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4 Tenants of Successful Investing: You Will Play Like You Practice

You Will Play Like You Practice

I’ve coached park and recreation basketball for fifteen years.  Over that time, I’ve come to appreciate the parallels that exist between playing basketball, and successful objective driven investing.

This article will be the first of a four part series over the coming months, where we’ll explore four tenants that govern every team that I coach.  Today, we’ll explore “You will play like you practice”.  Next month, we’ll discuss “If you’re going to do it, do it”.  Third, we’ll talk about the two most important two letter words in the English language, “if it is to be it is up to me”.  Finally, we’ll conclude with pearls of great price aren’t to be had for the asking.

“You will play like you practice” is probably the most important standard of excellence for which any of my teams strive.  Said another way, out work yesterday.  Out work your opponent.  The effort that you put on the court when it counts, is a direct function of the effort you put into practicing for that moment.

I’ve told my players that no team has ever accidentally won a game.  Nothing good ever happens by accident.  You work to put yourself in a position to achieve greatness.  Its methodical.  Its intentional.  Its structured.  Its planned.  Its driven by a will to succeed and a refusal to accept anything less than the highest standard you can set for yourself.  If you approach practice with a half-hearted effort, then you’ll achieve mediocre results.

Investing is no different.  No one ever accomplished a retirement goal by accident.  You envision a 40-year retirement plan.  You’re not going to achieve that goal in one year, so you break it down into manageable, quarterly, attainable goals.  Just like we break our season schedule into multiples of four quarters, and the goal becomes to win each quarter by two points.  Then its structured.  You commit to a certain dollar amount per month into your 401k.  Methodically, you make that investment every month, without fail.  You intentionally work with your advisor to remain abreast of economic trends and market factors, and proactively manage the account rather than just making reactive adjustments.

You’re driven by the will to be independent one day, on your terms, with the financial freedom for which you’ve fought over your working life.  It requires a lot of sweat, effort, mental toughness and sacrifice.

Achieving long term goals is a proactive process.  Our championship trophies represent moments in time, when nets were cut down, and we achieved goals. What you need to realize is that championship moments in time, are merely the culmination of hundreds of minutes of practicing like we wanted to play, over the previous four months.

Every year, every month, every week, every day, the objective is to simply push the bar just a bit higher than the day before.  Outwork yesterday.  Outwork the opponents of apathy, lethargy, skepticism, fear, greed, and sensationalism.  Athletes condition their bodies in the gym.  Investors should condition their minds by being involved, learning, and engaging with their advisors.

You’ll play like you practice.  How are you practicing?  Are you deliberately, methodically, and intentionally outworking yesterday in an effort to win a championship?  In this analogy, I see myself as my client’s coach, and our goal is to cut down a retirement net one day.  If you’re not on a team, then give us a call and let’s start working toward your championship.

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