Win-Win

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Is it possible for two people of opposing views to both have positive outcomes? Well, yes and no.

Winning and losing is important to keep track of in sports, but in relationships it can be the beginning of the end if you are keeping score.

I found a simple correlation this week: Disagreements are mathematical! When I am tutoring kids in math, I try to get them to get and understand ALL the facts before they draw a conclusion. How can you get the right answer if you don’t have all the facts or you don’t understand them? It is impossible…just like it is in relationships. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous because it is like jumping off a cliff in the dark. You may be destroying a relationship if you proceed.

Our Principal gave a good analogy recently in a training session. He said when you have someone that is in disagreement with you, you bring either water or gasoline to the table. If you throw gasoline on the situation it becomes volatile and can spin out of control quickly. If you bring water (stay calm), you can extinguish the flame and seek to understand the other person.

If you want Win-Win outcomes, do the following things:

  • Stay calm.
  • Truly listen to the other person rather than forming your argument in your head while they are still speaking.
  • Make sure you have ALL the facts and UNDERSTAND them.
  • Don’t assume you know someone’s motives. Ask them and seek to understand.
  • Avoid the words “Always” and “Never” when describing someone’s behavior. Most of the time it is simply untrue and used to drive a point rather than be truthful.

We have all had situations where we were 1,000% sure that we were right only to find out later that we either misunderstood the situation or we did not have all the facts…and WE were wrong. Humble pie is awful hard to swallow because it is filled with pride, and swallowing your pride never goes down easy.

There is an exception to seeking a Win-Win outcome: If you are arguing with a fool, walk away. You will never win the argument because they don’t care about the facts or the truth and they have had more experience than you will ever have, so let it go and let them learn the hard way. Their mindset is: “Don’t confuse me with the facts!” You won’t change their mind. Arguing with a fool is foolish. Don’t be the fool.

There is power in forgiveness, so forgive freely. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins, so love completely.

“Justice is giving someone what they deserve. Mercy is not giving them what they deserve, and grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.” Robert Morris.

Give others the mercy and grace that you yourself so desperately need. That results in a Win-Win most of the time. Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Growth Takes Time

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

We live in a microwave society. We want what we want, and we want it now! The problem is, growth takes time. Take a look at plants and how they grow. The seed has to be planted in good soil, watered, and given the proper amount of sunlight. It takes time for the seed to sprout and become what it is destined to be. Take away any of those elements and it will not grow.

If you are frustrated with your growth (spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, financially), take heart. Don’t get frustrated with the process. Keep the goal in mind and stay focused. Have faith! When you haven’t seen a child for a few months, aren’t you amazed with how much they have grown? The funny thing is that the child does not see what YOU see. Sometimes we are too close to really see the changes taking place in our own lives.

When a child is conceived, it takes 9 months for the child to be born. You can’t rush the process. It is nature’s way of preparing the child for living outside of the womb. Look at the obstacles you face with different eyes. God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time….every time. Quit worrying about how things appear and trust that God will help you through it. He will help you grow and fulfill your destiny.

Don’t try to rush the process. You just might miss the blessing of the journey. Enjoy the day you have before you and learn to live in the moment. Your destiny will unfold when it is time.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Teaching GPS

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Everyone knows how a GPS works. It calculates where you are and helps you get to where you are going. When you make a mistake….no problem. “Re-calculating” assures you that you will still get to your destination. It simply re-routes you from your current location. Is it perfect? No….but neither is teaching.

We imperfect teachers teach imperfect kids who live in an imperfect world. We hit a lot of obstructions on the road to success. We deal with kids who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Some come to school without being fed or even properly dressed. Some have learning disabilities and many just need to know that somebody cares about them. Couple all of that with the personal challenges that every teacher has and you can see that the journey is one that can be frustrating and tiring for everyone involved.

The teaching GPS mentality gives us the flexibility to deal with all the craziness that comes our way every day and not lose our focus or our mind. A sense of humor is part of the programming as well as reminding yourself that “This too shall pass.” If you can learn not to sweat the small stuff, it makes the journey a lot more fun. Anticipate roadblocks, potholes, crazy drivers, and delays. That is just the way life goes. Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it seems like it is all under construction.

Administrative support is critical to the ultimate success or failure of the academic journey. A school system will rise or fall depending on the leadership. If teachers and staff are valued, listened to, supported, and encouraged, they will have a great chance of reaching their goals. If they treat the staff as objects to be used for their own success, there will be a great deal of dysfunction, backbiting, and problems. High teacher turnover and teacher burnout will be evident where the staff is not truly appreciated and supported.

