In this episode, Jonathan discusses the importance of taking ownership and being intentional in different areas of life.

He shares his personal experience of feeling unfulfilled in his career and how he realized the need to be proactive in designing his future. Jonathan emphasizes the concept of the first creation, where one must have a vision and plan before taking action.

He encourages listeners to reflect on the areas where they may be passive and offers practical steps to start being more intentional.

You will leave this episode inspired to take charge of your life and live with purpose.


  • Taking ownership and being intentional in different areas of life is crucial for personal growth and fulfillment.
  • The first creation, which involves having a vision and plan, is essential before taking action.
  • Reflect on the areas where you may be passive and start making small changes to be more proactive.
  • Celebrate the areas where you are already being intentional and acknowledge your progress.
  • Take charge of your life and create a life you're proud of by living intentionally.


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Hey, it's Jonathan McGinley, a Maxwell certified coach, speaker, and trainer, and the founder of Intentional Man. It's a company that exists to give Christian men the tools, community, and coaching to pursue God-sized goals, live intentionally, and build lives of significance. And I can't wait to jump into this topic with you today. I want to ask you a question. Have you ever hit a monumental birthday? So talking like 18, 25, 30, 40, 50.

Whatever it is, one of these monumental birthdays and thought about how you would wish things were different. Or maybe you wish you were a little further along in some areas than you currently were. You wish that your health was better. You wish that you had richer relationships or a better career. Maybe you wish you had a deeper relationship with God. Have you got to one of those moments before? Sometimes we call these the midlife crisis moments, but I've definitely had one of these moments in my life. In this...

Came when I was 25 years old. I was turning 25, 25th birthday. I know that's not that crazy of one. It's not 40 or 50, but it got me thinking. And I was having one of these moments where I was realizing I wasn't in the place where I wanted to be. And when I was in high school, my number one goal was to play college basketball. So I spent countless hours practicing, working out, playing in tournaments, playing pickup games. I was always playing basketball, whatever I could do to get better.

And I actually had a period off my senior year, didn't have a class for this one period, senior year of high school, and struck up a deal with the principal where he would let me use the gym as long as I just cleaned some scuff marks off the ground before I practiced. I don't know how he let me have this deal. No one else could go in the gym, but I convinced him. I think that was our work around. Hey, if you clean, then you can play. And so I'd get off class, go to the gym, sweep and mop the floor as quick as I could. Probably did a horrible job, probably wasn't that great.

And then I would just take hundreds of shots, hundreds of shots each day, trying to get better and better and better at basketball. I ended up getting to play college basketball at the university, Colorado Christian University. But when I was in college, basketball was the biggest thing. Hanging out with friends was the biggest thing. I was playing drums in some different ministries and stuff like those things were my only focus really. And I honestly didn't put much thought or initiative into my future career. I kind of just coasted through classes.

Showing up just to get that piece of paper at the end of four years, right? I didn't go to many career fairs. I didn't try to master my subject or apply much of what I was learning. And I got a business marketing degree, but I pretty much just chose that because I thought it would come in handy at some point. I'm like, this is pretty general. Let's go with business marketing. But I left college and I landed a ministry job with a nonprofit. It was a solid job, but it only lasted a couple of years. And then after that, I was in a job in the digital marketing industry.

And all this time I was still way more interested in playing sports, playing music, watching sports, hanging out with friends. I didn't really have much of a vision for my career to be honest. And part of the reason was because I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was passionate about these things outside of work, but I wasn't that passionate about work. And so this was an area of my life where I didn't take a lot of initiative and it led me to being pretty unfulfilled at work. And so I came to that 25th birthday. I was able to kind of.

Pull back, reflect, and I looked on my college years and the years after, I was pretty discouraged that I wasn't further along in my career. I still didn't really know at that point what I wanted to do with my life. I hadn't put the time, the energy, or the attention into my career that I needed to to make sure that it was thriving and moving along. So have you ever been in one of those positions before? Maybe you currently find yourself in this position where you just feel like, man, I thought at this point in my life I'd be a little further along.

