Friday, February 12, 2010

The Weekend Trader - Breathing Exercises

This weekend will mark a few important milestones for me, including giving a great deal of time to think about my trading business and the future of the blog.

In terms of milestones, Monday's Expo presentation will reflect one of my rare speaking engagements which I plan to continue to limit.  One reason is that I simply don't enjoy traveling. The topic will be "Profiting From Intraday S&P Market Inefficiencies", with emphasis on helping traders try to think of this business with a "storefront" mentality.  There's no cost to attend, and we'll have some fun with a study session give-away at the end.  My biggest challenge will be squeezing as much as I can into 45 minutes.

Second, several of the Jellies will be meeting in person -- some for the first time -- Sunday evening at 7pm in the Marriott Marquis lounge if anyone is interested in saying hi.  The team had a strong session this morning, which was a good send-off for the long weekend.

And third, after a critical session with my trading psych coach this morning, I'm going to use the long weekend to work on cleaning some lingering cobwebs out of my brain and again reassess the future of my involvement with blogging & teaching.

With respect to the coaching, the experience has been productive and worth the investment, and has further affirmed my belief that this "skill profession" is 99% between the ears for discretionary traders.

There's the old joke of course about how many psychologists it takes to change a light bulb.  Only one, but the bulb has to really want to change.  Well, I admit I've been a bit like that bulb who in some areas hasn't been ready to change back to the ultra-aggressive, ultra-competitive Don of the mid to late 2000s.  I grew ... comfortable ... and these virtual pages are full of ramblings that have tired some.

A reminder gang that this is a non-fictional account of this trader's journey.  If you want to read about the millions, then you have to accept the venting of frustrations and challenges.  As any true trader will tell you, you can't have one without the other, and if you don't care for the content, please change the channel to C.S.I. Wall Street or any of the hundreds of "fictional" sites and chatrooms out there.  I'm sure they're full of feel-good stories.  Of all my goals in life, one isn't creating internet traffic.  One is trying to get the word out of what this business is really about.

Frankly, it's continuing to take every ounce of my focus as I coil the slingshot.

Which brings me to a larger perspective.  Life of course is about alternating inhales and exhales, as well as about continually opening one's hand to give back so your open palm can freely receive again.  From a trading perspective, 1999-2002 for me was an inhale in terms of focusing on my own trading, 2003-2005 was a bit of an exhale and giving away with writing and teaching (while I still traded), 2006 - early 2009 another trading inhale (with increased lung capacity), and the latter part of '09 an exhale.

And as I work on both receiving and inhaling once again in 2010, one thing I've learned throughout the last decade is that inhaling and exhaling are impossible to do simultaneously ... both literally (duh) and in terms of the trading/teaching/blogging paradox.  It sure hasn't kept me from trying though!  I've also learned that you can't fully accelerate with the parking brake engaged, or using the words of our former NFL quarterback turned Jellie (still trading with us by the way), playing at anything less than full speed is a great recipe for injury and/or disaster.

One commenter recently suggested that I narrow my focus.  And he/she is right.  Trading, teaching, blogging, & running two businesses with one person is a recipe for doing lots of things poorly.  Especially as the trading risk/reward ramps up another notch.

So this weekend, I'll be considering a number of options, which range between the two extremes of going completely off the grid as I did a few years ago (seriously) to partnering with someone to continue the multiple fronts to allow for better focus.

Yet for now, I look forward to meeting some old and new friends over the weekend in NY.

For those traveling, have a safe journey.

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