By Louise Bedford
Good traders have an entrepreneurial spirit. They know they are the owners of the greatest small business on the planet, without the inconveniences of staff, Work Cover and the constant threat of litigation. This entrepreneurial spirit does have some drawbacks. Traders often have a staggering amount of difficulty in saying ‘no’ to opportunities. We are hard wired to milk every cent out of every opportunity, and this carries through into our daily lives. It’s hard to know when to back off and start moving on to other greener pastures. I often see traders hanging on, even when the gold frosting on that cake of opportunity has turned sour.
Leaving my job was a difficult decision. Before that, shutting down my Personnel business cut me to my core. Forgiving myself for investing in the now defunct, financially crippling Pyramid Building Society was really tough. Realising that my health situation may never let me work full time again was devastating. Letting go and grieving always is. Some people live by the mantra – “When in doubt – don’t do it.” Others swear that “motion beats meditation”, and are more likely to make a snap decision.
Whichever method you follow, I can guarantee you one thing; making any decision beats the heck out of being stuck in a world of limbo where you haven’t taken a call. I see so many people chronically over-analysing each opportunity, until the opportunity has withered on the vine. Their sunshine of opportunity ceases to exist, just because they procrastinated. Stop delaying on making that decision you’ve been putting off. Whichever way you decide to go, it will have consequences. If you hang around deliberating, you’re really putting the rest of your life on hold, and frustrating the beegeebeez out of your family, who frankly, just want you to get the heck on with it. As Yoda said: “Do or Do Not”.
Don’t Let Anyone Hijack Your A-List Today
People get hijacked all the time. They allow others to hijack their time, and their lives. I rarely get hijacked. Most of my days are scripted before I even get started. I aim to work on my ‘A-list’ for 80 per cent of the time. My A-list includes the projects that will have a direct impact in helping me achieve my top goals. Because my life is jam packed with A-list activities, those who try to hijack me must wait until I move onto my B-list or C-list. This way I am also able to spare some time for things that don’t assume urgency. This method does have obvious drawbacks. I no longer consider myself impulsive, chaotic, or a spur of the moment type of person. With maturity, I have had to let those descriptions disintegrate, and embrace the beauty of the words ‘planner’ and ‘anal retentive’. In return for releasing the more outwardly fun filled method that most people embrace of flitting from meaningless project to meaningless project, I am granted serenity and clarity. A fair trade off.
Of course, there are people who don’t get this. They can’t see why I’m unwilling to come out to dinner at the last moment, or drop everything when they proverbially stub their toe in the markets. However, I know how weak willed I can be. If I am left with ‘free time’ on my hands – I will always waste it. I will ‘spend’ it with the frivolity of a teenage girl with a credit card that has no limit. Plus, at the end of the day, I’ll have nothing to show for it. I fight for self-control. There are temptations everywhere, deliberately at war with my A-list projects. The bing of a computer as it updates, a Facebook friend in need of comfort, an editor who wants an article written immediately because they forgot to tell me about it 3 weeks ago.
I fend them off like a swarm of bees and take refuge in my office – away from the outside world where ‘urgent’ takes precedence over ‘important’. With ‘list A’ approach, when I lay my head on the pillow at night, I know I have achieved. In ‘Louise World’, that makes for a good day and I can rest easily. I don’t spend sleepless nights dreading the impending chaos. Nor do I make snap decisions without giving due time to consider the consequences. You have a fundamental choice to make today. Either you respond to people’s childish, ‘spur of the moment’ demands, or you fight that temptation and accomplish your own goals. Yes, you will have to fight. You’ll have to set boundaries. You’ll have to be willing to offend in order to achieve what is in your heart and relevant to you. I urge you to fight. Remember, that an increasing number of people will feel frustrated or even angered because of you. However, the ones that are worth it will adjust to your new A-list regime. They’ll even grow to like it.
Is it Harder Now?
For some people, success breeds insecurity.
After moving out, for many, many months, I slept on a Lillo, hadonly a camp fridge and a beanbag for a couch. Even when my husband and I started out, we barely had anything. I was happywith that, because I knew bigger things were just around the corner.
You may have been the same way. It’s surprising how brave you can be when you don’t have much to lose.
What about now?
Have you got the kids, the car and the house in the ‘right’neighbourhood? I bet it’s a little harder to take a risk once you’ve got a few external trappings. It’s not just your material possessions that make it tough to learn a new skill; it’s the threat of losing face.
Now, it just seems more publicly humiliating to take a wrong step (or flight of steps) because you’re more established. There seem to be more people watching. Plus, it may seem as though more people around you are taking the right steps. Therefore any failure on your part sparkles with clarity in comparison. That thought alone can bring out the procrastination bug in full force. I understand the risks of trying something new. However, unless you start throwing yourself into learning about the markets and perfecting your skills, in 5 years time, you’ll be in exactly the same position you are now, just 5 years older. Isn’t the promised reward of greater independence, financial freedom, and life choices worth the risk?
I want you to think about your objectives behind becoming a trader. This is really important. People who have a clear idea about what they want to achieve perform the best in the trading arena. Think about what sort of lifestyle you’re after. Think about the difference that extra money and time can mean to your family and children. If you do that, you’re first and foremost in a very good position to be able to trade effectively.
By making your goals bigger than your reasons for procrastinating, you’re more likely to goad yourself into action. With trading, it’s not just about the right strategies. It’s also about what goes on between your ears. In Your Trading Edge, one of the main reasons I focus on mindset so strongly is because I want to bring out the best in you, so that you can withstand the storm. It’s not a bad thing that the markets have been quite tumultuous lately. Especially if you’re a beginner in the markets, you might think that’s a strange thing to say, but frankly, if you learn when everything is going perfectly, you’re at a disadvantage. You won’t develop the psychological resilience to persist.
I urge you to prioritise your own goals, or you will be submerged by others’ agendas. Don’t vow to do better next time. Just do better. Promises are balderdash. Action is the only way to move forward. Learning what it takes to become an exceptional trader will give you a significant advantage over others. No one is going to force you. It’s a matter of honour.
But everyone procrastinates… how about you?
The horrible truth is that most people never do a freaking thing! They may want the results the markets can provide. They may dream about what their life could look like. But – unless they take action, they’ll never move forward. Be completely honest – Which group do you belong to?
The traders who are action-takers? Or the ones who procrastinate, think about-it, and yet never kick the goals they’re aiming for? Right now, in your heart, you know where you want to be. The best time to make the choice that will put you in the top 5 per cent of traders was 10 years ago. The next best time is now. You want your life to change? You need to change. Extend your hand, and take mine – so I can grab it and run to the next level with you. It’s impossible to achieve and not make a mistake that makes you cringe. If you’re striving to achieve a goal, you will aggravate and annoy some people who would rather see you not move on in life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can please them. You can’t. If you keep on procrastinating, you’ll only harm yourself.
Get out there and kick some goals. Decide today that you won’t be concerned by those who are determined to disapprove of you, whether they are relatives, parents, a boss or a co-worker. There is little possibility of you ever pleasing them, and if you try, you’ll end up wiping out your edge. There is no profit in that mindset, I guarantee it. Today I want you to focus on one thought- ‘The thicker the skin, the fuller the wallet.’
Louise Bedford (www.tradinggame.com.au) is a full-time private trader and author of four best-selling books – The Secret of Writing Options, The Secret of Candlestick Charting, Charting Secrets and Trading Secrets. Register on her website to receive a free trading plan template and a 5-part e-course to get you trading like a machine.