On Sunday evening, I was reminded of a dream I used to feed.
There was a kid, probably about 14, walking down the fairway of the golf course I live on. The sun was low in the sky, and the shadows were growing longer by the minute. Green grass was just starting to poke through the ground, as the first signs of color are starting to emerge from the trees. He was alone with the place to himself, and was focused on each shot. It was right where he wanted to be, probably having spent most of the day practicing while the course was full of players. He was carrying his school team bag and I suspect he walked with a dream propelling him with purpose toward the next shot.
I used to have the very same dream, so it’s not difficult to recognize in someone else even from a distance. It took me to some really neat places. I met some wonderful people and enjoyed every experience. Along the way, the highs of achievement and the lows of disappointment both drove me. It works that way, because when you have a dream, each end of the spectrum has a way of pushing you to keep working hard.
And so in the light of trading, I ask you…do you have dreams that are compelling?
Not just “I wanna make $1M” but a clear, vivid dream getting you out of bed every day, keeping you up late when there’s work to be done? Where have you come from in your trading, and where do you want to be? Is every position you put on not just an opportunity to profit but a learning experience that has the potential to make you better?
I’ve had clear dreams and I’ve been without, and by far I would prefer to have something driving me, lighting a fire under me to stir me to action, to nudge me beyond my comfort zone, and to inspire me to learn and grow and get better. But I’ve definitely been in that place where I’ve lost sight of my dream due to hard times and struggle and frustration. If you’re there now, it’s important that you know that you can use it to strengthen you rather than let it extinguish your fire. If you’re down or discouraged, stop and think about how you can reignite that passion, and what’ll happen if you don’t. And ask yourself…what’s the worst that can happen if you take that next step of commitment and truly pursue that dream with every single resource you have?
Let me be clear though: life shouldn’t be about reaching a financial milestone. Read that one more time. Because once you get there, you’ll almost immediately set another one. Its an endless pursuit, and when it’s all said and done, you can’t take it with you anyway. A coaching client of mine was recently relaying to me why he wants trading success, and it’s for a much higher purpose than buying a hot car or taking big vacations. He’ll get there, because he wants to leave a legacy that’s more than money.
A legacy isn’t a fortune, so I think it’s critical that we know what it is we want to leave behind when we leave this world. Money might open some doors, but it’s too hollow to be the only thing that you’re trading for. Truly tough times come for every trader, and dollars won’t be the driving force that pushes you through the pain.
The real sweet spot comes when you find satisfaction from not just the results but the process – from the work. Its about having that understanding that you’re blessed to even have the opportunity to pursue a dream – as many are not.
What’s your motivation for doing this? What’s your why? Do you trade for the result, or for the satisfaction of progression? Is there something you recognize as an opportunity to impact the world around you with those trading profits? Whatever it is that you trade for, you’d better know it.
So as you face the day, keep your dream fresh. Feed it and nurture it. Chase it. Remind yourself of it often. Because at the end of the day, you’ll want that satisfaction of knowing you gave your best effort today and made some headway toward it. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have another chance to improve tomorrow.
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