When You Think You’ve Arrived

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

“We never really arrive until we die.” Dan Skognes

Think about your life and all the places you have been and all the things you have accomplished. Have you ever truly arrived? I know you may have arrived at a place where you are comfortable, but are there not new people to meet, new places to go, new goals to achieve? That list is perpetual until we take our final breath.

My point here is that no matter how much money you have made, how much success you have achieved, or how famous you have become, you never truly arrive. It is just a part of the journey we call life and there is always another horizon.

Just because you are comfortable does not mean there is not more to do. I would encourage you to look at those around you and see what you can to do serve them. It is not hard to find people in need. They are everywhere. You can help with a smile, a word of encouragement, a simple act of kindness, etc.

If you have “arrived” in your mind, then you should have even more time and freedom to serve others. Volunteer at a local hospital or church. Go on a mission trip where all you do is serve others. It will change the way you look at life and at people…particularly if it is in a third-world country.

The world is incredibly small when you think about it. Imagine what would happen if any major country quit international trade. It would cause shock waves from which some countries would never fully recover. Of course, it would affect the country who quit trading as well, but depending on the country and their natural resources, they could possibly weather the storm where others could not.

We can do our part by touching the lives of those we encounter. When you see a need, don’t just be a spectator and expect that someone else will take care of it. If you have the resources, step up and fill the need. We can all afford to give a word of encouragement at the very least.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Insecure

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Would you describe yourself as secure or insecure? Here are some characteristics to consider. If you are secure:

  • You are not needy. You are content.
  • You are not self-centered. You think of others first.
  • You do not worry. You have faith.
  • You are not driven by what other people think of you. You know who you are.
  • You shun ingratitude. You are truly grateful for all that you’ve been given.
  • You don’t confuse using things and using people.
  • You don’t talk about people, you talk to them.
  • You understand that being secure, you can make decisions without second-guessing yourself. You are careful and analytical, but decisive.
  • You know that what you see on the outside is not always a match of what is inside someone. Beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder either. True beauty is when you look at the heart. That is what God looks at. If that has beauty there is merit. Inner beauty always trumps outer beauty.

How are you measuring up so far? Do you want to move from insecure to secure in who you are?

  • Once you know “whose” you are, you can rely upon “who” you are. God formed you. You are a miracle; one of a kind. You are His. No other person on earth has your exact DNA. That makes you special. You have a purpose on this earth. Once you accept that, it can take you to new levels in your faith, your family, your friends, and your future. You can be secure in God. He loves you completely. If you don’t get anything else, get that, and trust HIM.
  • You have to know who you are. That is both simple and complex. You can choose to not believe it. You can know who you are and ignore it. Or…you can know who you are and walk out your destiny. That choice is totally up to you.

Don’t waste your time or your life trying to be a people pleaser. Trust me, you can never please everyone. There will always be the haters, but if you know who you are, it does not matter. That gives YOU the power, so use it wisely.

Shalom! 

Dan Skognes

Father’s Love

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If you want to know what the perfect Father looks like, look at God… the Father of all mankind. He loves us completely in spite of our human frailties. That fact alone should give you pause to think. His love directs us, completes us, and gives us our daily bread. His love lights the way through the darkness and comforts us in the losses we encounter. He also corrects us when we are going astray just as any loving Father would. His love is generous, complete, and never ends.

Being a great Father is a daunting task for most men. It is a huge responsibility, but I do believe it is a worthy goal for any Father. You know what I believe helps make that a reality? Love God with all our heart first and foremost. The second thing is to love our fellow man as we love ourselves.

If you really want to take being a good Father to a different level, do those two things, but add one more thing to make it very personal: love your wife completely. Serve her. Honor her. Make her the priority that she deserves to be in your life. Listen to her. Protect her. Provide for her. You want to be treated like a king? Treat her like a queen. The children will love and respect you as a result.

Too many men miss this point and think they can be great Dads by spending a lot of time with their kid(s), but neglect or even abuse their spouse. That type of behavior is a ticking time-bomb. Sooner or later it is going to explode and the very thing the Dad was trying to nurture (relationship with his children) will very likely be taken from him.

Love God, love your fellow man, and treat your wife like a queen. Those three simple things will elevate you in the eyes of all and give you peace that passes understanding.

Happy Father’s Day!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Assuming

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

I was reminded the other day that some people are ignorant. I got a call from someone who proceeded to tell me how I needed to behave in a situation and cast disparaging remarks about my character…without getting their facts straight. Never once did they ask my side of it. They assumed they had the story correct and were ready to let me know that I was a big disappointment.

Some people have the attitude: “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” The funny part about this story is that I shared it with my wife and told her that when the facts came to light, it would not matter with this person because they were not about to apologize. They would have to admit they were wrong. I was right.

Good Lord, help me be the bigger person with people like this. It is a good thing that I have a sense of humor. Some people would get into a spitting contest and that never turns out well for anyone. Everybody gets soiled.

Here are the takeaways:

  1. Get all the facts before you decide someone is guilty of something or not. There are a lot of people who are sitting in prison right now because all of the facts did not come out in their case before judgement was declared.
  2. If someone attacks you verbally, consider the source. Dr. Phil says: “When someone shows you who they are, believe it.” Don’t make excuses for their bad behavior. You should have appropriate boundaries between the two of you for your own safety and sanity. You don’t need more drama in your life, do you? You may have to love them from a distance.
  3. Someone needs to be the adult and it might as well be you. Don’t allow the childish behavior of someone else cause you to lower yourself to their level. Take the high road and you will not have to look back with regret at things you said or did. It may require more effort up front, but it is a lot easier to come down from the high road vs the road that has been destroyed.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Enough

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Domestic abuse is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It is tragic, embarrassing, and in some cases, fatal. I was watching an interview with Andrea Kelly, former spouse of R Kelly, the R & B Artist.

Andrea said the thing that made her realize she had hit rock bottom was when she attempted suicide and knew she would be leaving her three babies behind. That was preferable to one more day of abuse. Wow.

R Kelly was not her introduction to dysfunction. The first time she saw a woman being beaten was by her Grandfather (a Baptist Minister) who was hitting her Grandmother. R Kelly has since revealed that he was abused as a child.

She endured the marriage for 13 years. The verbal abuse finally took the next logical step, physical abuse. She had no easy way out except to end it all. When Andrea was talking about who she was at the time, she described herself as “lost.” That must be a very hopeless feeling, particularly when you have three children to protect and care for.

She said, “You have to love somebody enough to tell them enough!” That is why nearly 10 years after the divorce she is coming out to encourage other women who are in abusive situations. She said she did not believe that he had enough people in his life to be “real” with him…to tell him the truth, not just what he wanted to hear. He lacked people in his life who really cared about him, not just his money.

75,000,000 records sold and 12 albums to his credit, fame came with quite a price tag for R Kelly. His talent onstage was undeniable, but his private life was a train-wreck. The tragedy even 10 years later is that the kids are still paying a price by being bullied on Instagram and in school. It seems that kids are always the ones who suffer the most.

R Kelly denies the allegations. Only God, R Kelly, and Andrea know the whole truth, but I hurt for all of them. It is a disease that needs to stop. Enough!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

Even Superman Has A Hero

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

I watched the news this morning and I have two new heroes. One is named Cody Runyon. He is a 13-year-old boy that sprang into action when he saw his 12-year-old friend, Evan, drowning in the deep end of the community pool. Cody saw the lifeless body of his buddy and immediately dove in to save him. Cody stands 4’11” and weighs only 80 lbs.

When he got Evan to the bank, one of the neighborhood mothers did something that required superhuman strength. Desiree Pasko, who suffers from fibromyalgia, often requires a walker and wheelchair to get around, but she apparently was filled with adrenalin as well and leapt to her feet and performed CPR on the small boy who had already turned blue.

Within a few minutes, he coughed and came back to life. What could have been a terrible tragedy was averted by a fearless friend and a brave lady who ignored her own health issues to help him.

Every year it seems that we hear the same horror stories of people drowning in pools, lakes and in the ocean. It is estimated that there are around 3,536 unintentional drownings every year that are non-boat related. Add another 332 boating victims and the number is approaching 4,000. That is about 10 deaths per day, with one out of five being age 14 or under.

The sad part of this is it is totally preventable. Kids should never be unsupervised at a pool, lake, or beach. Most of the kids who died were swimming where there was no lifeguard or parent actively monitoring the situation. If they are not good swimmers, they should have lessons and wear appropriate floating gear until they know how to swim. Even then, they need a lifeguard.

I hope that parents reading this will take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves and their family when enjoying the water this summer. It can be a great summer on the water if we just use some common sense.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

Extraordinary

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Have you ever met someone extraordinary? What was it that made them seem so special? What made the difference was being “extra” ordinary. It does not take parting the Red Sea to stand out in a crowd. It just takes being willing to do more than those around you.

Extraordinary people have some common traits:

  • They are willing to do jobs that are not in their job description. No job is beneath them.
  • They understand the power of under-promising and over-delivering. They know that if the job is due Friday and they get it done the day before, they are a hero.
  • They have the ability to make you feel important not by just listening to you, but by making you feel heard.
  • They are risk takers and don’t let fear hold them back from making decisions.
  • They don’t worry about the failures or successes of others when it comes to meeting their goals. Their primary competitor is the man or woman in the mirror.
  • They don’t play the blame game, and don’t waste time complaining. They own their mistakes and have solutions in mind to the problems they encounter.
  • They are “other” centered, not self-centered.
  • They are competent, confident, and courageous.
  • They know their limitations and surround themselves with competent people.
  • They understand the power of perseverance. They don’t give up just because they encounter roadblocks, detours, or storms. They stay focused on the goal and set their sails accordingly.
  • They have an uncanny ability to raise people to levels they did not know they were capable of.
  • They encourage and inspire with word, deed, and sometimes with a smile.
  • They have a commitment to excellence and are continually learning.
  • They can be leaders, followers, and everyday people.
  • They are people bound with grit, character, and moral fiber.

