Cross Generations

Posted in Motivational, Relationships


Millennials dan skognes motivation blogger speaker leadership development trainer coach (320x191)

I heard a speech the other day about the differences in the generations.  I happen to be a Baby Boomer.  I knew there were some distinct differences in the generations, but I found some of the data rather fascinating.

The new term for youth is the Millennial Generation. Here are some of the characteristics of this generation:

  • They are very technology driven
  • They are more liberal and inclusive of ideas, lifestyles, and habits that we find strange and even dangerous
  • They think they are smarter than you are
  • They have a sense of entitlement
  • They get much of their identity from clothes

Now, I thought back to when I was a kid.  We did not have all of the technology that is available today, but I can identify with the last three bullet points.

There has always been and will always be a disconnect between the generations.  My dad could not understand why we liked to listen to Rock and Roll music.  I don’t understand the attraction that kids have to some of the music they listen too.  I have to admit that I am shocked at how much profanity is laced throughout the music of today.  And let’s face it, Rap makes me want to hit something or someone.  Seriously, why is there so much anger in the music?

How can the Boomers and Generation Xers communicate with the younger generation?  Think about it.  The Millennials are our future workers and leaders.  It we can’t communicate with them, we are in for a real shock.  Here are some tips for reaching those in the Millennial generation that you work with or live with:

  • Show respect for their opinions.  Regardless of how bizarre their ideas may seem to you, they still deserve to be heard.  Who knows?  What they think might just have some validity.
  • Spend time getting to know them and discussing what concerns them.  The more you empathize, the more you will both realize.
  • Model proper behavior for them.  Can you expect them to know how to treat other people respectfully if you don’t do it yourself?
  • Acknowledge their strengths and include them in projects and ideas that have to do with technology or social media.  That is where they live and thrive.
  • Teach them how to communicate with older generations.  Many of the Millennials are raised in fatherless homes.  Cut them some slack.  Love them.  Be patient with them.

I have great hope for the youth of today.  They are bright, enthusiastic, fun-loving people.  We just have to get to know each other.  That will take intentionality, humility, and love on both sides.  I toast the younger generation.  “May God give you vision, peace, prosperity, and love.”


Dan Skognes

Finding Your Way

Posted in Spiritual


Finding Your Way dan skognes motivation blogger speaker leadership trainer coach development (320x128)

Life is a challenge, isn’t it?  It is like we have the compass (we know where we want to end up), we just don’t know how to get there.  What we need is a map!  Of course, a GPS would work too; however, a GPS has been known to be wrong.

I was using my GPS one time to find a client in a remote area outside of Dallas.  I drove for an hour to get there.  When it said you are HERE, I was not a happy camper.  All around me were empty fields.  There was not a house in sight, and my cell phone was out of range. I had to drive back to an area where my cell phone worked to get the client on the phone and get specific directions on where they lived. So much for modern technology.

When it comes to accuracy, give me an old fashioned map.  I want to see the intersections that are ahead of me and what cross streets to be looking for. Is there a map for our lives?  Is there a way for us to navigate life and not get side-tracked or lost?  Well, actually, there is a very accurate map.  It is called the Bible: God’s Holy Word.

The Bible is not just a history book, although it is that as well.  The Bible is alive.  It is God’s living Word.  It has practical instructions and directions for every obstacle you will face in life.  The good news is that God loves us and wants us to live an abundant life.  It is not just directions for getting to Heaven.  It is about navigating the hills and valleys of life.The Bible is God’s map and instruction book.  We just have to read it, believe it, and live it!

It is funny to me that so many people have never read the Bible and scoff at those that do.  Why would anyone choose to walk in darkness when there is a light available to show them the way?  Frankly, I don’t get that at all.

My prayer for you is that you come to understand God’s love.  The Bible is a mystery that God wants to reveal to you.  Just ask God to help you understand what you are reading.  He gave us the perfect tutor…His Holy Spirit.  Once you have the map (the Bible), and the guide (the Holy Spirit), you are on your way to finding your purpose, your peace, and your provision.


Dan Skognes

Just Let It Go

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Christian Laettner

1992 was a historical date in NCAA history. Duke and Michigan had both had incredible runs to get to the Final 4.  Both of them seemed unstoppable, and as they moved into the final game against one another, there was a sense of anticipation that was electric.  I know.  I was there.

I did not know it at the time, but that game would be one of the most talked about NCAA games ever, and I got to witness it firsthand.  If you have never been to an event like that, do yourself a favor and go.  I am not a huge college basketball fan and don’t follow any particular team, but I know when they get to the Final 4, those games are worth watching.

