Q Tip

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Q Tip dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorQuit Taking It Personal. Great advice when it comes to responding to people and situations. Not everything is a slam at you, your character, your gender, your appearance, your ethnicity, your intelligence, your authority, etc. Have you noticed how some people are ready to explode on anyone who crosses them? It seems as everything and everyone offends them.

Flip the script. If you find yourself being offended constantly, try this:

  • Start with empathy. Try looking at life through the eyes of those that offend you. As the lyrics of the song goes: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.” We need to learn to see people through the eyes of Jesus. It takes conscious effort, but it can dramatically change the outcomes when you learn to love those who offend you.
  • Be willing to apologize when you make a mistake. Apologies go a long way in letting people know you are human and no offence was intended. This is vitally important in maintaining healthy relationships and is particularly critical in relationships with kids.
  • Try not to drive when you are upset. Road rage incidents don’t typically start on the highway…they tend to begin at home or on the job.

There are three negative responses to a conflict:

  • Fight – verbal or physical confrontation ensues. This is dangerous and potentially fatal.
  • Flight – passive / aggressive behavior which solves nothing. Running away from a conflict never makes it go away and may in fact escalate the situation when you return. You may need to get away to calm down, but don’t let that time away be spent fuming and plotting revenge.
  • Freeze – doing nothing. The deer in the headlights syndrome is not healthy…especially for the deer.

Learn to RSVP. We would do ourselves a huge favor if we would expect conflicts and be prepared in advance on how to respond. Take the chip off your shoulder and do what Otis Redding recommended: “Try a Little Tenderness.”

Life is tough for most people. Remember to Q Tip.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Love Changes Everything

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Love Changes Everything dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorDo you want to change your life? Put a little love in your heart…as the song goes. Love is probably the most misunderstood and least utilized weapon we have at our disposal.

Love is pretty phenomenal in that it conquers evil, eliminates fears, gives meaning to life, heals broken hearts, and restores relationships. It always gives, never takes, believes the best, always hopes, encourages, never discriminates, and is always just. Love protects the defenseless, gives to those in need, and expects nothing in return. No wonder we yearn for it!

Love makes the world go around. It is like the warmth of sunshine to our soul. It soothes, heals, and revives us. It nourishes, inspires, and instructs us. Love is the ultimate teacher, the ultimate leader, and the ultimate glue that binds us all together. It never fails. Love is more than just words. Let’s face it, words are cheap. Love will cost you. Love is an action verb. If there are no actions to follow the words, your words are hollow and meaningless.

The Bible says that God is love. That is the ultimate source and evidence in the power of love. All the commandments of the Bible can be summed up in this: Love God, and love each other. If we would just do those two things, we could put an end to war, hatred, discrimination, poverty, abuse, and a host of other problems that we face throughout the world. I don’t think it is possible to know love without first knowing God intimately. If God is love, then we must truly know Him if we ever hope to know what love means.

Is it realistic to think that this can be accomplished? Well, if I do my part and you do yours, who knows what sparks will be ignited in the lives of those within our spheres of influence. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change OUR world.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Truth and Consequences

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Truth and Consequences dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1I have a feeling that everyone reading this will identify with at least one of the points I am making. Are you a “too” person? Too is defined as: to a higher degree than is desirable, permissible, or possible; excessively. Are you:

  • Too tired? You will make poor decisions and mistakes that you normally would not make.
  • Too angry? You will say and do things that you will regret and could cost you your life.
  • Too trusting? You will get burned by people who are more than willing to take advantage of your gullibility.
  • Too lazy? You will miss out on your purpose and the rewards that come from hard work.
  • Too lonely? You will compromise your morals, self-esteem, and values to fill that void.
  • Too sick? You will not be able to function normally and you will live in pain and suffering.
  • Too stingy? You will miss the blessing that comes from putting others before self.
  • Too free with your spending? You will discover the painful lesson taught by living in debt to others and being a slave to credit.
  • Too self-reliant? You will miss the opportunity to learn from others and have them learn from you, plus you will not accomplish as much on your own as with a team. Leaders have to learn to delegate and collaborate…and everyone is a leader in some capacity.
  • Too reliant on others? You will miss growing as an individual and lose the sense of accomplishment if you rely on others for things that you should be doing.
  • Too judgmental? You will miss the opportunity to make friends from different races and religions.
  • Too arrogant? You will have the misfortune of being humbled by others.
  • Too worried? You will waste time on things that don’t matter or things that you can’t control.
  • Too controlling? You will destroy your relationships and live a lonely life.
  • Too fearful? You will not attempt things that challenge you and miss out on accomplishing anything great.
  • Too unforgiving? You will be shackled to your past and poison both present and future relationships.

There are probably a thousand other “too” examples, but you get the idea. Look in the mirror and you fill in the blank. “I am too ____________________________.” Then ask yourself, “What price have I paid for thinking that way?” (I.E. what were the consequences?)