So, what makes you extraordinary?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Time Flies

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

What happened? I woke up and realized I am older than dirt! It seems like just yesterday that I was in college and had no worries other than studying for the big exam. When I was a kid, one day was like an eternity. Now…the years are ticking away like seconds on a clock, and the second hand is spinning like a ceiling fan on high.

It is a little unnerving, to say the least. One day you are young, have a head full of hair, and no wrinkles. You wake up the next day and you are this old geezer who is already planning his next nap!

What is my point here other than to get you to share in my misery? Make the most of your time, no matter how old you are. Whether you are young or old…learn to appreciate the little things in life. Take time to smell the roses. Notice the beauty in God’s creation. Don’t just see mobs of people passing you by. Look in their faces. Look in their eyes. Engage them.

Make your bucket list early in life and do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow because we don’t know how much time we are given. We know we have today. If you ever lost someone prematurely that was dear to you, you know the sense of bewilderment. A parent is not supposed to bury a child, but it happens every day to someone around the world.

Cherish the moments you have today with those you love. Let them know how much you love them. The fact that you told them that you loved them 30 years ago when you proposed does not count. Remind them daily in word and deed that you love them deeply.

When all is said and done, would you be happy with what was said and done? Did you give your best? Did you love others completely? Did you forgive everyone for everything that was done to you? Were you kind, compassionate, and encouraging to those that God brought into your path?

I hope you live today with great abandon. Like the popular sign says: Live, Laugh, Love. Do that today…everyday…all day.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Mountain Mover

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Do you think of yourself as a mountain mover? Most people would probably say, “No.”  However, I believe that anyone can be a mountain mover. We just have to have a little faith.

The Bible says that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed (between .03 and .07 inches) you can tell a mountain to move and it will obey. How can that be? If that were true, wouldn’t we see our landscape changing on a daily basis? For some people it does!

Here is what I believe about that particular scripture. I believe it is talking about the figurative mountains that we face on a daily basis. God knew we would have some great obstacles to get over, around, or through. He knew we were incapable of doing it on our own. That is where faith comes in.

God sees things in multi-dimensions. Since God is not confined by time, he knows the past, the present, and the future. Since He created everything, He is omnipotent. God is the key to our peace, prosperity, and purpose.

I have to admit that my faith at times has been pretty pitiful. It is on those occasions that I have made some terrible mistakes in my life when I put my faith not in God, but in my own ability and understanding. I do believe we need to use our brain and logic, but our knowledge is so limited when compared to God. Why would we not engage with Him and seek His guidance for the obstacles at hand?

“You should have self-confidence, but put your faith in God.” Dan Skognes

If you want to see mountains move in your life, have a little faith in God. He has the ability, the resources, and the desire to help us through the trials we face. You may have tried everything else and failed. That is OK. God is still there…waiting for us to trust and obey. You can even ask God to help your unbelief. How cool is that? We know there will be mountains ahead of us. Let’s move them!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

A Different Drummer

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

We live in a world that urges conformity. Everyone needs to just walk in step and not make waves. This blog is dedicated to the wave makers. Wave makers are earth shakers. They dare to be different and add spice to our lives. They often are the ones who are the difference between our success or failure.

I know that non-conformists are often met with discipline, stern looks, and admonitions to get in line. A non-conformist can be the drill sergeant’s nightmare. They march to the beat of a different drum and make conformity look absurd. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe we need conformity in the military and in many other areas of our lives; I just think we sometimes don’t know how to handle non-conformists productively.

If you have a non-conformist in your classroom, your organization, or in your family, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Every non-conformist will share some common elements:

  • They need to feel heard.
  • They want to know why they are doing something and why it matters.
  • They love to think outside the box.
  • They don’t care so much about what you think as long as they know you care what they think.
  • They are often seen as quirky, strange, or loners.
  • They need to feel appreciated.

You can’t really change them (or anyone for that matter). All you can do is reason with them, listen, and try to get them engaged in the project. Do yourself a favor when dealing with a non-conformist. If you will take the time to develop a relationship with them, you just might find they have incredible talents and thoughts to contribute to the project at hand.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the best books I have read had non-descript covers. Likewise, some of the most compelling and thought-provoking ideas have come from people who seem strange to the general public. “Sometimes the masses just need new glasses.” Different does not have to be an argument waiting to happen. It does not mean they are automatically wrong. They are just different. Take the time to know and understand them. Who knows what it will unlock for both of you?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes