It’s a wonderful thing human potential – those latent qualities or abilities that are in all of us that can lead to future success or usefulness.

Potential is sometimes realised as a surprise, when one  day  an ordinary task is somehow completed in an extraordinary way – writing a paper with greater fluency; preparing an unbelievably sumptuous meal; or pulling off a tough conversation at work with the grace and effectiveness you only heard about in training courses.

As a child, when I achieved something I was terribly excited about, my mother used to say with a smile: “I didn’t know you had it in you!” Neither did I, although I have a feeling mum actually might have. Others see in you what you often do not.

Sometimes tapping your potential is about sheer hard work and practice and making the most of the intrinsic gifts and talents and slice of the gene pool that you have.

Recently I visited a colleague at Australia’s Institute of Sport (AIS), not far from where I live in Canberra. The AIS is full of stories of human potential – dramatic and heroic successes and less-acknowledged disappointments. It is a place full of inspiration for visitors and athletes alike, with larger than life athletic outfits on display and walls covered in thoughtful quotes. Here’s one that I particularly like from Caroline Buchanan, the BMX 2013 World Champion:

The biggest thing I have learnt is not to limit myself by the norm or what I should be doing … I have learnt I’m capable of more than I know.

I think that’s a marvellous idea – knowing that we are capable of more than we know.

Human potential is an irresistible hopeful force in everyone, that seeks space and opportunity. It is an antidote to declining self-confidence and lack of purpose. It needs to be given a chance.

I hope you happily skip through this day either surprised by your own potential, or intent on allowing more of what you are capable of to be realised.

Until next time, go well