This is good news / bad news. The bad news is that you have to suffer the consequences of the decisions you have made. The good news is that you can change this behavior and have more favorable outcomes from this point forward. Anything taken to the extreme is typically going to have results that are disappointing, costly, and can cause you to miss out on the secret of happiness. Want to know what it is? Balance. When you live a balanced life you will make better decisions, have better outcomes, and you can actually enjoy the journey we call life. You will also experience two things that I know you are seeking: peace and meaning. I pray you find both.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Blessed or Cursed

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Blessed or Cursed dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

As we come to the end of another year, it is a good time to reflect on all that has happened. I think if everyone is honest with themselves, it is probably a combination of both that we have experienced. It was neither all good, nor was it all bad…simply a mixture of the two.

The funny thing about life is: we do get to determine which one controls us. If we concentrate on the blessings, we become thankful people who look for the good in what happens. If you are full of hope, then you expect good to come out of circumstances…no matter if they are good or bad. If we concentrate on the curses, we become bitter and resent people, circumstances, and ultimately…even life itself.

You might be thinking, “Dan, you don’t know what kind of year I’ve had! It was AWFUL!” And you know what? You would be right. I don’t know. However, I do know that often what we think is a curse is a blessing in disguise. Sometimes you have to go through the loss of something or someone to see the blessing of the loss.

What it takes to understand this is pretty simple. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed. It takes trusting God when nothing makes sense. It takes praising Him in the midst of the storm. It takes following Him when you can’t see the point and believing that He will be with you and guide you through it.

If you had a rough year, you can believe me when I tell you that I have had very rough years in the past and survived. So, I know a little of the pain and confusion that you are going through. Here is the good news if you had a rough year. We all have a new year ahead of us. This gives us new beginnings, new opportunities, and most of all renewed hope.

May God bless you throughout the new year. May you have a renewed sense of His presence, His power, and His peace in your life. May you find joy in the journey, and may you fulfill your purpose in His perfect will for your life. Happy New Year!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Response Ability

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Response Ability dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorDo you respond or react to opposition? The first requires thinking before you speak. The second is a knee-jerk action that many people seem destined to wallow in and sink into.

Recently I was dealing with a troubled teen at school. This boy is constantly in trouble with his teachers and the administration. I was talking to him in a calm voice about his bad behavior and all I got from him was deflection and argument. He took no responsibility for his own poor choices. It was constantly someone else’s fault…never his. Perhaps you have someone like this in your life and you can identify with the dilemma of trying to talk to a brick wall.

Everyone has the ability to respond vs. react. It is up to each of us to choose how we will handle opposition and problems. When you find yourself in a confrontation, what do you do? Do you argue? Deflect? Blame someone or something for your bad behavior and poor choices? It is our responsibility to use our response ability. I realize that is easier said than done, but it can be done if we learn to just breath….literally.

Stepping away from a contentious situation may be the best thing you can do till you can think clearly and unemotionally. Emotions seem to short-circuit our brains…and not in a good way. Negative emotions like anger, jealousy, envy, rage, and a host of others can take us off course and derail us if left unchecked. Words spoken in haste can kill a relationship and have violent outcomes.

One of the things that we tell kids who are having disagreements is this: “You don’t have to like each other…but you DO have to respect one another.” That is good advice no matter how old you are. Learn the art of disagreeing. Be willing to compromise and find areas of common ground; and most of all….respect one another.

Those that insist on reacting their way through life will find life meeting them with brutal force. My hope for the young man I spoke of earlier is that he comes to his senses before someone does serious injury to him. The choice is ultimately up to him…as it is for each of us.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

21 Things You Don’t Want To Lose

Posted in Funny

21 Things You Dont Want To Lose dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

Life or Death

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Life or Death dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes when you win (get what you want) you lose. We have all experienced getting something or someone we thought we had to have in our lives only to be bitterly disappointed. I have had times where I was disheartened in not getting what I wanted, only to find later that there was something much better for me.

Here is the principle: For something to live, something has to die. This applies to all aspects of our lives. It affects our relationships, our happiness, and our destiny. Here are some examples to illustrate the point:

  • For us to ever truly love others, we have to learn to die to self. I understand that we have to love ourselves in a healthy way, but what I am saying is that we have to express love to others in more than just words. Love is an action verb in the purest form that puts others before self.
  • For us to be happy, we have to let the pursuit of happiness die and enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination. This requires that we have an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for the daily blessings we receive…no matter how small. Put to death the thought, “I will be happy when….”
  • For us to find our destiny, we have to put to death the good things that have sidetracked us from pursuing what is great. When we pursue great instead of settling for good, we are on the path to fulfilling our destiny. If we focus on discovering and using our gifts and pursue nothing less than what is great, excellence and purpose are born out of the passion.
  • For us to move forward, we have to let the things behind us die. Holding on to the past is like trying to leave the port with your anchor still dropped. Let go of past hurts, pains, problems, and mistakes. Today is a new day. Lift the anchor.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Right or Wrong

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Right or WrongHow many sides does a coin have? One? Two? If that is what you said, you would be wrong. There are three sides to every coin. Most people forget about the edge. The truth is often like that: there is my side, your side, and the truth that is in the middle. Sometimes people get so caught up about being right or wanting to argue that they lose sight of the truth.