And I had that moment on my 25th birthday, but it still didn't change much, honestly. And sometimes when we don't know what to do, we just do nothing, right? We just continue down the same path, wishing it was better, but not actually doing anything about it. And that was me. And I continued in that career, um, a couple more years, still wishing I was doing something else, still wishing I was doing something I was more passionate about, but not taking any sort of ownership to actually do anything about it. And, uh, it honestly, it took a broken relationship.

in my life for me to really reflect on the areas of my life where I was being passive. And I had to take full ownership and responsibility for those things. And one of those things was my career. And I realized that I had just been coasting along, wishing things were different, blaming my lack of intentionality in my career on circumstances, blaming it on other people, blaming it on the industry, on the job market, whatever it was. But I...

I knew at that moment, like I had to start taking ownership and make a change. And so because I kind of had hit rock bottom in that point, I started to make changes in my life. I started actually learning, trying new things, experimenting. I started taking ownership for my own personal growth, started devouring books and started meeting with mentors and asking other people about their careers and what they liked about it. And as I got a vision for a better career, I started taking action on that vision.

And it led me to finding what I was actually passionate about. And that's doing what I'm doing today, helping men live intentional lives. And as a man, I know you have so many responsibilities in life. There's so many things you have to do, so many different hats you have to wear. It can feel overwhelming, right? Like, and oftentimes, if we aren't intentional about each aspect of our lives, it can leave us in a place where we're coasting, where we're passive.

where we're living on cruise control. And that's where I found myself. And maybe it's where you find yourself today. Maybe there are certain areas that are thriving, but others that when you really take time to stop and reflect, you can see, oh man, I'm just coasting in this area. And in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about a principle in this book. And he talks about how all things in life are created twice.

And what I mean by that, there's the mental or the first creation, and then there's the physical or the second creation to all things. So for example, think about the construction of a home. Before you ever break ground or start putting up walls or a roof or like putting up the drywall, anything, there's the entire process of coming up with the kind of house it should be. You have to figure out what the function of the house will be.

Is it going to be a big house, a small house? How many people can live in this house? Is it an open floor plan? Is it for adults or for children? Like all of this is done in your mind before you ever break ground. And after that, then you actually come up with the exact blueprints for the house. You figure out who you're going to hire to build it, who the electricians are going to be, who's going to be doing the drywall. All of these things.

are absolutely 100 % necessary to the process of building a house. You can't just break ground and start the physical parts of the building process without any sort of mental creation and planning. Like if you skip that first step, you're gonna end up with a house that's not functional. You're gonna have to make some expensive changes that could end up costing you double the money, way more time, way more hours to make those changes. So in the imagining stage, this first creation, the...

It's a thinking stage, it's a planning stage. That is what is considered the first creation. That's what Stephen Covey's talking about. The actual building of the house would be considered the second creation, the physical creation. And so this makes sense to us when it comes to building the house. We know that it would be crazy to build a house without any sort of plan. We know that probably wouldn't end very well. But then when it comes to your life, how often do you give full attention...

and intentionality to that first creation part of the process. So if you're married, how much time, energy, and effort are you giving to getting a vision for your marriage and then actually having a plan for how you're gonna cultivate it? Are you leading with intentionality? Are you being proactive in that relationship? Or are you just focused on the second creation, the here and now, just only being focused on fixing problems?

Or are you spending time thinking about ways to make sure you prevent the problems and build a healthy relationship? In your career, are you thinking about this first creation process? This was a big one that I was missing. Are you taking time to get really clear on where you wanna go? What you wanna contribute and how you plan on getting there? Or like me, are you just going through the motions day in and day out, only taking care of the problems that are right in front of you?

So when we talk about being an intentional man, it's absolutely crucial that you understand that you are fully responsible for both the first creation and the second creation of your life. You are responsible, no one else. And whether you're aware of it or not, there is a first creation to every part of your life. So let me ask you this question then. Are you the product currently, are you the product of your own proactive design?

Or are you the second creation of other people's agendas? Or of your circumstances, your emotions, or your past habits? This is a critical question for each one of us. When I got to my 25th birthday and I wasn't near where I wanted to be in my life, I was letting other people and circumstances handle the first creation of my career. I wasn't putting any thought, any time, any intentionality into that first creation part of my career.

