Nick Jonsson

Dealing with Executive Loneliness

Dealing with Executive Loneliness

Nick Jonsson

Co-founder & MD at EGN, Author and A Keynote Speaker

About Nick

Nick Jonsson is the Co-founder & MD at EGN Singapore & Indonesia, Asia’s #1 Executive Peer Network, a best-selling author, and is Singapore’s top 100 Entrepreneur 2021 Winner. When he won the Entrepreneurs 100 Award 2021: Singapore’s Emerging Entrepreneurs of the year, he felt honoured to achieve this success by living a life that is driven by a mission.

As a global thought leader on the subject of well-being, he began his mission of helping to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health in workplaces worldwide. Since then, as an author of Amazon’s Number 1 International Bestselling book in Mental Health, titled Executive Loneliness, he has been featured in many national newspapers, magazines, and on international television and radio stations. On World Kindness Day 2021, he was named one of Asia Pacific’s 50 Leading Lights.

As Founder & Managing Director of EGN (Executives’ Global Network) Singapore, he lead a team that promotes meaningful professional relationships by matching senior executives in confidential peer groups where they can help each other both face personal and professional challenges and identify opportunities for growth.


Take home these learnings

1) How to deal with difficult situations
2) Impact of suicide on our lives
3) Running an Iron Man Marathon
4) The Lesson of Just Ask

Listen to the specific part


Episode Transcript:

