Thrive or Survive

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Beautiful young woman jumping on  a green meadow with a colored tissueHave you noticed that some people seem to always thrive in life, no matter what they do, and some people just survive, no matter what they do? The secret is that it DOES matter what they do.  It goes back even deeper, it matters what they THINK.

There is an old quote that says, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you are right.” What we say to ourselves has great power over what we end up doing with our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just survive.  I don’t want to just get by.  I want to soar like an eagle. I want to break new records.  I want to go where no man has gone before.  Ok, ok…I sound like an actor on Star Trek.  But seriously, how big is your dream?

Somewhere along the road in life our dreams got squashed.  We put our dreams aside to provide for our family, to get our education, to pay the bills.  But is that the way it has to be?  I don’t think so…in fact, I know so.  Here are some tips to moving drive from survive to thrive:

  • Realize that it all starts with what you believe.  As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
  • If you are in survival mode, ask yourself this question, “What do I need to change to get out of this rut?”  Chances are you did not get in the rut overnight.  You may have been there a long time.  But be willing to change what you are thinking as well as what you are doing.  If nothing changes, nothing changes.
  • If you are hitting a wall and can’t seem to figure out what direction to go, get some help.  Ask successful people for advice.  Don’t get advice from people who are less successful than you are.
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive about life and are truth tellers.  You don’t need “yes men” when you are trying to change the course of your life.
  • People who thrive are focused on their dream. Do what you have to do to focus. Eliminate unnecessary distractions.  Allow yourself time to think and time to dream again.
  • Challenge your thinking by associating with someone who is a visionary.  They need to think bigger than you do for you to be challenged.  Find them and learn the magic of thinking big. Too often we limit ourselves to what we can physically see, touch, or feel.  Don’t trust that alone.  Allow yourself to think outside the comfort zone.
  • Once you challenge your thinking, be willing to step OUTSIDE your comfort zone.  Do things that stretch you as a person and as a professional. If you fear public speaking, take a speaking assignment.  If you are afraid of delegating to others, force yourself to delegate and empower people.  Face what you fear. Greatness is outside of the comfort zone.
  • Find that thing to do in life that you would do even if you had to do it for free.  That is magical and transforms us.  It is like an engine that is running on all cylinders and has great horse power because it is finely tuned. If you don’t find your passion, you will never find your dream.

I hope that you drive from survive to thrive. The time we have on this earth is very short.  Don’t waste it doing something you hate. Don’t settle for a paycheck. Find your dream! Be a world changer!


Dan Skognes

The Key

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Key dan skognes motivation blogger speaker author trainer coach consultant

This may be the most important blog I have written, and could very well be the most important blog you ever read.  That is quite a claim, right?  But I am very serious. If I could give you the key to unlock your potential, your destiny, your peace, your joy, your contentment, your love, your very life….you would want to know where that key is and how fast can you get it…right?  Well, I am giving it to you. No strings attached.

What keeps people from having the things I listed above? It is simple when you understand this and profound when you impart it. Forgiveness.  That is the key to unlocking everything. Think about it.  How can you have all that you want and hold on to past hurts?  It is like having the motor open full throttle on a great speed boat, but it is anchored to the dock (your past hurts). It is not going to go anywhere is it?

Real living is forgiving. Real living is FOR GIVING. Do you see that?  Do you get that? OK, you say you understand the need to forgive, and you DO forgive people regularly, BUT…..”I will NEVER forget it!” Or….”I will forgive them, BUT….(you fill in the blank).  It there is a BUT, you have not forgiven them.

You want to know how you have really forgiven someone?

  • You are willing forgive them verbally whether they ask for it or not.
  • You consciously refuse to bring it up to them or to others again.
  • You ask God to bless them! (and MEAN it!)
  • You are willing to re-establish fellowship with them. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)

I thought I had the concept of forgiveness down. The first two things in the list are hard enough, but moving down to where you will bless them….that took some time and effort on my part…and to actually mean it.  But the last one was the one that made me realize all the people I had really NOT forgiven.  Mentally, I had made the conscious decision to forgive them, but emotionally the wound was still bare and I just did not want to risk being hurt by them anymore.  If you don’t forgive people in your head AND your heart, you are only fooling yourself.

Please don’t take this to the extreme and twist what I am saying. Obviously if someone is in an abusive relationship I am not suggesting they go back to that or risk being physically hurt.  However, what I AM suggesting is that if we have truly forgiven someone, we can be in the same room with them and daggers not come out of our eyes when we look at them.  We can treat them with respect, kindness, and love regardless of how they have treated us. We are willing to risk getting hurt again for the sake of relationship. That is the lesson. That is God’s way. People…if we get this…and I mean really get this…it will transform how we look at and how we treat people.  It will also transform our very lives in a positive way. It is the key that unlocks what we have been searching for.

I did not say using the key would be easy, but I can promise you this one thing: God wants us to have it and to use it.  He gave it to us and showed us how to use it through Jesus.  If we don’t use it, then we don’t understand God.  You can’t claim to know God and follow Him if you don’t forgive others when they wrong you. We have to use this key. It is not an option if you want the things that your heart is yearning for.

