In episode 227 of the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, host Scott McCarthy dives deep into a thought-provoking and emotionally charged conversation with Nick Jonsson, the creator and co-founder of Executives Global Network Singapore. This episode sheds light on the destructive and isolating impact of executive loneliness and explores ways to conquer it. As leaders, we often find ourselves surrounded by people, but this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a genuine connection. Nick Jonsson shares his personal journey, highlighting the power of vulnerability and the importance of building strong support networks. Join us on this transformative episode as we explore how leaders can unleash their full potential through authentic connections.

Meet Nick

Nick Jonsson, a former senior executive at multinational companies, brings a wealth of experience and firsthand knowledge to the discussion. As the managing director of Executives Global Network Singapore, a premier networking organization in Asia, Nick has dedicated his career to creating a safe space for senior executives and business owners to connect, bond, and discuss their ongoing challenges. Through his own successes and failures, Nick demonstrates the power of being open and honest, inspiring others to embrace vulnerability and overcome the loneliness that often accompanies leadership.

Timestamped Overview

During this interview Nick and I discuss the following topics:

  • 00:01:43 Loneliness of top discussed with Nick Johnson.
  • 00:06:45 Obsessed with achievements, neglected colleagues and weaknesses.
  • 00:09:46 Changing habits, friends affect behavior, seek positive influences.
  • 00:11:46 Enjoying life, but slowly falling into bad habits.
  • 00:15:03 Hiding weight gain while starting new life.
  • 00:20:23 Support and recovery through doctor, friends, groups.
  • 00:23:26 True friends remain during difficult times.
  • 00:27:35 Person seeks support to heal relationship, overcome ego.
  • 00:29:58 Two support networks: personal and professional.
  • 00:33:31 Facebook group supports members’ challenges, successes.
  • 00:36:06 Plan sessions, 3 full days, support and reflection.


Guest Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Nick’s resources be sure to check out the following links:

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:01]:

In episode 227 of the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, we speak to Nick Johnson, and he’s gonna talk to you about how destructive leaders’ loneliness can be and how to eliminate it. It’s all about being with others. Are you ready for this? Alright. Let’s do it. Welcome 1, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the 3 domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, to you and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian army officer with world class to guests, bringing you the most complete podcast of leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our website at moving forward leadership to .com.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:03]:

And with that, let’s get to the show. To you. Yes. Welcome, 1. Welcome, all. It is your chief leadership officer, Scott McCarthy. It’s so good to have you here with us today in this podcast episode about a topic that is so important, and that’s leader loneliness and how destructive it can to b and how we can ensure that us as leaders, we don’t fall into his pitfalls. The late Colin Powell said it best.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:43]:

The top is the loneliest place. And that’s what we’re talking about here today with Nick Johnson. He is the creator and cofounder and managing director of one of Asia’s premier networking organizations, the Executives Global Network Singapore. And, basically, what this group does is that it’s a pure group network, which brings together senior execs and business owners and just provides them a safe place to just connect, bond, and discuss their ongoing challenges that they’re going through right now very much like to my leader growth mastermind of a similar not exactly the same type of thing, but still very similar. Anyway, and this is all due to Nick’s rise and epic fall from, you know, from greatness, basically. He does not hold back in this episode. We get raw. We get real in his story.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:53]:

He talks about all the mental health struggles he went through, how he lost his first marriage, how he basically felt completely alone and the complete and utter self destruction that he went through, and more importantly, how he managed to turn it around. And with that, we’re gonna be identifying different key markers for you out there. So you might be thinking yourself right now, Scott, I’m good. I don’t need to listen to this. Well, you know what? You do need to listen to this because Nick thought he was good for so long. And this can open your eyes to you know what? Maybe you are starting to go down the path of a little bit of self destructive tendencies, habits, so on. And that’s fine. You know what? Maybe you’re not.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:47]:

Cool. Congratulations. Love it. But You also need to know what these markers are so you can see it in others because as leaders, we not worry about our just ourselves, but rather, We also worry about other people. So listen to this show. And I will tell you right now, If you feel like you’re going down that hole, reach out to me, and I will help support you. I will help you. Okay? I’m here for you, the leader.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:22]:

It’s also the reason why we created the leader growth mastermind to provide that community for leaders to come together and talk about leadership and the difficulties that are around it. If that’s something of interest to you, come and check us out at leedunkboss.comforward/mastermind. And with that, you’re going to find all the information there. We have weekly group calls. We could go through curated content. There’s a special group just for us. It enables leaders to come together and just bond and discuss the challenges and grow. And if that’s something of interest, again, come check it out, lead dump boss.comforward/mastermind.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:15]:

Alright. That’s enough of the intro. So for you, please sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with Nick Johnson on how to eliminate leader loneliness. Nick, Sir, welcome to the podcast. So good to have you

Nick Jonsson [00:05:45]:

here. Fantastic to be here, Scott. Thank you.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:48]:

So we’re talking about getting over reader loneliness, you know, and it’s based off your book, regarding executive loneliness. Now the first thing I wanna dive into, and you go really personal. Like, this whole book is not about studies or anything. This is about Nick’s experience, which was, you know, it was quite eye opening, you know, touching at parts too. Right? And especially when you get into the personal parts about your son and, you know, how you spend parts, time away and all this stuff. And and by the way, Minecraft, yeah, my 7 year old has, me and my wife hooked on that, so just FYI. But to dive in, like, you know, how does this even start in the 1st place? Like, as us as leaders, we’re surrounded by all kinds of people all the time. Yet, Colin Powell’s statement rings true, and that is being the leader.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:40]:

The top is the loneliest place. So how does that even start?

Nick Jonsson [00:06:45]:

Well, I, myself, to I was a senior executive, Scott. I worked in many of the big multinationals in Europe, Australia, and then Asia as well. And What I realized when I’m looking back at my career was that I was focused on KPIs. So I wanted to achieve the goals, the targets. I wanted the promotions, the bonuses, to And everything that came with it, and our society is set up for that. We are recognized we, for the achievements we do. And to What happens then is that the, we inflate our egos, and perhaps we step on people who elbow our way up in this journey, and to And we just become too self obsessed, and that’s what happened with me as well. So when I’m now really looking back at my career, I wish that I was more engaging With, with my colleagues, and I wish I also shared not only my successes, but also my challenges and my weaknesses because I covered up for them, to And that’s a painful place to be.

Nick Jonsson [00:07:37]:

And that’s why we have this saying, Scott, it’s lonely at the top.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:45]:

No. Wow. Yeah. That’s a great way to start. Like, especially the ego part. Them about how ego is a killer to leadership. Right? As soon as you have an ego and you we all have egos. Let let’s call it you know, that’s the truth.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:59]:

To but as when you allow it to control you, you know, you make your decisions based off of that, that’s when it starts to be really coming in that killer. And At what point, you know, at what point did you realize that this was, like, you know, hitting you the hardest?

Nick Jonsson [00:08:14]:

To Well, it had to go pretty far, Scott. I had to really hit the rock bottom. And this was back in 2018 after I gone through divorce. I resigned from a job, got fired from a job, moved from country to country. I was a bit lost, and I instead of going to the gym or going for a run like I did this morning, I would go to the to after work and have a beer to wind down. I thought that I deserved it. And before I knew it, my good habits turned to bad habits. My healthy friends and associates turn into people at the bar instead.

Nick Jonsson [00:08:47]:

And and before I knew it, my life really was going down. I lost my health, often. I lost my confidence and everything else. And with that, I lost myself. And in 2018 then, it went so far that I actually to Had to start to have an addiction to alcohol. And with that, I could just couldn’t stop. I found myself there where, the didn’t do any good for me in the end, but it also didn’t do you know, I couldn’t stop it. And and that was the time when I realized that I need to seek help, and That was the starting point of my recovery journey.

Nick Jonsson [00:09:19]:

And through that later on is when I also uncovered that it was to When I did an inventory and looking back at my life, then with a sponsor or a coach, whatever you wanna call it, we identify that I was probably drinking or covering up or using other things, whatever, addictions senior executives fall into, and, basically, to cover up for my own

Scott McCarthy [00:09:46]:

challenges. Yeah. Seeing seeing, you know, when you see your habits change, right, I think that’s often a, an indicator. And and during this time, you you mentioned that, you know, those friends changed with it. And there’s a a saying that I hear often is that where the average of the 5 people we hang up the most with. Right? And, hence why I do this podcast because I’m trying to hang out with great you know, to very experienced and great minds like yourself and everyone else that I have on the show to level myself up. But you hinted out that your friends became the bar friends. And them when you’re when you’re hanging out with those type of individuals, the habits aren’t necessarily the healthiest ones.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:28]:

And with that, the stress coping doesn’t go with it. We we know intuitively. Like, as leaders, we know, like, drinking alcohol yeah. Yeah. Sure. It will help you for a short period of time, you know, you know, help you blow off a steam for 1 night. But if you do it every night, then that turns into a negative, you know, negative habit. Whereas, as you’ve mentioned, he went for an 18 kilometer run this morning.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:53]:

That is a much better way to manage your stress and so on and so forth. So why is it that we we our judgment gets so cloud for you. Why did your judgment get so cloud that I’m sure you could just looking back now, you know, hindsight being 2020, you’re like, the indicators were there. Why weren’t I why wasn’t I seeing them? So what how did your judgment get clouded so that, the leader out there can, you know, understand and, you know, look for those points as

Nick Jonsson [00:11:22]:

well. Well, Bleeding up to this, I was quite disciplined. I was working out. I was, running even some marathons and things like that. I was in a good shape coming, coming into this crisis. And, when I then stopped that for a while and instead I went to the bar and I stopped enjoying myself, Most of my friends were sharing on me. It’s good on you, Nick. You always take life too serious.

Nick Jonsson [00:11:46]:

It’s good to see you enjoying yourself. And I was enjoying myself, Scott. I I was, you know, traveling. I was also, you know, perhaps, I I was 40 years old, so it might be a bit of a a for men’s 40 years crisis there hitting me. But, You know, I was going out to bars and sometimes even nightclubs, restaurants, and you know? But it was just too much of everything. And, to But so it just didn’t feel like I was I didn’t realize what was happening. It was just slowly, slowly creeping into me. And as we know, before we, we know it, we find ourselves made a bad habit out of it, and that’s when it became a problem.

Nick Jonsson [00:12:22]:

To And I I have an addictive, personality, Scott. No matter what it is, after a while, I get hooked on it. Might be exercise or in that case, alcohol to or something else. So I gotta watch out for those things. And I think many leaders have a quite an addictive personality, so we just need to really Be aware of that, but I think most importantly is have someone to talk about it. A mentor, a coach, or someone to That we have hold us accountable before because we sometimes cannot see the path we are going through.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:57]:

No. You’re you’re you’re so right about the, statement earlier, but, you know, I I believe the same that leaders, We do have addictive, you know, personality. Kinda like what you said at the beginning. Like, we we look at those KPIs. We look at the statistics. We look at the data. We look at so many different aspects. Like, you know, how am I doing? How am I showing up for myself? How am I showing up for my team, my organization? You know, they’re so much addictive.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:23]:

It it’s a rush sometimes, especially when, you know, you’re in charge of an organization. And especially for you, high stakes big business, me in the military, that rush gets addictive because, you know, it some regards his life and death. Even in business, it’s still life and death because it’s talked about people’s livelihoods and stuff like this. So I I completely agree with you on on that, that addictiveness and and going down that path. I I see it myself sometimes. I’m like, way now. You know? I’m like, a friend of mine actually called me and was like, dude, you got yourself spread too thin. Because, like, I was doing my full time job.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:02]:

I us doing this. I was doing a few other things on the side. Oh, by the way, I got 2 young sons and a wife that I have to take care of. It’s like And all suddenly, I was like, no. You’re you’re right. I I was like, woah. Woah. And I actually had to take a, you know, step back on a lot of things for a couple months and then, you know, basically take inventory again because of what you said.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:24]:

Someone will hold me to account and say, hey. You got yourself spread too thin, and now, you know, look at yourself. And it was just that trigger. So, you mentioned that I’d like to get into that aspect of, you know, accountability and how we can do that, but a little bit later because what I’d like to really get into is, like, you know, the darkness. When you know, how are you feeling, you know, at at your lower points? Like, how are you feeling personally? How are you feeling as a leader showing up to your business, and so on and so forth. Like, what that feel like you day in, day out so that the people listening can can recognize that?