Nick Jonsson INTRO// During my conversation with one of my team members who has recently joined us, he mentioned that the last 2 years have been extremely difficult for him. He lost his job, his marriage got postponed and then the girl he was supposed to get married to, died. How in a matter of few months, his life toppled upside down, and yet he could not find the courage to speak to anyone. He continued to carry that smile on his face with so many buried emotions within. While listening to him I was feeling so heavy within and didn’t know what to say/ how to be there… What are you hiding behind the smiling façade? When the world is going through these difficult times, how are you managing and keeping your head above the water? What does it mean to prepare and participate in an Ironman? Welcome ladies, and gentleman, welcome to the podcast The xMonks Drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora and our today’s guest is Nick Jonsson. Nick is an author of a book, an entrepreneur, a networker, and a fellow Coach. Let’s take a dive and listen from Nick... his take on executive loneliness, his journey, and the rigor required to complete an ironman… OUTRO// My key learnings are: Life will continue to serve you with similar challenges, similar situations unless you would learn a lesson. Be kind to people, you never know the battle they are dealing with. You never know what’s there behind that smiling face, and Armani suit, and that wine glass in hand. One heart-to-heart conversation is what is required to break the pattern. Btw, What is your key learning from this episode? I would love to hear from you. Also, please leave your comment and rate this podcast. It will help me to learn and serve you better. I look forward to meeting you with another interesting conversation next week. Till then, take care and stay tuned… 00:06 Gaurav: Hey Nick, thank you so much for joining us for this episode such a pleasure having you finally after a chase of almost like three months, I could get some time in your calendar. So thank you so much for accepting our invitation, and be our guest. 00:30 Nick: Thank you so much for the kind invitation, Gaurav, it's my pleasure to be here today. 00:34 Gaurav: Super. So Nick, let's take the first step, and that's one of the questions that I ask all my guests. So why don't you share an episode from your life, that brings a smile on your face today as well? 00:52 Nick: Well, I think I have something on my face today a smile because I just checked in for a flight. I'm actually going to Sweden to see my son tomorrow. And as you know, many families has been suffering being isolated. And it's not been easy to see him. So to pack a bag during these times. It's not many who do so I think there's some light at the end of the tunnel, at least in some countries now. 01:16 Gaurav: Beautiful. Yeah. So how old is your son? 01:19 Nick: He's 12 years old. He lives with my ex-wife in Sweden. So it's been a bit complicated these days. 01:25 Gaurav: Yeah, so it's the son-father relationship is always so beautiful. And, you know, it reminds me of a beautiful story that says father is telling his son, his son, watch out your steps, you might fall down. And son looks up at his dad and say, dad, watch out on your footsteps. I'm following you. So just curious, what are those lessons that you have learned from your father, that you continue to live today as well? 01:59 Nick: Well, I remember my father used to say that the easiest way, it's not always the best way. And I think that's something I learned at a very young age that not just go for the easy, quick fix. But try to you know, think a little bit deeper and see. So I've worked incredibly hard, studied hard, worked hard and yeah, I've been striving in my career, I would say. 02:27 Gaurav: Yeah. And it's so visible in everything that you're doing, Nick. Nick, today, you are one of the celebrities in the world where you're operating, you are a coach, you are an author, you are a celebrity networker, you are an entrepreneur at the same time. So how does it feel to wear all these hats at the same time? 02:50 Nick: Well, it's a lot of pressure we put on ourselves to deliver at that level. And sometimes we crash. And sometimes we fall. And I believe that's what we will talk about today as well because it's about how you race after you've been falling, right? And how you come back. 03:10 Gaurav: How you fall, and then how you rise and then you come back. You know, Nick has been featured more than 20 times in newspapers and magazines, Including a four pages feature in the business times and a full page in the straight times, as well as you've been on television as well, including on Channel NewsAsia. So how is it that on one hand, the society put you on a pedestal, and deep down, you know that you're fallen? So how is it to maintain these two polarities together? 03:59 Nick: Well, I think it's quite rare. And I think that's why I also have been put on the spotlight. In fact, there was some live radio, yesterday again, for another 20 minutes on Money FM, one of the main stations in Singapore. So I think it's just so rare that someone is actually who's been successful, who's been there, done the great jobs been at the top as a GM, who has them fallen, and who comes out and speak about it. It's just such a rarity these days, because the most leaders, they are hiding behind a smile. And in my book, I call it a smiling depression. That is what you see with senior executives and successful people, celebrities, and so on. Also, it's very rare that you get a look inside what is hiding behind the facade. So that is what I'm quite proud to talk about. Also, my challenges, because we all face challenges. The only difference is that some hide them from the outside. 