Your Breakthrough Is Coming

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Direction to breakthroughA friend of mine recently told me, “If one more person tells me my breakthrough is coming, I am gonna scream!”  So…naturally I called him later that day to remind him his breakthrough was coming.  LOL. We laugh about it….but do YOU believe it?

You may have been beating your head against the wall for years wondering if you will EVER see your breakthrough. Here is the secret I learned: if you want your breakthrough, you have to follow through.  Sounds simple, but for millions of people it is a gargantuan task that seems to be the impossible dream.

A few tips that might help you realize your breakthrough:

  • First and foremost, make sure what you are pursuing is God-directed, not self-directed. In other words, are you pursuing something out of selfish ambition and bullheadedness, or are you pursuing your God-given purpose…that thing that you are wired to do that makes you come alive?
  • Secondly, you HAVE to focus your time and energy on what you are pursuing. If you are like me, you may be good at lighting fires but having trouble keeping them lit because you have so many to tend to. Focus on the fire in your belly…that passion that God has put in your heart. Pursue that with everything you have and everything you are. Don’t let anyone or anything deter you from fulfilling that dream.
  • Persistence pays if you stay focused in the right direction. Don’t give up and don’t let discouragement wear you out. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.” Think where we would be today without his persistence.
  • If you want your dreams to come true, you have to act on them. You can talk all day about how great it will be and what you will do when it happens, but if you don’t ACT, you will never see the fruition of your dreams.

Some of you may argue that you are waiting on God. Well, here is my opinion on that: waiting on God is not passive.  It is active. It is continually seeking and knocking until the door opens. It is not lazy, and it DOES require work on our part…but the end result is a beautiful thing. When someone steps into their destiny and abides there, it is like a work of art that is priceless and unique. It blesses everyone.

Don’t miss your breakthrough. We are counting on you, just like you are counting on us. We are each unique pieces to the puzzle called life. Without each of us breaking through, the picture is not complete for any of us.

Greatness is on the other side of your breakthrough. Believe it. See you on the other side.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Rules of Engagement

Posted in Motivational

Rules of Engagement dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach“Greetings little people. I have three basic rules in my classroom. First, when I am talking, everyone has to listen. I expect big eyes on me and big ears listening to what I say. Secondly, I expect everyone to be kind to one another.  We are not going to fight, tattle on one another, or say things that are hurtful. Lastly, we are going to have fun! You like to have fun, right?” All the kids shout, “Yes!” “OK then, remember that if you forget to do the first two, we can’t have fun. Got it?” Everyone gives me a thumbs up.  This is how I begin my classes in elementary school. It helps to set the tone and expectations for the day.

When I see kids in the hallway I always smile at them and give them eye contact.  Sometimes we do the high 5 and sometimes I stand at attention and salute them. They giggle and salute me back.  One kid asked me if I was in the military.  I said, “No, but I am the President.” You could hear them murmur, “What? Wait…no! Really???” One of the kids said, “You are not President Obama,” to which I replied, “I did not say I was President of the United States (I have had my own company for many years).   :o )

I like to ask them how old they think I am.  They make lots of guesses, then I ask them, “Can you keep a secret?”  They lean in listening as I lower my voice.  “I am 110 years old!”  Once again you hear the murmurs, “What? Wait…no! Really?” I keep a straight face and say, “Yes, really.  I look pretty good though, don’t you think? The secret to living that long is you have to eat your vegetables.” LOL. That gets them really wondering.

Then I tell them they can call me Mr. Dan, or Superman…because I am Superman.  “What? Wait….no! Really? Where is your cape? Show us you can fly.” To this I reply, “I am not wearing my cape today because I am working undercover…but I can show you how I can fly. You have to watch very closely because I fly very fast. Ready? (I wait a second)  Want to see it again?”  LOL. They giggle and shake their heads.

I told one class that I was on Dancing With The Stars once. After all the other tall tales I had told them they were skeptical. One kid asked me, “So if you were really on Dancing With The Stars, who was your partner?”  I said, “It was before your time. Her name was Eleanor Rigby.”  Everyone looked at me like who was that? All of them…except one little girl who looked up at me, smiled, and said, “They didn’t get that one.”  That made ME laugh.  Never underestimate what kids know these days!

To engage kids, you have to do the following:

  • Show them you care.
  • Give them eye contact.
  • Speak on their level.
  • Make them laugh from time to time.
  • Allow them to be kids.
  • Do things they don’t expect.
  • Capture their imagination.
  • Love them.
  • Give them rules to guide them and routines to follow.
  • Help them feel safe.

