Why the ‘repotting’ theory is essential in your career development

The days of working for one company for 30 plus years may well be over. With rapidly changing technology and the evolution of the workplace, many companies are struggling to keep up.

Older established companies are breaking down and making way for new startups that are much more technologically savvy. Brick and mortar businesses are fighting to maintain a profit in this new online world.

Because of these challenges, employees are finding it more challenging to find job security with one employer for their lifetime.

Economic changes and layoffs can force employees to change, but what if employees chose their own career shift ahead of time?

Introducing the repotting theory

John W. Gardner, Ph.D., originally introduced the repotting theory in 1964 in his book, “Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society.” Repotting is most commonly associated with gardening. Taking the core plant and introducing it to a new environment, or a bigger pot is a way to encourage additional growth. 

The same rings true for career focus and commitment. “Repotting” or changing career and workplace focus is a way to revitalize your creativity and energy. Gardner suggests that a significant change in careers should occur when you have accomplished a career goal to avoid leadership fatigue. 

If employees find themselves merely going through the motions at work and no longer energized and engaged with their careers, it’s time to make a drastic change. These changes can range from moving to a different company or changing fields altogether – for example, from healthcare to technology.

Why you can benefit from repotting

When you change careers, companies, or fields, you naturally challenge yourself to continue learning to survive. When your daily work routines are on autopilot, creativity, and fulfillment suffer. 

The most significant growth and potential come from being challenged. New experiences and challenges require creativity and engagement. Too often, workers allow their company to dictate their life rather than employees taking control of their own lives and experiences.

From every couple of years to every decade, frequent repotting can be an excellent way to find new directions for your life and be part of new experiences. With new experiences comes new opportunities and the ability to further your influence in the world.

Being content with mediocrity

Many employees shy away from repotting due to the fear of the unknown. Significant life changes can be intimidating, primarily when a family relies on your income. The fear of the unknown can create work environments that are content with a lack of progress. When employees stop growing, companies also stop growing.

However, a strong family support structure can be the secret weapon to a successful repotting. If you have dual incomes and can create a budget to live off only one of them, repotting can become a reality with minimal risk. 

Using established networks to accelerate growth

Repotting your career or employment direction can be successful with the help of established networks. Creating informal connections opens doors to related fields and repotting opportunities. Calling on acquaintances can give you a foot in the door for a career change that can increase your fulfillment and salary.

Rather than allowing society and your current employer to determine your direction, look at frequent repotting to take back control of your life. Challenging the status quo and the old way of doing things can uncover unknown possibilities and a sense of fulfillment. 

Remember the feeling of excitement you experienced when you first entered your current career field? Who says you can’t experience that feeling all over again with a purposeful and strategic repotting?