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If you read business books, listen to podcasts and educate yourself, you know everything you need to skyrocket your business and achieve financial freedom.

But knowledge alone keeps you stuck where you are. To experience life-changing success, you need action. And when your brain isn’t used to taking action, you never implement what you learned. 

In this episode, you’ll find out how to train your brain to turn learning into action to transform your life and business. 

Want to finally take action on what you learn? Listen now! 

Show highlights include: 

  • How taking a standardized test can remove brain fog and make your thinking crystal clear. (3:21)
  • The “N-BACK Test” that could help you think faster (even if you think it’s bogus) (6:01)
  • The “satisficing” mindset that eradicates perfectionism and maximizes your productivity. (14:14)
  • How “Reversion to the Mean” lets you skyrocket your business (even if you hate stats and math) (16:02)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




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You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: This is part two of a four-part series all about How To Think Better. I'm creating this series because there are lots of resources out there, which focus on tactics and cute little stories, but there's almost nothing about how to think. There's nothing that gives you a process, the actual nuts and bolts of thinking. And that's what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about the belief systems necessarily. I have an entire video training about that called, How Successful Financial Advisors think, and that talks about belief systems. It actually talks about 25 beliefs that successful financial advisors tend to have. So, I'm, I'm talking about the inner workings of thinking and how you can use these strategies to solve problems in your business and in your life. And if you like this sort of thing, you should probably subscribe to the inner circle newsletter. If you haven't already over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching, because the stuff I'm discussing in this series, it like elementary school compared to what's in the newsletter. [01:24.8]

And the beautiful thing about having a paper and ink newsletter that gets delivered to people's homes every single month is that I can't go back in time and change it. I'm not gonna name any names, but it's been brought to my attention by financial advisors that are certain there's certain entities, certain people, whatever out there who will go back in time and edit their websites or delete their status updates in order to make themselves look smarter than they actually are. I can't do that with a newsletter. My feet are to the fire every single month. It's a con and it's also a pro because the con is that, you know, I'm not perfect, I make mistakes and it's on the record. People have it. They can prove it. They can prove that. I said it. Fortunately, that doesn't happen very often, which is cool because I'm very methodical about what I put in there and I'm very intentional. The pro to that is that there is a written record. The same thing that is a con is also a pro because I can go back in time and I can say, look in October, 2020, I said, this, this is what happened. Or in May, 2021, I wrote about this and this is what happened. I told financial advisors about this; this is what happened. If they listened, then they would've gotten better results, so on and so forth. So, if you're interested in that, you wanna check it out, at least read the sales page over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. [02:36.2]

And in the last episode, I gave you the four-step foundation of good thinking, which involves research, organization, analysis and decision making. And in this episode, I want to discuss some ways to train your brain and a few mental models you can use when trying to improve your business. I don't know how far it'll get into the mental models, because part three and part four are going to dig a little deeper into those. But if I get to them, then I'll cover a couple. To give you a disclaimer though. I am not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV and I'm not giving you medical advice. I am merely sharing what has worked for me. I'm explaining to you how I leveled up my brain and how you could do this same. [03:18.7]

One of the best things I ever did was take a food sensitivity test. I recommend everyone takes one of these because you might be surprised that a certain food like a food is holding you back. Lots of people go through life with unnecessary brain fog because they keep eating things that hurt them. And they don't realize that they're sensitive to them. The second thing I recommend is that you clean up your diet. You start with the food sensitivity test, and then you actually implement whatever it is that it tells you. Some of the best foods for brain health. If you want to optimize more, there are things like chia seeds, walnut, berries, and leafy greens. You can make a smoothie with all of these ingredients and have them in the middle of the day to give you a boost. I found that most people have what's called a midday slump, and it happens somewhere between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM every single day. And it's when their brains start to struggle. If you have that and you know what I'm talking about. [04:13.5]

And even though most days, I only work on hard task, three to four hours per day, there are a few days where I, I have to keep, I have other things to do, I have meetings. And if that's the case, I will have a smoothie with some of these ingredients. And it what's the term, like it puts the wind back in my sales or something, and I can think better. I feel better. My mood is improved. And speaking of improving your mood and thinking better take neutropics. One of the first things that I started getting into when I researched brain health and brain activity and how to think better, and that sort of thing was supplements. And when I started talking to people who were way more successful than me and I started building relationships with these people, I noticed that these people were taking a bunch of supplements. These people, one, it to be better than optimal. They wanted to be super optimal. And part of their supplement stack is a neutropic or a brain supplement. And do your own research on these. The one I take right now is called mind lab pro and I really like it. I've taken a bunch of stuff over the years. [05:18.5]

