Smart, successful employers, entrepreneurs, and athletes know that ability doesn’t start off that way. One doesn’t wake up from a drunken stupor one morning and decide to waddle off and find out where to register for the Olympic Games, never having had any sports training. So where do we start to become successful in any walk of life?

It’s all about Attitude, because ultimately, attitude and the right choices are foundational to success in anything. We don’t begin with ability, but rather with availability. We don’t start with an indomitable faith, but merely with hope that God is real and faithful. We don’t start out as the CEO of the company or our own company – we start out where we make a decision and make our self available.

Next comes the discipline, that hardest part. Here, we prove our dependability, our regular right choices, the hard choices, the choices we don’t feel like making. Self discipline, the attitude that “I can and I will and nothing is going to stop me. Tell me what to do.” The Army General starts off as a willing rookie who proves his dependability. That is the champion’s step after availability.

And then comes capability. Malcolm Gladwell is the author of Outliers, in which he explains that the average successful person – the truly successful champion – put in ten thousand hours of focused work in order to win the prize of real success. This is a guideline, not true in every instance, but it conveys the idea that we start with availability, then the hard work to prove our dependability – think the Beatles and Bill Gates and many other greats, and then capability. It’s not an instant, overnight thing like we see in the movies.

Faith, in God, in ourselves – starts with hope, availability, a decision. And if you don’t have faith in yourself, you will never achieve success. But that faith should be based on what you have experienced and done, not on some inflated opinion of yourself with no basis in reality. There is a lot of that around – people who think they are champions just because they showed up, yet have no real ability at all – because they have been programed by a narcissistic society that tells them they are somehow “entitled” to it.

Find a good mentor who has proven himself in the field in which you wish you excel, learn and follow the steps set out above. That mentor could also be a hero who is dead, but whose books lay out the path to his success. Commit to it. You will be surprised what you can accomplish if you don’t quit.

Robin Elliott  LeverageAdvantage.com