The dual careers of determined, Annah Watkinson
03 November 2017
A difficult and unconventional childhood, shaped Annah Watkinson’s belief that your past does not determine your future, it just makes you tougher. Despite tumultuous times and moving around a lot, she attributes her success to the love of her family and especially that of her grandmother.
Looking at a friend’s parents as career role models, Annah pursued a career in business with vigour and determination. As a chartered accountant, she would finally have a financially secure life. She conquered her qualifications and set about conquering her career. From PWC to opportunities in New York, Annah’s energy and passion for people saw her rise through the ranks at Absa.
Like most people, she only used to exercise for its aesthetic and health benefits. However, once she was introduced to triathlon, she took to it with all of her characteristic enthusiasm and dedication.
“An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42.20 km run, raced in that order and without a break.” – Wikipedia.
By 2015, Annah was dominating her age group in the famous IRONMAN World Championship series, finishing first in the full IRONMAN South Africa and Austria, first in the East London and Durban half IRONMAN and third at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
“Be brave, be determined and dare to be great.” – Annah Watkinson
Those remarkable IRONMAN results and her superstar coach, Raynard Tissink, convinced Annah to take a leap and turn professional in 2016. It was a difficult decision, because she had her banking career to consider. Knowing that one regrets the things one didn’t do, she decided to move out of her comfort zone and take on both roles full time.
Her daily routine is full. Every minute is accounted for, starting at 3am with a cup of coffee and cycling, and ending with more training and dinner at 9pm. During the day her role at the Seeker Fund, sees her working closely with, and investing in Fintech start-ups that aim to update outdated tech, banking the unbanked and developing new financial products.
“Be the best, race to win.” – Annah Watkinson
Annah has an interesting and relatable approach to balance. When asked the typical ‘how do you balance it all’ question, she responds by simply stating that her life has no balance, but duality. Hers is all at once a rewarding and gruelling lifestyle.
She absolutely believes that it’s good to be uncomfortable. It helps her grow, stay fresh and allows her to challenge herself by avoiding the consumed, singular focus that can rule an athlete’s life. She admits the strain she takes by taking on two full lives has shown, as she does not have the same recovery after taking on an IRONMAN that the other athletes have.
“We are busy people. We like to move; we like to do. It’s difficult for us to sit still and just recover well. You have to be stern with yourself and include this as part of the plan, buy into this if you want to achieve your lofty goals!” – Annah Watkinson
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