Summary

Think about your life five years from now. Do you expect improvement? More money? Stronger relationships? Deeper faith? Career advancement? Most likely, your answer is a resounding "yes." But why? Is it based on a clear plan or merely wishful thinking?

For much of my life, I fell into the latter category. Despite optimism, I lacked a strategy for personal development. Working in digital marketing, I drifted, hoping for promotions without actively pursuing growth. I resonated with John Maxwell's insight: "Growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow is going to be better."

Intentional growth is the pathway to unlocking our potential. Whether it's achieving dreams, deepening relationships, or advancing careers, growth is the bridge between where we are and where we want to be.

However, growth doesn't happen accidentally; it requires intentionality. I've seen this firsthand in my journey—from aimless hope to deliberate action. Accidental growthers procrastinate, rely on luck, and make excuses, while intentional growers take responsibility, learn proactively, and persevere.

But how do we transition from accidental to intentional growth? It starts with envisioning our future and identifying key skills needed to get there. Whether it's writing, communication, or overcoming fears, intentional growthers prioritize consistent learning and improvement.

John Maxwell advocates dedicating an hour daily to personal growth—an investment with life-changing returns. Yet, even 15 minutes a day can jumpstart your growth journey. The key is to start now, not wait for perfect circumstances.

So, I challenge you: Do you have a plan for personal growth? Are you coasting through life or attacking it with intentionality? Don't settle for mediocrity. Embrace intentional growth, unlock your potential, and build a life you're proud of.

Remember, you were made for greatness, with limitless potential. The time for growth is now. Let's embark on this journey together, committed to becoming the best versions of ourselves, one intentional step at a time.

Takeaways

  • Personal growth is essential for reaching our full potential and improving our lives.
  • Having a clear plan and strategy for personal growth is crucial.
  • Intentional growth requires commitment, focus, and consistent effort.
  • Identifying key skills and character traits to develop is important for personal growth.
  • Creating a personal growth curriculum and devoting regular time to learning is necessary.
  • Personal growth is a lifelong journey that requires taking ownership and overcoming obstacles.

 

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Transcript

Hey it’s Jonathan McGinley, a Maxwell Certified Life Coach and Trainer and the founder of Intentional Man.

Today, I am going to be talking about something that has personally changed my life, probably more than almost anything else. This is something I love talking about. I hope you leave today encouraged and inspired to pursue everything that God has put on your heart to do. 

Let me start today by asking you some questions. When you think of your life 5 years from now…

  • Do you expect your life to be better or worse?
  • Do you believe that you will have more money or less money?
  • Do you expect your relationships to be better or worse?
  • Do you expect your faith to be stronger or weaker?
  • Do you expect to be further in your career? Or about the same as you are now?

If you’re like most people, your answers reflect that you expect the days ahead to get better. Let me ask you one more question…why is that?

Is that based on a clear plan and strategy? Or is it based on some sort of vague hope that your life will improve?

For many people, they just figure that tomorrow is going to be better, but they have no strategy for making it better. And actually, the stats show that the worse off people are now, the more they exaggerate what their future is going to look like. This is a like having a lottery mindset where you think something will happen in the future that will drastically change your life for the good. That you’re just waiting for some break.

For a lot of my life I lived this way. I have always been a pretty optimistic person so I assumed my life would get better and better as time went on. After I graduated college, I started working in the digital marketing world…primarily as a project manager for website development. 

I went to school for marketing so this seemed like a field that made sense for me to go into. It wasn’t a job I loved, but it wasn’t a job I hated. It paid the bills and was a solid career for the most part. 

But because it wasn’t something I was truly passionate about or honestly even that interested in, I never focused that much on developing myself in the industry. I figured that if I showed up each day and had a good attitude, that I would automatically get promoted and that my income would increase and that I would start to enjoy the job more. 

I remember one company that I worked at, I was getting paid very little to be there. I liked the culture so I decided to take a job there with the hopes of working my way up. It was a customer support job and the day to day tasks were fairly easy. There wasn’t a whole lot of challenge to the job. 

And I got caught in a rhythm of just going through the motions. I would be punctually, work with a good attitude, and take good care of the customers, but I wasn’t doing anything extra to add new skills or go the extra mile to bring value to the company. The whole time, I was waiting to get the pay raise and waiting to get the promotion, but it never came. 

