The Comfort Zone

Posted in Business, Motivational

The Comfort Zone dan skognes tmi leadership consultant trainer coach motivation blogger speaker

We all have a way of finding our own comfort zone.  You know what that looks like, right?  That is the time and place we seek to get to where we have a sense of peace and contentment. The place where things just seem normal, natural, and easy.

That sounds good and worthwhile, but it is a dangerous place to get comfortable in.  The comfort zone has a tendency to do the following:

  • It makes us content with the way things are, thus we miss opportunities to grow.
  • It makes us lazy.  Only when we stretch and move out of the comfort zone do we grow.  Like working out with weights….your muscles grow with the resistance.
  • It has a tendency to give you a false sense of peace.  True peace is found when you are able to be at peace whether you are in the storm, or in the shelter.  It is an inward response to external circumstances, and not dependent on peaceful circumstances. It is like the difference between joy and happiness.  Joy is internal and not dependent on circumstances.  Happiness comes and goes depending on what is happening in our lives.
  • It is the place we often seek when we are fearful.  The problem with that mentality is that we have to learn to face our fears.  If we don’t, we miss our opportunities and our destiny.  Remember that greatness is never achieved in the comfort zone.

So how do we break out of the comfort zone? Maybe the real question is, why should we?

  • First and foremost you have to admit that you are in it.  Admit that you have become complacent with things as they are. If you hold on to the present, you may very well miss the future you were intended to see.
  • Secondly, you have to be willing to change.  Change can be scary when you don’t know what the future holds, but change is inevitable. You can embrace it or ignore it, but how you react will determine your future.
  • Thirdly, be willing to face what you fear.  If you are afraid of public speaking, take a course to help you.  If you fear being in a committed relationship, get some help to find out why you carry that wound, and do something about it.  Whatever it is that you are fearful of, realize that fear is not from God.  Fear is a tool of the enemy.  Nothing good comes from living in fear. Stress, worry, anger, frustration, addictions, and many health issues (like heart attacks, strokes, cancer) all have roots in fear!
  • Lastly, realize that the comfort zone is different for each person.  What you might find very easy to do, someone else might be throwing up at the thought.  The moral here is to cut each other some slack. If you are fearless in a particular area that is stressful for someone else, you can be the one to encourage them, mentor them, and help them overcome their fears.

It is OK to dwell there from time to time.  We all need a time and place to just chill.  Just don’t reside there.  Greatness awaits each of us outside the comfort zone.

P.S.  My wife informed me that at her age….she just wants the comfort zone.  She has earned it!  LOL.


Dan Skognes

Like Sand Through The Hourglass

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Like Sand Through The Hourglass dan skognes leadership consulting training development mothivation blogger speakerSo are the days of our lives.  At least that is how the soap opera says it. You might be feeling like your life is like a soap opera.  I know mine has been more often that I would like to admit.

Steve Miller once sang, “Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking…into the future.” We can’t stop it, we can’t control it, we only get to steward it.  We can waste it if we want, or we can make each minute mean something.

I was thinking about the biggest time wasters I have personally fallen into:

  • Worry.  What does it accomplish other than to give you indigestion, ulcers, and keep you from doing what you should be doing?
  • Fear. Similar to worry because they are brothers.  Fear does no good and keeps you from your destiny.
  • Doing something God did not call or equip you to do.  By the way, if He called you to do something, He equipped you with everything you need to be successful.  He always gives us what we need though the Holy Spirit to accomplish His perfect will.
  • Trying to be a people pleaser.  That is a waste of time.  We need to serve God and serve people…but living to please people does not satisfy.  You will never please all the people all of the time.  Ask any husband or wife.  Ask any politician, Pastor or business leader. Be kind to them.  Love them.  Serve them.
  • Getting caught up in the weeds.  In other words, losing sight of the real priorities in life.  Spending too much time on things that have no eternal significance.
  • Living with un-forgiveness.  It is ridiculous when you think about how crippling un-forgiveness is, and yet millions of people struggle to forgive others for something they have said or done to them.  It is said that un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  How ludicrous is that? Let go of any un-forgiveness you might be harboring in your heart.  That brings incredible freedom, and God commands that we do it if we expect to be forgiven.
  • Inability to let go of something that is not working out.  This is a big one in my life.  I have a hard time throwing in the towel and admitting that I failed at something.  There are times to persevere when the goal is worthwhile, but way too many times I have tried to the point of exhaustion to make something work (sometimes for years), when I would have been much further ahead to admit I can’t do it and just get some help, or at the least, change course.
  • Not learning from our failures and repeating the same mistakes over and over.  While I am getting better at this one, I still find myself from time to time being a repeat offender in an area where I should have learned the lesson long ago.  Some traps are easily sprung, particularly when we willingly put our foot in the trap.

