The Tango Days
At the age of 19, I was at the time the youngest tango instructor in the United States. For the next 6 years of my life, I traveled internationally to teach and perform. One day, I realized I didn’t have any consistent relationships in my life, and my tango life was becoming unsustainable. At the age 25, I started from scratch. I wrote dating profiles for money, organized startup kitchens, and even delivered coffee, finally landing in an entry-level startup job making 80 calls a day. The company got acquired by General Motors, and I immediately joined Square, a financial technology startup at the time which later went public to help spearhead their sales development and business development teams.
The Tech Days
I broke every record on the team, reaching my 30-day sales quota sometimes at 4 days. At 4 days and 100% quota, I sent a slack message to the team. For the next 26 days, I will help everyone exceed my number. My passion was in teaching, and I finally felt in a position I could do what I loved. Instead, I received half a dozen private slack messages saying, “why won’t you just take home 8x salary?”
At work people called me “Kim the machine,” but I wanted to be an artist, coach, and educator. I used my vacation days to fly out to speak at conferences on scaling intimacy, teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, and run hundreds of learning events in a community I built, only to come back to feeling like I never belonged on a team that was forced to make a certain number of calls per day. I decided to leave behind a 5th promotion offer to begin searching for something more purpose-aligned.
This was not an easy journey, though externally it may have seemed that way. There were days I rolled around in bed, wondering why I didn't just say yes to the promotion offer right off the bat. I went on to teach "business communication" at MissionU (acquired by WeWork) while running a non-profit, only to realize being a solo community builder was extremely lonely. Even though I did many things alone, I made sure the community leaders I trained all had a team.
Heartbreak and Uncertainty
Heartbreak was ultimately what broke me open. I realized I wasn't connected to what I was feeling, and went on a personal development journey, hiring coaches, reading books, taking hundreds of classes and workshops, and eventually building my personally customized "grad school." I left my job and friends behind in San Francisco and moved to Santa Fe not knowing a single soul here, to rebuild my life in complete uncertainty.
I have never felt as fulfilled in my life as I do now. I wake up every morning excited to start the day to have conversations with people who nourish me. I feel DEEPLY connected to community, even during COVID times.
I was a voice actor from age 10-18.
I sneeze usually 4 times in a row. (The bell curve moves 1 over to the right every 3-4 years or so)
I went to West Point for a week thinking I might join the Army.
I spent most of my life living in Taipei, Taiwan, where most of my family still is.
At some point in my 20's, I sold all of my things and backpacked in Europe for a year.
I wanted to be a vet when I was younger.
Heartbreak helped me define myself in some of the most beautiful ways I couldn't have imagined, and I'd like to help others do the same.
I never got a drivers' license.
I played a lot of video games when I was young (especially Diablo II) and quit them all when I was 13.