Specialty Skills

A Mastermind Group Can Be a Powerhouse to Your Trading

Dr. Woody Johnson

A lot was happening to the price action on the 15 minute ES E-mini chart, it was surging upward.  Stan looked at it closely and blew a big sigh because he was in a short which was prompted by a level upon level supply zone that he had identified on the 60 minute time frame.  He had placed his stop just above the top zone’s line amounting to 3 points.  He had faith in his trade plan, but the price action seemed to be of another mind.  It was really close to stopping him out.  At that moment he couldn’t help but think about the many times that the price action hit his stop, took him out, then retraced to go on and hit the planned target leaving him holding an empty bag.  But, he also remembered the many other times when he gave in to the fear that acted like a volcano in his body till he couldn’t take it anymore and moved or removed his stop only to experience a meltdown.

At that moment Stan took a deep breath and called his trading buddy Karl.  They were in a mastermind group together.  Karl and Stan traded some of the same instruments and as well they had done some extensive work on their mental game having committed to support one another and as well the other members in the community they had formed.  Karl could see that the call was from Stan and quickly answered his phone…even though he was in a trade and would otherwise not have allowed himself to be distracted.  Right away Stan let Karl know what was happening in the trade.  Karl asked Stan: “What matters most in this trade Stan, following your plan and your rules, or giving in to the urge and throwing your A-Game out of the window?”  It only took a moment for Stan to renew his resolve and focus on what was most important in that moment…following through with his plan and rules.  Stan thanked Karl and said good bye.  Stan was able to endure the discomfort of his fear as he noted the trade and the phone exchange in his Thought Journal.  Moments later he noticed that the price action had hit his stop and he was out of the trade.  Rather than feeling down and depressed, he felt uplifted by the “win” that came from holding his ground and not giving in to the urge to violate his rules.  He then silently sent another thank you to Karl and he was grateful for the relationship that had been formed through their mutual “learning community.”

Having and being a part of a learning community or mastermind group can be a real power house to your trading.  A community is positive and powerful in many ways.  It fosters a common sense of direction, objectives and aims; and, it can be very helpful in supporting personal responsibility and accountability.   Community can also assist its members in forging a greater commitment to trade planning and following through with rules due to the team spirit and emotional bonding that takes place.  One way that this can happen is the personal connections that are encouraged because they evoke a richer, more involved sense of “selves.”

Community comes from the Indo-European word mei meaning “change or exchange” and ostensibly was joined with another root kom meaning “with” to form kommein meaning “shared by all.”  The ideas of “change and exchange” and “shared by all” are powerful precursors to personal and collective learning and development that are so important and necessary to the evolution of peak performance trading.  It creates cooperation and reliable interdependence which at its core are building blocks of the type of synergy (the sum of the parts are greater than the whole) that can propel the growth of the community members.  There is a common purpose that stems from articulated values of the trading process; and this leads to greater positive results.  Additionally, it becomes a practice field for skill building, which is another core principle to any endeavor that is performance oriented.  The community also holds opportunities for specific and valuable contributions from its members that further cement its value and again produces increased performance.  When this happens, it also provides sustainability to the endeavor and elevates a shared vision of success for all based upon traders living up to their personal and collective commitments. 

There are several core processes that can support a learning community or mastermind group; i.e., Capability, Commitment, Contribution, Continuity, and Collaboration.

Capability:  A focus on members’ skills so that those strong in one area can complement those who aren’t and vice versa.  The group also must encourage learning and improvement among its members as a “collective” undertaking.  Everyone’s improvement is everybody’s business.  They must care about one another and care about being the best that they can be.  They must have or develop the capacity for dialogue; i.e., open and honest feedback and sharing of ideas.

Commitment:  Commitment to the team builds when people are an active part of the experience of creating something they value together.  Looking at common problems through the prism of positive feedback and support will not only empower the group it will also act as an emotional camaraderie to help bond the group further. 

Contribution:  It is imperative that all members be willing to contribute; i.e., time, effort, leadership, skills, intellectual and emotional honesty, and enthusiasm. 

Continuity:  Learning communities can’t survive without some measure of continuity.  Memorializing through documentation and stories can help with this.  In other words, the masterminds institutional memory must be both written and carried person-to-person.  Mastermind is important business and as new members come into the fold they need to be helped to understand their responsibilities, and the practices of the learning community.  In this way both continuity and sustainability can be addressed.  If one person (perhaps a leader) moves on the others retain the history, vision, and values of the community.  When a new leader emerges the community doesn’t have to start over.

Collaboration:  Developing reliable interdependence is the essence of effective collaboration.  “All for one and one for all” may sound storybook but this is the kind of attitude that will foster collaboration that is meaningful, purposeful, relevant and substantive.  Effective collaboration means that there is a sense of interpersonal reliability…you can count on me and I can count on you.  It is achieved through common goals, genuine relationship, a shared vision and a belief in the common cause that formed the initial impetus for the community’s coming together.

Across the planet some of the most stunning achievements in all manner of endeavors have had at their core a mastermind group, a learning community.  Team efforts work across the board, not just in sports.  Trading is a 90-95% mental game and if you have a caring, strong, effective and committed support community behind you and you behind them, then you become more caring, strong, effective and committed.  It’s about doing what it takes to develop your A-Game and then bringing that A-Game to your platform and keeping it there during all of your trading session.  This is a way to do just that.  Also, your community can learn invaluable tools that will support your growth and development as a collective and individually with Mastering the Mental Game Online and On-location courses.  Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information.  Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.

Happy Trading.

This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.