It’s Not Over Till It’s Over

Posted in Business, Motivational



If you watched the Dallas Cowboys play the Detroit Lions Sunday you know what I am getting at.  The Lions had all but given us the game.  Four turnovers and about a minute left.  All the Cowboys had to do was run out the clock.  I even told my wife, “The game is over.”  WRONG.

Matthew Stafford, QB for the Lions may have been the only one that believed they could still win the game.  Even the sportscasters were talking about the concession speech the coach was going to have to make in the Detroit locker room.

I had the opportunity to see Matthew play in High School when he led Highland Park High School to the Texas State Championship. He was unbelievable back then, and he was unbelievable Sunday.  With about a minute to go, he moved his team down the field and to the one yard line.  With no timeouts left, he motioned to everyone like he was going to spike the ball, fooling even his own team.  He then did a QB sneak and won the game.  Nobody saw it coming…and you could almost hear the cries of despair coming from the Cowboy’s owner’s box.

Lessons from Matthew Stafford:

  • It isn’t over till the last click of the clock.  That applies to sports, to business, and to life in general.  Keep playing with all you’ve got till the game is over.  As long as you have breath, it is game on till the game is over, and that includes the game of life.
  • It’s not how you start that matters, it is how you end.  Matthew and his teammates made a lot of crucial mistakes.  NOBODY thought they would pull this one out….except Matthew and his team.
  • Trust your gut as a leader and be willing to take a calculated risk.  That QB sneak was brilliant….and it worked.
  • Believe in yourself.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Learn from them, and don’t give up on yourself.
  • If you are in a leadership position, your confidence and drive (or lack of it) will lift your team to excellence, or sink the ship.
  • Skills and natural ability will take you so far, then coaching, conditioning, and training come in to play.  In the end, they all play a part in winning.  Hone your skills, get under a great coach, and work hard.  It is funny how lucky you get when you work hard at something you love to do and have a coach that you respect and follow.

I hope that you don’t give up on your dreams when you encounter bumps in the road.  There are difficult days ahead.  How well you traverse the obstacles and persevere in spite of the potholes will determine your success in the end.  I hope you reach for the stars….and beyond.


Dan Skognes

Big Boys Do Cry

Posted in Relationships

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When I was growing up, I learned at an early age that big boys don’t cry.  I am not sure who came up with that line…but it is a lie.  Jesus wept, and he was a grown man when he did.  It is OK for us to show emotion.

Having said that, I still get embarrassed when I find myself shedding a tear in public.  As I have gotten older, I find myself crying over a multitude of things:

  • I cry when I see God answering a prayer.
  • I cry when I see someone hurting.
  • I cry when I see someone bless another person, expecting nothing in return.
  • I cry when I see injustice.
  • I cry when I hear about someone I love passing away.
  • I cry when I see my children going astray.
  • I cry when I get hurt, whether physically or emotionally.
  • I cry when I experience the love of God.

There is an joke about an old man who came upon a young lad who was in tears.  The old man said, “Son, why are you crying.”  “Because I can’t do what the big boys do,” said the little boy.  The old man thought for a minute, then he sat down and cried too.  LOL.  There is some truth to that joke, unfortunately.

Smokey Robinson had a famous song many years ago called The Tears of a Clown.  It is about how we hide our tears behind the laughter…how we mask our feelings.  Let’s be real and quit clowning around…no disrespect to Clowns.  It is OK to shed a tear.  It is one of the things that shows we are human.


Dan Skognes


The Echo Song

Posted in Poetry, Spiritual
The Echo Song dan skognes insurance investments finance motivational blogger speaker entrepreneur (320x180) (320x253) (320x292)
(the audience echos each line)
God is good, all the time
God is good, all the time
God is good
All the time
God is good
All the time
Give Him thanks, all the time
Give Him thanks, all the time
Give Him thanks
All the time
Give Him thanks
All the time
Praise His name, all the time
Praise His name, all the time
Praise His name
All the time
Praise His name
All the time
Amennnnnnnnnnnnn, all the time
Amennnnnnnnnnnnn, all the time
All the time
All the time
God is good!  All the time!!!
Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Dan Skognes


What’s The Best Investment Today?

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

Whats The Best Investment Today dan skognes insurance investments finance motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur (320x320)

Ask a hundred financial advisors this question and you will probably get a hundred different answers.  Some might say municipal bonds because of safety.  Some might say CDs because they don’t tie up your money long term.  Some might say real estate because it holds it’s value (usually).  Some might say gold, because it always has value.  And last but not least, some might say stocks.

