Q&A: #behindthehourglass with our CEO

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten 

I love a great book, and as a business owner, I’m constantly searching for innovative ways to make #behindthehourglass processes run smoother and allow my creative juices to flow. I’m currently reading Grace Bonney’s In The Company of Women, a compilation of sage advice and inspiration from more than 100 women in various walks of life and careers.

Reading this book has allowed for a certain nostalgia as I approach my tenth year in my chosen field. This milestone won’t officially occur until 2019, but since embarking on my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) journey, I’ve been hyper-focused on my own successes and missteps.

I chose my 10 favorite interview questions from The Company of Women and answered each with my own “spin” (not to use a cliche PR word).

What did you want to be as a child?

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a storyteller. I would carry around a notebook or journal and a pen everywhere I went. Even as a toddler. There was something about the way writing allowed me to express myself, even from the very beginnings of my life. I have boxes of my “previously unreleased works,” including whale drawings that look like tadpoles, sing-songy poems in their own anthologies and my professions of love for Zack Morris from “Saved By The Bell.” I’ve always been a mass collector of stories, whether they are my own or from others. So, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am in a profession that holds writing very dear to its industry’s heart.

Name a woman (or women) past or present, whom you admire or look up to.

The three generation of women ahead of me (my mom, my Ninny and my Granny) have had a profound influence on my life. Growing up, I saw the definition of strong female figures in my life. I get my creativity from my mom, my storytelling skills from my Ninny and my protective, strong spirit from my Granny. Those are just drops in the bucket, really. They’ve taught me so much! Since I was 7, I’ve looked up to Carrie Fisher. I honestly felt like a family member passed away when she died suddenly in 2016. One of the greatest parts of my life has been when I met her in August 2015. I loved her as Leia Organa and in real life, and her openness about mental illness greatly influenced my decision to talk about my own.

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

I can honestly work from anywhere! This used to bother me because I felt like an office gypsy; however, I do like being able to work anywhere that has a Wifi connection (or at least cell service so I can access Chrome and email from my phone). I can meet clients in coffee shops or attend meetings in the community. I do like having a home base office, though. It’s a room in my house, just dedicated to everything #behindthehourglass. My favorite parts are my collection of hourglasses, my teal accent wall (branding at its finest) and a spacious desk. (When I was in college and still lived at home, I used to work on my bedroom floor. I still do that on occasion, but come on. I’m 30. I can’t do that as much anymore!) Plus, I’m surrounded by books and a constant flow of coffee.

What does success mean to you?

I went through the Saturn Return experience in my late 20s. A lot of life changes happened to me in my late 20s. Loved ones passed away in 2015, I started my business, I met the love of my life and got married, and started experiencing some changing thoughts. One of those thoughts was the idea of success. I used to think it meant having hundreds of accolades attached to your name and career. Cue the perfectionism. Now, I think success is waking up and doing whatever makes you happy. For me, that’s having my own business and working with amazing clients, experiencing life with my husband, spending time with family, professional and personal writing and meeting goals and objectives on my own terms.

Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?

This year, I wrote The Hourglass Principles to establish a workplace culture #behindthehourglass. One of my favorite principles comes from the wise words of Jedi Master Yoda, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” I have learned from plenty of professional and personal mistakes. I used to get mad at myself for making mistakes, but it’s part of life. You don’t know until you try something. It could open the door to success or a black hole of mistakes. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t make mistakes and learn from them.

Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business.

Steer your own ship. I’m a single-member LLC, so I only have to answer to myself and governments (taxes). I didn’t have a wealth of business experience when I began Hourglass Media, and everything is still a work in progress now, although I have made great strides since the beginning. People will try to tell you how you should run your business, which services you should provide and who should be on your networking agenda. Take advice. Just realize when it’s not helpful. When people try to swindle your time, money and resources based on what they think you should be doing, walk away. Especially if you work for yourself only! Trust your gut. I ignored mine for a long time.

Which of your personal traits are you most proud of?

My compassion, work ethic, strength and resilience.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

I have generalized anxiety disorder, so anxiety and depression hit me hard sometimes. I have a wonderful support system, and my husband is amazing at reassuring me when I’m having bouts of self-doubt. I made a list of my accomplishments, so when I’m feeling particularly low, I look at that list. I realize that I am blessed beyond measure. Taking a break from work also does wonders for mental health and times of self-doubt. I don’t give up, even when I want to.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?

A pen and paper. I use Google Calendar, but there’s nothing like an old-fashioned, handwritten to-do list in multiple Sharpie pen colors in my physical planner.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your career/line of work?

A few years ago, I watched “Star Trek: Voyager” all the way through for the first time. I identified with Captain Kathryn Janeway, because the time, my duty was to kickstarting my business and growing within my profession. I’ve always done this obsessively, and I’ve sacrificed self-care and other leisurely activities. I am a planner, which is a blessing and a curse. It usually means I have each moment of the day planned out. So, I would say I have also sacrificed some sanity along the way! As I get older, my aim is to be more balanced in my own way. There’s a time for work and a time for play.

Note: If you want to read it, too, In The Company of Women is now available to read for free for Amazon Prime members! This month, Hourglass Media is bringing women’s stories of hope, resilience and so many more attributes. Stay tuned for more this month!

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC

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

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