04:57 Gaurav: So Nick, have you come across a situation where you fell down where you were depressed, you were alone. And you were carrying that, what we call as the smiling depression and How was it for you? I mean, how did you deal with those circumstances? What was the situation if you're comfortable sharing, 05:15 Nick: I go through that a few times in my life and while external events and affairs shouldn't really affect us, sometimes it does. We have so many things around us that we rely on, we rely on our work, their payroll, their housing, it provides, perhaps the car, and so on. And all these are external things that becomes part of us. And we become attached to them and rely on them. So the first time was in 2008, I was working and living in Vietnam. And unexpectedly, I was let go from my work. And that was the big blow to my international career. And I really didn't know how to express it to anyone, I didn't want to admit it to myself, I didn't want to tell anyone else around it. So that's what's when I put on a smile, and I was just acting to the whole world that everything was well, I started to look around for new jobs. And I made it sound to everyone else. Like it was me who was in charge that me changing through another job. I just didn't want to explain what has happened to me, because that was a blow to my ego, and I was not ready to discuss it. 06:25 Gaurav: So how did you manage to get out of that, and be at peace with your own conversation that you were having with yourself. 06:31 Nick: While I really wasn't getting over it for many years, it haunted me. And I was in a new job five years later, and I did quite well. But still, I was quite worried inside me, I was anxious. They then promoted me to a bigger market, they moved me to Indonesia. And as I moved over there, and my ex-wife and son had moved over to me with me to Indonesia, my son was then five years old, so 2013. And then when I was over there, the company was sold, and I was let go again. So this was the second time in the second country, it's happened to me that I suddenly lost a job. This time I reacted a little bit differently. I called my ex-wife immediately, I explained to her what happened, and I acted with panic, I asked her to please move home to Sweden with my son, which is where they still are now today. And I said I must sort this out, I must find a new job. So I was there in a new city, new country, all by myself without a job, basically looking around for a new assignment. So again, I hadn't learned my lesson, I was still too shy to share this with friends. So share it with the public. And I just felt I'm responsible of this, and I have to find a new job. So. And it was only much later that I actually managed to overcome this, I had to fall much deeper first. 07:57 Gaurav: So in that situation, Nick, I'm just curious, what was the fear? And what were you trying to avoid? 08:07 Nick: It was about that I'm a successful business person, I don't fail. And I just didn't want to have this conversation. I didn't want to move home to my parents in my home country and said, I failed in my career. I didn't want to explain it to my network. So again, instead, I went out to look for another job. And I got a fantastic job with a bigger job with more pay and higher. So if you look at my CV, it looked like I was progressing and moving into a new ladder. Because I'm a loyal guy. I'd been five years in my previous company, and I've worked my way up there. And suddenly I take a step, a bigger role, an international role. And it all looked great. But how did I feel on the inside here, suddenly, now find myself in a huge role. And I had lost my two previous jobs. So you can imagine how insecure I was then in this role. And I was just go walking around basically feeling like I'm walking on glass waiting for the next time. When will I lose my job again? And I remember I told my ex-wife and son, “You cannot move back to me, yet. Let me pass the probation first.” Once I passed the probation, I said, “Give me a few more months, I don't feel really safe yet in the job.” So at least I had that close conversation with my wife at the time, but internally, I was extremely worried. 09:30 Gaurav: So something from outside that appears that first step, second step, third step, fourth step. And it's an incremental or exponential growth that Nick is following. But deep inside only Nick knows how many peaks and valleys that he has claimed and how many insecurities he has dealt with him that allowed him to reach where he is. And Nick, today you are the CO-Founder and Managing Director at EG in Singapore, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest networking platform where we bring senior executives together. So how did that happen for you? 10:37 Nick: I actually started to do some work for them back in 2017. And then it was to actually sell memberships for them in Singapore. So started as a freelancing salesperson. And I started to like the job I started, like, the interaction with other senior executives, and so on. And I said happened, a role came up in Singapore. And I actually relocated to Singapore in January 2018, and take over then as the managing director. So it was an opportunity. And I felt at the time, I was not really well, physically and mentally, I was not so strong. So I took the opportunity. And I started as employed. And over the years, and I done quite well with the business. And I was offered actually, in February last year to become the owner. But rather than taking it all on my own shoulders, I teamed up then with one of the members of EDN and also with my wife, so at least I felt it's better, that we are a few of us to share the load and the pressures because I also knew the failures I had before and anxiety I had. So I thought it's good to have some partners rather than keeping it all to yourself. 11:54 Gaurav: Yeah, yeah. It's always good to have a companion to walk with. Nick, on one hand, you were dealing with the insecurity that you spoke about, whether it's the probation period, or give me a couple of more months, I don't feel safe with them. And then today, you work with a few of the most successful people as defined by society. Right. So how does it feel to be in the company of so many so-called successful people? 