Justin Donald Leader

Benefits Professional
  • Start Focusing Right Here

    Oct 05, 2016

by Justin Leader


Right here, right now force yourself, no matter how hard it is, to shift your focus to the present moment. Stop all ancillary thoughts and focus on what you are doing right now. How are you breathing? How are you sitting? What project are you trying to complete? What anxiety are you imposing on yourself in that very minute?

Now take it one step further and think really hard about what you can control in your life. Many of us feel hopeless, we are consumed by worry and distraction. How much of our day is driven by these on going and often never ending thoughts? We think about disease, the economy, our children, our spouses, our pets, our bosses, having enough time, having enough money and the list goes on and on and on. We all know the answer to what we can control, although more often than not our brain tricks us into thinking otherwise.

The reality is that the only thing that we can control, the only focus we should have is that of our actions. This encompasses being self-aware not only of the moment we are living in but also our reaction to events and people that are far outside of our control.

I was at a conference a few weeks ago and made a few personal revelations. One of the speakers asked an important question. What is your first thought when you wake in the morning? For most it was a moment of anxiety realizing what the day was going to bring. Very few if anyone woke with a feeling of appreciation for having another day of life. How much will your day change if you switch your focus first thing in the morning to that of a positive mindset. It is ok to get coffee first. If you are like me, lucid thoughts do not really exist until that first sip of coffee.

The last revelation was in regards to how we react to situations outside of our control. When people ask me about my definition of purgatory in the afterlife, I describe sitting in endless traffic for all of eternity. The 3 roads that I think of most often in regards to this scenario are the Schuylkill Pike in Philly, the Squirrel Hill Tunnels in Pittsburgh and lastly, any point along I-95 especially in and around DC. Most of us can think of a situation that gets us heated instantly. For me its traffic. For you, perhaps it’s the November Presidential Election and heated exchange of armchair debaters on Facebook? Sometimes we need a physical and mental reset button for these situations that happen to us and especially the knuckleheads in our life. More often than not the change of focus that we need is one of perspective. That being said, I followed the advice of a speaker and ordered 50 big red clown noses for both my home, Jeep and office. Anytime there is a situation outside of my control, including an argument, or 2 hour wait on a 1 mile stretch of highway, I put on a big red nose. At that moment, I realize life isn’t so bad for this clown.

-Justin Leader is Vice President of Business Development with Benefit Design Specialists, Inc. BDS is committed to a two-fold goal; delivering quality, cost-effective employee benefit plans coupled with hassle-free benefits management for our client’s HR departments.  He also apologizes if you have a fear of clowns and/or have recently been impacted by the creepy clowns lurking around neighborhoods.