I have given you the key, so now it is up to you what you do with it.  If you use it, I can promise you this: You will have an understanding of God that is much deeper than it is now, and you will have relationships restored that you thought were dead. If you want your relationship with God to go through the roof, take this concept and do it.  USE THE KEY. Ask God to help you forgive others.  It may begin by just forgiving yourself…and sometimes, as we all know, that can be the hardest person to forgive.


Dan Skognes

My Way or the Highway

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Long RoadAt some point in our lives we have all probably heard those words or at least it was inferred to us.  Perhaps we have used those very words ourselves in letting someone know “how it is going to be.”

Well, what if there is a better way than giving an ultimatum to someone?  What if instead of a “MY way or the highway” mentality, we had a “Not MY way, but a HIGHER way” mentality?  What would that look like?  How would it work?  Is it even possible?

Consider this: when you give someone an ultimatum of your way or the highway, you have closed your options and if there is any resistance, you have lost the race before you got out of the gate.  Some people will just quietly submarine your idea when your back is turned and plead innocence when confronted.  Others will out flat reject your idea right up front.  Who wins in that scenario? Nobody likes being cornered, and the ultimatum should be the very last line of defense….not the first topic of discussion. (I am not talking about dealing with small kids here. I am talking about teens and adults).

What have you got to gain with a “Not MY way, but a HIGHER way” mentality?

  • You realize that YOU might not have all the answers and actually open yourself up to a better idea than you could have come up with yourself.
  • You keep communications open with other people and keep them engaged in finding a mutually agreeable solution. That is actually what you want in the first place….isn’t it?
  • You get out of the mindset that it is all about YOU and what YOU want.  It NEVER is just all about YOU.  It NEVER is….remember that.  You don’t live on an island by yourself more than likely, so it helps to have healthy interaction with those that work for you, work with you, and that you live with. That will only happen if you have open two-way communications that are mutually respectful.
  • The HIGHER way mentality puts other opinions above your own. It puts their needs above your own.  It puts their fears to rest and their minds to work in finding a solution that everyone can live with.
  • The HIGHER way creates teamwork, inspires loyalty, and increases productivity. Ultimatums fuel disappointment, disengagement, resentment, and chaos in the work force.

Next time you get tempted to lay the law down to someone, take a deep breath and ask yourself if there is not a HIGHER way that could be considered.  You might be pleasantly surprised at how people around you respond to that. Whether it is your family at home or your “family” at work, it is worth it to treat them with kindness, respect, and honor. When we as leaders do that for others, that says a lot about our own emotional intelligence…and it reflects on us in a good way. It sets the tone for the organization, and it that starts at the top of a company, it breeds community and a healthy outcome is inevitable.


Dan Skognes

When God Speaks

Posted in Relationships, Spiritual

When God Speaks dan skognes motivation blogger speakerWhen God speaks to you, do you hear His voice?  The Bible says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). Well, how is it then that we sometimes just can’t hear Him? He is always communicating with us, and yet there are times when God appears to be silent. How can that be? Obviously, if God is continually trying to communicate with us then the problem lies within us and not with God.

I think it can be a number of factors that come into play when it comes to hearing or not hearing God:

  • Sometimes, we are so busy talking that we don’t take time to listen.  It is good to get still and be alone to tune in to God. Make time every day for Him. Find a quiet place free from distractions. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Fasting helps to focus your attention. If you can’t seem to hear God, fast and pray….then take time to listen.
  • I have found that God speaks to me in a variety of ways.  He speaks through my family and friends, through the Bible, through strangers, through preachers, through TV and radio, through nature, and constantly through my spirit.  He amazes me at how many different ways He communicates to us. Be open to hearing God in ways you don’t expect.
  • Sometimes God just whispers to us.  If you are not listening carefully, you will miss it. “The Lord said, Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19: 11-12)
  • If we willfully disobey Him, then we cannot expect to hear Him. “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does His will.” (John 9:31)
  • Praising God is a great way to prepare your heart to hear Him.  Crank it up and sing like you are on American Idol.  Just a word of warning: If you can’t carry a tune, make sure you are alone in your car and have the windows rolled up.  God will still appreciate it, and if you can’t carry a tune, everyone else will appreciate it as well. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” (Psalm 98:4).   :o)

God does not want us to be kept in the dark.  He wants us to have fellowship with Him.  Here is the key:  Don’t wait till you are in a crisis to have fellowship.  You cannot develop relationship with someone if the only time you talk to them is when you are in a crisis.  God wants to talk with you every day. Make the time to commune with your Creator.  He will not intrude on you or your time.  He is there 24/7, 365 days a year. His line is never busy, and He is always happy to hear from you….whether you are talking to Him about your frustrations or about the blessings you have been given.

There was an acronym I heard years ago regarding prayer: A.C.T.S.  A is for adoration. Tell God how much you love Him. C is for confession.  Confess your transgressions and ask for forgiveness. T is for thanksgiving. Thank God for all of the things He has done and is doing for you. And last but not least, S is for supplication.  Bring all your needs to God. He is our provider. Leave your burdens with Him.  He is more than able to bear the load.

Next time you feel like God is not communicating with you, ask yourself what is hindering you from hearing Him. Find a quiet place and open your Bible. Ask God to speak to you. He will because He is faithful. We just have to learn to listen.


Dan Skognes