Have you ever wondered what happens to those high-flying corporate professionals swapping their six-figure jobs to become yoga teachers?
Here is the thing, if you don't have an inflated ego it is not likely that you will make it to high positions. And if you make it, it is not likely that you will enjoy it. I have seen it many times.
People with healthy egos don't enjoy high roles unless they can make a difference in what they do and people with high egos enjoy the title without wanting to make a difference.
Making a difference is tough because organisations aren't built for that but enjoying a role where you do not much is easy. You see CEOs, CHROs, VPs being in positions were they could turn the whole system around but they don't and the reason they don't falls into two categories.
People with healthy egos reach high level roles with the intention of making a positive impact only to be surrounded (statistically speaking the higher you go the higher the ego gets and its density) by people who are in it for themselves. They try and try and try and...... Then they realise that they have two options; get sucked into the system and play the game or leave and find something that makes that they contribute. This is how you find ex VP, COO or the best lawyer ending up teaching yoga or running schools in developing countries. They couldn't fix the flaws in the system so they go and fix other people's lives.
It is an ugly truth and if you are in a high position struggling and thinking "What the hell am I achieving in this role?" it is maybe time to check your ego and the egos around you.
People with unhealthy egos could make a difference but they chose not to. They cruise along and enjoy the ride of easy money, title, and everything that comes with it but when you look below the surface and trying to see what they have achieved you find very little. Most of the time they just keep the organisation running as it is. We don't need talent for this. I know a hospitality CEO who lost five hotels during his long tenure and handed the company back in a worse shape then before. He was in it for himself not for the company and certainly not for the people.
If you struggle you have a choice, play the game or find somewhere else where you can make a difference because your level of ego is designed to think about others and their level of ego is designed to think about themselves. The two will always be in conflict and the corporate world will label it as a burnout.
Of course it is, your soul just got burned by the sheer amount of self-serving behaviour you have witnessed.
Maybe it is time to add "Check for ego" on the recruitment criteria list. It is not difficult to assess for.