12:33 Nick: Yes, Gaurav, we have now actually in Singapore, 14 peer groups at EGN, they are divided in groups, and they have about 420 executives and business owners in total, about 50 business owners, the rest are all senior executives. And it's with all the big companies. You can mention everything from Google to Johnson & Johnson, Procter gamble, Unilever, and it's really many are the regional directors, we have even global directors. So it's really the executives who made it far. And I feel that I'm in a great position. I'm surrounded by intelligent people, hardworking people who have career ladders, like myself. And so yeah, I'm blessed to be in this situation. 13:21 Gaurav: I'm sure, those are small voices that says that you're not secure, you're not good enough. You are yet to make it big, You have been asked to leave the jobs two times in the past, that little voice must still be talking to you. How do you interact with that inner voice that might whisper in your ear? 13:50 Nick: Yes, indeed, those voices are there. And Gaurav, I might even say that it's part of actually big, successful people. We all have that. One of the people I interviewed for my book, she's a psychologist and therapist, and she said that 100% of senior executives suffer from anxiety. And it's almost like we are insecure overachievers. So because we're insecure, we feel we have to work much harder. And many senior executives define themselves in the role and the job and therefore work so hard to be the very best. So, it's an interesting link. And so that was the case in my case. And what I found out over the years, is that it's actually the case of many. 14:42 Gaurav: Yeah. Let me just take one step forward. Since we are talking about EG in Singapore, and I remember during our initial conversations, when I asked you, Nick what do you do? You gave a beautiful statement. You said, “I'm passionate about matching senior executives in confidential peer groups where they can help each other face challenges and identify opportunities.” 15:16 Nick: Yes, 15:17 Gaurav: So what's so fascinating about that connecting and matching people? 15:23 Nick: I think it is because that's the business model. When I'm working at EGN, if you think of the most networking organizations, everyone can sign up, let's say the chambers of commerce, while I love them for the social events, and so on, a company can sign up and they sign up 10 or 20 of them of the staff, and then they send them and they network and they run around with business cards. And the next day, you get cold calls, and it's a, like a selling platform. Correct? What I mean, with matching, the pair at EGN, we create almost like a mastermind group in the peer groups that we have matching executives at the same seniority level, so they speak the same language. And that is basically my role. And then my close team, we are doing that to make sure that your meetings are meaningful. So you speak with people who can understand your challenges, who's perhaps been there before three, creating this coaching kind of friendly environment where actually, we call the leader of the group a share. And that's someone that we employ at EGN, and they are all coaches, and then the members are there 2030 in one group, and they all coaching each other. So it's a peer coaching environment that we created. And, of course, if you have a few who are not rightly matched in the DNA would just not match, it doesn't work. You need to have people who have the same kind of aspirations, and so on. So that's why I'm passionate about really being hands-on in this matching process. 17:01 Gaurav: Yeah, and that's extremely important. Yes, yeah. Is there any common denominator that you've been able to identify, discover when you deal with so many entrepreneurs, who are multimillionaires, who, according to you are successful in different parameters, so is the common denominator that you've been able to identify that you really marvel? 17:23 Nick: It's important that you have executives working for big multinationals in one group. And you need to have entrepreneurs working for smaller companies, which they own? Are they business owners in another group? Because they have very different aspirations? In the multinational groups, It's more about, how do you manage your head office? How do you set expectations? How do you manage your boss? How do you put parameters around yourself to protect yourself? For example, now, when it's so much working from home, how do you manage your calendar so that your team don't just fill it up? Because they know you're not commuting anymore? So you work 16 hours a day because you don't have the commute? So how do you do that? That is a lot of conversations around the multinationals, while the business owners and the founders would be very different conversations about how to scale up your business, cash flow management, legal pitfalls, and all of these conversations. So that's why we need to really make sure that we put them in the right group, because they will simply talk in different directions otherwise, and that is why the most networking groups don't function because they don't have the same, the matching is not happening there. 18:40 Gaurav: Yeah, yeah. But is there anything common that you have found in so-called successful people? I mean, are they extra sharp in terms of their intelligence? Or are they extraordinary in terms of kindness, do they have big visions because there's so many books written, and you interact with those people? So what's your take on that? 19:02 Nick: I think it's, it's many different things. But the main one is definitely being a giver, being supportive and helping, and people that really are there, especially in a networking group, someone who's giving a lot of their time and supporting others. That is always the people who also go further. And in networking, it's very much about showing up. So the people who actually show up a lot out there to help they go very far. That's one common denominator for sure. I wouldn't say it has been so much intelligence as to helping and being of service to others. That's where it's really lies. As soon as you have a reputation that you're the go-to person to help people. And if you're in business, then of course, you give some advice, you help them and then you build some trust. And before you know it, you ask to you linked up with a way to say it with their team and your sales team are talking to them and selling your products and services. So it's really true. You really never need to sell anything, if you're just a giving person? 