One October day in a few years ago, I was feeling a bit down out and at the time I attributed my moodiness to the weather we were having. The days of summer were well behind us and the cold weather was slowly creeping in. It was an all too familiar feeling for it seemed to happen every year around the same time. That particular day though, I could not turn off my inner voice. Every thought I could imagine was coming at me 100mph and I was mentally exhausted even before arriving to work that morning. I could not focus my attention on anything that day no matter how hard I tried. The good Lord had mercy on me made it that a dear friend would show up at work and we went out and grabbed some lunch. The moment my friend asked me how things were going I unloaded everything I was thinking and feeling. Poor thing had no idea that was coming. The kind that makes you think of Kevin Hart, “Noooooooooooooo she wasn’t ready!!!!!!!” After my emotional download, the bottom line was that I was at a crossroad in life when I found myself asking “what is my purpose in life?” I was in my mid 30’s and realized time was ticking. I loved what I did but at the same time, I had a burning desire to do more but I just didn’t know what or how. One of the things I wanted to do was philanthropy work. The idea to build an orphanage for kids in Kenya was vanishing from my imagination among other things because I lacked the resources and time. It turned out all I needed was to talk to someone because by the end of lunch I was back to my usual self and even though the answers didn’t get answered that day, things were in motion in my life and I had no idea. By the summer of the following year due to ownership changes, I was unemployed and looking for something new. I needed something to generate income while also allowing me to be there for the kids before and after school. I found my answer and made a decision to become a trader. My why, at the time was very simple. It was my kids. To have the time and freedom to be there for them. My dad was also having some health problems and I wanted to there for him and take him to his doctors’ appointments etc.. I wanted TIME and trading was going to give me that. There is a great Ted Talk video from Simon Sinek titled Start with why and I believe it’s important to know why we do what we do what do.
What happens to a lot of us that make a decision to take the jump and start something new be it trading or any new venture, we get caught up in the day to day of that new venture and we end up losing focus on the reason we got involved in the first place. We simply forget our WHY. As a new trader, especially when you are still a student learning technical analysis, trying to understand bear call this and bull put that, delta, theta, volatility, paying attention to the Fed raising interest rates and oh let’s not even get into earnings season and so on and so on, surely can become overwhelming. The pressure to feel that we should somehow know all these things in a matter of months can be very frustrating too. The worst is if you start trading and hit some bumps in the road early on while others are talking about all their successful trades. You start to doubt yourself and begin to think that perhaps trading just wasn’t meant for you and before you know it you skip a day of trading, next thing you now are checking market conditions every other day and before you know it weeks go by and you haven’t been plugged into your trading community and you’ve stopped trading on a consistent basis. The other extreme is being too engaged and neglecting everything else. You make everything else revolve around trading instead of making trading revolve around everything else. Eventually, you will burn out. Others will make a decision to start trading and get comfortable too fast and never go far with trading because they gave it little to no effort which means they need to adjust their why or don’t have a strong enough why to begin with.
In my trading journey, I have been in all three phases. In my early days, I was having successful trades and found myself buried watching and reading everything I could get my hands on regarding trading. I’d be up until 4 am just getting as much knowledge in me as I possibly could neglecting the very people I was supposedly doing this for. Later on, I found myself in a season of losing trades and it was like the wind got knocked right out of me. I had low energy and wasn’t excited about trading anymore. The negative thoughts of “maybe this wasn’t meant for me” slowing began creeping in and in that state, I was no good to my family either. In another season of this trading journey, the skies were clear, I had found my groove and all was right with the world. My priorities were in order, what ever that means and everything was as easy like Sunday morning. This phase I think is more dangerous than the other two. When you find yourself at a place where you have nothing challenging you, then you have gotten to a place of complacency and therefore you are not growing. I realized I needed to make an adjustment to my why so that I can continue to evolve. The reason I write this is to not only share my trading journey and encourage others to trade, it is also to help me grow as a writer and coach. Wherever you might me in your trading journey, take a moment to remember your why. Is your why still motivating you? Does your why need adjusting? Do you need to remove buying a house from your why and replace with buy a duplex as an investment property because you finally were able to buy your house? It’s important to remember your why that got you started on this trading journey however, it is just as important to recognize when your Why isn’t strong enough and make some adjustments.