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How To Swim 2.4 miles, Cycle 112 Miles And Run A Marathon Whilst Working In A Startup

Charlie Walter, Head of Business Transformation

An Ironman; The battle between work, training and having time for my wife and friends whilst training for an Ironman was actually less of a challenge than expected. Having completed Ironman Copenhagen in August 2018, I have changed jobs, moved to a new house and found the need to reengineer my approach to training in order to maintain the many moving parts that life throws at you. Here’s how it went.

Five months ago I joined SETL as its Head of Business Transformation, having previously held a career in management and strategic consulting where I was used to long hours, intellectually challenging tasks and the constant battle of attempting to fit exercise into my day. As you can imagine, a startup environment is fast paced, challenging and at times my days are not in my control with meetings, proposals, calls and just getting work done, throwing any thought of training to the bottom of the pile.

One critical adjustment I have made in preparation for my next Ironman challenge, was the time of day I am training. My previous routine was early morning training sessions (I’m talking 5am runs and at my desk by 7:30am), with my full workday following, home for 7:30/8pm with strength and conditioning sessions to follow a few days a week. Instead when I joined SETL, my time became my own, as long as I deliver what’s needed of me, my training and workday schedule is my own to rearrange. In the summer, I enjoy getting up earlier and getting it done but as winter approaches, I have the flexibility to work out whenever my diary allows and of course still meet deadlines with a team that understands my training needs.

What is great about our firm, SETL, is we encourage and prompt our team to maximize their schedule to fit their professional and personal needs (whatever those entail). It was a learning curve, but soon I completely integrated my specific training needs with the demands of our business. Some people call it work-life balance, I disagree with that term completely. I believe the term should be “work-life integration.” That is, I do not live two different lives – one at work and one outside, I live my life and I integrate every facet within my life to work together in synergy, like many cogs within one machine. This setup requires openness and willingness to put all of one’s cards out there to maximize time, energy and passion, SETL allows for this.

Life at SETL has opened my eyes to what can be achieved when you blend a somewhat crazy fitness addiction with a working environment that requires your full intellectual capacity and effort. Joining SETL, a startup looking to grow at scale, win new business and solidify its name and service offerings in the financial services market has been a breath of fresh air.

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