While working with a client today, a simple tool for managing oneself while trading emerged. The tool distinguishes two aspects of you as trader. I thought I would share this so it might help other traders. . .
Sidenote: Let me preface this by saying that this tool assumes you have a solid trading strategy and trading plan, and you know how to trade it.
The First Aspect of the Trader–The Actual Trade
Aspect one of the trader is the part of you that takes the trades. You are either following your plan, or you aren’t. The goal here is that you trust your plan and you choose to follow it. Although this alone is a big challenge for many traders, this is the more straight-forward part.
As my client and I discussed her trades for the week, and the challenges she still faces, we divided her role as trader into these “two aspects”. Most traders and teachers are focusing on the first part. . . to follow your plan, to trade it well, to have discipline, etc.
The Second Aspect of the Trader–What’s Happening Inside YOU
The second part of the trader, touches more on the trader’s feelings during a trade. If you ask yourself, “How would I like to be while I am trading?” What would your answer be? Or, ask yourself, “How would I like to feel during the trade?”
Many of us are uptight, anxious, stressed, tense, worried, etc. while we are trading, even in the middle of a winning or neutral trade. Our emotions can go up and down like a sea-saw as the profits go up and down. This isn’t a peaceful experience. It can be filled with adrenaline, stress, worry, excitement, and other feelings that often can interfere and start causing us to loose control and then do stupid things!
Is this what you want? No! Of course not. In fact, as you trade over time, and especially as you risk more capitol and step into bigger trades, your effectiveness will be far greater if you are calmer and non-reactive.
So, the other side of the trader’s focus, then, is on how you feel during the trade.
Feelings During Trading
The feelings I am referring to, first, are those of feelings as you know them–fear, excitement, anger, dread, etc.
But, even more importantly, are those in your body. This might include tightness in the chest, a pounding heart, sweaty palms, a tense jaw, etc.. We are not usually very aware of what is happening inside our bodies as we trade (as we live our daily lives!)
I work with my clients to increase this “body” awareness. As you do, you can learn about yourself, and you can start to change how you show up for the market. Which, can markedly change your trading. This is the key, and in a future blog I will detail the importance of using your body as an asset for trading. To learn more, you can look into the topic of “mindfulness”.
The Tracking Tool
You can track yourself on these two “trader indicators” using this tracking form designed for my client.
Create a checklist for yourself like this simple one below, and check the appropriate box for aspect 1 and aspect 2, for each trade taken in a day:
|Aspect 1–Your Trades||Aspect 2–Your Feelings / Experience|
|Followed my plan w/o wavering||Changed course and interfered with my plan||Was at peace as my plan unfolded||Was tense, uptight, hovering over the trade, uncomfortable|
Ideally, you would mark the left hand box for each side, indicating that you followed your plan and were at peace with the trade. The trade might have been a loser–that isn’t the point. The point is that you were able to feel peace during the trade, anyway.
So, for example, if the trade took 20 minutes to come to conclusion, either getting stopped out or reaching your target, you would have followed your plan, AND been at peace as the trade unfolded.
In later blogs, I will discuss how to be at peace in the middle of a trade. For now, my invitation is to use this tool to see how you are doing with your two sides of your trades.
Wishing You Awareness,
Andrea Wylan, MPH, CPCC
For a complimentary private consultation, please email
Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.