Krystyn Harrison, Founder of Prosper, is Here to Help You Ace Every Job Interview
In this weekly series, we profile entrepreneurs approaching the top of their game, and ask them how they got there. Prosper’s Krystyn Harrison answers a few quick questions on work/life balance and building communication skills.
It’s an exciting time for Canada. Right now, we have one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial communities in the world, pioneered by a host of charismatic and visionary leaders. Krystyn Harrison is one such individual. Her executive coaching app, Prosper, aims to empower young people by equipping them with the confidence and skills to ace their next job interview. Here’s a look into her life.
What defines a great leader?
What makes a leader great is their ability to lead with confidence, not arrogance. They put others first, empowering them, and expressing gratitude for great work. They are humble, kind, relational, and know when to get out of the way to allow their team and business to grow.
Best advice you have ever been given?
It’s okay to rest. You don’t have to build a business on the back of every weekend. Modern life anxiety exists and ‘hustle culture’ — the idea that you always need to be executing 24/7 — amplifies that. It’s a lie we tell ourselves, that we won’t be successful unless we’re always “on.” There are sustainable ways to build a company without burning out.
What is the number one communication skill that you follow?
I learned early on about the power of taking a pause when you speak to emphasize your key points, and check-in with your audience to make sure they’re engaged and what you’re saying is resonating. A well-placed pause helps you sound confident, calm, and helps your audience follow along, which is a critical skill to communicate your ideas effectively.
How do you manage work/life balance?
In my view, balance is an outdated goal and the definition of balance needs to be reimagined for the modern workforce. Ideally, if you love what you do, work-life and life-life are not competing but fueling one another. Instead of balance, the new goal is, “how do I manage my energy to live the life I’ve designed?”
At Prosper, we recognize that everyone prefers to work a little differently. For example, some of our team do their best work late at night and need to come in later in the day. We’ve put together a flexible working hours policy that allows the team to design a work schedule that helps them do their best work, on their terms.
Personally, I manage my energy by thoughtfully and judiciously scheduling my life to integrate work and life. I take stock every few weeks to assess if I am really spending my time and my energy towards things that move the business forward and, if I’m at home, things that help me recharge.
On a good week, a typical day starts at 5:30AM on my bike. When I wake up, I have a million thoughts that run through my head about the day ahead. By jumping on the bike, I can get my anxious energy out and leave for work feeling more grounded and calm before the workday begins. I commute an hour a day into our office and love to maintain a self care routine of listening to a daily Calm meditation to practice breathing exercises and clear my mind.
The workday begins with ample coffee, breakfast, and a team stand-up where we connect on priorities, roadblocks, and work to solve any challenges together. There is no typical day at Prosper and that’s what I love most about this job. Now that we’re scaling, I’m focused on helping the team run faster by removing roadblocks and making sure they have what they need to get their work done.
My evening routine consists of a hot bath to unwind and grabbing a book on my shelf that is not about business. I’ve found it’s incredibly important to unplug and let your mind wander. My favourite genre is a good mystery — Ruth Ware is one of my favourite authors.
I’ve learned so much about how to scale and grow companies from a few favourite podcasts, including How I Built This with Guy Raz. It dives deep into the early days of well-known companies like Instagram, and dissects how they built to scale. It’s a great reminder to me as I’m scaling Prosper that every brand we know today started from zero. It also includes several helpful tips and advice on how to solve common growth problems that many founders face.
Always in my bag…
My favourite essential in my purse is my Aveda Stress-Fix Essential Oil Roller-Ball. It’s a little hit of lavender to calm any nerves before a big meeting or presentation.