However, I have a different answer for you to consider.  You are your best investment.  What are you doing to improve your investment?

  • Invest in your relationship with God.  That pays eternal dividends.  Beat THAT Wall Street.
  • Invest in your relationship with your family.  They need you and value your contributions.  The returns are abundant.
  • Invest in your relationship with your friends.  There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother….find him or her and value them like precious gold.
  • Invest in your work.  You reap what you sow.  Sow continually to reap continual rewards.
  • Invest in your health.  Without your health, not much else matters.  Your body is a temple.  What condition is your temple in?  If it needs an extreme makeover, do it. 

Taking care of you is the best investment you can make.  Once you are balanced in the areas listed above, you can not only have a fulfilled and joyful life, you can be a true blessing to others.  Isn’t that what we all seek?

P.S.  We have professionals that help us manage our investments.  Perhaps we need help in our personal investments.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you need it.


Dan Skognes

The Power of Prayer

Posted in Spiritual

The Power of Prayer dan skognes insurance investments finance motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur

Sometimes prayer is all we’ve got, but sometimes prayer is all we need.  Prayer is an amazing thing!

  • It allows us to come before God almighty…our very Creator with our concerns and our needs.
  • It is a way for us to praise God.
  • Prayer allows us to move mountains.
  • Prayer can be the thing that brings healing to us.
  • It allows us to summon the very hosts of Heaven to our aid.
  • It allows us to storm the gates of Hell.
  • It helps us experience miracles.
  • It increases our faith.
  • Prayer gives us hope when all seems hopeless.
  • Nothing is too big or too small for us to bring to God in prayer.
  • It allows us to intercede on the behalf of others.
  • It ushers in peace in the midst of the storm.

Jesus taught us how to pray:

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.”

I thank God for the gift and power of prayer.  It is sometimes hard for me to grasp that with prayer, I have God’s ear.  I know He hears my prayers, and he always answers them.  His answers are yes, no, and wait.  I can deal with the first two, but the last one is the hardest for me, and I expect it is the hardest one for you too.

By the way, I learned years ago not to pray for patience.  You know why?  Because we get patience through trials and tribulations!  Unless you like more trials and tribulations, don’t pray for patience.  You will get it without praying for it…trust me.

My prayer for you and me is that we all learn the power of prayer.  It should not be the last resort….but our first response.  We are never more powerful than when we have humbled ourselves before God and come before him on our knees.


Dan Skognes

Cost vs Price

Posted in Business

Cost vs Price dan skognes insurance finance investments motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur (320x240) (320x240)


Years ago I heard a sales manager explain the difference between cost and price.  The customer said, “Your price is too high.”  The sales manager said, “Do you mean the price is too high, or it cost too much?”  Frankly, I sat there like most people would and thought, “What the heck do you mean?”

The sales manager explained.  “Price is what you pay for the service or product.  Cost is the value and benefits that are part of the price.”  It takes into account:

  • Saving time
  • Convenience
  • Prestige
  • Saving money
  • Entertainment / fun
  • Reduce labor
  • Increase efficiency
  • Security

When you factor in the cost benefits, the price often takes second place.  The customer has to have a benefit that is important to them before they buy.  They buy what they want from whom they want.  It is not a matter of need, it is a matter of want.  Sell to the want, not to the need.

I had a customer flat out tell me that he would buy what he wanted.  I asked him what his budget would allow on a monthly basis to protect himself and his family.  He, like a lot of customers, had not given much thought to the question.  I told him I could design a plan that would be $500 a month, and asked if that would work in the budget.  He said he would make a way to purchase what I had if he felt it was of value to him and his family, but finally (after some coaxing from his wife) told me he could afford about $100 – $150 a month.

One of the primary fears they had was he was self-employed and his wife worked for him.  If something happened to him, she was going to be in big trouble in numerous ways.  I suggested a life policy with living benefits that they could use if he had a heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc., or was long-term disabled.  He could access cash from the policy without dying.  This was very attractive to them and gave the wife the security she needed to keep her life intact should something happen to her husband.  The price was under the number they gave me, so there is room for them to add coverage, which they plan to do within the next year.

You are doing your customer a disservice if you do not explain to them the difference between cost and price.


