2017 has officially come to a close. I feel that 2017 was the year of transformation for me. This is my second full year of trading and my outlook on my trading, expectations, focus, independence, mental fortitude, and consistency all transformed this year. It was a year of some extreme highs and extreme lows.
In the first half of 2017, I was seeing the best success I had ever seen in my short trading career. By March I had my biggest month ever. By mid-Aprill, I was up over $32,000. This was huge for me. I had never achieved such gains before. I felt like I had finally arrived! I was living my dream of being a successful day trader. I was on cloud 9! Then CBLI came along on April 18th…my black swan event. I was overconfident, stubborn, revengeful and downright stupid on this name. Over the next 4 days, I realized a total loss of $46,532 on that one ticker.
I took a few weeks off and came back in May but my confidence was shaken. By June and July, I was feeling back on track. My gains were not huge, but I was controlling my losses and my consistency was doing well. I was almost back to green on the year and feeling good. I took a long vacation in August and when I came back things went downhill quickly. While gone on vacation I decided to double my trading size. Looking back now I see how that was a stupid decision, but in the moment it seemed right. I was consistent and controlling my ever-present stubbornness well. I thought I was ready. What I learned though was doubling your size like that really is not as easy as it sounds. Nor is a one trade size fits all trades approach a good idea. Old habits, stubborn behaviors, and emotional trading came flooding back. What resulted, was my worst losing streak of my trading career. From Aug 22nd to Oct 4th I lost a total of $46,023.
My losing streak culminated in a huge $19,537 loss on CLSN on 10/3-10/4. By the close of trading on 10/4 I was broken. As I wrote about in a prior blog post, I was devastated, hated myself, and was ready to quit trading forever. I had never hurt so bad in my life. My dream of being a trader was over. I had hit rock bottom.
Due to some not so small miracles, come November I decided to give trading another go. Those miracles were my wife (who surprisingly still believed in me), Traders4Acause conference, LiveStream Trading, and Dan McLerand who has become not just a trading partner but a friend. All these people and events helped to shift my outlook on my trading and gave me the mental and emotional boost I was needing. I was lucky that I still even had any cash left to trade, but I had just enough to keep one Centerpoint account open. I closed my other 2 accounts and dove back into trading. This is where my transformation really started to take place. After coming back in November my trading has really transformed. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like I have personally changed. My thought process, risk profile, expectations and focus all shifted. Only time will tell if it sticks but I have never felt like this before. My mindset is just different..a good different, and the results have been positive.
I am excited for 2018 because of this transformation. I am excited to start fresh. I am excited to see what I can achieve. I am excited to trade with my new found determination and focus. In 2017 just 3 tickers accounted for 2/3rds of my total losses. I am determined never to let that happen again! I have learned that consistency means absolutely nothing if you can’t learn to take appropriate loses. If you don’t believe me look at my win rate below for the proof! My consistency is very good, but my losses are too large. Becuase of this, 2018 is going to be the year of solidifying my ability to take appropriate losses. My focus will be on losing (aka Discipline). Sounds funny, but if I can’t learn to lose correctly, I will never make it. As Pill Goedeker (@Ozarktrades) said in his year-end review and at Traders4Acause, I must learn to take “papercuts.”
Two other focuses for me in 2018 will be learning to long these low float runners and maximising my gains on trades. I am seriously handicapping myself not taking long positions as I wait for the right time to short. I need to work on this. Maximising my gains comes in a few forms such as scaling in on A+ setups, being able to identify when to go in big and when to keep size smaller. I need to avoid the one trade size fits all trading style. Also, being more patient on taking gains; such as holding a piece for further downside. Taking papercuts is only half the equation, the other half is being better at getting everything I can out of my winners.
For 2018 I have decided to stop posting my daily P&L on twitter. I just don’t feel this is benefiting me anymore or the trading community. I want to stop focusing on the money and focus more on quality trading and taking appropriate losses. That is harder to do when you’re concerned about being able to post a big green day on twitter. It makes you feel like that small green day was a failure when in reality it might have been your best-traded play all week! I found myself on and off this year feeling like unless I could post at least a 4 figure day on Twitter, the day was a failure. That is the wrong mindset for sure. I, however, will still post my charts with entries and exits. I feel that does add value to the trading community, as I know it adds value to me personally when I see others do that. There are so few traders that do. It also shifts the focus to how I traded, not how much money I made. I will still post my P&L every once and awhile, such as maybe monthly updates or milestone trades, but not daily.
I was unable to make back all my losses before 2017 came to a close so 2017 is ending in a large tax right off…LOL..(the silver lining, right!?)! Hopefully, I can defer some of these losses to reduce my gains in 2018 because I am confident if I keep on the path I am on since my transformation I will have a profitable 2018. By the end of 2018, I want to be able to come back here and say, I did it!!!! I was disciplined and profitable this year.