In 1992, Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley lead the Blue Devils against Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, and the rest of the Fab 5 from Michigan.  Michigan had the odds going in.  They were picked by all the odds makers to go all the way, but destiny has a funny way of throwing a curve.  That night, the dreams of the Michigan Wolverine fans were dashed by Laettner and Hurley and the rest of the Duke Blue Devils.

Fast forward to 2014.  I had the opportunity to go to the final game of the Final 4 in Dallas.  Kentucky was playing UCONN.  Unfortunately for Kentucky, UCONN came prepared to play.  Kentucky had given everything they had to win the game against Wisconsin on Saturday, and they simply were not running on all cylinders.

But this is not about that game.  This is about a guy that was walking through the Stadium with a T shirt that read: “I am still mad, Laettner!”  I had to laugh at that, but you know the sad truth is there are a lot of people who carry unforgiveness around for years and years.  They hold onto their anger…getting comfort in it.  Somehow they feel justified in not forgiving someone.

The truth is all of us need forgiveness.  There was only one man who has walked this earth that was perfect, and it wasn’t you or me.  I might be close to perfection in my mind :o ), but trust me when I tell you, I need forgiveness.

The Bible says that God forgives us as we forgive others.  Ouch.  If that is true, then how can we justify unforgivness?  How can we feel good about holding on to anger to the point of becoming bitter?  We either become bitter, or better.  I don’t know about you, but I want and need God’s forgiveness.  Regardless of what someone has done to you, let it go.  To the guy I saw at the Final 4.  “Let it go!”

It has been said that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.  That does not make much sense, does it?  Let it go. Luke 6:37 says, Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” If you expect to have any peace in this life or the next, let it go.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

RESPECT (320x213)

“R E S P E C T….find out what it means to me.” Aretha Franklin

That one word is lacking in many of the businesses and homes across the world. I am not sure why people do not show respect to one another, but I do believe that no business or home will endure without it.

I was in the airport recently and it was very crowded. Our plane, as well as several other flights were delayed because of weather. People were tired, grumpy, and anxious to just get home. As I sat in the waiting area, there was a young girl about 20 years old to my right. On the other side of her was an older man, around 50ish. Two middle age ladies sat directly across from us.

Everybody seemed focused on their phones (a sign of our times, I guess). The man two seats down suddenly raised his voice to a very loud level to the person he was speaking to on the phone. “You f****ing piece of s***! Get your head out of your a**!!! You are just a f***ing p***y. That is totally unacceptable. If you need to learn how to be a marine, look at my son! You are WORTHLESS!!!

One lady sitting across from me looked at me wide-eyed and we just sat there stunned for a moment.  Suddenly, the man stopped and said, “OK, I love you. Bye.”

Can you imagine the looks on the faces of everyone in the area? That was ridiculous.

In the words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Isn’t it sad that he had no respect for the person on the phone or the people in the airport? I am sure in his mind he felt totally justified with his tantrum. But when he said, “I love you,” that was the clinker. The jaws of everyone within earshot dropped simultaneously.

The lady across from me and I just started laughing at the absurdity of the moment.

Whether you are in business, in a family, or in a social setting like I was, learn to be courteous to others. Everyone needs to feel respected. Cut people some slack, and don’t take out the frustrations of life on those around you. With our tongues we either speak life or death. That is your choice.

I hope you choose life.


Dan Skognes

Say What?

Posted in Funny, Relationships

Say What- dan skognes motivation blogger speaker leadership training development coach

Have you ever had someone say something to you that just made you scratch your head and go, “Huh???”  If you are married or ever have been, you know that you and your spouse speak a different language.

My wife is from Arkansas, so she has a dialect that very unique.  I tell her that the only person that can REALLY communicate with her is her friend Ludy, and I call her “Fruity Ludy.”  LOL.

I was talking with my wife the other day about the need to get better sleep.  I told her that since I had started traveling, it messed up my sleep pattern since much of the travel was at night, and I was used to going to bed by 9 PM.  The reason that I retire so early is that I get up early.  I typically wake up anywhere from 3 AM to 6 AM.  So you can see that getting to a hotel at 10 PM or later and then trying to wind down to go to sleep just messes up my sleep.

My wife got a brilliant idea.  She said, “Why don’t you go down to the local health food store and buy you some Melanoma?”  I looked at her sideways and said, “Melanoma?  That is a cancer.  Don’t think I want or need that.  Did you mean Melatonin?”  She said, “I knew it was Mella something.”  We both got a good laugh at that one!  The weird thing is, I knew what she meant!  I have learned to speak Arkansas apparently.