When I first started, I figured that I would work my way up the company in a couple of years and be making a good sustainable income, but it never happened. 

If you would’ve asked me those same questions I asked you at the beginning, I would have answered positively for all of them. But that wasn’t the case. 

It was all based on a hope that things would improve, but I didn’t have any sort of strategy, system, or vision for how that would happen. 

Can you relate? When you think about your life, do you have a plan for improving yourself? For growing in key skills? For growing in character? Or are you just hoping that things will magically improve in the future without improving yourself?

In 2020, I was introduced to John Maxwell’s book, the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. The concepts in this book have changed my life forever. It finally gave me the concept that would ensure I have a plan to make my life better in the future…and that is personal growth.

John Maxwell is the author of over 100 books, the #1 leadership expert in the world, and runs multiple successful businesses. He is one of the best communicators on the planet. He said that there is not one thing that has changed his life more than committing to personal growth.

He says, “Growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow is going to be better.”

If you have a desire to reach your full potential…then how do you do it? I believe that the answer is growth.

If you have dreams, goals, and aspirations, you have to grow to achieve them. If you want deeper relationships in the future, you will need to grow. If you want to advance in your career, you will need to develop key skills, if you want to influence others, you will need to grow in your leadership skills.

There is a gap between where you are and where you want to go. And the bridge to that gap is growth. 

James Allen in his book As a Man Thinketh says,

“People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” 

If you are not doing anything to improve yourself, you cannot expect your circumstances to get better. If you are not willing to do the work it takes to grow, you will remain in the same place.

We can only go as far as we grow. There will always be a lid on the level of your success if you do not grow as an individual. 

And if we are to grow, we have to get highly intentional about it. 

In the book the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, the first law is The Law of Intentionality - Growth Doesn’t Just Happen

In his book, the 15 Laws of Growth, John shares the story of how he sat down with a guy named Kurt Kampmeier when he was in his early twenties….(Share the story) 

When I heard this story, I had to ask myself the same question, “Do I have a plan for personal growth?”

I’ll ask that to you all now, “Do you have a plan for personal growth?”

And if you’re like me, and John, and most people…the answer is most likely no.

But here’s the thing, growth is not automatic - if you’re going to grow, you’re going to have to grow on purpose.

As children, our learning was structured. At each grade level, we studied a prearranged curriculum and demonstrated our knowledge on exams. Yet eventually we finished our education, and the tests stopped. We no longer had reading assignments or homework problems. Instead of being part of our daily routine, personal growth became our responsibility.

The problem for many people is that they never take up the duty of developing themselves. Instead of working to get better, they merely get by. If you want to be the person you were created to be, then you must do more than just experience life and hope you’ll pick up some lessons along the way. You must go out and seize opportunities to grow as if your future depended upon it.

If you want to reach your potential and become the man God has called you to be, you cannot coast through life hoping that you pick up the lessons as you go. You must get intentional about growing. You must be proactive. You must make a plan. Growth doesn’t just happen. 

We must move from accidental growth to intentional growth

When I was in that job hoping that I would get a promotion and a raise, I was only growing by accident. I was only committed to accidental growth and not intentional growth.

Here are some characteristics of people who are only growing accidentally

  • Plans to start tomorrow
  • Waits for growth to come to them
  • Learns only from mistakes
  • Is only relying on good luck
  • Plays it safe
  • Talks big but doesn’t take action
  • Thinks like a victim and makes excuses - blames the job, blames the boss, blames relationships, blames circumstances
  • Relies only on talent
  • And stops learning after graduation

Can you identify with any of those? I know I can. I still fall into this often if I am not aware. 

Now listen to the opposite side, these are characteristics of people who are growing intentionally

  • Insists on starting now
  • Takes responsibility on themself to grow
  • Learns BEFORE mistakes
  • Takes Risks
  • Never stops learning
  • Relies on hard work
  • Perseveres 
  • Takes ownership
  • Knows what they need to work on and how they can improve

Can you see the difference? Which of the two do you identify with the most in your life right now?

Are you coasting through life hoping that life will get better? Or are you attacking life and growing in the areas you know you need to grow in?

Are you making excuses? Or are you taking ownership?

Are you spending all of your extra time on your phone or watching TV? Or are you reading books, spending time with mentors, asking good questions, listening to podcasts, and taking courses that expand your knowledge?