20:05 social social? Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing somebody who's willing to help. And somebody who's always there in service of others. Correct. Right. So when you're talking about in service of others, I also I've also seen that you are a volunteer and a fundraiser for the Samaritans, right? SOS, a suicide prevention hotline in Singapore. You know, just wondering, have you come across a situation where you met someone who was about to commit suicide? And so how was your conversation with that person? And what impact has it had, on to you the way you look at life? 20:53 Nick: Yeah, so SOS is one of the organizations I've supported, since I lost a friend and colleague of mine in 2019, by suicide, and I decided to donate and raise awareness around the organization. So all the efforts I did in 2019, and 20, the money was donated to the organization. I also dedicated actually the book in the memory of my friend who died of suicide and supporting that organization, but also other mental health organizations. I've seen a lot of people suffer in the last year during the pandemic. And one recent example, about six months ago, we had one case, and there was one gentleman who was having a mental breakdown, he was feeling overloaded with pressure from work and being separated from, his wife in another country, and it was just too much for him. So we had a call at that time, and he was trying to commit suicide, we were called to his house. And two of us actually went there, we had to basically kick in the door to go in there. And he was almost unconscious, drugs and alcohol. And he had a knife out on the table. And we managed them to basically talk him into in a calm way to come with us to the hospital and he was hospitalized, he got out. And after that, the support continued. And he actually resigned from his work to remove some of the pressures and he had some financial savings. So he managed to do that and take some time off from work. And he went into, did a lot of meditation, and worked on himself in a recovery way. And I now met him the other day, and he's quite well, he's working asset by himself as a volunteer to another organization in Singapore, and focusing on giving back to the society. So that's one successful story. 23:05 Gaurav: Yeah, and the world is going to so much of mental trauma. And this pandemic has only added to that. 23:14 Nick: Definitely we are EGN, we did survey in 2019, before the pandemic of senior executives, where we asked them, How many are suffering from executive loneliness. And we found that 30% were suffering, which we also saw some global findings that said that 33% were suffering. So that number, we can probably confirm that's a real number, which is a big number. It's a reflection of our society. But then we did the survey again, but in December last year, so in the middle of a pandemic, and then the number had doubled. So that's a reflection, I think of what is happening, what has happened with a pandemic. 23:58 Gaurav: Yeah. And it's quite depressing because you never know, what your friends what your colleagues are going through. And there's only so much you can do for them. Because you will be able to do that for them only when you know. But what about those people who don't even share? 24:21 Nick: Yes, that's right. And especially then if we're talking about executives and business owners, successful people, you don't want to show that because maybe people don't want to do business with you then or maybe you won't be up for next promotion. I mean, if you're shown as being weak, why would a company then put you up in front for the next big job, but a pay rise that you're looking for because you perhaps are caught in having an expensive living and everything else we need to continue to deliver at that level? And that is the balance, the fear that most successful people have and it's very true that the more you have them more you can lose. 25:01 Gaurav: I think that's the dichotomy. We, as human beings, live in this society, because, you know, our vulnerability is seen as a weakness and not as a strength. And that's the reason why we don't even dare to reach out to somebody when I'm going through some really challenging times in my personal or professional life. 25:21 Nick: Yes, absolutely. And I'm a big believer that vulnerability should be a strength and being open and being transparent that can do remarkable things. 25:33 Gaurav: So just curious, Nick, what do you do to maintain that sanity for yourself? 25:41 Nick: Well, I went into recovery in May 2018. That was when I started to speak up and I started to share with some people first with my new wife, I started to share with the support group, I joined, to doctors, I started to really work on my recovery. And what I learned was that by speaking to others, and sharing what's going on, you start to feel better. And I've continued down that journey. And that's why I remain as a volunteer, because also when you're supporting in mental health support groups, and so on. One way to connect with others who's going through a challenging time is by sharing your struggles and challenges for them to also open up about what's going through in their life. And they can then resonate, and see that here's a person who was suffering also before and look at them, now they've gone through this. So that is also part of my journey and my recovery. And I've been told in this one, our support group where I'm a volunteer now, is that you have to give it back in order to keep it so I will continue to be of service. 26:49 Gaurav: I think that's how you heal yourself as well. 26:53 Nick: Yes, absolutely. 