Cheaters Never Win (in the end)

Posted in Motivational

Cheaters Never Win dan skognes keynotepeople motivation blogger speakerA lot of people are sick and tired of hearing about “Deflategate.” What does it matter in the scheme of things that the Patriots let some air out of some footballs?  Does that REALLY matter? If you are a Patriots fan, my apologies for the following expose’.  I know there are die-hard fans. Regardless of what happens, they are going to be fans.  Other people are just sick of hearing about it. I understand that…at least to a point. However, there are lines that should not be crossed and when someone makes the decision to break the rules, there are consequences for their actions. There are always consequences for our decisions, and we don’t get to choose what they are.

Recently it came to light that the Patriots deflated the balls they used to give their team an edge in the game against the Colts. The question is, why?  Did they not have enough confidence that they could beat the other team without stooping to that?  Really? This is not the first time that Bill Belichick, head coach of the Patriots has come under fire for doing something unethical or illegal.

Remember “Spygate” a few years back when the Patriots were caught spying on the Jets. In 2007, the media couldn’t stop talking about “Spygate. ” The New England Patriots were caught illegally taping sideline defensive signals from New York Jets coaches during the teams’ opening week game. It soon became known that that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had engaged in such activity since 2000, and although the league had only expressly clarified the practice as forbidden in a September 2006 memo, the perception still lingers that New England gained an unfair advantage (i.e. cheated) during the first seven seasons of Belichick’s tenure with the team. That period happened to include three Super Bowl championships and five division titles. Imagine that!

Now we have “Deflategate.” They did not have to cheat to win.  They beat the Colts 45 to 7.  Belichick says he did not know about it.  Brady says he did not know about it.  Really?  Are we to believe that someone randomly deflated the game balls in a critical playoff game which gave the Patriots an edge in the inclement weather and the coach and quarterback were clueless about it?  I don’t think so.  Nothing happens like that without the blessings from above…and I don’t mean God.

Troy Aikman was asked if there was any way that they could not have known, and he said, “Brady knew and Belichick should burn.”  Too harsh?  I think not.  This is another black eye for the Patriots and for Roger Goodell. Aikman said that Goodell’s “ignorance is no excuse” reason was used to bury the Saints in 2012 for “Bountygate.” Sean Peyton was suspended from football for a year!

Let’s see if what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Goodell lost a lot of credibility with the bungling of the Ray Rice fiasco.  Now this test has risen to test his moral compass once again.  Talk about being in the hot-seat.  I would not trade places for anything with Roger Goodell.  Let’s hope he does the right thing, and let’s hope that the Patriots learn the lesson that sooner or later your sins will find you out. When you have to cheat to win, what have you really won? Certainly not the respect of anyone. I think we would all like to put this behind us, but how do you do that when someone continually cheats to win? Is this what professional sports has come to?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Does Anyone Give A Rip?

Posted in Relationships, Spiritual

Does Anyone Give A Rip dan skognes keynote people motivation blogger speakerI was at a meeting today where they were talking about the silos that exist between the evangelical churches. Martin Luther King said, “The most segregated day of the week is Sunday.”  Wow.  That is pretty sad, isn’t it?

We have churches that are predominantly white, African-American, Asian, Spanish, or one of numerous other ethnic groups. What is going on here? Are the denomination and ethnic differences so great that we can’t worship together?  Is that what the church really looks like? It made me think.  If the Christians can’t communicate, love one another, and start working together as a “body,” what is going to happen to America?

Well, take a look at Europe if you want to see OUR future.  Churches are closing at an alarming rate because nobody is darkening the doors of the churches in Europe.  Add to that fact that right here in America, the millennial generation has by and large written off the church and “religion.” All I can say is, “Houston, we have a problem,” and the problem is religion!

The church as we knew it 20, 30, or 40 years ago is not “relevant” to the younger generation.  They see evangelical Christians as out of touch, biased, narrow-minded, judgmental people that just don’t get it.