Failure is not fatal unless you give up. It just means you have not succeeded yet. Allow yourself and your students to learn from failures and from the journey itself. Encourage one another and learn from everyone you meet and everything you do. Life is a marvelous teacher if we are willing to observe and learn from it. Own your mistakes, but don’t let them define who you are or limit where you are going.

One of the best parts of the teaching GPS mentality is having a peer portal. This allows the sharing of ideas with your peers. The things that work and don’t work may easily be incorporated if everyone will share their best practices. Just knowing you are not alone is a great comfort when you are going though a rough spot in the road. Peers can teach you shortcuts and detours that may very well be the difference between success and failure for you and your students. I know that teaching can be draining, frustrating, and you may want to quit every other day. If you are called to teach, don’t quit, commit. Commit to the journey, the kids, to your peers, and of course…to yourself. Future generations are being impacted by what we do one day at a time…one child at a time. Investing in children is the best type of Social Security there is.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Walk the Talk

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Your character is revealed in what you do.

It has been said that talk is cheap, meaning that people will often tell you what they think you want to hear. It is a pet peeve of mine when people do that. I try to be a man of my word. I have not always succeeded at keeping it, but I don’t intentionally mislead people with what I say. When I can’t keep my word because of circumstances out of my control, I at least try to explain it.

I think I may be in the minority when it comes to keeping my word. Perhaps it is due to how I was raised. I admit that I am old school in many respects. I was taught to keep my word. In fact, when I was caught in a lie, Mom literally washed out my mouth with a bar of soap. LOL. I never forgot that lesson. Do parents still do that? Probably not.

Maybe I am too naive. When someone tells me they are going to do something, I tend to take them at their word and move on. Sadly, I have been burned many times in life by people who just tell me what I want to hear. I have had to learn the old adage the hard way: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I am eternally optimistic and trusting by nature, but I have learned that not everyone who calls you friend is a friend. Not everyone who says they love you really loves you. Their actions will tell the truth. Pay attention or pay the price.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The 4 Ps

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual




Everyone has to face this question: Why am I here? It is not something to take lightly, and it is something that each person must answer for themselves. Nobody can tell you what your purpose is. They may help you identify it, but ultimately is is up to each one of us to figure out this great mystery.

I find it interesting that some people figure this out as little kids. They dream of being an astronaut and pursue that dream with great tenacity till they fulfill it. Other people go through life and never figure it out at all. That is one of the greatest tragedies I have observed. That is why you see people doing jobs just for a paycheck and hating every moment of their day. They have sold their purpose for a paycheck.

Someone recently asked me what they should do about their career, but they did not like my answer because it put the responsibility back on them. I told them: “Pray about it. Ask God to help you identify what it is that you should do with your life. Once you have identified your passion, pursue it till you find your purpose. Don’t let anything or anyone sidetrack you from it.”

Like many things in life, finding your purposes is both simple and complex. It is simple in that there are only 4 steps. It is complex in that you have to be discerning and be willing to fail. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from fulfilling your dreams. Everyone fails. Failure is not fatal unless you quit. The bottom line for each of us is that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make. If you are still trying to figure it out for yourself, pray. Ask God to help you identify your passion, then pursue it until you find your purpose.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Breakthrough

Posted in Business, General, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Life Isn’t Fair

Posted in Business, Motivational

At some point in life we come face to face with the fact that life is not fair. The problem is, even though we know it isn’t, we expect it to be! This played out before our eyes recently on national TV with the now infamous non-call that cost the Saints the opportunity to win and go on to the Super Bowl. You could debate that they still could have won, but the fact remains that had the interference call been properly made, they could have run out the clock and won the game.

Here is what I hope come out of this lesson:

  • I hope the Saints don’t lose heart from this travesty. They are a great team and will be contenders next year as well.
  • I hope that the rules change in the NFL to allow a coach to contest a pass interference. Had this opportunity been in place, a replay would have obviously enforced a penalty against the Rams.
  • I hope we all are prepared for life to throw us a curve ball. The good news is that curve balls can be hit. We can survive regardless of what challenges we face.

This is not to take anything away from the Rams and their victory. It was not their issue and they played a great game. It just took some of the satisfaction out of the equation with the way it played out. It would have been fun to see Brady vs. Brees in the Super Bowl (maybe next year if they don’t retire). Of course, I hope the Cowboys are there next year! So in that case…we may never know what could have been.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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Dare To Dream

Posted in Business, Motivational, Video

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual, Video

Persevere

Posted in Business, Motivational