Are you ‘Pot Bound’?

What’s the impact on your potential?

We have a very tall eucalyptus tree in our front yard. It must be well over 10 metres tall. We’ve watched this tree grow over the past 10 or so years from a sapling that was given to me by a friend who used to have it in a pot in her backyard. She didn’t have the space to plant it in the ground and it was very pot bound. She knew it would never reach its potential in the pot and so she asked me to plant it in the ground. It is now definitely in a place it can reach its potential.

Are you pot bound?

I wonder how many of us allow ourselves to stay pot bound? In an organisational context, are we in jobs that we’re good at, but that no longer stretch us? Are we allowed to spread both our roots and our branches? If not, what’s our pot made of? Is it organisational constraints, a lack of encouragement and support, have you developed your capability in your current role to an extent that others don’t want to lose you from that role (i.e. the plant looks great where it is, and they want to keep it there, even if it’s not best for the plant)? Could it be your own confidence, mindset and belief systems, or something else? How do you know when you’ve moved beyond your comfort zone and actually become pot bound? And what impact is this having on your potential?

Are you manifesting your potential?

John Whitmore, in ‘What is Performance?’ (Coaching for Performance) suggests that on average, we only manifest about 40% of our potential in the workplace. Does this mean we aren’t able to even fill our pots, or are we actually pot bound? I would suggest that often we’re probably pot bound, either by our own beliefs or by organisational structures, processes and lack of support. Perhaps we just need nutrients and more sunlight, or perhaps we actually need to increase the size of our pot, or even be planted in the ground. If this is the case, how do know we’ve reached this point?

How do I know it’s time to replant?

I think the first sign is that of being aware of wanting to move out of your comfort zone. You may have a sense that you’re capable of more, even if you do enjoy your current role. You may feel bored, or unchallenged, you may have a sense of your increased capability and confidence, or you may feel that you are no longer a good fit with the company or team you’re working in. Finally, you may just feel restricted by the status quo.

Moving to a bigger pot

If this is the case, it may be time to look for a bigger pot. First become aware of what your pot is made of and then have a look at what a better fit would look like. What would allow you room to grow both your roots and branches? If you’re not sure how, consider coaching. This is a great way to tap into your potential and to explore a pot or patch of land that will allow you to reach your potential.

Laurenne Di Salvo is an Accredited Coach (ICF), Corporate Trainer and Learning & Development Consultant. She enables individuals and groups to take the next step in their development through evidenced based coaching practices and learning programs.