Nick Jonsson [00:15:03]:

Well, I for a start, I was covering up. People around me didn’t really realize. Yes. I put on a few kilos, but as in their eyes, I was Just living my life and enjoying, the good times. I had just relocated then, into Singapore as well, which means there was a new environment, new friends, and no one really realized, and it was good. It was normal to catch up with them, the wine bar off the work, and and that was it’s how you network many times in the business cycles. So there was no one that realized to But so the first thing was that indeed I covered it up. There was no one in the whole world who knew what was going on.

Nick Jonsson [00:15:40]:

Not my parents back in Sweden. I didn’t have a coach or a mentor who held me accountable. There was just no one. So if I whatever happened, I mean, no one in the world would know. To So then that’s quite lonely when you’re going through challenging times, and I was feeling really bad internally. It went so bad and, that I start to actually prepare should should I go away. I wasn’t suicidal, Scott, but I thought that my life is over. To Looking at myself and how how unhealthy I was and how much alcohol I had consuming at this time, and it was A a circle I just couldn’t stop.

Nick Jonsson [00:16:16]:

I had become a morning drinker. I had to drink alcohol to get the myself together to get to started with work and, yeah, it was just an around the clock affair. And I wasn’t the typical drinker sit, out, you know, on the street and drink. I I was drinking, yeah, at the bar, at the restaurants, I mean, the business cycle. So and where where it’s normal for people to drink. In that sense, again, no one realized anything, but internally, I was in pain. And, yeah, I start to indeed prepare should I leave. So I wrote my testament, my will arranged with, proper medical insurance, life insurance.

Nick Jonsson [00:16:52]:

I made sure I signed all these documents. I sent them to to My parents and, to my son and to my ex wife. And just in this time also, Scott, I I had remarried, and I Then something happened. I told my new wife how I felt internally, and that was when things turned around. The fact that I just opened my mouth And I shared this with 1 human being. I started to feel better immediately because she was shocked also. She didn’t even knew. He was my new wife for 3 weeks, And she didn’t know how bad I was feeling internally.

Nick Jonsson [00:17:25]:

Of course, she wanted to help me, and that was the start of my recovery journey. So From going down completely to the bottom, the the it was like a switch on and off to come back to life again.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:40]:

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Let time out here. You’re married for 3 weeks, and you say to your new wife, hey, I I’m almost feeling like I I I, you know, I almost should die or I’m going to die. I feel like crap every day. Like, I hate my life, all this stuff.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:59]:

And, like, that should have been, like, the highlight of your life. Like, yeah, you you talked about your first marriage fell apart, due to your condition. And now you’re in your 2nd one. Like, you should be, like, on cloud 9, but instead, you’re telling me you’re at the lowest point of your life?

Nick Jonsson [00:18:15]:

Yes. You know, Scott addiction is like that. Addictions is ruining and running your life. And and, I was in that time, you know, was hiding the drinking. She only knew that when we went to the bar after work, she didn’t know that I went perhaps out to lunch meetings and we’re drinking then and that I was hiding some alcohol, even drinking in my office when I had a closed door. She didn’t really realize it. I mean, I wasn’t Highly intoxicated. It was more to medicate my feelings to be in that sort of numb state the whole time because I didn’t I wasn’t ready to face reality and the feelings, both then in regards to, you know, happy feelings and, and and negative feelings.

Nick Jonsson [00:18:55]:

And if I had Sentiments against people. I would drink over that to numb my emotions. So so that’s why, you know, she she almost didn’t realize and was very surprised when I opened up.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:09]:

That’s the key there, I think. Yeah. Doing activities. Thanks, Google. Doing activities, to numb your feelings. Right? Like, that, I think, in and I don’t think it matters what the activity is. It could be anything. You know? Even, we kinda hinted to talk to a little bit about it.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:30]:

You know? With everything’s in moderation. Right? So you can do any activity to the point where it’s in such excess. You know, even even working out, I’ve I’ve heard of people using exercise, which is looked at as, you know, very healthy activity. But to the point where it’s so excess, it’s actually a debt numbing thing. And I think for the leader, though, that’s a key point to look for. If if you’re listening to this and you realize, like, I’m doing x, y, or zed to numb whatever it is on, you know, that pain or whatever. Now it’s probably time to open up to somebody. So So let’s talk about so you you 3 weeks in the marriage, you say, hon, you know, this is this is the situation.