26:58 Gaurav: So Nick, you are a marathon runner. you participate in Ironman events, right? Just curious. You know what, I've come across several people who run marathons but like Iron Man, it's like something right? Just curious. What goes inside your head, when you are about to initiate or when you're about to start to participate in an event like Iron Man? 27:24 Nick: Yes, and it's like everything in life, you start with something smaller than bigger and bigger. So just like everyone starts, perhaps sign up for companies 5k, five-kilometer, fun run. And then well, I managed to do that. So why not a 10k run, and then you sign up for a half marathon. And then it becomes a marathon dream, and you train for a year, and you finally commit, and you complete the marathon. And then you ask yourself, now what? What should I do? Well, maybe I start to do a triathlon. So you add some swimming, you have some lessons, and then you need cycle, and you do it together and then you just go longer and longer and longer, until the Iron Man, which is a 3.8-kilometer ocean swim, 108-kilometer cycling, and then run a marathon at the end of it. So I done three of those races. And I mean, what goes on in the head before you go to the start line, it's, of course, you know that you're going to be out for a very long day, it can be rather stressful, and it's a lot of anxious in it. But let's put it this way that the first time is extremely nervous. But once you're done the first, the second effort is not so hard. And I'm signed up. I registered for my next one by end of August in Sweden. And I'm not so worried about it, because I know I managed to complete three. 28:54 Gaurav: So how do you train for that? I mean, on daily basis. What does Nick do? To prepare himself for the next Iron man. 29:06 Nick: I need to constantly train most mornings, I'm up at 4 or latest 4:30 am. So I spend two to three hours in the morning to exercise, six days a week, one day and that's satellite tomorrow. I exercise much longer, normally six hours. So that's my long working hours. So tomorrow morning, I recycle about 120 kilometers. That takes four hours. Normally, I would run also for maybe two hours off. So that would be a normal training week about 14 to 18 hours of workout in a week and that's really wow. Or that's my own time as well. 29:48 Gaurav: But that's crazy, right? That's like being really hard on yourself. Is my 29:53 Nick: It’s my relaxation and I don't watch TV and that's when I socialize. Meet my friends. So we even have the cycling event with the support group. So it's also my socialization. And before this, I had some bad habits, I went to the bar and perhaps consumed alcohol instead. And I replaced all those bad habits. And instead now, Monday evening, I go to swim Academy. So I meet some people I socialize. So just like people go to business functions, networking, I network, and I go to swim academy. So I get all my socializing my personal time I exercise and everything in a healthy way. Maybe it's almost on the extreme end. And that can be discussed, right? 30:37 Gaurav: Wow. like six hours of rigorous training, four hours of cycling, and then two hours of running. 30:46 Nick: Yes, that's what it takes. If you want to set up yourself for an Ironman and I'm sure we'll go up to even a at the peak probably in June here July. If I go and do the race, really, then I need to step up and do even more. 31:03 Gaurav: That's crazy Nick. 31:07 Nick: A lot of fun. 31:09 Gaurav: Wow, I can't even imagine myself doing something like that. So when you complete your first Iron man, right, What was it for you? 31:24 Nick: Oh, that was a very big moment. Because it from being reasonably unfit. I was quite overweight and unfit and so on. I wanted to join in a gym. And actually, when they asked me, what's your fitness goal, I said, an Ironman event. And they were of course laughing because I could hardly walk two kilometers. And I was extremely unfit and so on. Then the, but I sort of fought because I've seen on social media, some of my friends had done it. So I thought, well, that looks like an interesting event. So that's what I want to do. And this was how many years back. So that was in 2010-2011. And I completed my first in 2014. So I already had a vision three, four years before that, that's what I want to do. And then I knew that it would take me a few years to reach that fitness level. So let's take one step ahead, Nick, in your journey, because I think the conversation is getting richer and richer, I'm getting inspired. And I'm sure in your presence, the kinds of awards that you keep getting for yourself. No doubt you deserve every bit of it. Um, thank you. So Nick, you're an author as well. You've written a book called Executive loneliness- How to avoid the workplace isolation. So what led you let's start with that. And then we'll talk about the lessons as well, that we can pick up from the book, but what led you to write this book? 33:45 Nick: So in 2019, when my friend and colleague died of suicide, I basically wanted to see and find out what happened. And I contacted his close friends, his family, and no one could explain what happened. He had just come back from Mount Everest, where he had actually climbed up to the base camp, which was one of his dreams. He had a girlfriend he really loved. He just made pictures. And she posted on Facebook that it was so in love, he never been happier in his life. So we just couldn't understand what happened. And we never, anyone could understand what happened. So that's when I decided to really make a difference here and stand up and raise awareness so that we can ensure that this doesn't happen again. And as I shared my story, as I started to speak up about this, the media got so interested, they started calling me for radio interviews, the TVs came and newspapers, magazines, and before I knew it, my whole table was full of, you know, media clippings. So I realized I had started talking about something which no one wanted to talk about because the topic is so taboo. And that's when I thought, well, if this is what is happening by me just talking honestly, about what is happening around us, then I wanted to go deeper. And that's when I decided to do the survey I mentioned before, when we find out about the depression, anxiety, and the thoughts, what was going on among the senior executives. And the last question I asked was, if you're okay to be interviewed, please tick this box. And I was amazed how many actually ticked (Yes) because they knew the survey was from me, I had some relationships, and so on. And they knew already that I'd started to talk about this topic. So more wanted to be interviewed. It was 60, executives and business owners to take the test. And I interviewed them to see where it took me. And when I had the findings, I realized, wow, this has to be put together somehow. And that's what I done. And that's what you find in this 280 pages book. It's my story. And the story of these business owners and executives. 