Sunday, February 23, 2014

Being Your Own Trading Coach

So this is Roberta's Pizza in Brooklyn.  There are two types of people:  those who wouldn't be caught dead at a place like Roberta's and those who absolutely have to try out such a funky place with a great rep.  Now, to be sure, when Margie and I first stood in front of the restaurant, I did have a minute of doubt.  But the enthusiastic recommendation of trading colleague and friend Mike Chan won out and we went in.  Great food, great people, great craft beer.  What more could you ask?

If you want to be your own trading coach, you have to be the person who goes in the door at the funky place, not the person who would avoid it like the plague.  We recently planned a vacation for this spring and decided on northern Alaska in a remote area where there is world-class wildlife viewing on the glaciers.  It's completely out of the comfort zone and appealing precisely for that reason.  How can anyone expand if they don't move beyond their boundaries?

Think of an athletic coach or trainer:  That job requires challenging competitors and pushing them to expand their capacities.  You can't increase your sprinting time or boost the weight you lift unless you routinely challenge yourself in practice.  Keeping score is the first step in a process that leads to working to improve your score.  If there is one common thread among performance professionals, it is keeping score and pushing the comfort zone to improve scores.

Some of the best traders I know make pushing the comfort zone a lifestyle.  They will find the offbeat restaurant, the challenging vacation voyage, the stimulating theater or dance performance.  One thing I love about working out in the home gym early in the morning is that it starts the day on a note of pushing boundaries.  Being your own trading coach means approaching markets--and life--in a way that doesn't settle for comfort.

Why?  Because on the other side of comfort there are experiences, insights, and parts of yourself you otherwise would have never known about.  Because the path to greatness--in any facet of life--is never through stasis.

Further Reading: Steps Toward Becoming Your Own Trading Coach