Here is the good news.  Some churches are waking up and smelling the coffee.  Movement Day Greater Dallas (which started in New York) is taking the silos down, locking arms with evangelical churches and also with business and political leaders to spread the Gospel and address the social ills that plague our nation.  It is now just about Jesus…and that is the focus.  If you love Jesus, you are my Brother or Sister…period.  How cool is that concept?  Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?  Guess what, the younger generation loves it! They get that!

It should not matter where you live, what you drive, what you do for a living, or the color of your skin.  What matters is, do you love Jesus?  Do you serve Him? That is it, pure and simple.  If you do, we are family.  That freaks a LOT of people out…and I mean people of every color and every denomination!  People say they want equality and unity, but many don’t want to even think about what that looks like or what it might cost THEM. I can see folks rolling over in their graves at the thought.

Well, guess what folks? Heaven is going to be filled with people of all colors, and denominations are not going to matter.  Get over it.  Did they love Jesus?  Was He Lord of their life? That is it!  Those are the only questions that matter.

It is about time that we treat our Christian Brothers and Sisters like family… with love.  We need to be kind, compassionate, respectful, and willing to truly serve one another.  Why is that such a difficult thing to put into practice?  I pray that we will not just be hearers of the Word…but doers.  James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. ” Let’s put our fears and biases aside and love one another just as Christ first loved us. Let’s be intentional.

You want to shake the gates of Hell?  Start doing what the Word of God has commanded us to do.  Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. When we lock arms with other believers (regardless of their denomination or the color of their skin), we will see that we are an army that is unstoppable.  Our mortal enemy will flee before our eyes when we do. I like the thought of that.  How about you?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

Caught In The Weeds

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Stressed businessman sitting at desk in office being overloadedHave you ever known a visionary person who always seems to be caught up in the weeds, and thus their visions never come to pass or at best are delayed a lot longer than they need to be? Why is it that so many executives get caught in the weeds on a regular basis?  You know what I am referring to, right?  It is when an executive is doing things himself that he should have delegated to one of his managers or subordinates.

This is a big problem for a lot of folks that are in upper management.  When you ask them why they are caught in the weeds, you get answers like:

  • I like keeping on top of things to make sure they get done right.
  • I don’t trust that it will be done in a proper timeframe if I don’t keep tabs on it.
  • Sometimes if you want things done right, you have to do them yourself.

Those all sound good and may have good intentions, but the truth is that fear is the thing that keeps a person in the weeds.  If they can’t trust that the job will get done by someone else, they will constantly find themselves bogged down and doing things that in the end are counter-productive to the organization.

Let me introduce you to the weed whacker.  Every executive needs to understand the value of it and use it regularly.  Here are the benefits of using the weed whacker:

  • When you release yourself from fear, you release yourself and others to become productive.
  • You will be able to concentrate on things you are being paid to do and not saddle yourself with someone else’s job. Why would you want to do a job that someone else is being paid to do? That does not make any sense, does it?
  • You will find that by delegating to others you help them to have greater job satisfaction when they are empowered to make decisions on their own.  Everyone wants to feel valued in their job, but how can they ever feel valued if you are micro-managing them?
  • When you get out of the weeds you will find it a lot easier to soar.  You can’t fly in the weeds.  Getting bogged down in the daily grind will keep you from fulfilling your destiny and cause you great frustration along the way. You fly in the sky…not in the weeds.
  • Failure is to be expected, so don’t have unrealistic expectations of those you delegate to.  Give them guidelines and room to make decisions.  You still hold them accountable and have the mechanism in place to make sure that their decisions are not fatal to the company or to you personally…..but trust them and let them manage. You lead…they manage.

