Historically the end of November has always been a very important time of the year for me. It was around this time when I

1 ) Embarked on my last-ditch effort to become an independent consistently profitable trader.

2 ) Discovered that managing money wasn’t the path that I wanted to take

3 ) Made a life-altering business decision

And as we approach the final weeks of my trading year, once again I have some very big plans as I prepare for 2020.


It was around this time many years back when I was enduring my darkest moments as a young trader. I was at a place where I felt as if I had exhausted all of my options as an aspiring trader and was ready to give up. If you know anything about me then you know that it takes a lot for me to ever use the phrase “give up” but I’m also a realist, and seeing how I quit 3 jobs in pursuit of a trader career, my timeline was directly tied to my bank account and unfortunately it was slowly bleeding out.

I’ve always been inspired by naysayers, and although my friends and family members never said it to my face, I could tell that a lot of them had zero confidence in what I was doing. So on the long drive back from New York City after stuffing my face with delicious Thanksgiving meals for the previous 8 hours or so I decided that I couldn’t let them win and I had to find a way to become successful. I spent the next couple of weeks doing a deep dive into my trading statistics in an urgent attempt to discover what I was doing wrong and how to go about fixing it. To my surprise, I found that I wasn’t doing all that wrong on the technical side of things. However, the psychological side was a completely different story.


While diving into my numbers, I also decided to reinvest a massive amount of time in reviewing the training content that I previously purchased. When I first signed up for my training course my trading mentor Jason Stapleton had me read a 90-page document on the importance of trading psychology before ever digging into a strategy, technique or even a chart. Even though I read the entire thing it must of went in one ear and out the other because it was obvious that I disregarded everything that I read.

So as the new year approached I decided to take one last shot at this trading thing but instead of focusing on how much money I could make, the goal was to focus on eliminating my trading errors. The process was long and humbling, but eventually, it worked in my favor and not only was I able to become consistently profitable simply by eliminating “the dumb stuff” but it also changed my outlook on what being “professional” really meant. Previously I thought it was all about winning over losing and winning big over winning small. But after this exercise, I really started to see trading as a business. One where wins and losses didn’t matter as much as establishing and routinely following a consistent approach and process. There was only one problem. During the process of learning to trade, I had made a significant amount of financial donations to the market (that’s a nice way of saying I lost a lot of money). So even though I was now profitable, I wasn’t profitable enough to sustain a quality lifestyle strictly from trading. Crap!


Before Beyonce was Beyonce, she was a member of a group called Destiney’s Child who once had a top hit titled “No, No, No.” That song title pretty much summed up my attempts at trying to manage money for others. Well to be fair, I did have a few small accounts in which I was managing but as far as the big fish went, they were nowhere to be found. The process of pitching others on why they should allow a young unexperienced trader to manage their hard-earned money was way out of my comfort zone. Aside from a summer of selling knives in college, I had no experience in sales, especially when it came to selling myself. The fact that I heard no after no after no, didn’t help the confidence and once again I found myself in a position where I was second-guessing my future.


Despite my shrinking confidence I stuck with the process of pitching and asking for referrals which eventually lead me on a train ride to New York City. As I think about this moment, it’s amazing how many of my turning points in life came when doing something that I didn’t want to do. I say this because previous to the New York trip I flew out to Las Vegas on what I thought was a done deal just to hear no. That trip sucked because not only did I have to spend money on the flight and the hotel, but I had to do so just to hear “no.” Add to that whatever confidence and money that I had left was taken by the craps table at 2 am the morning before heading back Anyway…. At least New York was my neighboring state to the north so I thought to myself, all that would be wasted to hear this eventual “no” was a day of trading and a $60 train ticket. To my surprise, a few hours later I found myself nervously sweating in the forever overcrowded Grand Central Station praying that I wasn’t robbed and/or kidnapped as I stood there with a quarter mill in my front pocket.


Having a lot of money is awesome until you execute that first trade and see that the amount that your risking is close to if not more than your previous account size. Not to mention that trading someone else’s money is like driving someone else’s car, meaning mentally it’s a massive difference. However, because I put in so much time and effort working on my trading psychology I felt as if I was fully prepared for the moment and my performance reflected it. The problem however, was that I was (and still am) a low-risk trader, but my client had a high reward mentality which eventually resulted in us drastically increasing our position size after a winning streak, but directly before a drawdown. Therefore instead of being able to absorb the blow, we were hit in the face by a Mike Tyson punch. Now thanks to a pretty successful run prior to we were still in a good position but we took a 30,000 hit most of which happened within a 2 week span, and what’s worse is that my psychological breakdown (staggering after being hit) caused me to miss the opportunity to make $60,000 back the week afterward. Ugh!


After initially turning down the opportunity, I eventually decided to become a trading coach and what better company to work with than the one that taught me how to trade. Not only was it a very reputable company but I trusted the philosophy and more importantly cared for the people I worked with. However, after 5 years of bliss, things started to change as it obvious that a divorce between the companies co-owners was imminent and I was stuck in the middle.

I never planned on leaving but as the situation developed there were a few decisions that didn’t sit well with me from an ethical perspective and I knew that I had to depart. So with no plan or idea of what I would do next, I informed my then co-workers and just like all of those years back, gave myself a month to figure things out before the start of the new year.

This led to me partnering up with two of my co-workers from the previous company and starting Tier One Trading which has gone on to become the one of the most well respected educational platforms for traders and was even recognized in Forbes magazine as being an innovator in the field.


So as we approach what had proven to be a crucial time of the year for me, I don’t have any big announcements to make but once again I will be using the month of December to work and prepare for what I hope will be my best year in the market. As of right now, the plan is to dive deep into a study on the Relative Strength Index, implement a few more aggressive entry techniques & continue to work on my breakout trading.

Dedicating time for personal and professional development is crucial to success. If you don’t do so already I would highly recommend that you carve out a certain amount of time per day, week, month and/or year to do so. Not only doesn’t allow you to gain perspective but it also allows you to grow. I personally like to do so around this time of the year because at this point my results are what they are for the year and because the markets are traditionally slow, I’d rather spend my time working on my future vs. watching paint dry.

Thanks for taking the time to read my words & if you enjoyed it, I’d appreciate it if you’d SHARE & hit that “applause” button below. Also if you found a section that particularly hit home, make sure you “highlight” & “tweet” it!

You can also follow me on…YouTube |Instagram|Twitter| Facebook |Linked




Trader — Trading Coach — Host of The Trading Coach Podcast — Author for Entrepreneur & FX Trader Magazine — Proud Husband & Father — Sports Nerd & Coffee Addict

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Akil Stokes

Akil Stokes

Trader — Trading Coach — Host of The Trading Coach Podcast — Author for Entrepreneur & FX Trader Magazine — Proud Husband & Father — Sports Nerd & Coffee Addict

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