Defeating the Loneliness at the Top with Nick Jonsson · ShiftWorkPlace

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Ep97 Defeating the Loneliness at the Top with Nick Jonsson


Fighting loneliness at the executive level and embracing progress over perfection.

Bio for Nick Jonsson

Nick holds a Bachelor of Communication degree (marketing and advertising) and a master’s in public relations from Bond University, Australia, where he graduated top of his class. He is a number one International Best-Selling Author.

Nick is dedicated to raising awareness and eliminating the stigma around the phenomenon of executive loneliness. He has identified that feelings of isolation and depression—personal struggles that he has had to grapple with and conquer—are much more widespread than we think. As the co-founder and managing director of the Singapore branch of EGN (Executives’ Global Network), Nick is passionate about matching senior executives in confidential peer groups where they can help each other face challenges and identify opportunities.

Having worked across Asia, Australia, and Europe representing major international firms, Nick has acquired expertise in international general management, direct sales, and marketing. He also serves as the vice-chairman of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City and the vice-chairman of the AmCham Vietnam Direct Selling Committee. These positions further demonstrate his ability to add value on a global scale. He is highly self-motivated and enjoys participating in marathons and Ironman events. Nick also thrives on the adrenaline of speaking at conferences, seminars, and events.

Nick is enthusiastic about supporting his local community. He is a volunteer and fundraiser for the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a suicide hotline in Singapore. He also does frequent community service for a support group for problem drinkers. Now in recovery himself in his third year; he is also an International Coaching Federation (ICF) coach who loves to work with executives to help them with their career and lifestyle choices.

Episode highlight

Modern work culture encourages executives to project success and achievement when, in fact, thousands suffer in silence and denial. Nick Jonsson has been there and done it; today, he believes there is a better way to handle it. Life is more than work and financial success.

Growing up, Nick watched his father always working and never home. It created an impression in Nick that that’s how things should be. In 2015, Nick experienced burnout that made him resign from his job. His lifestyle changed; before he knew it, a beer bottle replaced his morning walks. Bad habits replaced his good habits. Nick found himself isolated and depressed. He hid his depression for a couple of years but got to the point where the mask fell off. He embarked on a recovery journey.

Executive loneliness is a topic close to Nick’s heart. He has spoken about it multiple times, on the radio and television, at conferences, exhibitions, company events, and chambers of commerce, and he has been featured in more than 20 newspaper and magazines articles, including a four-page feature in The Business Times and a full-page in The Straits Times.

Today we get to hear Nick’s journey to becoming the person he is today. 



  • “The pictures we put up of ourselves on social media and how we want people to see us is perhaps not the truth.”
  • “A problem shared is a problem already underway to be solved.”
  • “Don’t try to hide behind that façade, just be human. Because we all have our stories and journeys. Let’s share them.”


Childhood Incidents

If you come from a poor background, poverty is not something you want to taste again. Nick’s parents came from humble backgrounds, and they made it their life mission to change the narrative. The father was always away working, and Nick was home with his mother. Nick always worked so hard growing up to get his father’s attention.

As an adolescent, Nick’s dad once told him that the easiest way is not always the best way. It shaped how he looked at things and made him choose different paths from most people. In a village of around 60,000 people, Nick was the only one who ever dreamt of leaving Sweden. Looking back, he feels like his father’s words drove him forward as well as set him up for failure.

Influential Groups

Nick struggled to associate with the culture in Sweden because his father was always away working, and he needed someone to lead him. Between 18-20, Nick was riding a motorcycle. He joined a group that used to travel around the world. He vividly recalls driving around Europe over the summer.  

Religion and spirituality are usually part of many families’ foundations, but for Nick, he only got it from school. Nick feels he lacked a greater power than himself as he went out to the world and built his career.

Temperaments and Personality

Nick believes his temperament is he never settles for anything. At 12, Nick was always envious of older kids who had motorcycles. He asked his parents for a motorcycle, but they told him he had to earn it. By age 13-14, Nick was selling computers from his shop in the basement. He made so much money that he got himself a motorcycle and everything else he wanted. Unfortunately, the police caught up with him because he was riding a motorcycle underage which led to him moving to Australia.

Over the years, Nick has realized that life is not all about him. It is about others and letting go. He now believes in progress over perfection.

Cultural Epiphanies

Every country has its challenges, especially if they speak a different language. Nick believes it takes more work to catch up and learn a new language in every country you move to. You can only become part of the culture if you are settling there.

Since Nick started his recovery journey, he has become more present and has had different experiences when he moves to other countries. He is taking it a step at a time and has few expectations.

What Brings the Best in Nick? 

Nick is an open book. He believes in being vulnerable and open. He also enjoys working with people who can open up. He argues all leaders to be vulnerable and share their stories with the people they lead.

Soapbox Moment:

Nick invites us to check out his book, Executive Loneliness, on Amazon and connect with him on LinkedIn.


Nick Jonsson took the problems of high achiever executive loneliness and turned them into strategies for success. He teaches groups of executives to support and overcome challenges together and is an example of overcoming addiction through his participation in marathons and iron man events while volunteering to support problem drinkers and suicide hotlines. Facing his own struggles and finding ways to connect through building group strength have been key in his professional and personal life. Now that he has been through the experience of recovery, Nick is approaching the journey of learning a new language and culture in Singapore, not as an over achiever, but in a slower, more present way, savouring the moments as he goes.


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