You have to come to the point where you decide to let go of the reins and trust your team.  If you can’t do that, you have two choices. You leave, or they leave.  You can’t have a house divided.  You all have to work together and trust one another or you simply can’t make it in the long run.  Please do everyone a favor and use the weed whacker in your life.  Clear your desk and clear your mind of those things which are not relevant to your job. Learn the power of delegation. Lose the fear and start trusting people. In doing so, you will find the road a lot less bumpy and a lot more rewarding for everyone.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Season That Almost Was

Posted in Motivational

The Season That Almost Was dan skognes motivation blogger speakerI think there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth yesterday as the Cowboys season came to an end.  Fumbles during the game and at the end of the game cost us dearly.  I was pretty upset over the refs reversing the catch by Dez Bryant. How can someone catch the ball, take three steps, reach for the end zone and that NOT be considered a football move?  That was ridiculous.  But, having said that, we need to learn some lessons from the game:

  • Aaron Rodgers was a hobbled quarterback that could have been rushed more aggressively.  Why did the Cowboys continue to rush only 3 people when he obviously had time to throw?
  • Fumbles by Tony, Demarco, and Dez all cost us and any one of them could have changed the game in our favor.  Just goes to show the power of a turnover.
  • Tony was swarmed all day by the Packer defense.  He rarely had enough time to set up and throw.  Two things came to mind, one was he needed to get rid of the ball quicker. He tends to hold onto the ball too long waiting for the play to develop, and secondly, he needed better protection.  He got sacked way too many times.
  • The dumb call at the end of the game was just the icing on the cake.  If the rule is such that a catch like the one Dez made is not a catch…then the rule needs to be changed.  Everyone recognized it was a catch…except the refs who were following the letter of the law.

We will never know the outcome of how the game might have turned out had the fumbles not taken place or the dumb call not been made.  It is all water under the bridge and now we will be relinquished to sitting on the sidelines with the rest of America watching the Super Bowl.

Nobody thought the Cowboys would do as well as they did this year.  I suspect even they were surprised they got as far as they did, but I think some positive things came out of the season regardless:

  • Romo established himself as a leader and a winner.  He has had a bad rap for some time now and deserves to be put up near the top in the quarterback rankings.
  • Murray established himself as an incredible runner and will be central to the Cowboy offense for years to come, assuming he remains healthy.
  • Dez established himself as a leader.  We all knew he was a great receiver, but he elevated to a new level in leading his teammates.
  • The Cowboy’s offensive line did a great job and opened the hole for Murray while protecting Tony (most of the time).
  • The Cowboys team played as a unit…cohesively.

I hope that they change the ruling that was reversed on Dez for the sake of all teams, and I hope the Cowboys don’t lose heart over their loss to Green Bay.  There is no reason Dallas can’t go all the way this coming season.  We have the talent and the motivation now.  Let’s finish what we began in 2014.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Prey or Pray

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Prey or Pray dan skognes motivation blogger

I think we can all feel at times like there is a roaring lion preying upon us. Life is like that.  I recently watched the movie UNBROKEN.  It is a true story of an Olympic athlete who went into the service and got captured by the Japanese in WW2 when his bomber was shot down over the ocean.

He and two of his crew survived for 45 days in a raft, living off of raw fish they caught by hand and drinking rain water they captured in canteens. If that was not horrific enough, they got picked up by the Japanese and put into a prison camp that was run by a sadist officer.  He seemed to take great pleasure in torturing the prisoners, especially Louie Zamperini.

I thought about how I might have handled that type of trial, and frankly, I pray I never have to find out.  The beatings he took were brutal.  The conditions they lived in were abominable.  The outlook was bleak, to say the least. It would have been very easy for the men to give up, and I am sure many did.

You know what kept Louie going while he was living in hell?  His faith.  He had faith that God would deliver him at some point, and he had an unquenchable faith in himself.  I think that was the part that really touched my heart.  He believed in himself partially because his brother believed in him totally.  That says a lot about the power we have to speak life into others, does it not?

When the war was over and Louie went home to his family, he still had the demons of war to battle with.  He finally decided he would only find peace one way…not through revenge, but through forgiveness.  He actually went back to Japan and had the opportunity to run in the Olympics in the very town where he was held captive.  He met with the captors that had held him and his men.  But you know who the one man was that refused to meet with him?  The officer that was the sadist!  He refused to meet with Louie…even though Louie just wanted to forgive him.