A long time ago, I took something called focus factor that helped me for a while. But like I said, I've taken a bunch. And right now, I'm using Mind Lab Pro again, do your own research. There are websites that are de dedicated to supplements and neutropics, and that sort of thing. There's an abundance of resources out there for you and you can experiment. You can try different things, be careful. Talk with the doctor again, I'm not a doctor, I'm not giving you medical advice. Talk with your physician before you do any of this stuff. But I'm just telling you, I've noticed that people who are way more successful than me, I was kind of shocked. Almost every single one was into supplementation was into optimizing his or her brain. [05:57.9]

And final thing I wanna point out to you is that you can train your brain with something called the N-back test. So, this is the letter N as in now, you know about this N hyphen back, like you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours N back test. You're gonna have to Google it to see what it is and play a for yourself. But what it does is it tests your working memory. It's called again, the N-back test. And based on what I've read, some studies say that it's proven to increase your IQ, others say that's a bunch of crap. But there was a period of time when I was taking the N back test every single day, and I got better and I got better and I got better. And I felt a difference, I don't know if it was just my mind playing tricks on me or if it was real, but I felt like my, well, I, I don't wanna say even felt like it. I mean, it's obvious that my memory got stronger because I improved at the test. It it's a memory test and I did better. So, my memory did get better.I guess the thing that I'm trying to explain to you about what I felt was I felt like I was able to think faster. So, my memory definitely improved, but I felt like I was able to think of things more quickly. I was able to solve problems faster, and it was just, it was beneficial to me. I'm not saying it's gonna be beneficial to you, but you can Google it the N-back test. [07:09.9]

Next, I've talked about tests and supplements and diet and that sort of thing. I wanna give you some of the tools that you use to think better. And I want the rest of this episode in the next two episodes in the series to focus on these mental models, because if you learn to use these like tools like real tools in your toolbox, you will become unstoppable. And I mean that, because just like you wouldn't use a screwdriver for everything, you wouldn't use one model for everything. You want lots of tools. That way you're prepared for anything that comes your way. A mental model is a blueprint or a template to draw your attention to certain elements of a problem you're trying to solve. It, defines context, background, and direction. And one example I read about that I really like is that it's kind of like being a chef. And learnings what flavor profiles exist, what basic ingredients are needed for things like sauces, techniques for cooking meats and food and beverage pairings. Like what goes with, does red or white wine go with this, that type of thing. These are the big picture items that chefs should know and note that they're the strategies, not the tactics for cooking. [08:20.2]

And if you understand these, then you'll be fine with almost any meal. If you didn't know these things, though, if you didn't have this framework, you would struggle each and every time you tried to cook something. So, knowing these things, it's, it's like your template, it's your mental model. A great way to improve your thinking and this is the first model I wanna give you, is to train yourself, to distinguish important from urgent. They are not the same. I talk to a lot of financial advisors about this stuff, and I talk to them about productivity because I keep saying things like make productivity, your true north, focus on productivity first. And sometimes my message still gets twisted. Productivity is not about getting a lot of stuff done, it's about getting more output from the same or smaller level of input. This means it's better to focus on important task instead of urgent task. Important task are the ones that move you toward your goal goals, urgent task, prevent stuff from falling apart. The two can overlap, of course, but in my experience, many urgent tasks do not contribute to goals. Instead, they keep it so you don't fall off track. They don't move you forward much, but they can keep you on the track. [09:31.9]

Let's say you have a low tire pressure notification on your car. That doesn't get you closer to your goal. Let's say your goal is to earn a million dollars in net, personal income per year. That doesn't get you closer to that. But if you don't address it, then you can get off track. If you don't have your car, you can't get to places you need to go like your office. You can't get to the grocery store to get your walnuts and leafy greens to power your brain. And I it's just, it's an urgent task, but it is not important. The beautiful thing about urgent task is a lot of them can be handled by other people. If you haven't listened to the podcast episode about - Hiring a Virtual Assistant, scroll back or do Ctrl F and search for the one with Virtual Assistant in the title. [10:15.3]

The mental model part of this about important versus urgent is spotting the difference between the two. And it might sound cheesy, but as you're creating your to-do list, put an ‘I’ or ‘u’ next to each task, I, if you're anything like most people who do this, you'll find that your need jerk reaction isn't always correct. You might put an ‘i’ for important of course, next to one item, and then think about it for a little bit and realize it's not important at all. It's actually urgent and it can be delegated. And there's the classic Eisenhower matrix, which has people categorized their task into urgent, not urgent and important, not important. And yes, you can have urgent and important. You can have urgent and not important. You can have not urgent but important and you can have not urgent and not important. And it's important to figure out what to do with them. If something is not important and not urgent, it can be eliminated. My point with this is that if you're trying to think better to build your business, you can't let your brain get trapped into thinking that everything is urgent. [11:14.8]

