The AlphaMind Podcast is sponsored by The Society of Technical Analysts
Jan. 21, 2020

#29 Simon Garcia - The Mental Battle ‘is the Battle’

#29 Simon Garcia - The Mental Battle ‘is the Battle’

This podcast episode will fascinate all those who work in trading and investing roles. In this excellent interview with co-hosts Steve and Mark, their guest Simon Garcia bares his soul, describes his experience, and shares his views about trading, dealing with the mental and emotional challenges of trading and describing some of the pressures the job entails. 

This podcast episode will also be of interest to those curious about mental health in the workplace. It highlights how the pressures placed on people in traumatic workplace environments can lead to detachment from family and loved ones, as well as to one's core values. It also emphasises how this can in turn impact well-being and lead to impaired mental health, with serious consequences for the individual and heightened business risks for the firm.    

The guest, Simon Garcia, is someone who has won, lost, and won again, the mental battle of trading. Simon has experienced the highs, the big highs, the lows, the deepest of all lows, and then come back to win again. 

By the early 2000s, Simon achieved great success as a bond trader working at Natwest Markets and Deutsche Bank, before moving to Lehman Brothers where he was running a Convertible Bond trading team. Then one day the strains and stresses of trading hit him and hit him hard. 

For Simon, the lights went out. Simon had suffered a mental breakdown.  

At this point in his life, Simon was achieving great success, was earning big money, had a good marriage and a wonderful young family. To the outside world Simon had everything. But inside, he felt like he had nothing. He was at the point where life had become so painful and traumatic that he was contemplating ending it.

In the financial markets this is an all to familiar story. Simon was fortunate however. The firm, through their HR team, came through for him. He got the support and the help he needed and made a full recovery.  

Simon was able to continue as a trader after a break and went to achieve great success for another decade at Nomura and then Societe Generale. 

Simon's story didn't end there though. Following his experience, and whilst working as a trader, Simon started studying to be a psychotherapist. To get his hours of practice and training, Simon spent his evenings and weekends, working in hospitals and for local charities. Last year, after almost 3 decades, Simon left the markets to set-up his own private therapy practice.  He is now helping others. 

I hope listening to this episode will give people pause to think about how they approach their work and how they can ensure they create the psychological safety which ensures they care for themselves, and those around them. 


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