Don’t Be Fooled By The Illusion of Zero Effort

Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, shares a simple secret to success that most advisors avoid in their firms: the power of repetition.

4.5 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

My name is Matthew Jarvis. What brings you to this event?

No, no. I didn’t say it right. Let’s try again.

My name is Matthew Jarvis. What brings you to this event?

That’s better. Let’s try one more time. One more time, and I’ll get out of the car, take a deep breath and walk through those front doors.

I’ll make eye contact with someone just inside, shake their hand, and introduce myself. I’ll smile, and they’ll smile back. I’ve got this.

Early in my career, I used to sit in my car in the parking lot of networking events, too nervous about going in. My hands would get sweaty. I’d feel nauseous, but I had to do this.

I had to go inside and connect with other professionals, even though it terrified me. I spent my teenage years looking at my shoes as I walked to my next class, praying no one would make eye contact with me. I had no natural charisma; I wasn’t funny.

I’d sit in my car and not much older, building the courage to meet people who could benefit from my services. I had to talk to people to develop my career; there was no way around it. If I wanted any level of success, I had to get better at my social interactions.

So, I’d sit in the front seat and practice introducing myself repeatedly until it started to feel natural. I visualized the interactions going well and saw myself engaged in the conversation.

People would see me having an animated conversation with my steering wheel and gawk. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. But I had to do this. I had to practice so that the words wouldn’t get stuck in my throat the instant someone made eye contact with me.

power of repetition

The illusion of zero effort

    We get sucked into the illusion that just because someone makes a task look easy, it must be easy. But no one can dunk like Michael Jordan or golf like Tiger Woods the first time (or even the hundredth time) they step on the court or pick up a club.

    These guys are masters of their craft because they were doing repetitions and intentionally honed their skills while the average person wastes four hours each day in front of a television screen.

    I learned pretty early in my career that there are some things you just can’t cut corners on. Comedians spend countless hours practicing their timing to land their jokes flawlessly. There aren’t any hacks to becoming more charismatic or delivering the perfect punchline.

    Working with clients is no different.

    Everything from how you walk into a meeting, where you sit, how you hold your pen, and how your paper is positioned matters. These finer details may seem trivial to up-and-coming advisors, but rockstars in the industry understand that the devil is in the details.

    Rockstars practice these things until they can effortlessly greet clients, arrange their papers, grip their pens, and seamlessly navigate essential conversations.

    Too many armchair experts in the industry are hawking seductive and trendy new ideas that simply don’t work in the real world.

    New brochures, a fancy website, or a new-and-improved software platform with 745 new features won’t seal the deal and bring in clients for advisors chasing shiny promises instead of doing the hard, heavy work that success demands.

    It blows up whenever I try to run from the brutal, repetitious work. There isn’t a new hack or shortcut that can make up for the reps you’re avoiding in your business.

    Reps that drive success

    Never have I woken up in the morning eager to visualize all my minutes or practice my entire presentation—out loud—for the fifth time. I don’t rise and shine, excited to read my affirmations scrawled across post-it notes on the bathroom mirror or go through my networking script.

    These repetitions are never exciting, flashy, or fun. It’s boring. And I dread doing the work. But all of these unpleasant, behind-the-scenes activities are what drive success.

    Those willing to do one more rep, one more affirmation, one more prayer, and one more visualization are the ones who stand apart from the rest.

    We meet advisors all the time who are stagnant in their practices. Do you know what’s holding them back?

    None of them are reading books.

    None of them consistently listen to podcasts (like ours).

    None of them have a morning success ritual.

    None of them read affirmations or practice visualizations.

    None of them are practicing their scripts.

    What are they spending their time on? Well, all of them have alerts on their devices, get sucked into playing office, and are wasting their time chasing the flashy newest marketing gimmick that will drain their bank account instead of adding to it.

    Every single stagnant advisor we meet is actively engaged in activities that destroy productivity instead of being anxiously engaged in the activities that boost it.

    The repetitions you must make to move the needle aren’t complicated. They’re simple. But it is tedious, and it will be uncomfortable.

    The question is, do you have the willpower to do one more rep?


    Action Items

    Create affirmation cards to help recalibrate your brain regarding whatever you need to improve. Your affirmations can be as open-ended or as specific as you’d like. Here are some ideas:

    • My name is _________, and my fee is 1.5%.
    • I’m the best I can be.
    • I’m getting better every day.

    Place your affirmations where you’ll see them frequently, like on your computer monitor or in the middle of your bathroom mirror.
    Start spending some time visualizing what you want to improve in your life. If you want a better client or prospect experience, or better team meetings, practice visualizing these interactions going well in your mind.

    Enroll in BackStage Pass or our Invictus coaching membership so that you can learn precisely how we run our practices. Why reinvent the wheel when you can copy ours?


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