The bulk of the population does think everything needs to get done right away and that everything is important. It's weird because people are like such procrastinators, but the people who try to rise up to the next level above procrastination, they, they think that in order to not be a procrastinator, they need to just get stuff, get stuff done, get stuff done, get stuff done, and they need to rush and everything's urgent. And this means when you start doing this and you slow down and you think about it and you practice it in your life, other people will think you're strange, but that's a good thing because you don't wanna be like them anyway. [11:45.8]

Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.

Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [12:08.2]

Another good template, another good mental model is, to seek things that satisfice. And n I didn't slur my words, the word ‘Satisfies,’ it's a combo of the word, satisfy and suffice. A man named Herbert Simon, coined it back in the 1950s. And by focusing on satisficing, you can get to good enough and move on. Here is one of the secrets to growing your business, one of the secrets to getting more clients. Good enough. How do you get your advertising to perform a little bit better? You get it to good enough and you do more advertising. That's good enough. How do you get your email marketing to do better? You get your email marketing good enough, then you do a little bit more. How do you get your cold calls to be better? You get your cold calls to good enough and then you do a little bit more. That way you're being efficient and you're being effective. Lots of people are what Mr. Simon called maximizers. These are people who try to squeeze every drop out of a single lemon. They're the people who wanna spend hours researching for a trivial purchase. You know, these people you've seen 'em in your life. They're the ones who want like 500 reviewers for a $97 product. And they wanna do a background check before subscribing to my newsletter. They're just not very successful people. I'm sorry, but they're not. [13:22.9]

Because the law of diminishing returns kicks in. The first five or 10 minutes of research. Cool, that's fine. It yields a tremendous benefit, but then the benefits begin dropping off. Just like with a lemon, you get a lot of juice with that first squeeze, then less and less and less. And by the time the maximizers are done with that first lemon, the satisficers have already squeezed five different lemons and they have four times the juice because they're getting good enough. They're getting good enough. They're getting good enough. And they're getting good enough. You need to focus on this. You need to get good enough and you need to move on. When you're planning out your day or writing out tasks that you need to accomplish in order to move closer to your goals, get a mental image of what will be good enough to get it done. [14:08.9]

I'm a recovering perfectionist and I've struggled with this, especially when hiring people. When you hire people, you get hard lesson on good enough because you're forced to get to that level, either because your employees will do just, just enough, just good enough for you or good enough in order to avoid getting fired, or you'll realize that you can't afford to pay for five additional hours on top of every single task in your business. You cannot afford to pay for someone who is a maximizer. When you're investing money into a team, you need that team to get as much productivity as possible. You can't let them maximize, just spend hours squeezing a single lemon. Why wouldn't you, the financial advisor whose income is linked directly to productivity, why would you be any different? [14:52.4]

One way to become a satisficer is to set boundaries whenever you're making choices. Give yourself a time limit. If you need to buy a new computer for your office, set a range of what you're looking for, and nothing else. Only allow yourself to look at like 26-inch computer monitors and that's it. Choose the best 26-inch computer monitor that you can find, but don't let yourself get caught up in other sizes. You're limiting your research time. You're finding the good enough within that category. Okay, so you're not looking at Apple and Dell and and 26 inch and 22 and then 32 and then ultra-wide and you just, you would just get overwhelmed with that sort of thing. Another way to do it is to set a default choice in a time limit. If at the end of your time limit, let's say you spend 30 minutes looking at these computer monitors. If you haven't been able to make a decision, go with your default choice, whatever is the looking the best to you at the end of the 30 minutes, just go with that. It takes a lot of stress out of decision making, which is the elements of becoming a better thinker from the last episode - decision making, analysis, research, remember? I want you to keep this stuff in mind. [15:59.3]