36:09 Gaurav: Yeah, yeah. So that is real. Right? So the workplace isolation is real. 36:15 Oh, yes, certainly. Yes. 36:17 Gaurav: So tell me more about the book, what is there in the book? What can people expect? What are the lessons? 36:25 Nick: A lot of honesty, a lot of honesty, in my own story, I kept writing it. And then I showed it to my wife, I remarried in 2018 when I was just starting my recovery. And I asked her. Is this the truth? Because she was by my side, and she kept challenging me, asking me more questions. And I went even deeper, to be more honest. And until it was really there my story. So that is one rare thing because we normally so shy to show what is the real, what is happening. And that's what I decided to do. And while my story is there, I decided to then also ask other people who I interviewed, including one woman who planned for her own suicide, she even did the rehearsal twice, she's still alive today. And she shared her story in the book and so on. So it's, it's so much honesty, and you can really feel how close for example, that woman was from taking her own life? And what was it then that made that switch in her from not making this suicide? And in my case, what was it that made me then when I was lying on the bed, and extremely unhealthy, and I decided to write my will and testament, and I felt that my life was over? What was it that made that switch in me? Turn it around. And that is really what we looked at in the book. And then later on also to look at the recovery journey and the learnings from this. 37:56 Gaurav: Yes, the two questions, Nick, here. In the same order, what do you think, having researched both primary and secondary, right? What do you think? What's that missing link, that push people to the edge where they think of committing suicide? The second question. You were talking about yourself, You were talking about that lady, What made that shift, Where they started to relive, and that to the way you are living, which is an inspiration for so many people? 38:47 Nick: Yes. So what drives people to the point of a suicide, it's about losing all hope. by just having some hope in life and getting that little spark of hope, then it's game on and we want to live again, but it's this when we have explored overall options, and we cannot think of a way out when we so overwhelmed, but that's seems to me to be the case. And then what is it that brings people to go forward then it's my conclusion is in the book is that it's talking speaking, it is about sharing, or just speaking with one other person about how you feel or what is happening. That is the lifesaver right there. Or you might have heard about cases when the, I heard about one story with one young man in the UK who was sitting on a bridge about to take his own life and it was just a person just passing by walking by starting a conversation. That just person replied, I started to have a conversation. And he just went out in UK to thank this person for saving his own life. So it's it doesn't take much. It's it's small, 40:11 smaller. One Heart to Heart conversation. 40:16 Nick: Yes, that's it the break the pattern? Yeah, yeah, 40:19 Gaurav: I think that's a neat message to all our listeners and to us as well, that just reach out to people you never know the story that they are living, the journey that they are traveling and the battle they are fighting in their life. I think one conversation can make a huge difference in their life. 40:41 Nick: Yes, certainly. I mean, there's so many people being isolated now because they work from home and pandemic and so on. But, and actually, there's many people who perhaps prefer to isolate themselves. But we are looking at us, we are herd animals in that sense, we need to be around other people to get the energy to feel good. So while I'm an introvert myself, and I don't mind to be by myself and alone. I know that's not a good place for me to be I need to be around people, at least around people who are feel listened to me and understand me. 41:21 Gaurav: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Nick, just curious, what's the best advice that you have received in your life, when you were going through those tough times? 41:34 Nick: Asked for help. Simple like that. And I actually, the four words of my book is written by an author. His name is Andy Lopata. He has written a wonderful book called Just ask. Just ask by Andy Lopata. So if someone wants to look at that, it's a wonderful read. And I knew Andy when I went through this period, but I sadly have forgotten to just ask, because if we ask our friends or family for help everyone or most of them would be there to help us. 42:10 Gaurav: Yeah, just ask. So thank you so much, Nick. I think it was quite a revelation for me. getting new insights from you getting to know you a little better. Look at your life, the peaks and the valleys that you have traveled, and where you are, it gives me definitely a lot of hope. And I will definitely going to ask you. If I would need any kind of assistance in my life, I'm sure I would need. It's always good to have somebody like you alongside so thank you so much for your generosity, for your sharing, for your wisdom, for your experience, and who you are. Thank you so much. 42:58 Thank you very much for the invitation today, Gaurav, and I hope that I hear from you with questions. And I also hope that you do sign up and join me for one of our main events in the future. Looking 43:09 forward, looking forward. Thank you. 43:13 Thank you. Bye-bye.

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