Scott McCarthy [00:20:08]:

Better have it. To and you say you instantly felt better. But, obviously, that wasn’t like you know, it wasn’t gonna be roses and flowers for you. How did you manage to start that turnaround and start climbing yourself out of that hole that you’ve dug yourself into.

Nick Jonsson [00:20:23]:

Well, the the first thing my wife then did was she joined me to go to a doctor and medical report, and with that came some support and medication. She also, joined me to join. We went to see a common friend of ours who had had, alcohol problem a few years earlier, who had sorted it out and who was now, Doing really well in her recovery, and she then linked us up with other people who were in an anonymous support group, who I was introduced to. And I start to join this on a numerous support group. And inside here, I also start to share my story. I finally found, to Found a safe place where I could actually share how I was feeling. I could share about the challenges I had and how I, over the last few months, has to to alcohol instead of exercise and and what it had done to me and in the room or other, in this case, senior executives, also, business leaders, many working in the insurance industry banks, but also many of the big multinational companies and so on and who also had fallen through A difficult time. Perhaps they had divorces, loss of jobs, and had consumed too much alcohol.

Nick Jonsson [00:21:37]:

So, you know, being in a room with 20 people to You all can sympathize, who’ve been there, and you can hear their stories. And and they’re share they sharing, you know, what they did to go through this. And, they said, whatever you do now, come back 90 days. So they call it 90 over 90 and that you just come back to this meeting for 90 days in a row. And that’s what I did, Scott. And that changed everything because then I got, every morning, I went for a walk for a few kilometer to this meeting, to Join the meeting. And then after that, you hang around for coffee, connected with some people. And these people are now my social circle.

Nick Jonsson [00:22:14]:

So, on my phone, all my friends, all these people who are most of my friends, I should say, who themselves have been in recovery, who now perhaps some, Have not touched any alcohol or or drugs or any, anything related to addiction for 3, 7, Or some even I was to a meeting with 1 person who had 33 years of sobriety. And when these are your friends and you can then open up to them if you go through a challenging time and you’re encouraged to be vulnerable in these anonymous meetings. It it is very good place to be, and That changed the whole world

Scott McCarthy [00:22:49]:

for me. That’s awesome. Now we hear I hear stories about, you know, people who change their habits. And that’s effectively what you did. Right? You changed a lot of your habits and and started, you know, seeking help and and advice and stuff like this. But when we start changing our habits and, you know, changing who we are and the the person we portray to the world, people start pushing back. Did did did you encounter that, from people? Or were you open with, you know, this is the problem, and this is what I’m doing to to get over it?

Nick Jonsson [00:23:26]:

Well, I think, Scott, the good friends will stay by your side. The the friends who just wanted to, drink with you in the bar because you paid for the round of drinks. They will disappear quickly, but you haven’t lost much. The real friends will be there, and they will give you this time and space. And we would do the same. If we have a good friend who’s saying that I’ve gone through a difficult time, I need to, you know, change some habits in my life, to We will support them if they mean something to us. And, what I was most surprised was the positive response from actually most of my to Even friends who were still perhaps, keen and regular bar goers who had a beer after work. They also said, Nick, to Thank you for, you know, showing vulnerability and honesty here.

Nick Jonsson [00:24:10]:

And, yeah. No. Everyone supported me. I think we’re just scared that something happen or go against us, Scott, but just just believe in that and then find new friends who fill up your calendar and and and your phone book instead, who have healthy habits that support you.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:28]:

Yeah. No. You’re you that’s a great great point that you make. You know? And the real people are gonna stick by your side, especially once they understand what you’re going through. Whereas, you know, the ones who were your friend because you like to buy the buy for the rounds at the bar, to well, they’re just shallow friends in the end. Right? Always believe that if you explain your intentions behind the changes you’re making, that if, you know, as long as it’s for the good, people will support you. If they don’t, then, well, you know, they’re not worth your time. But you did you did mention something interesting there, and that was, you know, being scared.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:04]:

Were you were you scared throughout this? You know, on what points were you scared or or the worst, for yourself? And then, you know, how did you get over it?

