The Coaches’ Prayer

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Coaches' Prayer dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorThank you Lord for the opportunity you have given me to coach others. I recognize the sacred responsibility I have to encourage, inspire, and motivate others to succeed. I also recognize that it is not just about winning a game, but winning the game of life. I pray that I am able to help those I coach identify and capitalize on their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and learn from them both. I pray that I am able to be a role model for them at all times, knowing that what I do far outweighs what I say. Help those I coach learn that failing is not fatal unless they quit and that stumbling blocks can become their stepping stones to success. I pray that the preparation and perspiration required to succeed are coupled with perseverance and common sense. I ask that you help them condition their minds and bodies to excel and that you protect them from harm. I pray Lord that you help them compete with integrity, character, and humility, and not worry about what their critics or competitors say, but to let their actions put the words of those that oppose them to rest. Help us remember that to be the best requires time, determination, being secure in yourself, and having a teachable spirit. Let us always honor those who have helped us succeed, whether it is our parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, or friends. Teamwork is vital in sports, business, and home life. Help us each do our part to succeed in the game of life. Amen.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Don’t Fear…Persevere

Posted in Business, Motivational

Dont Fear Persevere dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorOne of the greatest things you can do in your life is to learn the power of perseverance. This applies to businesses, education, relationships, and your own personal development. Perseverance is the grit and glue that binds us to our destiny.

I was speaking with a waitress this past weekend. I asked her what she planned to do with her life. She was in her early 20s. She smiled and said she was in her last semester of college and was planning on going on to get her masters…but she was afraid she could not continue even getting her bachelor’s degree because she did not have the money. She had to work so many hours that she could not dedicate time to studying.

That is a dilemma for a lot of kids, isn’t it? We discussed options briefly, but I encouraged her to finish getting her degree, and if she REALLY wanted to get her Master’s degree…get it now. Don’t try to go back later in life when you are married and have kids. It can be done but is incredibly difficult to manage all of that.

This is the point that many young people face in getting their education these days. They know they need it, they want it, but can’t afford it. She said she had family that could help her financially, but she did not want to ask them for help. I just told her (kindly) that she needed to lose the pride and ask for help. Her family could help her in multiple ways including getting loans and grants.

One of the greatest things we learn from getting an education is perseverance. We learn to persevere when there is no money, when we are juggling school and work hours, or balancing social activities. We learn to persevere because we know that the price we pay now will pay off for us down the road. That is an incredibly important lesson for everyone to learn. Life is not about instant gratification. It is about sticking with it when things get hard. Perseverance is the thing that helps us take the next step towards our destiny. Don’t give up because things are tough. Life is tough, but it gets a lot tougher if you don’t persevere.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Peace, Love, and Understanding

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Peace Love and Understanding dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

(Dedicated to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting)

Here are some of the lyrics from a song with that title penned by Elvis Costello:

“As I walk through

This wicked world

Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself

Is all hope lost?

Is there only pain, hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside

There’s one thing I wanna know:

What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding? Ohhhhh

What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?”

The truth is: it is not funny at all.  It is sadly lacking in our world today. Everywhere I look I see people caught up in evil and going crazy on each other. Here is what I believe WILL change the world for the better: We have to see other people through God’s eyes. What would that look like?

  • We would love each other despite our differences in politics, religion, ethnic origin, or any other prejudice.
  • We would seek to understand those that are different from us rather than fear, hate, or judge them.
  • We would put others before ourselves and learn to be givers instead of takers.
  • We would truly care about people who are suffering, poor, widowed, orphaned, or in prison.

I know this may seem like the impossible dream, but if I don’t do it, who will? If I can set the proper example, then maybe those that God brings across my path will be inspired to love, understand, and be at peace with one another, but it has to start with me.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Leader’s Prayer

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Leaders Prayer dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorLord, I come to you today first of all to give thanks. Thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercy on me. Thank you for my family, friends, and co-workers. Thank you for my job. Help me, Lord, in the decisions I make today. I pray that my decisions are not selfish but for the good of all and that I make them for the right reasons. Help me to remember to lead by serving. Help me to discern what is important and what is wasting my time. Help me to face my fears and not let them keep me from making the hard decisions. Help me to know who to trust, who to watch, who to empower, and who to let go. I pray for those that work with me, that I will encourage them, for I know that many of them are carrying heavy loads at work and at home. Bless each of them and their families, Father. Give them strength for the day, and help them not to worry about tomorrow, but to learn to trust you regardless of the circumstances. Help me be a reflection of you and your love to those I encounter this day. Amen

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Dear God

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Spiritual

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Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Let’s Get Engaged

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Lets Get Engaged dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorTo be fully present in the moment is the essence of learning. As a teacher I constantly watch kids to see who is on task and who is off in their own little world. It can be challenging for even the most skilled teacher to keep a class of 27 or more kids all focused and in the moment.

I happen to be a visual learner, so I know firsthand that if I see something done I will learn much more quickly than just hearing how to do it. If I can hear how it’s done, see how it’s done, then do it myself…even better! I think sometimes we as teachers forget that kids are all different. Some come to school with no sleep, no breakfast, and dysfunctional homes that could wreck anyone’s day. Some have learning disabilities that may not have been diagnosed yet. It is a lot to handle, and my heart goes out to the teachers who do this day in and day out without losing their patience or their minds.