Dan Skognes

America’s Team

Posted in Motivational

Americas Team dan skognes insurance investments finance motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur (320x240)

The Dallas Cowboys are arguably one of the most popular (and most hated) teams in the world.  It is hard to go anywhere in this country or the world for that matter and not have them come up as a topic of discussion in sports. The rivalry between the Cowboys and the Redskins, the Eagles, and the Steelers are legendary.

When we had the old Texas Stadium with the hole in roof, the joke was that the hole was there so God could watch His team.  That went over well with the haters, I am sure. LOL. Yes, we are proud of our Cowboys.  Even with their flaws and numerous public no-nos, they remain dear and deep in the hearts of millions of fans.  Why do you think that is?  There are a lot of other great teams, but the Cowboys are popular in countries that don’t even have electricity to watch the games.

Here are just a few reasons as to why I think they remain in the limelight:

  • Tom Landry and Tex Schramm built the foundation for the team.  They found a way to win and win consistently regardless of the elements and regardless of the health of their players who often played hurt.  They shut up their critics by winning.
  • Even in their losses, they gave it their all. They left it all on the field.
  • Key players consistently stepped up to make great plays often at the last moment.  Who can forget the “hail Mary pass” or Emmitt Smith setting the all-time rushing record?
  • The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I had to mention them….LOL.
  • Great drafting.  They always seemed to find the right mix of players that could make magic happen on the field.
  • They happen to be located in Texas….which of all the states in the U.S. is particularly well known around the world.
  • The Cowboys have a history of finding quarterbacks that are not just great players…but are great leaders.  Meredith, Morton, White, Staubach, Aikman…and now Romo.
  • The Cowboys were one of two teams that agreed to play every Thanksgiving.  Detroit was the other team.  That exposure has certainly not hurt the Cowboys (although it has not helped the Lions so much).
  • The new Cowboy stadium is truly a marvel to behold.  When you go there, you can’t help but watch the big screen, no matter where you sit, you have a great view.  It is the envy (at least for now) of all the league.
  • Forbes lists the Cowboys worth at $2.3 billion.  That is pretty incredible in and of itself.  Their marketing has certainly paid off.

I am not one of the fair weather fans who only follows the Cowboys when they are winning.  I admit that when Jerry Jones took over the team it made it harder to love them, particularly with how he let Tom Landry go….but that is water under the bridge.

We have a great team to be proud of, and I am one of the millions who are fortunate enough to have followed them for many years…both good and bad.  Like a marriage…you take the good and the bad, but concentrate on the good if you expect it to last.  Every team is flawed, including the Cowboys, but I am truly grateful that I have been able to see them play numerous times in person and have been both entertained and inspired as a result.  I always look forward to football season, and have hope that this will be the year that we win another Super Bowl.  Who knows, miracles still happen.


Dan Skognes

Why Me?

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Edie Eger 10-11-13 (179x320)

I think most of us have asked this question before when bad things happen to us.  That is a normal response, but not how everyone responds to tragedy.


This morning I was privileged to hear Dr. Edith Eger, Ph. D.  She goes by Edie to her friends.  Edie was giving her testimony this morning at a men’s breakfast, telling us about being a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp. She was a teenager when her family was taken to the camp.  They separated her father from her and the rest of her family as soon as they arrived and they never saw him again.


The Germans then took her Mom and put her in a line with other Jews.  She naturally wanted to be with her Mom and her sister.   There was a great deal of yelling and confusion, at which time Dr. Joseph Mengele himself took her by the hand and moved her to the other line with her sister.  He told her that her Mother was going to take a shower and she would join her soon.  She never returned from the showers.  When she asked a guard when her Mom would be back, he pointed to the black smoke coming from the chimney and said, “There is your Mom and Dad.  They are not coming back.”  She later had to dance for the entertainment of Dr Mengele.


Edie had two sisters.  One, Klara, was smuggled out of the camp.  Edie and her other sister, Magda miraculously survived the torture and murders in the camp.  When they were freed from the Germans in 1945, she was only 16 years old and weighed just 40 pounds.  They pulled her nearly lifeless body from among the dead.  Her back was broken, but never her spirit.


She is a living testimony that God can bring good out of tragedy.  She has dealt with her personal demons and has given her life to instilling hope in others.  She knows from personal experience that you can only give away something that you personally have.  If you want to give hope, you have to have hope.  If you want to give peace, you have to have peace.  If you want to give love, you have to love yourself.


