by Matt Thomas

Recently, I sat down with a new coaching client for a kickoff session. He is at the helm of a 10million organization, young forties, with an impressive track record of growth and expansion. A few hours into our meeting he started to open up about the loneliness he feels at the top of his organization. I asked him to speak to the strength of his relationships outside of work. He shared, admirably, about the bond he and his wife have and described her as his best friend. I asked him a follow-up question, “other than your wife, who really knows you?” Crickets. Unfortunately, the response, and reality, are not unique to my friend.

An HBR study in 2012 found that “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and of this group, 61 percent believe it hinders their performance.

by Trevor Lee

When life outside of work gets hard there are two common responses. One is to compartmentalize whatever is going on–creating a wall between work and the rest of life. The other is to have your work totally derailed. Neither of these is tenable.

Compartmentalizing serious issues in your life to keep them out of your work sounds like a good idea on the surface. After all, your failing marriage, loss of a loved one, crippling debt, struggling child, or medical diagnosis have nothing to do with your work. Except they do. The idea that your life can be broken up into pieces and walled off from each other just isn’t true. While you may be able to stuff your emotions and focus on your job, the subconscious is far too strong to make real separation possible. Your pain in life will start to leak out eventually, whether that’s in treating co-workers poorly, producing subpar work, or finding ways to medicate.

On the other hand, having your work totally derailed by problems outside the office isn’t an option either.