A similar thing happened to me a few months ago.  I lead a Chamber of Commerce meeting and after the meeting, I was just sending a personal text to each person that was there.  To one lady I texted, “It is always good to see your smiling face.”  At least, that is what I thought I texted.  You know how cell phones auto-correct your spelling?  A few minutes later I got a text back from her that simply said, “Did you mean SMILING face?”  Uh-oh.  I went back to see what I had texted.  I had texted “It is always good to see your SMOKING face.”  LOL.  That is wrong on so many levels. Thank God she had a sense of humor.  And thank God she knew it was an innocent mistake.  I was totally mortified!  The good news is, she knew what I meant even though what I said was wrong.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could communicate like that with everyone?  They say there are thousands of languages in the world, but the truth is, there are billions.  In fact, every one of us speaks a unique language based on our culture, our past, our circumstances, our personality, and our natural behavior.  That explains why you can have two people that speak perfectly good English (or any other known language) that don’t seem to be able to understand one another.

We can learn to speak the language of those that come into our spheres of influence by doing a few simple things:

  • Learn to listen without interrupting, and summarize what you heard for clarification.
  • Learn to give people the benefit of the doubt and anticipate that they meant something good.  I am not sure why, but we have a tendency to think the worst in others, not the best. Remember the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty.  Apply that.
  • Learn to not insist on being right all the time.  You can be right or you can have relationship, you just can’t have both at the same time. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Learn to love one another.  That takes humility and putting others ahead of yourself and your own desires.  Here again, it is easier said than done, but the payoff is worth it….peace.


Dan Skognes

Pass the Ball, Not the Buck

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Pass the Ball Not the Buck dan skognes motivation blogger speaker inspiration leadership training development coaching (288x320)

Teamwork only works if a number of people get on the same side of the page and work collaboratively towards a common goal.  The problem with most teams is that there is usually one person who either hogs the ball and thinks the world revolves around them, or they will pass the ball but not take responsibility for themselves.

So, the question begs, “How do you have a healthy high performance team?”

  • If you don’t pass, you don’t play.  No one person carries the team.  Even Michael Jordan had to learn that lesson, and he learned it early in his career.  Despite how talented he was, he could not win the games by himself.  He had to learn to pass the ball.
  • Each team member has to accept responsibility.  What happens may not be their fault, but they are still responsible.  They are responsible for how they act, how they think, and how they respond.  They can choose to react or respond.  This difference is, responding engages the brain BEFORE something is said or done.  Reaction does not think first, and thus is usually a bomb ready to explode on anyone who has the misfortune to be in the vicinity.
  • Team members have to hold one another accountable.  Peer accountability and peer pressure are the highest form of accountability next to self-accountability.
  • All high performance teams are built on trust.  If there is no trust between team members and between the team and the coach, the team is doomed to mediocrity at best, and will eventually crash and burn if not corrected. Trust is fundamental as a foundation in any relationship.
  • Respect and acceptance of one another is critical as well.  Everyone on this planet is unique.  We all have to learn to embrace the diversity that is inherent in team culture.
  • Coaches of high performance teams understand they have to coach each person uniquely.  Different people have different learning styles and different talents.  The successful teams are able to align performance for success by working on the strengths of each unique individual and focusing their direction to the goal of the team.

Whether you function in an organization, you play sports, or your team is just your family, you get to choose what you want to do, but as my wife said to me, “People can choose to do what they want to do, but they don’t get to choose the consequences.”  Many times the consequences of our decisions have life-long implications, so choose wisely.  Learn to trust.  Learn to love one another. Learn to respond, not react.  Learn to forgive and move forward.  Your team (whatever that team may be) needs you to do your part.  Do it well, and the rewards are powerful, plentiful, and successful.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Misjudged dan skognes leadership development trainer speaker motivation bloggerHave you ever misjudged someone or had someone misjudge you?  Well, if you are human, both have happened.

There is a true story of a man who got onto a crowded subway train in New York at rush hour.  At the end of the car sat a man who sat silently just looking off into space.  He had two small kids that were doing what little kids do.  They were running up and down the aisle, making a lot of noise, and running into people as they went.

As the traveler watched this unfold, he became more and more indignant.  Finally, he went down the aisle and loudly said to the man, “Sir!  Would you PLEASE control your children?  They are disrupting the whole train!”  The man snapped out of his trance and tears welled up into his eyes.  He said, “I am so sorry.  We just came from hospital and my wife just passed away.  I was sitting here thinking how I was going to break the news to my children.”

Talk about changing the hearts of everyone instantly.  The mood immediately changed from one of judgment and condemnation to one of great empathy and sorrow.  The question for all of us is, “Why are we so quick to judge other people?  Why can’t we cut each other some slack?”