She learned that there is great power in forgiveness.  Revenge is satisfying, but forgiveness is more powerful and transforming.  To learn to pray for those that are your captors….those that have tortured and murdered your friends and family before your eyes….that is more than most of us will ever have to face in our lives.  That puts things in perspective when we are having a pity party about our “bad day,” or when we are being unforgiving against our friend or family member who offended us.


What I learned from her is that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  He has created us uniquely.  There is only one you, and one me.  Our gifts that we have been given are not just for our own entertainment, but to give to others. Light can transform the darkness, but we have to step in to the light.


I pray that we all recognize our divine purpose and live it to the fullest…giving of our time and talents to God and to others.  Edie epitomizes God’s perfect peace, even when she was going through literal Hell.  We all have our moments of Hell on earth to some degree.  How we respond is up to us.  Don’t ask, “Why me?”  Ask, “What’s next?”




Dan Skognes


Aunt Ardys

Posted in Relationships

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I just received word that my favorite Aunt Ardys passed away at age 99.  She was just a few months shy of turning 100.  What a wonderful legacy this woman left.

Things that Ardys taught me with her life:

  • Value family.  Ardys always stayed in touch and always let us know we were in her thoughts and prayers.
  • She created beauty.  She would send us hand designed cards.
  • You are never too old for relationships.  She remarried while in her 80’s.
  • She loved to laugh and seemed to always take life in stride.
  • Her relationship with my Mother was special.  They had a unique bond that was wonderful.  They both loved to play games and were very competitive.  They would beat you in a game while smiling, laughing, and serving you milk and cookies.
  • She had a devout love for God.
  • She had the ability to put you at ease.  When you spoke with her you just felt at home.
  • She had a genuine smile that would light up the room.

I know Ardys and Mom are together now, and for that I am envious.  I miss them both.  Ardys passing is another reminder that we all have to face our mortality.

If I could have changed just one thing with Ardys…I wish I had talked to her before she passed….just to tell her “I love you.”  She was an incredible woman with a legacy that will go on for generations.

I can only hope that I have just a small piece of her impact on others.


Dan Skognes

Road Rage

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

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We have all read or watched the news about road rage.  The latest episode was in New York City.  Alexian Lien was in his vehicle with his wife and child when they became surrounded by a motorcycle club.  Videos showed the motorcyclists taunting the driver by slowing down in front of the vehicle.

Alexian finally panicked and ran over one of the cyclists who sustained serious injury.  In a rage, several of the motorcycle club members chased Alexian until he got trapped in a traffic jam.  Once cornered, the club members smashed his windows and drug him out of the car and beat him with their helmets and kicked and stomped him with their boots.

Several calls were made to 911 during the episode, but the police did not respond.  Even worse, they were riding WITH the club.  At least 3 officers have come forward and said they were there.  One was working undercover, and admitted to seeing the beating of Alexian by 5 club members but did not stop them for fear of being discovered.  One of the other two officers was actually part of Internal Affairs, the division of the Police Force that investigates misbehavior of Policemen!  Wow.  How would you like to be the Chief of Police in NY right now and have to sort this one out?

What I find odd is that now prosecutors are saying that the question is why did the officers wait to come forward?  My thoughts are, why did they not do the right thing and stop the madness?

Sergio Consuegra was late for church and came upon the scene.  He stepped in between the men assaulting Alexian and said, “That’s it guy, let it go!  Let it go!”  They stared at each other for a moment, then the rage subsided.

What lessons can we learn from this tragedy?

  • If you are a policeman, on duty or off duty, under cover, plain clothes, or uniformed, you have a moral responsibility to stop violence.  That code supersedes your directive.
  • It took one lone unarmed civilian to intervene and stop the road rage.  Evil will back down when confronted head on.
  • The bikers who participated in the mauling and taunts take no responsibility for their actions.  Until they accept responsibility for their actions and show remorse, all they can expect is severe punishment.
  • Had this happened in Texas, there is a good chance that a few people would have ended up shot.  But who knows, had the bikers seen a gun, they might have thought twice about messing with Alexian.
  • Several of the men who were involved in the beating are career criminals.  Why are they on the streets again and again?  Who do they have to assault or kill before the justice system quits letting them out.  I realize this is a delicate issue because of prison overcrowding, but when we release violent people back into society time and time again to free up space, what are we accomplishing?

I pray for our country that we come to our senses, that we take responsibility for our actions, and that we turn our hearts back to God.  We can’t face evil on our own.


Dan Skognes