Anything that is important and as mentally and emotionally challenging as trading, usually has a number of ways or phases that will all but ensure success if followed meticulously and exactly. This is not to say that there is only one way; but certainly, if you have a tried and true set of steps and you assiduously follow them then, like adhering to a road map, you can count on getting to your destination. With this in mind, I have recently shared a seven-step program with my students that is designed to fully support the serious trader to become consistently successful. One of the tenants of these phases of success is that they are like a blue print in that the points that you reach are sequential. This is a crucial aspect of the process. In other words, you’ll want to do first things first in this process. Given that, I’d like to share the highlights and general overview with you now.
The Seven Steps to Self-Disciplined Trading
- Identify your macro purpose for trading. This is where you take the what-matters-most in your life and connect it to the what-matters-most in the trade; like family, friends and/or a community cause that you’re passionate about. Your purpose becomes your compelling reason for trading; otherwise known as a “Big Why.” If you have a strong enough “why” then it doesn’t much matter about your what. It will catapult you into achievement.
- Use the macro purpose to derive your goals. Goals are not just things that you shoot for, they are strategic landmarks that should not only be specific but results oriented as they take you closer to manifesting your purpose.
- Next, use your macro purpose and goals to construct a sensory rich vision of success. This is where you look at how your life has changed as a result of the macro purpose having become tangible. You would identify how the changes (benefits and rewards) look, sound, feel, smell and taste. When you visualize the things that you are most passionate and hungry about in specific and stark detail your emotions soar causing you to “take action” in a sustained fashion because of the energy being activated. This energy sets in motion a self-perpetuating spiral that creates an obsession to continue until your purpose has become manifest.
- One of the most powerful ways to tackle both finding out what is important and then doing it is to have a role model or mentor to provide a model and guide you in effective strategies for success. From your earliest days, you looked up to older siblings, authority figures and friends as templates for how to negotiate winning. Of course, role models can be alive or dead, in books or in the next room. Mentors on the other hand engage in a personal relationship with you. One thing that is good to know about having a personal relationship with your mentor is that you can ask intimate questions regarding what they think and feel at critical times. By imitating how they do what they do, you will begin to achieve success just like they did.
- Organization and planning are next on the agenda. Taking your most important matters and organizing them along with your day will greatly assist you in building your process. Also, this is where you would put together a macro plan for trading (similar to a business plan) and a micro plan for each trade. In fact, when you really want something bad enough, as in your passionate pursuit of things like the well-being of your family and the efficacy of the community; the first thing that you will ask yourself is “how” am I going to get this thing that I desire so single-mindedly? As soon as you ask this question you will have started the planning process.
- After you have organized and planned at the 35,000 ft. level and have the details of the boots-on-the-ground it’s time to get the knowledge to make the game plan work. Until you have done the advance work that is reflected in the first five steps, you would not be in a position to know what questions to ask and what items you need to learn. It’s like running a marathon; if you haven’t then you would not know what you didn’t know. You would be unconsciously incompetent about how to train and how to manage things like diet and other personal strategies that would either support you or not in that endeavor.
- Anything that is worthy of your time and attention is worth doing poorly. Zig Ziggler said that and it is just as true now as it was when he first coined it. In other words, when you have set your sites on achieving something, when you first attempt it you will do it poorly; and if you want to excel, it will take effort, energy, dogged determination and the ability to stick to it until you have prevailed. This is persistence and perseverance; that is, the ability to keep going despite set-backs, barriers and obstacles; and the endurance to withstand the fatigue and failures that you will surely have along the way. This truly boils down to “energy management” and it begins with your sensory rich vision. It is where you bring everything together and use your vision to create that passionate pursuit of your desires by instituting a self-perpetuating spiral of vision, belief and emotion reality.
These are the seven steps to self-disciplined trading. If you diligently follow them in sequence you will experience a paradigmatic shift which will take you ever closer if not hit it right on the target to becoming a consistently successful trader where success is defined as planning your trades, trading your plan, following all of your rules and keeping all of your commitments. This is what we teach in Mastering the Mental Game online and on-location classes. Ask your Online Trading Academy representative for more information. Also, get my book, From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.
Dr. Woody Johnson – firstname.lastname@example.org