I saw an interview with the Japanese officer and he justified his actions as being appropriate for war time and that the beatings and kicking of prisoners was not unusual in the Japanese culture.  That is pretty scary in and of itself! Oddly enough, he was in hiding as a wartime criminal until the US government forgave him.  He had the forgiveness of the US government and the forgiveness of Louie, but I think maybe….just maybe, he could not accept responsibility because the guilt he would have to bear would be unimaginable.

The moral to the story here is that when you are being preyed upon, pray.  Pray for those that use and abuse you.  Pray that God help them see the damage they are doing and that you be delivered.  Louie was a real life hero for many reasons.  He was not perfect by any means.  He had flaws like all of us, but he had heart.  He had resolve.  He had faith…in God and in himself.

I do not pray for smooth roads ahead for you or for me.  I know that is wishful thinking and unrealistic. We will have some smooth roads ahead, but we will also have some rough ones.  What I pray for is that my faith (and yours) be sufficient to weather the storms that we face.  In the end, our faith (or lack of it) will be the thing that draws us closer to God…or sets us further adrift in the ocean of life. It will be the thing that saves us, or sinks us.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

A Blessing Or A Curse

Posted in Business, Motivational

A Blessing or a Curse dan skognes motivation blogger keynote peopleI am a creative person.  My mind is continually spinning and thinking of new ways to do things, new mountains to climb, pretty much anything that is new can get my attention.  That is great from a creative standpoint.  It helps me come up with creative thoughts and ideas on how to do something that may have stumped other people.

The problem is FOCUS.  I was laughing with my business partner the other day about our mutual problem.  I sent him a picture of a pink squirrel to look at when he needed to focus.  The problem is, I need it as much as he does.

When we get together it is a lot of fun because we toss around grand ideas and get fully energized.  We can talk for hours about visionary plans.  Here is what we both came to realize almost simultaneously, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  We can talk all day about great ideas, but if nothing is focused on and put into action, it is all for naught.

My word for 2015 is FOCUS.  I want to look back on Dec. 31st of this year and see that my efforts were not in vain.  I did not get sidetracked with a variety of good intentions or go down any dead end streets.  I did not allow good things to sidetrack me from great things.

Here are some things I have learned that might be helpful for you:

  1. Find something you love to do then focus on that.  If you love to do it you will be sustained in times when you are asking yourself that age old question we all ask from time to time, “What the heck am I doing?”
  2. By focusing on one main thing your creative energies can have more effect and are more likely to succeed.  Tyler Perry said in an interview that FOCUSING on one thing was what allowed him to do all the other things he does now.
  3. When you focus your time, your money, your heart and soul on one thing, you are going to have clarity of purpose, and clarity of purpose is critical to achieving your goal. If you don’t care where you are going, it does not matter what road you take.

Here is the one caveat.  Make sure that what you focus on is worthwhile.  You can focus on something and realize years later that you were trying to ride a dead horse.  I have been there and done that.  I learned a lot…but it was the hard way. Focus in the wrong direction and you will get nowhere.

I hope this year will be a year of focus for you as well.  May you be blessed in all you put your hands to, and may your focused efforts help you step into your God-given destiny.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Lemming Leap

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

The Lemming Leap dan skognes motivation blogger speaker“Practice what you preach.” I heard those words come out of the mouth of a wife of a preacher…speaking to her husband.  My wife put it to me a different way.  She said, “You give good advice.  You just need to take it.”

I am not sure why it is hard to take my own advice except we all have blind spots.  It is a good thing to have someone in your life that will shine the light on the blind spots so we can see them.  I am fortunate to have several people in my life that do that freely and frequently.

The older I have become the more open I am to hearing the truth.  There was a time when my feelings would get hurt or I would become defensive.  The thing is, when someone loves you, they owe it to you to speak the truth, so receive it!