Another mental model is all about accepting reversion to the mean. And in finance reversion, to the mean it's a theory, which suggests that an asset price or an asset volatility will revert to a long-term average. For example, if apple stock trades with a price to earnings ratio of three, which is really low, it it's probably a goodbye assuming nothing else has changed, because it should revert to the long-term mean. And the scientific explanation of reversion to the mean it comes from Sir Francis Galton, who explained that any sequence of events that are affected by different variables, such as environment, emotions. Extraordinary events are usually followed by ordinary ones. So, when something unusual happens, something usual is likely to follow it. And I've discovered that we have averages for nearly everything in life. We have an average diet. If we eat healthier foods, we feel better. If we eat junk foods, we feel worse. We have an average comfort zone for money in the bank. If there's a dip, we work hard to get it back to normal. And yes, we have an average for the mix of good and bad stuff that happens to us. [17:13.1]

So, if I have a day where everything seems to go wrong, I assure myself I'm going to revert to the mean, if I have a day where everything is, is going great, and I'm just hitting it out of the park one, you know, one project after another, then I tell myself I'm going to revert to the mean. This keeps me optimistic on bad days and sensible on good days. And is the tool you definitely want in your toolbox because once mastered, you can almost predict the future with reversion to the mean, this is directly applicable to marketing too. Let's say you get an average of 30 new LinkedIn connections each week. You can extrapolate into the future and you can see that a year from now you will have about 1,560 new connections. If one week goes by and you only have 10, then you can tell yourself it's a bad week, you'll get back to normal, you'll revert to the beam. If you have a great week and you get 50, it'll keep you grounded. It'll prevent you from coasting, from like letting your foot off the gas. You won't fool yourself into thinking that you're better than you are either. And you can certainly improve your mean over time. So, it would be more like a moving average. That's the goal. You know, you want to get better over time, but there is a mean that exists within everything. [18:24.0]

I'll give you one more mental model and then I'll leave the rest for the next episode. I want you to, to train yourself, to think in terms of probabilities. People's eyes tend to gaze over when I talk about this stuff, but I found that almost everyone intuitively understands how probabilities work in business. For example, if you don't make any cold calls today, what is the probability of you getting a client today through cold calls, zero, right? It's obvious. You can apply the same thinking to other activities in your business. When you begin tracking your activities and your results, you begin to see patterns. And if you know what your average or your mean is you can begin to calculate probabilities too. But the big point is I wanna tell you that you're probably not taking advantage of low probability, high payoff task within your business. And lots of people make this mistake because they don't understand how to calculate expected returns. [19:19.2]

A simple example was this let's say an investment has a 50% chance of gaining 20% and a 50% chance of losing 10%. The expected return would be 5% because half of 20% plus half of negative 10% is 5%. Let me give you another example. Let's say you're playing a game and the game is set up and you have a 10% chance of winning a $100. 10% of $100 is $10. This means if you're able to wager fewer than $10, you should do it as many times as possible. If you have to wager more than $10, you should avoid it. This is the expected return. The expected return of this game is $10 every time you play it. So, if it costs you $1 to play it and you can win 10, then you should do it. So let me tie this into financial advisor marketing. [20:12.1]

The expected value equation, it's everywhere in business, but it comes into play. Let's let me think of an example. It'd be when you're targeting high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors. Again, what is the probability of you getting a high-net-worth investor if you don't try? Zero. Okay, but let's say you have a one in 100 chance. This is the 1% chance of landing a client who generates $50,000 for your business every year. So, your expected value is one, 100th, 1% of $50,000, which is $500. Okay, got that? Now, stick with me here. Let's compare that to you going after “regular prospective clients” who only generate $3,000 per year for your business, let's say that you have a one in 15 chance. So, this is like 6.66 or 6.67% chance of converting these people into clients. That sounds way better than 1% or one out of a hundred until you do the math. Because if you divide 3000 by 15, you realize that your expected return is only $200. So, $200 is not that great compared to $500. [21:23.1]

And I'm not going to give away any proprietary information from my newsletter in a free podcast episode. But I explained this concept of taking long shots in a newsletter issue and that's all about increasing the expected return. And I'm not exaggerating at all, when I say it changed people's lives because it got them to increase their expected values, their expected returns. They began dipping their toes into waters with higher payoffs. And even though the payoffs themselves might happen infrequently, or at least more infrequently; the expected value is so high that their income's soared. I, I hope that makes sense. I I'm trying my best to explain it. Many financial advisors go day in and day out doing the same stuff without ever trying something that could have a huge, huge payoff. So, when you're mapping out your days, your weeks, your months and your year’s, try to think about probabilities and expected values behind your actions. You you'll never be a hundred percent accurate because you don't have a crystal ball, but you can begin steering your ship toward more profitable waters. [22:25.3]

I hope you enjoyed this episode. Next week, I'm going to dig into some more mental models that can help you think better because learning how to think is the most important skill you will ever learn. I'll catch you next week. [22:38.6]

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