For almost all of my life it had been the former. I used to be the guy that would make fun of people who read and said it was a waste of time. But actually I was wasting my time and my potential by not fully developing the gifts and abilities God has given me. It was me who was playing a victim to my circumstances and blaming the situation instead of taking ownership my growth. 

This shift from accidental growth has made the biggest change in my life. It is an absolute game changer.

I believe you were created to do something great. I believe God has made you with unlimited potential and he has blessed you with so many different gifts, talents, and opportunities. 

It is not being a good steward if we don’t take those gifts and opportunities and intentionally develop them to our full ability. 

If you want to change your life, you have to grow. You have to develop yourself. Don’t wait for circumstances to get better. Get better yourself. 

Don’t just hope that your future is going to improve. Improve yourself.

Don’t just hope that you are going to have a deep relationship with the Lord, invest time to grow in your relationship with the Lord

Don’t just hope that your life will magically improve… learn, study, read, get coaching, get mentorship, do things that will help you grow. 

I promise you that as you commit to growing intentionally, you will notice a drastic positive difference in your life. 

Hopefully by now you see the need for committing to personal growth, so I want to leave you with some practical steps to begin doing this.

If you are going to pursue your full potential, you must develop your own curriculum. Like I mentioned earlier, once you are done with school, it is now fully on you to develop your own learning system. 

You need to develop a personal growth plan. 

The first step to developing your personal growth plan, is to look into the future. You need to look out 5-10 years from now and get a vision for where you want to be. 

Think about your relationships…what do you want those to look like? What kind of dad do you want to be? What kind of husband do you want to be? What kind of friend do you want to be?

Think about your career - where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Do you want to be in the same job? Do you want to be in a different industry completely? Do you want that promotion? What do you want your finances to look like?

You can look into the future in multiple different areas, and determine exactly what you want it to look like. Without getting a vision first, you won’t know what to work on.

Then step 2 - you need to identity Key Skills

Once you have a vision for where you want to go and who you want to be, you need to identify the skills that will be needed to get there. 

For example, if you want to be an author - you need to obviously get good at writing, you need to be good at editing, you need to be good at marketing so that you can get your book out to people, you need to be good at sales so that you can pitch your book to publishers or so that you can sell it if you are you self-published

You need to also identify character traits you need to develop and fears that you have to overcome. A lot of times this is more important than the practical skills I just mentioned. If you are an author, you might need to overcome your fear of failure, you need to stop comparing yourself to other authors, you need to overcome procrastination, or your need for everything to be perfect, or your lack of discipline and consistency.

A good way to identify the key skills needed is to look at someone who is doing what you want to do be doing and ask yourself, what skills do they have that I don’t? What skills do they have that make them so successful? What is their mindset like? What habits do they have in place?

For relationships, look at couples who have been happily married for a long time and ask them what has made them successful? For people who are in better shape than you, ask them what their health habits are.

Once you have these skills identified then it is a matter of intentionally working on them.

So Step 3 would be to pick 1-2 of these skills and devote consistent time each day to develop them. My recommendation would be to pick one of those practical skills (like writing, speaking, communication, finances, etc,) to focus on and then also pick one of those soft skills (like fears, mindset, habits, discipline) and focus on that.

So you have 1 hard skill and 1 soft skill. Then find books, podcasts, courses, mentors, coaches or anything else that will help you and commit time to working on it.

Once you feel like you have gotten to a good place in that skill, pick another one off your list and dedicate consistent time to learning that skill. 

So to recap you need to first look into the future and get a vision for the next 5-10 years. Then identify key skills needed to reach that vision. Then create your own curriculum and devote consistent time each day to learn. 

John Maxwell has committed to spending one hour each day in personal growth. He says that it is so life changing that it is worth spending that much time and recommends everyone work their way to that point.

For now, it could be 15 minutes a day, it could be 30 minutes a day, just get started! The important thing is that you begin! Accidental growth people would wait until circumstances were perfect to get started. But Intentional Growth people will get started right away! 

You got this! I believe in you and I’m excited to see you grow into your full potential as you commit to intentionally growing! The time is now. Don’t wait. You can do this! 

You were made to do something great and you were made with unlimited God-given potential. The sky is the limit if you commit to getting better and growing each day. 

Go build a life you are proud of by living intentionally! 

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