Advice is easy to give and can be hard to take.  Here are a few things to think about if you are on the giving or receiving end of advice:

  • Don’t give advice on something you know nothing about. The truth always comes out in the end.
  • When you give advice, always speak the truth…just remember to speak it in love.
  • Be aware that many people don’t want your advice.  Ask if it is OK if you are unsure of how they feel. They are more likely to listen if you ask permission.
  • Don’t give advice if you are angry.  It will come out as sarcasm.
  • If someone gives you advice, listen.  Just listen without argument and without becoming defensive.  They just might have something worth considering.
  • Don’t assume you know WHY someone is giving you advice.  If you question their motive, ask them.

There are two things to be aware of:

  • Some people who give advice are hypocrites.  They do not believe what they are saying and will never take their own advice.
  • Other people give advice from the school of hard knocks.  They are trying to help you avoid the pitfalls they have taken.  Listen to THEM.  They are open to taking their own advice. They just need help getting there.

Your challenge is to discern between the two.  If you get a serious gut-check when someone gives you advice, listen to it.  It might keep you from doing the lemming leap off the cliff.  You are better off listening to a lemming that leapt…and survived.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Motives Matter

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Motives Matter dan skognes motivation blogger speaker

Why you and I do what we do does matter, doesn’t it?  People do things basically for two reasons:

  1. Selfish reasons. They do something because it will benefit them.  They don’t care what the outcome is as long as they win.  They are not concerned with the potential side effects and who might be hurt.  A selfish person says, “What’s in it for me?”  They think win – lose. Their conscience is seared.
  2. Self-less reasons. They do something because it will benefit others.  They care about how it affects everyone.  While they want to win, their motive is not at any cost.  They consider the ethics, morals, and common sense of the situation and if it goes against one of those, they won’t do it. A self-less person says, “What can I do to serve you?” They think win – win. Their conscience is clear.

You may be thinking, “I am definitely not in the first category.”  Well, I hope that you don’t dwell there and I hope it is not part of your character, but I think we all have a natural tendency to fall into the selfish trap if we are not careful.  Be honest, who does not like to have things go their own way?  We all like people to do what we want, when we want it.

So what motivates people?  Some people would say the carrot, and some would say the stick.  Some would say money, and some would say they motivate themselves.  All of those are true, but they are all rooted in two things.  We are either motivated by fear, or we are motivated by love.

If you are motivated by fear, your selfish ambitions take over.  You lose sight of your own humanity when fear takes over.  Love, on the other hand, is liberating.  Love is like turning on the light in a dark room. Love gives. Love heals.  Love creates, builds, and strengthens.  Fear takes.  Fear makes us sick.  Fear tears down, destroys, and weakens us.

Next time you find yourself feeling or acting selfish about something, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”  One thing I know for sure about fear.  If you don’t confront it, it won’t go away.  Fear will continue to advance and take over your life and crush it if you let it.  It can destroy you, your family, your business, and your relationships. In the words of the now famous song….Let It Go.

I know that getting rid of fear can be hard and even seem impossible, but the cure to fear is actually pretty simple, embrace love.  There is a proverb that says, “Perfect love casts out fear.”  Embrace love, and fear will flee.  Fear dwells in darkness.  Love dwells in light.  It is up to you where you will live. I am encouraging you to step into the light.  It sure beats the alternative.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

What a Difference A Day Makes

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

What A Difference A Day Makes dan skognes motivation blogger speaker

 

You may have heard this saying before. There is a lot of truth to it. We tend to forget this statement when we are in the frying pan and the heat is getting turned up on us. Circumstances in life can be overwhelming at times, and that goes for everyone on this planet. It rains on the just and the unjust alike.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with life and the walls seem to be crashing in on you, there are some things you can do to get perspective:

• Many of the things we worry about simply never come to pass. Quit worrying about the “what ifs.”
• Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Tomorrow is another day and circumstances can change dramatically in an instant. Expect good things to happen instead of bad things. We tend to get what we expect.
• If you are in a situation that was caused by a bad decision you made, first of all, own it. Quit blaming others for your bad decisions. Secondly, take steps to correct the mistake if at all possible. It may take an apology or humbling yourself to set things straight, but a positive outcome and peace are well worth the effort.
• Talk with someone who is close to you that has a positive can-do attitude. They need to help you see the positive in the situation, but they also need to be able to tell you the truth in love.
• If you insist on having a pity party, put a limit on it and do it alone. Don’t drag others down just because you are having a bad day.
• If you have a relationship with the Lord, pray. People underestimate the power of prayer, but prayer changes things! If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, this would be a good time to get to know Him.
• Along with praying, read the Bible. It is full of wisdom and is a guide to help you through the darkest hours. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.”
• If you have been in the slump for a prolonged period of time, it is probably time for you to get some professional help. Nobody wants to admit they need therapy, but the truth is….most of us do at some point in our lives. You are not the only person who is having trouble coping. If you are in that river in Egypt…denial, it is time to get out of it and get some help.

Holidays seem to heighten anxiety and depression in people. Don’t be the Grinch. He may have been funny in the book and in the movie, but he is someone that nobody wants to be around in real life.

I know this last bit of advice sounds contrary to what you feel….and it is. Find something every day to give thanks for, and find someone who is worse off than you to do something nice for them. That grateful attitude will change the way you see things and serving someone who is worse off than you will help you put everything in perspective.

P.S. If you have someone in your life that is a thorn in your side, pray for them and bless them. They won’t expect that, and you will be better for it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Forgotten Factor

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

The Forgotten Factor dan skognes motivation blogger speakerZig Ziglar used to talk about the need to have an “attitude of gratitude.”  I think the world to a large part has lost that concept. Gratitude has been replaced with an attitude of “You owe me.” Is it any wonder that we are surrounded by people who are unhappy, bitter, and downright angry?

I was speaking with a friend of mine this week and asked him, “What do you think is missing in today’s society?”  He said, “Faith.”  While I agree that faith is definitely missing for many people, gratitude is foundational for you to have faith.  I don’t believe you can be a person who is grounded in faith without being grateful. It seems to me that gratitude is the foundation upon which faith is built.

If you are a person who is already showing gratitude, then this is just a reminder, but if you are one of the many people who feels that everyone owes them, then pay attention.

  • Gratitude is learned.  We are not born with it.  In fact, just the opposite.  We are born selfish and expecting everyone to meet our needs.  Lesson 1 is, “It is not all about YOU and YOUR needs.” Learn to say, “Thank you,” and mean it.
  • Gratitude is essential to love, peace, faith, and happiness.  When you express a heart-felt thank you to someone, it does two very positive things.  First, it makes the other person happy that you recognize that they have done something for you and are grateful (which typically makes them want to do more for you, by the way), and it reinforces in you a spirit of humility.  Lesson 2 is, “Gratitude is foundational to being a whole person.”
  • The enemy of gratitude is pride.  Pride says, “I am going to do whatever I want to whomever I want and let the chips fall where they may.”  That attitude has gone before millions of people who have fallen.  Lesson 3 is, “Lose the pride.”  Be willing to say thank you even for the little things that people do.  It does matter in the end.

I had the opportunity to visit a very poor Mayan village in Guatemala.  It was an amazing trip in many ways, but one thing really stuck out in my mind about these people.  They were so grateful for the little things that we did for them. One of the things we did was just to listen to their stories and pray for them.  Apparently this was not common in their village for people (especially strangers) to do.  They loved us for just taking time to listen to them and pray for them. 

The other thing we did was to take them a basket of food.  The basket had basic staples like flour, cooking oil, rice, beans, etc.  You would have thought we were giving them a fortune.  I found out later that many of these people only had tortillas to eat on a daily basis.  That kind of puts things in perspective when you sit down at YOUR next meal, doesn’t it? What really humbled me was when they served us something to drink and eat, sharing the little bit that they had.

If you are in a place that seems difficult, the one thing that you CAN do is to change your attitude.  Be grateful for what people do for you.  Be grateful for what God is doing.  Even if you don’t see things changing, be grateful.  If you want your faith to grow, if you want to be happy, give thanks. Gratitude will change you in a positive way….and others appreciate it too.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes