While some aspects of trading are simply out of our control, you can control your reactions to them. Some of your smartest trades may be the ones that you don’t make. As you evolve as a trader, being your own trade coach will help you focus on the things you can change and detach from those you cannot.
One of the best ways to overcome the long learning curve and shorten the road to competency – and eventually skill mastery – is having a mentor or coach to guide the way.
Many Traders do not trust indivdiuals if they are genuine, Fortunately, there is an alternative that can be effective and it won’t cost you a dime: Self-Coaching!
Self-coaching means asking yourself the questions that a coach might ask you, and trying to tease out the answers in a way that helps you understand your emotional reactions to things that happen.
Managing Your Expectations
Take some time to examine your trading expectations. Many newer traders believe there is a market code that can be cracked that will keep them from having a losing trade, a losing week, or a losing month.
The best way to manage your expectations is to understand from the start that you can easily alter your view of the market depending on what price action is telling you. If you understand that you can’t control the market, but can manage your expectations, you will be able to make trading decisions that are rational.
Expectations also bring emotional highs and lows. Because you naturally expect your beliefs to be right, you’ll feel great when the future matches your expectations and feel bad if it doesn’t.
The reality is that there will be losing trades. How you choose to react to them will go a long way in determining your trading outlook and, potentially, your success.
How do you talk to yourself when you trade? Self-talk is the conversation we have with ourselves as we engage in a specific activity. It usually stems from our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. The importance of this internal monologue is that it not only reflects our thoughts and feelings, but also influences them. It’s important to talk to yourself in a supportive way vs. being overly critical.
Here’s an example of the self-talk of two different traders in the same XYZ trade that is currently losing money.
Trader A—”I’m losing money again. I knew I should have waited another day. Why is this always happening to me? If only I were smarter, this wouldn’t be happening. I can’t believe I did that again.”
Trader B—”My XYZ position is currently at a loss. I have not hit my stop, so I will hold the position. It might turn around or it might not. I am managing my risk and following my plan.”
Trader A’s conversation is charged with emotion, making sweeping judgments that are not only about the trade, but also about the trader. They are blaming themselves and thinking that the losing position is somehow a reflection on them. This kind of self-talk usually does more to amplify the problem than to correct it.
Trader B’s conversation is much more measured and less self-critical. The focus is on the status of the trade in relationship to the trade plan. There are not global statements like ‘always’ or ‘never’. Trader B is affirming the reality that some trades make money and others don’t. There is no judgment about intelligence or skill as a trader. They are affirming that the most important thing is that a plan is in place and being followed.
Setting up a Trading Environment
It is a good idea to dedicate an area, and possibly a specific computer, to trading. Dedicating a specific space and time for trading will help you maintain the discipline and focus that may make you more effective. The environment influences the behavioral paradigm of the agent, and the close-knit environment of the trading network plays a particularly crucial role on the decision-making habit of the agent. In some special cases, people lose objective judgment and are completely controlled by their surroundings.
It is common for peak performers, athletes, actors and others, to visualize their performances and outcomes before the event. See yourself building a plan and then following it. See yourself relaxed and alert. See yourself closing profitable trades according to your plan and closing losing ones according to the plan as well.
Visualization techniques have been used by successful people to visualize their desired outcomes for ages.
The practice has even given some high achievers what seems like super-powers, helping them create their dream lives by accomplishing one goal or task at a time with hyper focus and complete confidence.
In fact, we all have this awesome power, but most of us have never been taught to use it effectively.
Elite athletes use it. The super-rich use it. And peak performers in all fields now use it. That power is called visualization.
The daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals, and ambitions.
Trading is challenging enough without getting in our own way. Being your own coach will help you be honest about the state of your trading and help you make the right adjustments.Self-coaching allows me to decide how I want to feel about something that happened, rather than allowing negative and self-denigrating thoughts to run rampant through my head. I can learn from the negative experience, without feeling bad about myself. It’s a wonderful gift.