have learned so much from you in the past year and look forward to further conversations in the new year ahead.

      Thank you for all you do! Jon

  • http://www.intuitiveheal.com/ Dr. Christy L. Johnson

    Jon, since I’m relatively new to your writings, I appreciate your synopsis here. Lots of rich material to digest, thank you!

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Appreciate it, Dr. Johnson! All the best to you in the new year ahead and look forward to more interactions, too. Thank you. Jon

  • Chantal Bechervaise

    Great recap Jon and I really enjoy the content on your site! Looking forward to reading more in 2014! Happy New Year!

    • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

      Thank you, Chantal. Really appreciate your comments. I look forward to continued conversations and learning from your insights. All the best to you in the new year ahead! Jon

  • http://www.hitenvyas.com/blog Hiten Vyas

    Hi Jon,

    All the posts you’ve listed are wonderful ones and a big thank you for sharing such great advice in the areas of leadership and filling generational gaps, in order for better learning, understanding and working.

    It’s been a pleasure being a part of your community and I’m looking forward to continuing to follow you in the new year that has just begun.

    I would like to wish you a 2014 that is full of good health, wealth and success.

  • http://www.theleadermaker.com/ Douglas Satterfield

    Jon…some great articles here and provide lots of insights. Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.pixelcrayons.in/ Mantra Malhotra

    @JonMertz:disqus I am regular reader of Econsultancy, Inc & Entrepreneur.com, I found this post through Buzzsomo. I really appreciate the posts and the content mentioned herein specifically in your list of 10. Posts, 2,6, 7, and 8 I really liked them.

    Thanks again.