We had the good fortune of connecting with Ernest Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ernest, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I have a natural tendency to be a hard worker so achieving a work life balance has always been a work in progress for me, (pun intended). And of course this is one of the most common topics I speak to my patients about. I believe the American work culture has instilled a sense of duty that working 40 hours a week is the bare minimum we must commit to in order to be successful. And with consumer debt at an all time high, it seems the working class has no choice but to succumb to this lifestyle in order to survive. Throw in the technological age we live in of being bombarded with daily text messages, emails, notifications, and news articles and it seems our entire day is filled with the pressure to constantly respond to our devices. And on top of all that if you’re a parent, the concept of rest or self care seems to be impossible to even fathom. More than ever, the need for self care and finding balance in our lives seems to be staring us in the face. In other countries the typical work day is 6 hours, and still in others a mid day siesta is part of their culture. I have no doubt if we are given more time in the day for exercise, rest, and leisure, the quality of life and in turn, the quality of our health would greatly improve. At the initial peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when the entire world slowed to a crawl, we were afforded a taste of what this work life balance could look like. I found myself sleeping 8-9 hours a day for what seemed to be the first time in my life. I woke up refreshed and without needing an alarm, I went for nature walks with my significant other and enjoyed each other’s company without needing wifi, emails stopped coming in, and the overall slower pace of life was comforting and enjoyable. During this time, I began to question our society’s unwritten agreement of working 40 hours a week until we turned 65. I also realized the small things we take for granted- being able to get a haircut, receive a therapeutic massage, or take a boxing class – and the positive impact it has in our lives. I don’t think we were meant in our human evolution to be working long hours, constantly checking for notifications, and raising children with very little time for self care. I think our current situation has shown us this glaring imbalance and we are slowly headed towards a new way of living. I envision a future where we are working less hours and having enough time for exercise, self care, and rest in our daily lives. This dialogue is needed more than ever today and may determine the future outlook of our society for generations to come.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Although I am a medical professional, a licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist by training, I actually consider myself an artist. When I am working with a patient, I find myself deeply listening, intuiting and sensing what this person needs. Once I have an idea of what they require, I set my intention and the treatment begins. During the session, different techniques and tools may need to be used depending on what comes up either physically or emotionally for the person on the table. There seems to be a depth, a fullness of creativity and inspiration that naturally arises. No two sessions are alike even for the same person. Each patient encounter seems like new artwork that is being created. Because of this, I am deeply fulfilled by my work and it never gets old!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I think LA has one of the most diverse sub cultures out there. A week long trip would include all the various parts of LA where we could eat different ethnic foods, walk down venice beach, stop by the Getty museum, go for a hike at the waterfall, window shop at rodeo drive, and catch a sporting event at Staples Center.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to give a shoutout to an entrepreneur I deeply respect – Gary Vaynerchuck. Although I don’t know him personally, I consider him one of my mentors and he has played an important role in the way I look at the world. My thoughts on work life balance is also influenced by Gary V, as he is a big proponent on making sure to get enough rest. These days, there are many motivational speakers and influencers who preach about working hard and having no days off. Rarely ever, do you hear someone talk about rest and balance. He also talks about finding happiness through being authentic with yourself and the importance of being kind to others -attributes that I strive for in my life. I am committed to living by these principles as I continue on my journey.