Eight years in the United States Air Force is no small feat. It instills values that are ingrained in you forever, shaping your character and influencing the course of your life. One of the most invaluable skills I cultivated during my service was discipline, a skill that I found translated effortlessly into my post-military endeavors.
Upon transitioning from the military to civilian life, my journey didn't lead me directly to becoming a business owner. Instead, I navigated a series of varied roles, each providing a stepping stone towards my eventual destiny. This path, winding as it was, ultimately culminated in my successful business as an independent financial advisor. The skills I needed to thrive in this role—perseverance, strategic thinking, discipline—were all honed and nurtured by my time in the Air Force.
In the world of investing, discipline isn't merely a virtue - it's an essential strategic component. It's about having the grit to maintain a consistent approach to your investments, even amidst market fluctuations and tempting, high-risk opportunities. The parallel with the military is stark and informative: in both domains, maintaining discipline, consistency, and calm under pressure can mean the difference between success and failure.
Let's break it down into the five key components:
• Consistency - Just as in the military, where routines and orders need to be followed rigorously, investing requires an unwavering commitment to your strategy. Regularly contributing to your investment accounts, rebalancing your portfolio, and standing firm against market volatility are all part of this consistency.
• Patience - Every military operation requires a strategic plan, which often involves waiting patiently for the right moment to act. Similarly, investment success demands a long-term approach. Significant returns aren't an overnight phenomenon; they take time, patience, and persistence.
• Emotional Control - From my time in the Air Force, I learned the importance of controlling my emotions in high-stress situations. In investing, too, emotions can be a dangerous drive. Panic selling during a market drop or buying excessively during a market rise can damage your financial health. Discipline helps you keep a cool head when navigating these turbulent waters.
• Risk Management - A disciplined investor, like a disciplined airman, knows the dangers of excessive risk. They understand their risk tolerance and ensure their portfolio reflects it. This foresight and control prevent the pursuit of high returns from turning into a perilous chase.
• Regular Review - Routine checks were a standard part of my Air Force life. The same approach should be applied to investments. Regularly reviewing your portfolio, ensuring alignment with your financial goals, and making necessary adjustments are all part of being a disciplined investor.
These five pillars of disciplined investing have been instrumental in my success. They helped me avoid common investment pitfalls like trend-chasing and impulsive decision-making based on short-term market movements.
There is no denying that discipline is a hard-earned skill, but once mastered, it can be a game-changer. From the stringent regimens of the Air Force to the volatile realm of investing, it has served as my North Star, guiding me towards success. My hope is that by sharing my story and lessons, you too can leverage the power of discipline in your investment journey.