If you don't take care of the first creation of the different areas of your life, someone else or something else will. It's that simple. There always is a first creation. And if you aren't being proactive and taking care of it, something else is. So right now, I want you to think about the different areas of your life. Think about where you currently are. So right now, think about your relationships. Are the results that you have right now in your relationships a product of your proactive

vision and planning? Think about your health. Have you proactively thought and designed the life that you want to have in regards to your health? Have you dreamed and got a vision for what that could be? Have you then proactively pursued that vision? Or have you just let circumstances, emotions, cravings, instant gratification take the first creation of your health? Think about your relationship with God.

Are you putting time and effort into that part of your life? Do you have a vision for the kind of relationship that you want to have with the Lord? Are you taking time to let him speak into your life and give you his vision? Are you letting him lead and direct your decisions? Are you bringing him in to this first creation process of every single thing that you do? So many times I hear men that they're talking about how they're not feeling that close to the Lord. But let me ask you this question. Who is designing the first creation of your relationship with God?

Like are you controlling the inputs that are coming into your life? Are you carving out time on a regular basis to spend time with them? Are you finding music and podcasts and sermons in a community that are leading you closer to God? Because if you're not being proactive in the vision and planning of your relationship with God, then who is? It could be culture, could be the movies and the shows that you're watching, could be your friends.

And so I've been asking myself the same thing lately. Like this theme is for me today as well. Having a full understanding that you are responsible for the first creation of the different areas of your life is life changing. Once you actually fully understand that and take ownership of it. This is the difference between being an intentional man and being unintentional. This is the difference between living proactively and living reactively. This is the difference between pursuing your full God-given potential.

or letting your life slip away. But here's the good news. You can start changing this today. The great news about taking responsibility for the first creation of the different areas of your life is that you can do it whenever and wherever you are. It's not too late. It's not dependent on other people. It's not dependent on timing. This is fully under your control. So I know this topic can be a little hard to hear sometimes, but I actually want you to be encouraged. Look at the areas where you have been proactive.

Like where you're actually taking control of this first creation and celebrate it. Acknowledge that you're actually being proactive and that you're being intentional and you're taking ownership and you're seeing the results of that. Celebrate it. And then in the areas where you might be a little more passive, just take a few moments to reflect and then just start to make small changes today. Take action. If you don't know what to do, just ask yourself, what is the one thing I can start doing today?

that will help me move forward in this area? Just ask yourself that question. I'm sure you can come up with an answer. It can be small, it can be big, it doesn't matter. Just get moving. My career situation did not change until I had to hit rock bottom and was forced to make changes. And I don't want that for you. My situation didn't change until I took ownership and just started learning and trying new things. And once, like, if you feel like you're coasting in your career right now,

What is one thing you can do to start being more intentional about designing your future? What are some things that you can learn? Who can you talk to? What can you try? How can you change your attitude? Those are things that are under your control. If you aren't experiencing the fullness in your relationships right now, what is the one thing you can do to be more proactive? Big or small, what is the one thing you can do to be more intentional? Don't wait for the other person to be intentional first, you make the move. And so often, we do that.

But when you're doing that, you're a product of other people taking the first creation of that area of your life or your circumstances. You're letting other things dictate it. You be the one to make a move. It doesn't have to be massive. Think of something that you can do to be proactive and start to take action. So here's my challenge. Take some time this week. Think through the areas where you are letting other people or circumstances take responsibility for the first creation of your life without actually stopping to acknowledge those areas.

It's gonna be really hard to make changes. So that step one is actually take time. Hopefully you thought some of these, you know, through some of these things on this episode, but if not, take some more time and just acknowledge the things in the areas in your life where you're being a little more passive. Then step two, just take one step towards proactivity. Take one step towards designing that part of your life. When we start to take action, we start to get momentum. And when we start to get momentum,

We usually start to get more passionate about it. A lot of times I hear this from guys, well, I'm not passionate about it, I don't care about it. Just start to do something and I promise you as you do it, you will learn what you're passionate about and what you're not. Just get moving, take action, don't wait, do it this week. So I believe in you, I'm for you, I'm praying for you, I know that you're so talented, so gifted that God has created you to do something great. I know he made you for a purpose, he made you and he doesn't make mistakes.

And the fact that you're here listening to this or watching this video shows me that you care about taking ownership of your life and that you're committed to being the best man that you can be. So I want to applaud you for investing in your growth and for being willing to do the work it takes to go after God's mission in your life. So take charge of the areas where you might be a little passive and create a life you're proud of by living intentionally.

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