A couple of weeks ago when I started blogging about my trading journey, I began with a few posts from my personal trading blog about how I got into an absolutely epic trading slump – and how it was kicking my rear end in every way possible. Tonight I am posting the final entry that dealt with the slump… specifically, what I did to get OUT of the slump… and back into positive trading (WhoHoo!).
If you are in a slump, I hope you’ll read this post (along with the original posts about the slump) and know you are not alone. Anyone who has been a trader for any length of time has experienced a spin cycle. Talk to someone at the institute who has been there a little longer than you have. Believe me, we can all relate to struggling with our trading and we are more than happy to have the opportunity to help a fellow trader pull through. At Fx365i, we are all in this together and our sense of community is one of our greatest strengths. The reason I hope you will read this post is not so that you will try and follow exactly what I did. I hope it will inspire you to know you can and will break out of your spin cycle by creating your own plan that makes sense to YOU.
If you’d ever like to reach out to me directly, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following entry was originally posted to www.pipaddict73.blogspot.com on 9/29/14:
I’m happy to report I am actually UP 10+ Pips for the day on two trades! Not only am I sick of the slump, but I’m getting pretty sick of talking and writing about it, so hopefully I won’t have to for much longer. However, it doesn’t pay to be in denial (ask me how I know, Good Lord ask me how I know) and I promised that I would share what steps I’m taking to make the turn to become a proficient, disciplined and profitable trader.
It started two weeks ago today when we had our last student council meeting at Fx365i. I was there a few minutes early along with a couple of other student council members. I noticed the “Always” poster in the room. The Always poster is pretty much the first thing that we are shown at Fx365i. I had actually seen it hanging in the institute before I even signed up.
As I was reading the poster about these basic tenets of how to become a solid trader, I realized I had not been following many of the guiding principles. Remember, this is called the ALWAYS poster. For me it was more like the once in while or not at all poster. We were all quiet in the room when instructor (and major league pip-collector) Ira Barnes said, “Well someone say something.” So I piped up, “Man, I’ve got to do a way better job of this following this Always poster.” Ira, who is one of the most supportive / positive people I know, simply replied, “Yeah, Trading 101.” He probably had no idea, but his slightly gruff tone at that moment was exactly the kick in the ass I needed to realize what a bad student I have been. The leadership meeting was about to begin, but that was the moment I realized I needed to make some serious changes.
Change #1: Starting This Trading Blog
I strongly believe in the power of writing about your thoughts, but I realized I had not been keeping great notes. Even before I deleted my entire trading log out of sheer frustration, the only comments I was writing out were discussing the specifics of my trades. I wasn’t taking notes when the instructors would explain things in class, I wasn’t keeping a trading journal, I wasn’t taking notes when we would discuss chapters from The Forex Mindset… nothing. Basically, all I was doing was looking for trades. Well guess what, you can’t go look for trades, you have to let trades come to you. And, as the Always Poster says, you have to ALWAYS continue to educate yourself on how the market works. Looking back, it’s no surprise that my trading was terrible. So, to anyone who is reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. My hope is that you will be able to avoid making the same mistakes I make – while mirroring the behaviors that bring me success.
Change #2: Letting My Support System Help Me
During my struggles, I was not talking to anyone about how poorly my trading was going. I tried my best to stay upbeat, but let me tell you, even though I might have left class most days with a friendly “See you tomorrow,” when I would get in my car, more often than not I would let out a wicked scream of frustration and drop a few f-bombs for good measure. If you don’t think trading can become a highly emotional situation, you are sorely mistaken. Ask me how I know.
Finally, after I started the blog, one of the consultants at the school talked to me about what I had written. Rather than clamming up or saying “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” I opened up and had an honest conversation about what was going on. Maybe more importantly, I actually listened to what I was being told. This person’s support has been unwavering since day one. In case you are reading this, you know who you are and I can’t thank you enough.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I have been struggling at my “day job” also. I took the same approach and sought out help again. I pulled my manager aside and said I was disappointed with my performance. I told him I didn’t want him to think I was screwing off or not caring. I explained how my trading struggles have been causing me major stress and despite my best efforts, I sometimes find myself staring blankly at my computer screens. Once again, this person was incredibly supportive. He gave me some suggestions and a little pep talk. I feel much better about how I’m going to perform at work moving forwards as well. I realize how blessed I am to have a boss like this and it inspires me to continue to do better because I don’t want to disappoint him.
Change #3: Being More Determined
I really try not to be that pompous guy who everyone hates. However, I think I went too far in trying to be Mr Nice Guy. It sucks to have to say this, but I’ve been soft. Softer than a jelly donut dammit.
Simply put, I have told myself I need to compete harder in every facet of my life. Compete harder to be a better trader, compete harder to lose the 15-18 pounds I want to lose, compete harder at work, compete harder with myself to be a better husband, compete harder with myself and be disciplined in every facet of my life.
I have hardly played any competitive sports lately, but I’m going to try and find something to get back into (probably playing tennis) and I’m going to fight like hell to win. The last time I played a set of tennis, I competed a little, and I did win, but I remember feeling like my opponent wanted it more than me. I can’t have that. I’m determined to push myself harder. WIN!
Now, it’s an interesting thing to try and push yourself harder in trading because unlike other facets of your life, it doesn’t just mean, Go, Go Go. However, writing the blog, taking notes, reading more, paying more attention when I read, being a more active listener, and being extremely disciplined in letting trades come to me (and in risk management) are things I must do in order to realize my dreams of becoming a highly profitable trader.
I see now I have a chance to put the slump squarely in the my rear view mirror and start WINNING! I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with everyone as I push forward.
I hope you enjoy reading, I’d love to hear your comments about your own trading.
Here is a screenshot of my two WINNING trades in the Smart Money Profile software: