How I Changed My Outlook and Definition of Success

How I Changed My Outlook and Definition of SuccessAs an entrepreneur starting a new business, people continuously ask me, “How is my business going?”  For a while I defaulted to one of my usual answers:  “Yeah, it’s ok.”  I felt like I was on autopilot, spitting out that answer, too afraid to admit that maybe things weren’t ok.  At times I felt like a failure.  If sales were down a particular month, I assumed I wasn’t succeeding at my business.  I, like many of us, assume success is measured or equal to what sells or how much money you make.  However, if your sole focus is money in business and in trading, then you have already set yourself up for failure.

Here is how I changed my outlook and definition of success:

Changing Your Mindset:

Changing my outlook helped me craft my new definition of success.  I changed my environment in order to get out of old habits of thinking.  I filled my mind with positive role models… people that had found success in a particular field.  I learned about their stories, their ups and downs.  I realized that sometimes it was through their failures that they persevered and overcame the odds.  This inspiration helped me mold a new philosophy for what I was trying to accomplish with my trading and my business. 

Trying New Ways to Grow and Improve:

How I Changed My Outlook and Definition of SuccessSUCCESS in Trading is about risk management and the psychology behind it, with the intention to make money.  However, if you focus solely on making money, you are setting yourself up for failure in the market.   There are so many ways to make money in this world.  If your ONLY reason for trading is because you want to make money, perhaps trading is not the best option for you.  In trading you will win and you will lose.  You will need to persevere through some tough times.

You need to try new things in order to figure out a process that works for you.   It’s like when my 2-year old daughter fights me every time I want her to try a new food.  She needs to taste the food first to see if she likes it.   But the only way to find out is to TRY!  And you will try and try again in trading.  You will see yourself grow and your process continue to evolve over time as you become more experienced and understand your trading capabilities.  And these successes, along with the failures, will help you thrive.

Love What You Are Doing:

Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Evan Carmichael defines success as being measured by the amount of impact you have.   Think about your trading or your business.  Are you having an impact and do you love what you are doing?  You need to find something that truly energizes you!  It needs to make you feel so fulfilled that you want to keep doing more.  I can honestly say that I love ChartYourTrade and I love everything about it.  I am inspired when I hear from you!   Recently one of our readers who is only 17 reached out to me and asked me to mentor him on trading.  I was blown away by that and it truly made me feel like I am making a difference. 

Even though it took me a while, I now understand what success means to me.  This new definition of success has helped my business grow, but more importantly, has helped shape the kind of entrepreneur and person that I want to be.

What does success mean to you?  Chat with us in our new Facebook Group “ChartYourTrade FAMILY” and share your thoughts and comments!

 

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How to Set-Up a Trading Plan When Life Happens

After years of trading and flying by the seat of my pants, I realized that I needed to have some sort of plan to know where to get in and get out.  But not just that.  There are a lot of other variables that go into a trade. 

Here is How to Set-Up a Trading Plan When Life Happens

Figure Out Your Business Plan (Macro)

Before you begin trading, you need to ask yourself, what is your Business Plan on a macro level.  You need to know what your BIG PICTURE is.  This business plan will help you execute whatever your trading plan is no matter what kind of day you’re having.

Now take a moment and think about what your typical day looks like.  Then think about what your day looks like when $H!T hits the fan.  If you’re having a good day, you may feel encouraged to try something that is a little fancy and against your business plan.  However, the next day or a week or a month passes by and reality hits.  You are then scrambling, dealing with a trade that doesn’t fit into your business plan.  Don’t OVER EXTEND yourself!  Your business plan is to help prevent this type of risk.   If an opportunity arises, then you need the self-awareness and discipline to know if you can or can’t do it.  It takes real disciple to not overextend yourself.

Develop Your Trading Plan (Micro):

How to Set-Up a Trading Plan When Life HappensI came across a book called “Super Trader” by Van Tharp.  That book spoke about position sizing, risk management, trading psychology and basically developing a business plan for your trades.  It also spoke about building your emotional intelligence (Not your IQ but your EQ).  First, ask yourself how do you feel when you enter a trade?  Next, mentally take the other side of the trade and see how that feels so that you experience both ends of the spectrum. Then stand back as a neutral observer.  This is a very helpful exercise and can help prevent you from making a rash decision. 

Also consider when you are planning on getting in and out.  What size of a position will you be taking?  How much of my portfolio is that going to be?  Where did the idea come from?  I ask myself if it was it from my scanner,  my peers, or was it something I came across in social media?  Do I just like the company for some reason?  Is this meant for short-term, long-term or intermediate-term trade?  What is my time frame?  I ask myself all these questions and then update the answers in my trading log.

Create your Trading Log:

How to Set-Up a Trading Plan When Life HappensI created a trading log to help me stay organized and stay on track with my stock trades.  It’s part of a “Stock Analysis Starter Kit” that I put together.  You can get it sent to you by clicking here. 

This trading log will ensure that you keep on track before initiating any trade.  So if life happens, and the time you thought you had reserved for trading is no longer available, then you can resort to your trading log to help keep you on track with your Macro (business plan).

Reassess and Make Changes Along the Way:

And remember, there is no perfect plan.  It will evolve.  The most important thing for new traders to do is to start and test their plan and see what works and what doesn’t.  You will make changes along the way and your plan will improve over time.  Also, be sure to reassess your Macro every 3-6 months.  This will enable you to see how you have grown and what you are capable of. 

 

Join my Facebook group here and we can chat about your trading plan and I can help you get started!

 

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Market States & 5 Market Cycles

Market States & Cycles

The stock market is constantly changing but the one constant throughout history is and will always be human nature. The stories, stocks, centuries, asset class, bubbles, busts, change… but people don’t!  That is why it is important to understand market cycles not just from a technical level but from a psychological level as well.  If you develop or use a strategy that controls your risk and is built around how markets actually work you will do well on Wall Street. The hard part for many people is having the discipline to stay true to their strategy and actually follow it in real-time.

 

3 Market States: Up, Down, or Sideways

To their detriment, people have a natural tendency to over-complicate most everything in life. Especially, difficult concepts that are not easily understood (e.g. Wall Street). At the most basic level there are only three directions any market or stock can move: Up, Down, or Sideways.

 

5 Market Cycles

Step 1 – Base

The first step before a trend begins is to see the market (or stock) build a base (move sideways). During the basing phase, the market is moving sideways between support and resistance. During the latter part of this phase, ideally the action will tighten up (almost like a coiled spring) and then at some point breakout above resistance (creating a new uptrend) or breakdown below support (creating a new downtrend).

Step 2 – Trend Begins

Ideally one would like to see the breakout occur on heavy volume which is a strong sign that large institutions are accumulating (buying) stock. Remember, it is important to note that price is primary and everything else (including volume) is secondary. Some people say you must have volume above X% in order for a proper signal to emerge but based on my research and experience, price is primary and volume criteria is secondary.

Step 3 – Normal Pullbacks

During the trend (up or down), it is very normal to see a breakout pullback and slightly fail initially (shake out the weak hands) then blast off again. Remember the market is counter-intuitive in nature and tends to fool most people, most of the time. The general crowd tends to miss the first few breakouts and tends to buy after the move becomes “too obvious.” The smart money does the opposite- buys early and sells into strength down the road.

Step 4 – More Basing & Too Obvious Factor

As the trend (up or down) builds- the states rotate from trending to sideways and back to trending again (several bases develop within a trend). This is normal and healthy action as the trend develops, matures and eventually ends. After the trend matures, most people who doubted the move are now buying into it (fear of missing out). Thus creating more momentum and eventually the move becomes obvious and shows up on most technical/charting blogs.

Step 5 – Trend Ends- Tops/Bottoms

Remember that all trends eventually end which means traders (not long-term investors) will need to sell their stocks at some point. After a big move, up or down, fear builds; the smart (a.k.a. early) money is getting out while the dumb (late) money is getting “in.” This creates sloppy wide-and-loose action (after a big move) and typically suggests a top or bottom is close to (or in the process of) forming.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat- New Trends Begin

Once a top is completed (sideways action after a long uptrend) support is broken off that sideways consolidation and a new downtrend begins (go back to phase 1). The same is true after a long downtrend.  The market bottoms and a new uptrend eventually forms. Keep this mind as you buy and sell stocks. Ask yourself am I late or early? What state is the market in (up, down, or sideways) and what phase of the cycle are we in. 

 

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Helpful Tips When Trading in a Bull or Bear Market

Keep in mind that there are two sides to every trade: The Bulls & The Bears.  There are many reasons why the market performs one way or another, and here are some helpful tips to help you manage your trading in a Bull or Bear market.  

Measure the Bearish Side – Short Interest

The bulls want the market to go higher and the bears want the market  to go lower. Typically the bulls go “long” and the bears go “short” in order to express their view. The most common way of measuring the bearish side is to look at short interest.  Short interest is the percentage of shares sold short vs the number of shares outstanding. For example, 2% short interest means that 2% of the outstanding shares are held short.

Fuel For the Bulls:  Short Covering

Keep in mind there is only one way for a market to go up and that is if there are more buyers than sellers. This can occur in two ways.  The first set of buyers are new buyers that show up and buy shares.  This can be for any reason but they all believe, for one reason or another, that the market will head higher after they buy.  The second set of buyers are short sellers who are throwing in the towel and covering their position. When you short a stock the only way to exit your short is to buy the shares you sold. So as the market rallies the short seller’s loss grows and they eventually exit their position. This new set of buyers helps send stock prices higher and is known as short covering.
 

Filter Out the Noise in a Bull Market

Successful traders know how to filter out the noise and focus on what matters most – the facts. The best way to study the facts is to look at the price action of the market. Right now we are in a very strong bull market and the path resistance is higher until this very strong bull market ends. I’ve learned a long time ago to trade on what I see happening and not on what I think should happen. 
 

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How Successful Traders Effectively Manage Fear and Greed

The two most dominant emotions that drive markets across the globe are fear and greed.  These emotions have remained constant throughout history, and will always be present in the markets.

Here Are How Successful Traders Manage Fear & Greed

Hold Onto Their Winner and Cut Their Loser Quickly:

How Successful Traders Effectively Manage Fear & Greed

Successful traders operate with the notion that markets are counter-intuitive in nature and learn how to consciously remove their emotions from their investment decisions.  This process allows them to cut their losses and let their winners run.  Remember, markets take on the personalities of their participants.  The way the basic emotional triggers work is that when a stock is bought at 30 and it goes to 33, some traders are fearful that they will lose their profits and quickly sell to lock in the gain. Conversely, if they buy a stock at 30 and it falls to 25 they become greedy and hope that it will go back up so they can get out and break-even. Another psychological layer comes into play at this point because for most unsuccessful people they believe that selling for a loss means they are “wrong” and that hurts their ego.  The successful trader will do the opposite!  They will hold onto their winner and cut their loser quickly.

Have an Exit Strategy:

The successful trader always has an exit strategy before they buy a stock. This way they know ahead of time where they are going to get out if the market moves against them, and how much they are going to lose if wrong. 

Profits Are a Function of Time:

How Successful Traders Effectively Manage Fear & GreedThe successful trader also know that profits are a function of time. They learn how to be patient with their winners and impatient with their losers. Once you realize that taking small losses is inevitable, you can plan for them and no longer take it personally when you are stopped out for a small loss.  Instead, it becomes a cost to doing business.  Trading Math supports this notion (see table to the right).  It is infinitely easier to recover from a small loss than it is to recover from a large loss. The numbers help illustrate this important and often overlooked concept.

Create A Plan, Then Trade Your Plan:

Successful traders contemplate where they will exit if wrong and how much they are going to lose. This simple, yet often overlooked step will help you take small losses because once you have a plan, all you have to do is trade your plan.

 

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