Next time you start to pre-judge someone, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question, “What could possibly be going on in their life to make them act that way?”  The truth is, if I were to sit down and ask you what is going on in your life that you are concerned about, you would probably be able to come up with a number of things that are bothering you:  Your finances, your health, your family, your friends, your job, your boss, your co-workers, your employees, etc., etc.  The list goes on and on.

Everyone on this planet has issues, so let’s give each other something they may not expect…grace.  Don’t you want people to do that for you?  There is enough judgment in this world already.  We have to remember that we will be judged by the standard to which we judge others.  What goes around comes around, as they say.

Let’s give grace and forgiveness instead of judgment, love instead of hatred, hope instead of hopelessness. Life is short and we will be held accountable for how we treat each other.  May we reflect God’s grace and mercy to others.  That just may make the difference in whether they ever come to know God personally.


Dan Skognes

Favorite Quotes

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Favorite Quotes.jpg dan skognes leadership development motivation blogger speaker


These are just a few of my favorite quotes:

“It may not be my fault, but it is still my responsibility.”  Dan Skognes

“Work on your strengths.  Too much time is wasted on developing weaknesses instead of capitalizing on what we are naturally good at.”  Dan Skognes

“Vision without provision is a nightmare.”  Dan Skognes

“Leading without delegating is not leading.  It’s lecturing.”  Dan Skognes

“A leader understands that the buck stops with them.”  Dan Skognes

“Trials and storms come to everyone.  Don’t be surprised when your storm comes.  Have the raft and provisions ready.”  Dan Skognes

“When what others are going through is as traumatic to you as what you are going through, you are learning the first step in building a relationship….empathy.”  Dan Skognes

“If you are controlled by fear and insecurity you will make stupid decisions or no decisions at all…and even that is stupid.”  Dan Skognes

“Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday.  The good news is that if you don’t like who you are, there is still time to change tomorrow.”  Dan Skognes

“If people don’t follow your vision, perhaps it is you who needs new glasses.”  Dan Skognes

“If nobody sees the big picture, perhaps it needs more paint.”  Dan Skognes

“Those who refuse to change are destined to mediocrity at best.” Dan Skognes

“Building a successful team is simple.  You just have to know how to juggle numerous people and projects simultaneously and keep everyone engaged in the process. It is a lot like being a good Mom.”  Dan Skognes

“We have a tendency to fear what we can’t control.  The sooner we realize we control very little, the better off everyone is.”  Dan Skognes

“You can choose to be right all the time, or you can choose to have relationship.  You just can’t have both.”  Dan Skognes

“Opportunity is not lost.  It just moves on to the person who recognizes it and seizes it.”  Dan Skognes

“It is not who you say you are that matters.  It is who others know you to be that matters in the end. Hopefully both line up.”  Dan Skognes

“You can’t change other people.  They have to change themselves. The most unhappy people I know are always trying to change other people.”  Dan Skognes

“When you look at everyone as a diamond…something of great value, you treat them differently than you would a lump of coal.”  Dan Skognes

“Our action shouts over the whisper of our words.”  Dan Skognes

“Critical decisions made at critical times need to be made without criticism.”  Dan Skognes

“Hurt people hurt people, but free people free people.”  Dan Skognes

“In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at halftime.  The tragedy of life is not that a man loses, but that he almost wins.”  Andy Andrews

“Most people quit when exhaustion sets in.  I am not most people.”  Andy Andrews

“Average people compare themselves with other people.  That is why they are average.  I compare myself to my potential.  I am not average.  I see exhaustion as a precursor to victory.”  Andy Andrews

“Too much of my life has been spent doubting my beliefs, and believing my doubts.”  Andy Andrews

“One decision you make CAN change the world.”  Andy Andrews

“Conflict brings clarity.”  Lupe Gamez

“Expect great things.  Attempt great things.”  William Carey

“Trusting you with time is the first fundamental of trust.  If I can’t trust you to be on time, I can’t trust you with my business.”  Joey Bonifacio

“Facts may not be the truth.”  John Munaretto

“Forgiveness resets the trust button.”  Joey Bonificio

“The foundation of any relationship is trust.”  Joey Bonificio

“The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.”  J. John

“We are all crazy.  We are just in different stages of recovery.”  John Jenkins

“Your career is what you are paid for.  You calling is what you were made for.”  Howard Hendricks

“If you don’t let your past die, it won’t let you live today.”  Perry Noble



Dan Skognes

If You Snooze You Lose

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

If You Snooze You Lose dan skognes motivation blogger speaker leadership development


That is usually said to someone who missed out on an opportunity.  The job offer went to another candidate.  The contact went to a competitor.  The guy you were interested in went out with another girl.  What happened?