Nick Jonsson [00:25:16]:

Well, I was very scared for my own health because, I mean, once you’ve been consuming alcohol too much many months in a row, Then the the body is is breaking down. And I had you know, the heart was rushing and, You know, I felt weak. I had to lie down, and I really thought my heart was gonna jump out of my body. You know? So I was terrified, and there was this terror that Made me write a testament and will, and really, I thought I was gonna die. I thought that I there’s no way I can get out of this, and I didn’t have a way out of it either because every day, I felt worse. And the only way that worked for me was Then to turn to alcohol again to get back into that sort of gray zone just to numb myself. And so I indeed, I was completely terrified.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:10]:

Yeah. No doubt. Now, obviously, if you’re taking such drastic steps, you know, on preparations and stuff like this. You yeah. Definitely terrified for sure. And, but what they say is, you know, everyone gets scared, but the, you know, what, courage is the fact that you faced it. You know, what’s scaring you, vice running away from it. Right? So well done to you.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:33]:

Now as you moved on, you know, and and you started coming out. How did how did things change for you, you know, as a person, as a leader. How how are you seeing things differently? Were you seeing things differently, or did you kinda to you things the way, you saw them when you you know, kinda on the the the beginning side of this? Or was it like a completely new light? And how did that, you know, change your life per se?

Nick Jonsson [00:27:01]:

Well, it’s an ongoing journey. And in that recovery program I’m a part of, you you say it’s to Basically, it’s a progress. It’s not about perfection. And, it’s a journey for life, and I keep coming back to these support meetings. Now my role is more to be of service to others to help other newcomers. I’m right now helping someone, who has some issues for the last 2 weeks who come in and who also realized that he had an alcohol problem. His His wife want to kick him out of the house. He’d come home and and misbehave.

Nick Jonsson [00:27:35]:

And, and, this is a common story. Right? And, but he decided that I wanna sort this out. I want I want my relationship to heal, and I don’t wanna be that person to come home and and be And be be rude and loud and and so on. So he he want to nip it in about this, he said, and he he wants support. So I’m helping him now And and making sure that he then does what I did, the 90 meetings plus, in 90 days plus, I’m there then to take him through this journey. And and I get a lot out of that. And that means, Scott, that if you remember what I mentioned in the beginning is that as leaders many times, our ego is inflated, And this is the way I’m working on that now. Get out of myself and helping others rather than thinking about my own problems and challenges.

Nick Jonsson [00:28:22]:

Because now when I’m helping this newcomer here, I realized the journey I’ve taken over the last few years, and I can be very, very grateful For everything that happened. And, when I see others coming in with these problems, it’s a good reminder for me, that I have to watch myself so I don’t fall back into the bad old habits to

Scott McCarthy [00:28:44]:

again. Right. I love the sentiment of everything you just said. You know, I actually recently recorded a podcast episode, which is all about how leadership is a journey. There’s no destination in it. And it’s very much similar to what you’re talking about there. This is a journey that, you know, it’s just, you know, you recover and you get through it. But you don’t stop.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:05]:

Like, And that goes back to what you’re talking about ego again. It’s like, oh, I’m here. I made it. You know? I’m I’m out. I’m done. I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Well, no. You still need to worry about it because maybe not as much, but you still need to be you know, keep cognizant of it so you don’t slip back to old habits.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:21]:

Because to me as human beings. We will do that. It’s it’s way too easy for us to slip back into bad habits. You were talking about the support networks. You were talking about your pro the program you’re you’ve been a part of, and obviously, you’re helping out with. Can you talk about the importance, of of a support network, to get over, you know, this, leader loneliness and and how it could help leaders in any state, not even into the point of where you were. Right? That deep. But, you know, maybe even, you know, as you feel today.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:55]:

How can those support networks help you as a

Nick Jonsson [00:29:58]:

leader? Well, I would say that to Support networks, and I look at it in 2 parts. There’s number 1, perhaps your personal support network, and then number 2, to Your professional support network. So if you’re looking at your personal, support network, it may be, some anonymous support group, for whatever issue you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s gambling, overweight, or, you know, any kind of addiction, alcohol, drugs, or, anything like that. There’s always some support group out there, and most of these are driven by volunteers. There’s no fee or cost associated. You can just go in and Google and look them up. All those support groups are there, but also part of your personal network where it may be to To have, you know, mentors, coaches to help you with your personal life, fitness coaches, life coaches, and all these kind of thing to make sure that you have your personal life in order.

