The price action moved steadily upward on the 5 minute Russell E-mini chart. At that moment Stacey sighed heavily as she was in a short which was prompted by a level upon level supply zone that she had identified on the 60 minute time frame. She had placed her stop just above the top zone’s line amounting to 3 points. She had faith in her trade plan, but the price action seemed to be of another mind. It was perilously close to stopping her out. She couldn’t help but think about the many times that the price action hit her stop, took her out, then retraced to go on and hit the planned target leaving her behind and bemoaned. But, she also remembered the many other times when she gave in to the anxiety that acted like a pressure cooker in her chest till she couldn’t take it anymore and moved or removed her stop only to incur drastic consequences.
Just then Stacey took a deep breath and called her trading buddy Cathy. They were in a mastermind group together. Cathy and Stacey traded some of the same instruments and as well they had done some extensive work on their mental game vowing to be there for one another and for the other members in the community they had formed. Cathy could see that the call was from Stacey and quickly answered her phone…even though she was in a trade and would otherwise not have allowed herself to be distracted. Stacey quickly shared with Cathy what she was facing in the trade. Cathy then asked Stacey: “What matters most in this trade Stacey, following your plan and your rules, or giving in to the urge and throwing your A-Game out of the window?” It only took a moment for Stacey to be reengaged with what was most important in that moment…following through with her plan and rules. She thanked Cathy and said good bye. Stacey was able to endure the discomfort of her anxiety as she documented the trade and the phone exchange in her Thought Journal. Moments later she noticed that the price action had hit her stop and she was out of the trade. Rather than feeling dejected, she felt empowered by the private victory she had in holding her ground and resisting the urge to violate her rules. She then whispered another thank you to Cathy and she was grateful for the relationship that had been formed through their mutual “learning community.”
Having and being a part of a learning community or mastermind group can be a real power house to your trading. A community is positive and powerful in many ways. It fosters a common sense of direction, objectives and aims; and, it can be very helpful in supporting personal responsibility and accountability. Community can also assist its members in forging a greater commitment to trade planning and following through with rules due to the team spirit and emotional bonding that takes place. One way that this can happen is the personal connections that are encouraged because they evoke a richer, more involved sense of “selves.”
Community comes from the Indo-European word mei meaning “change or exchange” and ostensibly was joined with another root kom meaning “with” to form kommein meaning “shared by all.” The ideas of “change and exchange” and “shared by all” are powerful precursors to personal and collective learning and development that are so important and necessary to the evolution of peak performance trading. It creates cooperation and reliable interdependence which at its core are building blocks of the type of synergy (the sum of the parts are greater than the whole) that can propel the growth of the community members. There is a common purpose that stems from articulated values of the trading process; and this leads to greater positive results. Additionally, it becomes a practice field for skill building, which is another core principle to any endeavor that is performance oriented. The community also holds opportunities for specific and valuable contributions from its members that further cement its value and again produces increased performance. When this happens, it also provides sustainability to the endeavor and elevates a shared vision of success for all based upon traders living up to their personal and collective commitments.
There are several core processes that can support a learning community or mastermind group; i.e., Capability, Commitment, Contribution, Continuity, and Collaboration.
Capability: A focus on members’ skills so that those strong in one area can complement those who aren’t and vice versa. The group also must encourage learning and improvement among its members as a “collective” undertaking. Everyone’s improvement is everybody’s business. They must care about one another and care about being the best that they can be. They must have or develop the capacity for dialogue; i.e., open and honest feedback and sharing of ideas.
Commitment: Commitment to the team builds when people are an active part of the experience of creating something they value together. Looking at common problems through the prism of positive feedback and support will not only empower the group it will also act as an emotional camaraderie to help bond the group further.
Contribution: It is imperative that all members be willing to contribute; i.e., time, effort, leadership, skills, intellectual and emotional honesty, and enthusiasm.
Continuity: Learning communities can’t survive without some measure of continuity. Memorializing through documentation and stories can help with this. In other words, the masterminds institutional memory must be both written and carried person-to-person.
Master mind is important business and as new members come into the fold they need to be helped to understand their responsibilities, and the practices of the learning community. In this way both continuity and sustainability can be addressed. If one person (perhaps a leader) moves on the others retain the history, vision, and values of the community. When a new leader emerges the community doesn’t have to start over.
Collaboration: Developing reliable interdependence is the essence of effective collaboration. “All for one and one for all” may sound storybook but this is the kind of attitude that will foster collaboration that is meaningful, purposeful, relevant and substantive. Effective collaboration means that there is a sense of interpersonal reliability…you can count on me and I can count on you. It is achieved through common goals, genuine relationship, a shared vision and a belief in the common cause that formed the initial impetus for the community’s coming together.
Across the planet some of the most stunning achievements in all manner of endeavors have had at their core a mastermind group, a learning community. Team efforts work across the board, not just in sports. Trading is a 100% mental game and if you have a caring, strong, effective and committed support community behind you and you behind them, then you become more caring, strong, effective and committed. It’s about doing what it takes to develop your A-Game and then bringing that A-Game to your platform and keeping it there during all of your trading session.
Dr Woody Johnson can be contacted at The Online Trading Academy