Sometimes we get blind-sided by that phrase.  We never saw it coming and were totally caught off guard when we realize that what we wanted is gone…sometimes forever.  So how do we prepare ourselves and keep from getting blind-sided?

  • Don’t take things or people for granted.  If you are in a relationship, keep the fire going.  Let them know how much you love them, admire them, and appreciate them.  If you are pursuing a contract, don’t think the deal is done till you have been paid.  Many a contact has gone sideways because someone assumed the deal was done and just got lazy.  If you are pursuing a job, make sure you are continuing to court your employer as you would a future spouse.  Don’t assume your credentials are selling you.  They may open the door for you, but you have to keep it open.  Stay in touch and show continued interest.  You don’t want to be pushy, but you don’t want to come across as complacent either.  It is a fine line and a lot of that will depend on the temperament of your potential employer.
  • Time is a precious commodity for everyone.  Respect that.  Be on Lombardy time.  Be early for appointments and don’t overstay your welcome. Respect the time of everyone you encounter and they will be more likely to respect yours.
  • I personally hate snooze buttons.  It gives you a few minutes more of sleep, but the reality is we don’t necessarily need MORE sleep.  We need better quality sleep.  Most people can get by on a lot less sleep if they just learn how to relax and quit worrying about everything.  If you go to bed fretting about life, guess what?  You probably are going to be VERY tired tomorrow regardless of how much sleep you get.  Learn to manage your stress, or it will manage you.

Some of the greatest regrets people can have is the “What could have been” decisions. Hind sight is 20/20, but there is no reason we can’t learn from the lesson and not make the same mistake over and over.  Don’t live a life of regrets.  I love the Latin term: Carpe Diem.  It means “Seize the Day!”  We have only 24 hours in this day.  How are you going to live it?  Will you hit the snooze button, or will you seize the day?  My hope is that you live today as if it were your last…for after all, we have no promise of tomorrow.


Dan Skognes

Decision Making

Posted in Business, Relationships

Decision Making dan skognes motivation blogger speaker leadership training consultantIf you are a decisive person, then it can drive you crazy to be around people who can’t seem to make a decision.  If you are an analytical person, you look at things quite differently.  You typically want to think about it before making a decision.

Me?  I am a quick decision maker.  That is why I don’t go shopping with my wife.  When I go shopping, I know what I want. I go in, shoot it, bag it, and go home.  My wife?  She will pick up something and carry it around the store for an hour, then put it down and walk out without buying it.  Frankly, that drives me crazy, but she just loves to shop.  The difference here is our definition of what shopping is and how to go about shopping effectively.  The funny thing is, both of us are right.  We just look at it differently.

I have come to the same conclusion she has.  We are probably not going to change that about ourselves.  It is in our DNA. If you are dealing with someone who is indecisive, here are some things you might want to do to help the process along:

  • Give the person adequate information to make a decision.  Usually the more information you can provide them the better.
  • Give them time to analyze the data.  Don’t push them, but encourage them to make a decision.
  • Find out if there is more than one decision maker involved.  Make sure all decision makers are present to help come to a conclusion that is satisfactory for everyone.
  • Try to agree upon a timeline that they can agree to in making their decision.

If you are the analytical type of person and you are dealing with a decisive person, here are some things you can do to keep us from running off a cliff:

  • Be to the point.  More information is not always necessary to make a decision.  Put things in perspective.  If you are making a million dollar deal, that is one thing.  Where to go to lunch is quite another.  Make a decision on the little thinks quickly.
  • Put a timeline on what you are doing and stick to it. Quit making excuses for not making a decision one way or another.  If you really don’t want to do something, just say so.  Most people would rather you be honest with them than to be “polite” and not make a decision.
  • Being indecisive can cause you or your company to miss opportunities, so be aware of the potential risk of not doing anything.
  • If you can’t seem to sort through the possibilities, get someone who you trust to help you walk through it.

The reason most people hesitate to make a decision is simply fear.  They fear not being right.  They fear they could have made a better decision, or they fear the possible consequences.  Do yourself a favor and do away with fear in the decision process.  Nothing good comes from being fearful. You will pursue the opposite of what you fear and that can have life-long consequences, most of which are not good for you or anyone in your life.

There is a happy medium between analyzing and deciding.  We just have to find it.  I am not sure if that will ever happen in shopping with my wife.  I may be decisive, but I am a realist too.


Dan Skognes