The older I get the faster the sand seems to fall through the hourglass.  My years fly by now, whereas an hour used to seem like an eternity when I was a kid.  The only time an hour seems like an eternity now is if I am sick or when I have offended someone.  I try to avoid both of those like the plague….no pun intended. Don’t waste the time God has given you.  You can never get it back.  Each minute matters.  Make the most of it so when you have taken your last breath, God will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Your time for the moment, is in your hands. Treat it like the sacred gift that it is.

P.S.  There is no hourglass in Heaven.  :o)


Dan Skognes

SHK University

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

SHK University dan skognes leadership development training consulting motivation blogger speaker

Perhaps you have heard of this famous school.  Maybe you have a degree, or even multiple degrees from here….The School of Hard Knocks University.

I hate to admit it, but I have multiple degrees from this school.  Failure is a powerful teacher.  Failure brings clarity because it usually brings pain, embarrassment, financial setbacks, and a host of other bad things.

What I have learned from attaining my degrees:

  • When God says, “No,” it was because he loves me and wants the best for me. When I proceeded forward in my own way, it never had positive results.
  • When Mom and Dad said, “No,” it was not to keep me from having fun.  They probably had made many of the same mistakes that I was contemplating making, and were just sparing me the pain and consequences. They also had the common sense that I was often lacking.
  • When you have a “gut check” about doing something that might be wrong, listen!  Pay attention to the red flags that are waving in front of you. When you ignore the warning signs, you will suffer.
  • If you have a “gut check” about doing something, consult with someone who is not emotionally attached to the decision…someone who has wisdom and common sense.
  • My wife told me one day that people are free to choose to do what they want to do, they just don’t get to choose the consequences.  If we considered what the consequences “could” be, we might be less prone to jumping blindly off the bridge. Some consequences last a lifetime, and some are fatal.
  • Don’t let your pride get in the way of learning. Nobody has all the answers.  Pride is the enemy of learning.  Stay humble.  You can humble yourself, or someone else will humble you.  Your choice.

A few years ago, a grown man asked me, “Why do I have to learn everything the hard way?”  I understood his pain and felt for him.  The truth is, we don’t have to have multiple degrees from SHK University.  I will give you a clue about how to avoid multiple degrees.  Learn the lesson the first time.  If you don’t, you don’t fail, you just get to keep taking the course over and over again till you pass.

Here is to learning the lesson the first time.


Dan Skognes

What Makes A Great Team?

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

What Makes A Great Team dan skognes leadership development training coaching consulting motivation blogger speaker

Millions of dollars have been spent on that one question.  Is it the owner/CEO, the VPs, the managers, the coaches, the players?  It is the service, the knowledge, the expertise? Is it quality or quantity?  Is it timing, or just plain luck?  Well, the answer is, “Yes.”

Everything matters when it comes to creating a great team culture.  It can’t be done if there is one weak link.  It takes an Owner/CEO that is able to cast the vision and strategy for the organization.  They have to be able to drive execution throughout the organization and make sure they have the right people in the right places for all the moving pieces to work.

The VPs have to not only understand and buy in to the vision and strategy, they have to make sure that it is communicated properly at all levels and that accountability is in place to measure performance metrics.

The managers and coaches have to make sure that the players or team members are equipped, trained, motivated, and performing at their peak levels for both personal and corporate goals to be attained.

What happens if someone in the chain is not engaged?  What if they are not properly trained?  What if there are not enough people to do the job effectively and safely?  You see how complicated it gets?

Great teams are birthed when vision and strategy are not just implemented, but are embraced by the organization at all levels.  You can’t afford to have a weak link.  One bad apple spoils the barrel.  One bad player or team member will infect the others.

You don’t have to live in La La land and pretend that all is well when all hell is breaking loose around you.  What you do have to have is a group that is committed to quality and excellence no matter what comes.  Everyone gives their best.  Everyone is committed to having someone else’s back. Nobody takes shortcuts.  Everyone is committed to holding their peers accountable to the same standards of excellence, so nobody is above the law…including the Owner/CEO, the VPs, the managers, and coaches. It has to start at the top and has to be built on integrity and truth.  If it is not, everyone will see through it and it becomes a joke.

If you want a team of excellence, it has to start with the very top of the company.  It takes the top people being willing to admit they don’t have all the answers, but be committed to getting the right ones. It takes not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.  That is often where the break comes, because fear will keep some people from admitting they are wrong or that they don’t have all the answers.  The people that come to mind that were truly great had a passion for what they were committed to.  They were able to put key people in key roles at the most critical times to accomplish their goals and objectives.  It means having an eye for talent and the ability to let them excel at what they do best…and trusting them to do their part.  Think about what Jesus did with 12 disciples.

Greatness is born out of trials and tribulations.  Nothing great was ever accomplished without focused and sustained effort in the face of obstacles, storms, and adversity.  The great teams relish the victory because they know the price they all paid to achieve greatness.  It was not one person making the team great, but a unified effort to get to their goal.  Here is to seeing you achieve all God created you to be….and that is great!


Dan Skognes