I love teaching kids because I learn so much from them in return. They are truly remarkable little people.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Excuses

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Excuses dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coachRecently my wife encountered a remarkable young woman named Nikki who was working at the Dollar General Store in Grapevine, TX. She noticed that this lady seemed very happy, so she said to her, “You seem so happy. Do you like your job?”  The young lady said, “My Mom taught me to be thankful for my job. She said I should never complain about it, and it I did not make enough money there to make ends meet, I should work two jobs. So I don’t complain. I love my work and I work two jobs. She also said she never wanted to see me on welfare or food stamps, and I have never had to do that either.”

My wife was marveling at her attitude and the impact her Mom had had on her life. Isn’t it amazing how powerful the words of her Mother were to her? My wife told Nikki before she left the store, “Thanks for making my day. I appreciate your attitude.” Nikki thanked her for coming in and that was the end of it (or so Nikki thought).  I told my wife that she needed to write the company and let them know what a great employee Nikki is, so she is in the process of doing that. Most people just complain when things go wrong, but I think we need to recognize people who are doing a great job, don’t you? At the end of the day, we all want to know that what we do for a living matters.

One thing I know for sure: if someone does not want to do something, they will find an excuse, and any old excuse will do. Here are just a few you might hear, or you might have used yourself:

  • I am too young or too old.
  • I don’t have enough education, or I am over-educated.
  • I am single, or I am married.
  • I am too tired or too hyper.
  • I don’t have the time or I don’t have enough to do.
  • I am not smart enough or I am too smart to do this.
  • I don’t know the right people.
  • I can’t help the way I am.
  • I am a single parent.

These excuses are valid if whoever says it believes it to be true (at least it is valid in THEIR mind). In truth, if someone really wants to do something bad enough, they will find a way to do it.

I hope Dollar General recognizes what a valuable employee they have in Nikki. In this day where poor customer service is the norm in many businesses, we need to celebrate the Nikki’s of the world and take a lesson from her positive can-do attitude.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

High Five

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

High Five dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorThere are many unwritten rules which apply to school children. Here a couple of them to help you get acclimated quickly if you are a teacher or a substitute:

  1. You have to understand high five. The unwritten rule is, if you give one kid a high five, then you have to be willing to give everyone around a high five. Picture this: I was recently standing in front of a class room where I was subbing. The morning bell rang and several hundred students started flooding into the halls. One kid that knew me from a previous day I had taught there saw me and immediately came over to give me a quick hug. The next student that knew me wanted a high five. Then it was GAME ON.  Every other kid coming my way was coming by for a high five. There is always at least one kid who wants to send your hand to the moon. He tries to slap you so hard you will hear the sound reverberate throughout the halls. I saw the kid coming towards me; his face was contorted with determination.  He drew his hand back like a major league pitcher and swung at my hand with everything in him. At the last possible second, I moved my hand back and said, “Too slow!”  Everyone laughed and he knew I was on to his game. I saved my hand and he learned a lesson.  LOL.
  2. The next rule is, never sit in the “special chair” without permission.  I was subbing in first grade and had come in to relieve the teacher so she could go to her meeting. I did not get to introduce myself to the class. They were working on a project, so I quietly went to sit at the teacher’s desk. The next thing I know there is a young boy staring me in the eyes and he asks, “Are you supposed to be sitting in THAT chair???” I smiled at him and said, “Yes I am. I am the teacher!” You could hear the class simultaneously chatter: “Ohhhh, I TOLD you he was the teacher!”  LOL.  I told them, “The good news is, I am the teacher and I can sit wherever I want!”  With that, order was restored and all was well with the world.  I had not broken one of the sacred unwritten commandments.

I do want to give a high five to all of the folks at Silver Lake Elementary. Thanks for making me feel like part of the family.  One of the teachers saw me in the teacher’s lounge and said, “Welcome! It’s always a good day when Mr. Dan is here.” I felt like shouting out, “Group hug!”  LOL. There is a spirit of love, support, and cooperation that is incredibly warming. I can see why teachers want to teach here, and kids love going to school here. High five to the Principal, Asst. Principal, front office staff, teachers, and support folks.  Subbing can be a thankless job, but at your school, it is fun and exciting.

When I have coached people about their careers, I ask, “What would you do if money were no object? Once you figure out what that is, pursue it with everything you have.” That is why I do what I do.  I love it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes