Five Nuggets of Knowledge To Tell The Past You

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten 

Being a human is hard. With that said, I made it even more challenging in some respects for myself when I was younger. Do you ever wish you could give insight to the past you? Whether you cringe at a statement you made in a meeting (when all eyes were inevitably on you) or wish you would have handled a situation differently, there are always items you wish you could check off your cringe list. There are also times you want to give the previous you loads of reassurance and a pat on the shoulder for a job well done -- even when you feel like you weren’t doing it “right.”

Well, past Kaylin, future Kaylin has some tidbits for you. Cue up the time-travel machine. We’re ready for takeoff.

Here are five nuggets of knowledge I’ve learned during my career:

Negotiate and fight for what you deserve.

I believe in equality for all people, and I don’t agree with bashing someone else to make yourself look “better.” I’ve always been independent and strong-willed, but there are some things that women just aren’t conditioned to do. And if we do these things, we tend to be out of our element. This includes asking for a raise and title change, speaking up when you think you’re being sexually harassed, standing your ground when a co-worker accuses you of something you didn’t do, etc. Be willing to negotiate and remain true to your values while also sticking up for yourself. It’s great to be on others’ sides, too, but never do that at your own expense. Lesson learned. Look out for you, past Kaylin!

If something seems off-kilter, trust your intuition.

I’ve always been an observer. This happens when you’re primarily introverted for most of your life. Through my observations and experiences, I’ve become perceptive of other people’s behaviors and of my own intuition. (There is a reason my college minor was criminal justice.) My years in the workforce have carved a specific path to perception, and I’ve learned that when something is off, it most likely just isn’t my imagination. If something seems ethically or lawfully wrong, my gut is usually accurate. I’ve been in awkward situations, but what I didn’t know 10 years ago is that I have the power to get out of situations.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Having a career I’m passionate about means the world to me. My hybrid love of storytelling, writing, photography and public relations has served me well. But, what happens when that’s all you have -- or allow yourself to have? When I was younger, I made sacrifices for my career. In college, I studied and wrote papers instead of attending family events and hanging out with friends, which was responsible. But, I was also a martyr. Over time, I have learned how to better manage my time and have realized that while work is amazing, there are other things in life that are pretty awesome, too. For me, it’s my introspection and overall spirituality, my husband, my family and friends, traveling, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping my loved ones’ legacies alive. Life is better when you’re focused on several goals and aspects.

What you feel more frequently than not is only your anxiety.

I don’t mean to downplay this one, and in fact, my mental health is at the forefront of my work and personal lives. I had heard the word “perfectionist,” and I thought it was a positive word. It meant that I worked hard, had the ambition of multiple people and was on the fast track to success. All of that is wonderful, and I am grateful for those aspects of perfectionism. What I didn’t realize until my late 20s is that I masked anxiety and depression underneath perfection. Some of my decisions, good and bad, led to this unachievable road of unrelenting high standards. What I was really searching for was self-acceptance.

Life is short. Have the cookie AND take a break from work.

My name is Kaylin Staten, and I’m a recovering workaholic. As stated in number 3, I have been known to put work above everything else. What I didn’t realize is that it is perfectly (or in my case, imperfectly) OK to take a breather once in a while. Watch that TV show you’ve been DVRing. Get caught up on your stack of magazines. Fall into the black hole of Pinterest or anything else on the Internet. It’s OK to recharge. It’s also OK to treat yourself to your favorite vices now and then (within reason). So, have that extra chocolate-chip cookie or Mexican Coca-Cola in a bottle. Life is short. Just remember moderation in work and play!

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten, APR is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Media, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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