Get Your But Out of the Way

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Get Your But Out Of The Way dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI am sick and tired of your “but.” Have you ever tried to reason with someone that has a “but” problem? It is next to impossible to talk to someone who is determined to make excuses for bad behavior and poor choices. If you are going to make excuses, then any old excuse will do…and it is almost always accompanied by a big “but.”

Have you thought about going back to school?  I would…BUT….

Have you considered a marriage counselor? I have….BUT….

Have you considered getting in shape?  Of course…BUT…….

Why don’t you go to the Doctor?  I would….BUT….

Why don’t you start saving for that instead of charging it?  I thought about it…BUT…

Why don’t you forgive them? I would….BUT….

Have you considered turning your life over to God? Yes, BUT……

The list goes on and on. You and I have probably used our buts way too much. We need to get our buts out of the way and quit making excuses. Ask yourself:

  • Is what you are doing glorifying God? If not, quit it! 
  • Is what you are doing hurting you or others? If it is, quit it!
  • Is what you are doing going against common sense? If it is, quit it!

It is pretty simple: get your “but” out of the way.  You will either make excuses or you will make a way.  If it is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen. If it isn’t, you will continue to make excuses. Don’t let your “but” keep you from fulfilling your God-given destiny.


Dan Skognes




I Quit!

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

I Quit dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorWe seem to live in a culture that quits pretty easily.  Whether it is a job, a relationship, or our goals in life, we have a tendency to throw in the towel and think that the grass must be greener on the other side.

What causes this negative attitude to be so pervasive?  Really, I think a lot of it comes from our early years.  We learned early in life that quitting is a way out of the pain, the embarrassment, the perceived futility of pursuing whatever it is we are seeking.

But think back on the things you quit.  Any regrets?  If you are human, you have probably made more than your share of bad decisions and quit things that you should have stuck with.  I know I have.

One thing I know about quitting is that it rarely achieves the end results that you are seeking.  Persevering is counter-intuitive.  Persevering when everything inside you is screaming to just give up does not make sense….but I am encouraging you to do just that.  Don’t trust the voice to quit.  Don’t trust your feelings.

  • If you have a goal that was worth setting in the first place, go for it.  Commit to achieving your goal and anticipate the obstacles you will face.  Prepare for them and meet them head on.
  • You are closer to a breakthrough than you realize.  Every step you take towards your goal will be one step closer to having success.  Success comes with a price and that price is perseverance.
  • Persevere even when you do not see things happening or feel things happening. That requires faith.  For me, faith in God and faith in myself is crucial if I expect anyone else to have faith in me.

There are countless stories of people who have stuck to their plans and overcome countless obstacles to finally achieve their dream.  Think of the athletes you know who paid the price, did not quit, and finally found themselves on the podium receiving the trophy.  That applies to businessmen and women as well who have attained the pinnacle of success in their careers.

It even can be boiled down to basic family relations.  I so admire couples that have made it for 50+ years.  My Mom and Dad were married for 60 years before my father finally passed away.  That is uncommon in this age of quitting.  Trust me.  There were times that they must have wondered as we all have, “Is this worth it?” I thank God that Mom and Dad did not quit on each other.  As a child, I never had to wonder about their commitment to one another.  They were there for each other regardless of what life handed them. That level of commitment come hell or high water is what I pray over you.

P.S.  I know that there is a time and season for everything…and eventually you must quit.  I simply encourage you to not quit before you have given it all that you have, despite the mountains you face.  Eventually it is just one more step that makes the difference to your breakthrough.


Dan Skognes

Sticks and Stones

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

The Power of the Tongue dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorOur tongues are unruly little things. They wag too much and get us in trouble more often than we wish to admit. If only we understood the power of our words. They either speak life…or death, blessings…or curses.

Every day that I work with kids I find myself having the same conversations over and over. I tell kids that my second rule for the classroom is that they be kind to one another. Depending on the grade I am teaching and the emotional maturity of the group, that rule is typically broken multiple times a day. Kids want to get into the blame game and they find out pretty quick that I don’t play that game (much to their dismay).