Here are a few things that might help you as a teacher to get students attentive in class:

  • First and foremost, it starts with you. If you are grumpy, sleepy, or hungry, you will not be at your best. You have to be ready from the ring of the bell to come out with energy and excitement. You may have to tell yourself, “I think I can, I think I can.”  LOL.
  • Try to figure out what learning style works with each child. I know that is a lot to ask when you have that many kids, but the sooner you do, the sooner you can speak to them in ways that will engage them. Get to know your kids individually. Make a concerted effort to spend some time with each child and see what works and what doesn’t. It will make the day less stressful for you both if you do.
  • Get creative and think outside the box. When I take over a class for a teacher the kids love it. You know why? I make it fun. I laugh with them. I sing! I walk funny on purpose just to get their attention. I am not afraid of looking silly because I know the kids need to laugh too. They need to lighten the burden they are carrying like we all do. I am not saying you have to be like me. You be you. Just get creative and do things from time to time they don’t expect. Music is a great ice breaker with kids. Use it, and by all means use visual aids whenever possible.
  • When you see much of the class is off task it is time to take a brain break. Use GoNoodle or some other fun video to just give the kids a few minutes to get the blood flowing to their brains again. I love GoNoodle for the creative and fun songs and dances that they do…and the kids absolutely LOVE them.
  • You will figure out pretty quickly which kids are the ones who need extra help. Can I suggest something? Concentrate on READING. If they can’t read, they can’t do any other subject well. Help them read first and foremost. Get them tutoring and get the parents involved if possible. Start a book club. Make it fun. Give them a challenge and if they reach it they get a pizza party or something exciting to them.

School does not have to be dreaded. If your kids come to your class day in and day out with dread on their faces, you need to look in the mirror and change what you are doing. Most of you that read this are dedicated teachers who love teaching and love kids. Hopefully, whatever category you fall into, you gained a tip or two that will help you get even the most challenged students on task.

P.S. Don’t give up on them. They need to know that at least YOU believe in them. You can be the one who helps them get on course and reach their potential. Begin by teaching them to read, and by all means, love them through the process.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

It Is Never Just About You

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

It Is Never Just About You dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorLet’s face it: We are born selfish. “MINE” is one of the first things you hear coming out of a kid’s mouth, and many of us seem to hang on to that mentality throughout our lives. The funny thing is how we judge others for being self-centered without really looking in the mirror. We all have that tendency…even me. OK…I said it!  LOL.

Selfishness is an inborn trait but does not have to define who we are. When I am teaching kids I constantly look for ways to get kids to help one another and share ideas and things. I teach them the power of serving. Yesterday I was tying a shoe for a kindergarten kid. Later in the day when I asked a kid to tie his shoes, he said he did not know how. A friend of his immediately knelt down and tied it for him. It was a very cool moment and reminded me to model what I expect.

Kids are like little sponges and they are continually soaking up information. Their little brains are going 90 miles an hour putting facts together and figuring out what this thing called life is all about. Here is one thing I know for sure about kids: if you tell them something it may have a punch, but if you model it for them it has lasting power. When you show them how to serve, give, and love one another it will transform them.

Isn’t that what we want as teachers? Don’t we want to transform kids into productive, healthy, and happy human beings? Of course we do. It starts with showing them…modeling for them how it is supposed to be. They may or may not get it at home, but at least I know they will get it in my class. Part of that process is being genuine and admitting when you make a mistake. That has great power as well. Let kids know when you mess up and if you offend someone, let them see you apologize for it. They WILL remember that lesson, trust me.

Next time you see someone being really selfish, you can correct them, but take time to look in the mirror and make sure you are not guilty of the thing you are correcting in others.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Monday Monday

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Monday Monday dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorTo be honest, I don’t understand why some people dread Monday. I think it is because so many people are not doing what they love to do. I look forward to Mondays. I teach, I write, and I interact with people that I care about. I do this every day of the week because I truly love what I do.

I heard a preacher explain the difference in how some people get out of bed in the morning. The first person says, “Good morning, Lord!”  The second person says, “Good Lord, it’s morning!”  LOL. It is a matter of perspective, right?

If you are a person that continually gripes about Monday, I would encourage you to take a hard look at what you are doing for a living. If you truly are doing what you love, then quit griping about it. Ain’t nobody got time for that, right? LOL. If you don’t like what you are doing, start finding something that you are truly passionate about and pursue that with all your heart.

I helped screen kids for the business school at TCU this week. It was interesting to talk to the kids and hear what they were pursuing. Most were still trying to figure out what they wanted to be, but a few of them had already figured out what they wanted and had a laser focus on what they were going to do for a living. I think part of that is due to good parenting and partly due to the school they attend.

Schools have come a long way in helping kids find their way. One of the things that I think is pretty cool about the TCU program is the intern program they have that helps kids test the waters in things that are of interest to them (even internationally), as well as the projects they do in classes that allow them to work in teams towards common goals as if they were in a real business.

When I was in college we did not have the intern programs available to us nor the team projects which simulated businesses. We played a board game but it was pretty rudimentary.

Even though I teach at the elementary school level now, I still try to help kids identify what they are good at. When I see a gifting in writing, art, science, math, athletics, or whatever, I praise them for it and let the parent know that they have a gift in that area. Hopefully I will help them on their journey to find their passion and avoid the Monday Monday syndrome.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes