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Finding a Happy Balance

To say this week has felt like watching paint dry would be an understatement! As we covered in Sunday’s newsletter, quarterly expiration week tends to be a choppy one, and this week isn’t turning out to be any different. 

 In Sunday’s letter we talked about being a flexible trader, and utilizing the strategies and set ups that will best benefit from what the market is currently offering (or in other words, taking what the defense is giving us). While the $SPX iron condor we opened on Monday Is certainly shaping out to be the perfect trade for this boring week, it’s times like this where your discipline and patience can really get tested. 

 When you love trading, it can be incredibly hard to accept that the best thing to do is to not trade at all. However, what can often be much harder is forgiving yourself for forcing trades in an environment that isn’t ideal. 

  The irony in this for me is that so often, folks tell me that they are pursuing trading to obtain more freedom. They want more time to spend with family, more time to travel and experience the things they enjoy, and more overall control of their day-to-day life. Yet, for many of those same traders, stepping away from the markets can be near impossible. 

 I myself often struggle with the same thing. Even after all the years of experiencing how boring and choppy quarterly expiration week can be, I still find it challenging to toss on the iron condor and step away from the screens for a few days. I know this is best for my P&L, and best for my peace of mind as a few days off can be a much-needed recharge. Even still, I find myself constantly checking the quotes, constantly checking in on “the action” (SPOILER ALERT: there is no action this week!). 

For some it may be due to FOMO, and for some may be due to greed. For me, walking away from the charts can be difficult because I simply love this game. I love watching how things unfold, I love the camaraderie in our chat room and interacting with other traders, I love it all. However, the one thing that has proven to remain true over all my years of trading is at the market isn’t going away. It will be here when quarterly expiration is done, and there is such a bigger likelihood of time spent at the charts paying off once it’s over.

 I’ve learned the hard way that forcing the issue during witching week can lead to trouble, so fighting the urge to place trades this week isn’t all that difficult. It’s tuning out for a few days to allow myself the opportunity to re-charge that isn’t as easy as one would think. As it tends to, thinking about the “big picture” and the long run certainly helps put this all into its proper perspective. Personally I hope to have 40 or 50+ years of trading ahead of me. In all reality, stepping back for a few days isn’t going to kill me or stop me from reaching my long-term goals.

 Remember, while hours can feel like minutes while we’re trading, time continues to go by quickly. Many of us dedicate so much of ourselves and our time to the markets, that we forget life keeps movin’ on around us. Not just during quarterly expiration, but in general, we as traders need to strive for a healthy balance of laser focus and dedication when the market is ideal, and the fortitude to step back for a bit when it is not.

 Accept the environment, take what the market has to offer, and detach when it’s time to detach. Let’s be real, throwing on an iron condor and getting paid by a choppy market while we step away and spend time with loves one’s/doing things we enjoy is a pretty sweet ordeal. Though the game can be tough, never forget how good we have it as traders! 

 As for our $SPX iron condor, we’re in great shape here as the market chops into oblivion. The market offered a chop-fest, and we utilized the best tool to take advantage of just that. We have working orders set to buy back the iron condor for 80% of max profit, so there’s even less of a need to waste time staring at the screens over the next two days!

We’re off to a great start to the month of March, team. Let’s keep it rolling!