Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Special Post - Another Night to Dance

Fahoo Fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome Christmas, Come this way!
Fahoo Fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.

Welcome, Welcome Fahoo Ramus
Welcome, Welcome Dahoo Damus
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fahoo Fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome, Christmas Bring your cheer
Fahoo fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome all Who's Far and near

Welcome Christmas, Fahoo Ramus
Welcome Christmas, Dahoo Damus
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we

Fahoo Fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome Christmas, Bring your light.

Dear Diary.

Like most traders, my year for all intents and purposes is complete as we get ready to welcome in Christmas, then New Year's Eve, and finally 2010.

And like all traders and all years, 2009's journey brought its own bundle of challenges, new learnings, disappointments, and accomplishments at this end. btw, a heads-up for diary onlookers who don't care to rehash the past ... while this reflection is important to me and needs to find its place in my diary, you may want to skip this post.

As so as I take one final look back at the last 12 months, I'll summarize key trading events in various categories so as to again try to use past lessons to navigate the road ahead.

Greatest Irony - As I stated at the end of 2008, I had planned on taking a long break in Q1 before ramping things back up. Instead, I couldn't ignore the continuing personal momentum and instead kept pressing the accelerator to the floor for another five months until the energy tank ran bone dry toward the end of Q2. Which reinforces the continuing adage that the market and your performance dictate breaks and respites in this performance-based business ... not your desired schedule. So what was initially planned as a Q1 mental break instead was postponed until Q3.

Most Memorable Moment - Yes, it's that infamous bump on the head and ride in the ambulance just before dozens of traders who I'd never met were to show up at my front door at the Boston Bamboo trader picnic.

Greatest Disappointment - "Landing on the Moon." For while I did initially want back to back 08-09 Million dollar years, I had to settle for it on an average vs. absolute basis as the result of overshooting the '08 target and undershooting '09. As I said a few weeks ago, last year I shot for the stars and found myself in a completely different galaxy, versus this year where I shot for the stars and instead hit the moon. For most, '09 would have been a Bamboo year. For me, it was simply "solid".

Then again, after looking around, I also learned that the moon is a pretty cool place.

Greatest Frustration - Not being able to restart my energy & motivational drive mid-year as quickly as I would have liked. And while I knew once I shut it down, it would take a while to restart, I underestimated its duration and was disappointed in my inability to quickly recapture the spirit and intent of the fictitious draw concept. Essentially, I found it very difficult to get "appropriately angry".

Greatest Trading Regret - Not trusting my gut and adjusting my personal scratch/re-entry risk management strategy at various times when volatility was low. Essentially, I sometimes didn't trust my reads as the market took its time to do what I expected it to do. Sort of like a golfer reading the green right, then backing away from the putt with some hesitation. It's frankly rare when I can't read a market, and I should have let time be a better partner.

Most Unexpected Event - This one's a tie: (1) Losing 25 pounds and getting back to my wedding weight from 1985; and (2) Deciding to finally shut up about simply moaning about the lack of quality trader education and using my Q3 "break" to launch a full-scale & multi-faceted live training program which became the Jellie effort ... which leads to ...

Greatest Satisfaction - Creating and now trading amidst a team of traders who I would trust with my life, and helping the American Diabetes Association in the process.

Stupidest Decision - Abandoning the personal scorecard after it contributed to a mind-boggling 58-3 record in Q1. A decision that may rival Bill Belichick's 4th and 2 decision in Indy.

"Coolest" Moment - Working closely and trading stories with a former NFL quarterback, who was part of the charter Jellie team and continues to trade alongside the team. He's a class act, too, and I've learned a great deal from him.

Hardest Lesson - Learning to apply the brakes. As I've often said, this Type A sucks at taking breaks and vacations, and was figuratively dragged away kicking and screaming toward the beginning of the summer. So this year, I discovered my car had a brake pedal ... although I was definitely using the Fred Flintstone "foot-dragging" approach for much of the time.


And so another "day" comes to a close, and another "night" is upon us. If you're new to this trek, I view each year as a single "day" or "trade". And if you're wondering why I've entitled today's post, "Another Night to Dance", it's a follow-up to last year's year-end motivational post to remind me -- along with all onlookers - that each year -- no matter what the result -- is indeed a cause for celebration.

For me, 2009 was in some ways more gratifying than 2010, as I had to learn a new skill (brake pedal pushing per above), hone a long-abandoned skill (trader education after a multi-year hiatus), and somehow balanced continued capital growth with preservation ... the latter of which is becoming important for me as I rapidly approach the half-century mark.

And while I had my share of setbacks in 2009, today is a good time to remind ourselves that the "Grinch" we call the market, our pundits, or our inner doubts and fears, will never be able to take away our spirit and hope for the future.

Whether you had a Bamboo, moon landing, or more challenging year, I'll leave you with the same thought from last year, "If someone ever tells you "you can't", they're dead wrong. If you're breathing, you can and you will. Regardless of what the pundits say or how much the temporary pain may sting, don't ever let anyone take away your spirit and joy for life. Who knows, 2010 may very well be your personal Bamboo year."

For it is indeed another night for all of us to dance.

Fahoo Fores! Dahoo Dores!
Welcome Christmas, Bring your light.