Nick Jonsson [00:30:53]:

But it’s also there to have 1 or 2 or 3 very close friends who you’re honest and vulnerable with, perhaps someone you will go for a walk to 3 times a week, and you’re sharing what’s happening in your personal life. So that’s the first part, Scott. I would say the personal network, which is to Absolutely. It’s very, very important. You need to have these contacts to call when something is going wrong in your personal life. But then you have your professional network. And certainly, as a leader, this is where we just gotta have this in place because so many leaders and this goes back again to Diego that so many leaders believe so much in themselves that they can do the job. And perhaps they’re working long hours.

Nick Jonsson [00:31:32]:

They’re so focused inside the business that they just don’t have time and space to build up this professional network. But it is absolutely essential. And same there, you might need to have a business coach, someone who can help you and to And and be there to talk you and hold you accountable on on how you’re performing as a as a as a leader then or and also mentor, perhaps mentor both Inside the organization and but also outside the organization. So you have both those in place. But then also what I’m working with Scott here also in Singapore is Running confidential peer groups. So similar, like, mastermind groups and so on. And that is essential these days. There’s so many Changes in the technology, and disruptions in work and industries that we just cannot have all the answers ourselves.

Nick Jonsson [00:32:20]:

To We need to be in that environment with like minded and be vulnerable there. The groups we are running are confidential. Everyone had to Sign a nondisclosure agreement. We make sure there’s no competitor around the table. And these are sessions where you as a leader come in and you Lay out on the table. These are my core challenges now, and then you discuss it. Our job then is to facilitate it. And, ideally, the leaders should leave these sessions, you know, with some answers by them being a part of this environment that, basically, the the loneliness as a leader disappear, to And your ego becomes deflated because you’re actually being vulnerable and sharing about your challenges and getting some support.

Nick Jonsson [00:33:00]:

So to If you’re serious about being a good leader and feeling well, that is the way to go, I believe, Scott.

Scott McCarthy [00:33:07]:

To. No. I a 100% agree with you. And in fact, that’s the reason why I started my mastermind community. Right? The leader growth mastermind. And it’s all about us, as as leaders growing across what I call the 3 domains of leadership, I e, leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. And what we do in there as each month we go through a domain. And each week, we have a specific topic that we kinda dive into as part of the content.

Scott McCarthy [00:33:31]:

But, of course, we have a we have a Facebook group where we’re all part of and, you know, throw it today. We can throw post up videos, whatever, and talk about the challenges or the successes that we’re having. So we don’t feel lonely or or we can reach out. So for example, one of the members today, all of us were tackling the problem of her, not being able to establish a good solid morning routine. And we’re like, okay. So you have a young child that’s disrupting your sleep. You know what? Maybe the time isn’t right now for you to set up a good solid morning routine. But what can you do? Or what can you do outside of the morning throughout the day, maybe at lunchtime or in the evenings and stuff like this? And with with, you know, all kinds of ideas coming in from all kinds of different directions.

Scott McCarthy [00:34:15]:

It was amazing to see. Now you can tell in the you know, it’s hard to read and post, obviously, in text and stuff, but the sentiment was there that she was like, you know what? I guess I’m thinking to do. I guess I’m actions to do I’m gonna get back to you guys. And and, of course, you know, part of part of the whole mastermind is accountability. So I’ll check-in on her next week to see how she’s doing. You’d be like, hey. You know? Or or or or have you have you thought about this more? Where are you at? And and not like, hey. Where are you at? But rather, like, hey.

Scott McCarthy [00:34:44]:

Where are you at? Do you need more help? You know, have you have you succeeded? And and that’s what it’s all about. We actually had, 1 lady who wanted you know, wants to be healthier and and just struggled with a simple task of groceries. And we’ve you know, she’s getting that down path of now ordering because she’s a leader. She’s busy. You know, lives alone. But now, what she’s doing is she’s ordering her groceries ahead of time so she can go ahead and and have healthy food and bring that to work and and now feel better about herself. So she leads herself better, which then translates into her team and then her organization. So, yes, these these communities are crucial.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:23]:

And the craziest part is, Nick, is we’re in an age where that’s so easy to find and so easy to be part of, yet so many people are hesitant to join them. I don’t understand why. Well Not only do I have them, I’m a part of 1. Right?

