- 162: Executive Loneliness | Nick Jonsson Adam Pacifico 42:35
Nick Jonsson is the founder of the Executive Global Network (EGN) in South East Asia and author of 'Executive Loneliness.' Three CEO's during conversations for this podcast have used the phrase 'It's time to take the mask off', the issue of extreme vulnerability is very real.
Nick began his career in advertising and has always had challenging and demanding jobs. His own personal struggles led him to start the Executive Global Network as a confidential peer group for executives and business owners across South East Asia.
Nick's motivation for starting (EGN) was based on struggles he had during a 'burn out' period as an executive. He was anxious, stressed and became addicted to alcohol between 2015-2018 he was losing his physical health. He describes the 'smiling depression' as a period of time when he pretended everything was ok to the outside world but internally everything was falling apart and he was spiralling.
During Nick's research for his book he discovered that about 10% of senior executives are living as functional alcoholics. Nick uncovered that 33% of executives in SE Asia were suffering from loneliness and isolation. During the pandemic the numbers doubled!
Nick himself, hit rockbottom in 2018 and wrote his last will and testament as he could not see how he could recover. He met a woman who later became his wife who was the catalyst for him seeking help as she was responsible for helping Nick break the cycle of shame and hiding and him slowly realising that he was not alone.
The strategy to combat Executive Loneliness is based on vulnerability and sharing on a deeply human level. Dr Verran Rose (episide. ) describes vulnerability brilliantly.
Society has always handed trophies and glorified winners and many of us have grown up with a selfish dedication to our own success and believing that when the going gets tough the tough gets going.
Today, successful companies are making every effort to support their people with mental health initiatives with a culture of openness and understanding.
The perception of success is very different to the reality of success which is why we have seen so many high profile individuals struggle publicly. The sheer size of SE Asia has also contributed to the challenges for many executives working in the area.
It's time to humanise our leadership.
Nick also outlines his 5 Step plan to mitigate executive loneliness during this episode.
Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Executive-Loneliness-Overcoming-Isolation-Depression-ebook/dp/B091B1Y3WZ