My Favorite Mistake — 171: Executive Nick Jonsson Hid Behind a Façade of Success, Didn’t Ask for Help

Author of Executive Loneliness

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #171 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Nick Jonsson, joining us from Singapore.

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains a brief mention of a death by suicide. If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

Nick is the co-founder and Managing Director of one of Asia’s premier networking organizations,Executives’ Global Network (EGN) Singapore— a caring peer group community providing hundreds of executives a safe haven to share their challenges, receive support, and learn from each other.

Hispassion for mental health awarenessthrough his very lived life experiences paved the way for Nick to author his first #1 international bestselling book, published in April 2021— Executive Loneliness: The 5 Pathways to Overcoming Isolation, Stress, Anxiety and Depression in the Modern Business World.

In adjunct to his book, Nick has also createda more easily accessible and less formal online community, where executives and business leaders can connect, learn aboutand reduce therisk of burnout and isolation,

In this episode, Nick shares his “favorite mistake” story about keeping emotions in — hiding behind a facade of success and waiting too long to ask for help. Why did he struggle with alcoholism and depression, even as he became more successful in his career? What finally prompted him to look for help? What did he learn from these experiences and how has it inspired him to help others?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • “It’s lonely at the top” — How is executive loneliness different to everyday loneliness that any of us may experience?
  • Loneliness in that feeling of loneliness? Executives’ Global Network (EGN) Singapore— “Confidential peer networks” — available in the US and other places
  • Difficult for execs to ask for help before hitting rock bottom?
  • “Smiling depression”
  • “Insecure overachievers” — inner insecurity
  • Impact of Covid times? 2019 – 30% 2020 – “had doubled to 59% saying there was executive loneliness”
  • Difference – introverts vs. extroverts?
  • Introverts — more comfortable in isolation doesn’t mean it’s good for us
  • Are there any cultural challenges when it comes to talking about executive loneliness? Are some countries where E.L. is a bigger problem, or countries where it’s not addressed?
  • If I was an Executive experiencing loneliness, or I was a friend or family member of someone who I suspect might be experiencing executive loneliness, what’s an easy ‘next step’ for me to take?
  • How might we bring this up if somebody seems like they need help?
  • How might we recognize signs of E.L. in ourselves or others?
  • Tell us about the networks — EGN and Leaders-Anonymous are different

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