QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before
we start in detail, would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you
are, where you live, and what is your current occupation?
KIM: I am Kim Ann Curtin, the founder of The Wall Street Coach, an executive coaching, consulting, and strategy firm. Born in Brooklyn, I’m now a former New Yorker who lives in Hawaii. I moved here full time four years ago. I initially came to Hawaii to house-sit so I could save some money while I wrote my book, Transforming Wall Street, but I fell in love with The Big Island, its people, and the spirit of aloha. My coaching team and I specialize in working with traders and executives. So while we do work a lot with finance professionals and finance firms, we work in all industries. I’ve been a coach for fourteen years and worked in the finance industry ten years prior to that. I am the cohost of The SteadyTrade Podcast and I host bi-monthly webinars for TrueTrader.
QUESTION – We came upon you after listening to you on a recent Confessions of a Market Maker podcast. I must say you have to be one of the best kept secrets in the retail trading community. After listening, it does not surprise us that you have helped many individual traders succeed in their trading (like co-host Ray of the pod). What got you into coaching traders and what do you feel their biggest challenge mentally or emotionally is to overcome to succeed?
KIM: While I have worked with retail traders on and off for years, there certainly has been an increase in working with them over the past year or so, and I’m sure that is because of my cohosting The SteadyTrade Podcast.
One of the biggest obstacles new retail traders face is they don’t take seriously enough just how emotionally and physiologically wired they are to do the opposite of what is in their trading account’s best interests. Many newbies think the “baked in bias” won’t apply to them, so they don’t adequately prepare for it. The more experienced traders know better, but even they can forget on occasion. I also see those who have been trading for a while can get caught up in the comparison game. There is so much hype and bravado out there online that even those who are successful can find themselves looking at other successful traders and feel inadequate. I think it’s human nature to compare, but to engage in it rarely will be an accurate comparison, and it almost never encourages better trading in yourself. I often repeat the phrase: compare = despair.
QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?
KIM: Well, how I came to find myself named, The Wall Street Coach, for one! In 2006, I walked away from one of the largest hedge funds in the world to start my own coaching practice and then the crash of 2008 happened, and everyone seemed to stop spending money on coaching. I remember thinking, “Oh, my God, what have I done?” I could see my revenue begin to shrink, and it scared the hell out of me. After crying on a friend’s shoulder, she suggested something unusual. To just start coaching for free if necessary. So on October 7, 2008, I sat on a bench outside the NYSE with a homemade sign that said “The Coach Is In,” and I very unexpectedly had a line of people who wanted to do speed-coaching sessions with me. That day, the 2008 crisis began, so my timing was quite synchronistic. Weeks later, a reporter interviewed me on my bench outside the exchange, and in the article, he called me “The Wall Street Coach,” which I had not once called myself! That woke me up to the potential of a brand and the finance world as my niche. It started with buying the domain and then eventually trademarking the term. So this harrowing start birthed my brand. I am so grateful now for that experience because it led me down a path I may not have pursued otherwise.
QUESTION – Do you actively trade yourself? If so, what instruments and method (day, swing, investor, etc.) do you use?
KIM: I consider myself a baby trader, still in my infancy. I am interested in becoming a trader, but to do so, I have to give more time to reading and studying. Currently, I am still learning to use StocksToTrade’s charting and scans before I place my first trade. They generously provided me with access and a lot of learning material, so I am confident it will happen eventually. Coaching clients, managing my team and coaching firm, recording podcasts, hosting webinars, and recording classes fill up most of my days! But I am happy to report that I just purchased a large desk monitor to help me get online more often. Bryce Davis, one of the amazing trainers at StocksToTrade, is urging me to dive in, so with his coaching and encouragement, I slowly but surely am moving forward to become one.
QUESTION: What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simply could not live without now?
KIM: Blue Light Blocking eyeglasses! I love them so much that I bought three pairs to have them in my office and two pairs at home. I even gifted a pair to my cohost Tim Bohen, who is also always online. Anyone who is on their computer or phone a lot should have a pair of these to help with eyestrain. They are about ten or twenty dollars a pair.
QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self—and what advice would you give to a young high school or college graduate?
KIM: To my younger self, I would say, “Be patient and trust the process. It will all work out in the end!” And to a young graduate, I would say, “Travel globally as much as you possibly can—once it is available again—and be sure to experience countries and cultures quite different from your own. Also, volunteer…a lot. If possible, volunteer where you are face to face with those in poverty or those who struggle with addiction or have been previously incarcerated or in a gang, because no matter what you’ve lived through, you will walk away grateful for the journey you have not had to endure. Additionally, it will increase your empathy and help you drop any judgments about those who have navigated these challenges.”
QUESTION – What are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times that we have been experiencing in 2020?
KIM: My hobbies are reading, music, paddling, meditation, and hiking. I read a lot. Nonfiction and fiction. Often more than one book at a time. Books are always in my bag, my car, my office and in every room of my home. Books are like friends to me. Whatever mood I am in, I have a book that suits it. Thanks to living in Hawaii, I have been introduced to outrigger canoe paddling; it is the state sport actually! There is nothing quite like going out on the ocean after a long day in a six-man canoe, where talking is forbidden, and you just pour all your stress and tension into the ocean. I feel revived after every paddle. Plus, it’s one helluva workout! The bonus is that my canoe club, located in Kawaihae, is on the northwest coastline of The Big Island, which is the waterway that the humpback whales pass through in the winter months to give birth to their calves. So come January, in addition to paddling with spinner dolphins, turtles, and manta rays, these divine creatures will be out there with us. Paddling helps remind me to keep my troubles in check and pay close attention to how vast and sacred Mother Nature is and how truly fortunate I am.
QUESTION – What do you feel are your greatest professional and personal achievements?
KIM: Professionally, that I am still in business after fourteen years! LOL. Running a business is hard. So, while coaching itself is not, running a business is. It requires much more blood, sweat, and tears than I imagined when I began. So, I am very proud to still be here.
I’d say the greatest personal achievement, in addition to taking care of my mother for many years during her illness, is that I wrote and self-published my book, Transforming Wall Street. Writing it was one of the most challenging tasks I have ever taken on. I had to slay a lot of internal critics along the way. It took three years and gave me quite a few gray hairs, but holding it for the first time in my hands when it came out was a moment I will never forget. It still makes me smile!
What is one bucket list item you must complete before your time on earth is done? I will give you two! Visit Egypt and experience the great pyramids of Giza and experience a 2-3 month safari in Africa.
QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track?
KIM: First, I will offer myself empathy that I am not in a good place. Then I will let myself feel whatever feelings are going on or coming up for me. I will let them out, either through writing them in a journal or sharing them with a good friend. The kind of friend who knows how to listen and hold space without trying to fix anything or “silver line” it. I will also connect with The Divine, either through meditation or just sitting in stillness. I know that losing mojo or focus is never permanent, even if it seems to last a long time. I will remind myself that nothing lasts forever, even this, so I lean into that truth. If I am really stuck and cannot shift, I will contemplate how many other people in the world might be feeling the exact same way, and I will focus on sending them loving kindness. Doing that reminds me that at least I’m not alone in it.
QUESTION – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be?
KIM: I would quote Rumi, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media? And is there anything else you would like for our readers to know about you—like the book you had published or any other projects you may be working on?
KIM: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share some of my journey with you and your community! My website is TheWallStreetCoach.com and my book is Transforming Wall Street: A Conscious Path for a New Future. You can find it on Amazon in hardcover and ebook. I’m launching a new online course via http://www.TradingHeroJourney.com soon where I will offer courses for traders on how to increase your emotional intelligence as well as how to be the hero of your own trading journey. My social media links are: @kimanncurtin on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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