Nick Jonsson [00:35:41]:

Yes. And, Scott, let let me share on this as well.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:43]:

A buck

Nick Jonsson [00:35:45]:

speech. Yeah. No. I agree with you. Not so many people to Join them. And if they join them, they they have a challenge with showing up. And what we do here, Scott, now is we we block these sessions 1 year in advance. They are half a day, And we send out basically 1 year in advance, we say, because this should be in your calendar before your company start putting in other meetings.

Nick Jonsson [00:36:06]:

And before you take your annual leave, you need to plan around these sessions, and we do 6 sessions for half a day a year. So that’s 3 full days in total. And we say, if you cannot get your boss or your company to support that you’re gonna join to A group where you share about your challenges and get support by other leaders, then we feel sorry for you, but then you should take this Up on your own responsibility and take these as annual leave days because isn’t this the most important days of your life to reflect on where you’re going as a leader And and to get some support with your challenges rather than spending time there at home, you know, perhaps sleepless at night because you’re not solving problems, And you feel lonely, you feel isolated, and it’s gonna bring you down both personally and professionally. So I would say this should be at the heart of anyone who’s serious about the leader. Yeah. To Sign up, but also make sure that you you block your calendar and show up because it’s all about, as I said, in the even in the support group, It’s about showing up for yourself, but also to be there and help others.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:07]:

Yeah. The I don’t know. The the strange well, the the interesting thing about these Masterminds is it’s not actually what what you put in is actually what you get out. So if you put nothing in, you’re going to get nothing out. But the more you put in, the more you put in, the more you put in, you actually get more and more out, which is it’s it’s it’s quite a paradox, but it’s so true. Nick, I I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, sir. Before we wrap up, I I I got a couple last questions for you, though. The first is a question I ask all the guests here at the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:40]:

According to you, Nick, what makes a great leader?

Nick Jonsson [00:37:45]:

What makes a great leader according to me, Scott, is a vulnerable leader, someone who dare to share about their own failures, their own mistake. Because if you as a leader do that, you create a culture where the team also will not keep secret. And I’m referring to perhaps even the small mistakes to And bigger mistakes, which perhaps otherwise your team will be covering up. They will not come to you and share what is happening unless you share first. And I Certainly believes firmly that vulnerability has to start from the top. So that, I believe, is the leader of today.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:20]:

That’s awesome. Absolutely love it. And final question of the show, where can people find you, follow you, be part of your journey? It’s all that you know.

Nick Jonsson [00:38:28]:

I’m quite active on LinkedIn, so you can look up, on LinkedIn. And, my name is the Swedish spelling, of Johnson, to But it’s n I c k for Nick and j o n s s o n for Johnson. Otherwise, they can look me up on Amazon, where you find my best selling book executive loneliness. It was actually topping men’s health and and also, to Mental health, the categories if only for a day in the US and, UK, Australia. Not yet Canada, but have a look at it. Thank you.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:03]:

Well, I can confirm there’s at least 1 copy in Canada right now, sitting on my bookshelf right over there, sir. So thank you very much for that. I I I appreciate it. I appreciate you and and coming and being involved while talking about this super important topic. Right? It it’s a real thing. Executive loneliness, leader loneliness, however you wanna put it. I felt it in the past. I felt it in different aspects of my life, whether that’s being a leader or a father or husband, just man in general.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:31]:

There’s different types of loneliness out there. Right? So I I definitely appreciate you and everything that you’ve you’ve done. You talked with today. And especially for the leaders out there, if you to feel any of this. For God’s sakes, you know, please re just reach out to somebody. I don’t care. If you feel that way, drop me a line direct. I will I’ll be there to help you because this is not about, this is not about marketing.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:56]:

It’s not about anything, but rather making sure you get the help you need. So please do yourself business. If anything about Nick, story resonates with you, especially the dark times, to please reach out to someone for help. So and finally, regarding all links, Nick’s resources, links, bios, all that stuff, it’s all in the show notes. Just go to lead dope boss forward slash 226226, and the links, they’re there in the show notes. Nick, my friend, thank you for coming out and talking to us today,

Nick Jonsson [00:40:31]:


Scott McCarthy [00:40:35]:

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Scott McCarthy [00:41:12]:

So just hit that little share button on your app, and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more. There’s always more lessons around being to the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe? Drive to the show via moving forward viewership.comforward/subscribe. Until next time, weed, don’t boss, to