You can choose to be right all the time, or you can choose to have relationships. You can’t have it both ways. Sorry if I burst your bubble. Being right for some people is almost a do or die thing…even over petty issues. My question is, “Why?”  What is so important about being “right” that you would sacrifice your relationships? Does that make any sense?

Most issues can be seen from three sides: my side, your side, and the truth that is somewhere in the middle. However, there are some absolute truths that you don’t have to question: Is murder right? Is immorality right? Is being unforgiving right? You were probably with me on the first one for sure. I probably had a few of you questioning what is morally right…but then I had to drop the bomb and talk about forgiveness. That lost a bunch of you because you say: “You don’t know what I went through. You don’t know the things I endured. You don’t know”….and you know what? You are right. I admit it. YOU ARE right. I don’t know any of that.

What I do know is this:

  • If you want relationships in your life that are healthy, you can’t insist on being right all the time. You have to admit when you are wrong…and yes…ask for forgiveness when you offend someone (isn’t that just being an adult?). You have to be willing to admit you were wrong!
  • This is great advice: seek to understand first. We often don’t know what the other person is really thinking or feeling because we don’t ask. We assume…and you know what that gets you. Don’t assume. ASK what they mean. ASK what they think. ASK how they feel.
  • Is it possible for both people to be right and disagree? Yes!  We assume that every disagreement has to end in a win for someone and a loss for the other person. That is not necessarily the case. It is possible that you are both on point, right in your perspective, and correct in your assessment. You just have come at the problem from different points of view. Allow for the possibility that you are BOTH right.
  • I know that some things like religion and politics are hot topics. People are passionate about those things. I remember one time I was selling insurance and I had a couple tell me about global warming. I made the mistake of saying: “You don’t believe in that, do you?” OMG. You would have thought I spat on their baby. Needless to say, I did NOT get the sale and they were deeply offended…although I could make a strong argument why they were wrong.  LOL.

As individuals, families, communities, and countries, we have to learn to communicate and speak our mind without being judgmental of what other people believe. That is easier said than done, but just remember this: every coin has three sides, and BOTH of you could be right.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Seek First To Understand

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Seek First To Understand dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone did that one thing? Think about the wars that would be avoided, the race relations that would be healed, and the families that would be restored.

I heard a man speak about this very thing and he was talking about why some people can’t communicate. They choose not to listen. If you really want to get to the heart of racial issues, we need to be asking people of other races what it is like for them to live in America…then shut up and just listen.

There will always be wars and rumors of wars, but what if we simply learn to listen to those who oppose us? What if we seek to understand them first rather than just write them off as an enemy?

One of the biggest raps that Christians have against them is that they are judgmental. Jesus was only harsh to one group of people in the Bible….the Pharisees. They knew the Scriptures very well, and yet they were far from the truth. He called them a brood of Vipers!

Having discussions with people who have opposing points of view has to be done differently if we expect different outcomes. Think about a controversial topic like gun control. The question is not about whether guns are good or bad. The real question is, “How do we responsibly deal with guns in this country?” That is a question that opposing sides could actually have some dialog over, right? Find some common ground and get creative with how to solve the problem rather than just believing someone is right and someone is wrong. This process could be applied to pretty much any hot topic, but it would require that both sides agree to truly listen and understand. At the end, we still may have to agree to disagree.

We all live in a world full of confusion. There are always things that surface to give people ammunition to argue their point. My hope and prayer as we get ready to enter a new year is that we all learn the art of listening.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Homestead

Posted in Business, Motivational

Homestead dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1The homestead exemption that the Government offers you is great and gives you tax breaks on your dwelling place; however, here are a couple of things you may not know:

  • The homestead exemption is not a one and done deal. If you move, you have to reapply for a homestead exemption. It is based on your dwelling, not on you. I was aware of this one, but only because my CPA explained it to me many years ago.
  • Did you know about the age 65 exemption that supplements the homestead exemption? This is HUGE as it uses the year you turned 65 to set the baseline for taxes. There is a ceiling that your taxes will never go over based upon that baseline number….with the exception of the Hospital District Taxes. Those have no cap…sorry. Not sure what it is in your state, but it is worth a phone call to you county tax assessor to find out what your state offers.

By applying for the homestead exemption you get tax breaks. Add to that the age 65 exemption and you put a cap on your taxes. That is pretty cool for us senior citizens.

You might be thinking, “That is all well and good, but I turned 65 last year, or the year before that, or 15 years ago.” He is some good news (again…this is here in Texas). You can automatically roll back one year, and they allow you to request however many years it was that you turned 65. There is no guarantee that the review board will grant you the full rollback, but even if you get to roll back one year, that is a great thing here in Texas where the prices of real estate seem to be going crazy with the thousands of people moving here every month.

I hope this will help you or someone you know. It is going to make a big difference for me and my wife. For anyone that is 65 or older, this is a huge benefit that you need to take advantage of.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes