Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Avoiding Burnout: Every Goal Needs A Vision


One mistake traders make is reviewing their trading and stating an intention to do things better next time, but then never actually turning that review into specific goals and plans that would guide the improvement process.  This is very common when traders begin keeping a journal.  

A second mistake traders make is setting very specific goals--and often multiple goals--but never connecting those goals to a broader vision that provides energy and inspiration.  Without the vision, work on goals easily becomes drudgery:  an endless task list.  Perhaps that is why I'm hearing from so many burned out traders during this COVID period.  Goals can push and guide our efforts, but it's the pull that comes from vision that truly moves us forward.

In the previous blog post, we looked at handling adversity as a key element in trading success.  It is when we are supremely challenged that we dig deep and access fresh sources of energy.  Many times, this rising to a challenge occurs in a team context, where members of the team draw from each other in a positive role modeling.  When we have an individual or shared vision, we can tap into the meaning and significance of that ideal to forge ahead with our goals even in the face of setback.  

The vision may need to be something larger--more meaningful to you--than P/L alone.  It may be a vision of the kind of person you wish to become; the kind of business you ultimately want to build; the ways in which you want to make use of the returns from your trading.  Perhaps trading is a means to a vision that you pursue in the non-market hours of your life.

In any of these cases, what moves us forward is a purpose that is larger than us.  Yes, it helps to work on our execution, our idea generation, our risk management, etc.  But we will pour ourselves into those efforts if they speak to what is important to us in life.  To use an analogy, no amount of working on problems will restore love and commitment to a troubled relationship.  A fulfilling relationship is so much more than something we work on.  We have a relationship with markets as well.  Working on trading is necessary, but it can't be all that we do.  We also need to nurture the positives to keep the vision alive.