Why is it that we have so much trouble controlling our tongue and just speaking kindly to one another? Here are just a few of the reasons I have uncovered:

  • People don’t want to accept responsibility for their own actions, so they look to deflect and blame someone or blame the circumstance.
  • Some people let pride get in the way. They are too proud to admit they were wrong, so they go to justify themselves.
  • Hurt people hurt people. When someone is emotionally wounded and they have not handled it in a positive manner, they tend to lash out at other people…sometimes for no reason at all.
  • A quick wit can get laughs but it also can get you into trouble if the timing or occasion is inappropriate.
  • Some folks just like to talk too much and need to shut up learn the art of listening.
  • Then there are those people who like to gossip and are more than willing to talk about other people behind their backs.
  • Finally, a lack of forgiveness will cause people to say hurtful things.

You know when you were growing up and they said, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” If only that were true.  Sadly, words can wound deeper than a knife and the scars can last a lifetime. Countless people are still walking around today wounded from something their Mom, Dad, friend, Teacher, or Preacher said to them when they were just kids!  How tragic is that?  The weight of our words is sometimes so heavy that people are pushed to do crazy things and even commit suicide. Think about the kids who take their own lives because of bullying.

Please think before you speak. Be kind with your words. Once you release them they are forever in the ears of those that receive them.


Dan Skognes

Weapons of Mass Instruction

Posted in Motivational

Weapons of Mass Instruction dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorIf you are a teacher, a preacher, a parent, or just need to be able to communicate with kids on occasion, this is for you. I am going to share with you a secret weapon for instructing kids that is (for some strange reason) overlooked by most adults….music!

When kids show up at school in the morning, the teachers are standing quietly at their doors…smiling and greeting the kids as they come in. Mine is different.  I am at the door, but as soon as they come in the class, they hear a song being played that is current, upbeat, and catchy. You see them nervously look at each other like, “What is going on?” Then you see them smile, giggle, and whisper among each other. The next thing you know, their heads are bobbing…they are singing along with the lyrics, and a few of them are dancing to the music. Great way to start the day….right?

I use music throughout the day and play music that they love. It is like magic when I put on a song they like.  Immediately I have their attention. Sometimes I get up and dance with them…which obviously gets some laughs. They love it. Music is the universal language that everyone can relate to…even if they don’t speak English!

I bought a small wireless Bluetooth speaker that I sync with my cell phone.  I have a play list of appropriate music on my phone which I constantly update as new songs come out.  I check out the lyrics first on or Youtube to make sure there is nothing offensive in the lyrics.  I sometimes uses KidzBop music if there is a song I like but want G rated lyrics. KidzBop sounds almost identical to the original version of the music but the lyrics have been changed to be age appropriate.

This past week I was doing circle up with my class.  This is a ritual that is repeated in classrooms all over America daily…particularly with elementary age kids. The kids sit in a circle and pass around a stuffed animal or a baton.  Whoever has it gets to speak. I pick the topic. With this class, I had already told them I was Superman and I was married to WonderWoman, so the topic for today was going to be: If they could be any Super Hero, who would they be and why?

One little boy sheepishly looked up and said, “Can I just pass?”  I smiled and said, “Yes, but if you pass, you have to stand up and sing to the class!”  LOL.  The class nervously giggled and started the stuffed animal around the ring.  Everyone participated till we got to Bobby.  He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said he did not want to participate.  I said fine, they you get to sing!  He laughed and asked, “Can I have some friends join me?”  I said, “Of course!” So five little 3rd grade boys are huddled together in the back of the room plotting what they are going to do.  They come back and do a little song and silly dance routine that had the rest of the class screaming with laughter. The girls were not going to be outdone, so the next girl in line said she did not want to participate…and her and some of her friends got up and did a routine for the rest of the class. The five minutes was literally electric…and the kids were buzzing with excitement for the day…in a good way.

I know I have done my job well when we get the tasks assigned by the regular teacher done, the kids are engaged, and at the end of the day, I am getting hugs and they are asking me if I can come back tomorrow. That is what makes MY day.

Music can unify a class, break down barriers to learning, and energize the kids to learn. Try it…you just might find that you can bust a move too.  LOL.


Dan Skognes