Who doesn’t want to be a success in life? In my leadership class this evening the entire student body was asked that question and, not surprisingly, no one raised their hand. Everyone wants to be successful.

I read somewhere that just 5% of people actually achieve the success they want in life. I found this data sobering. Why does the data reflect such a low number? Do you believe that in order to be successful people should have a model as a guide to achieve success? My experience says that the answer is yes.

The following is a quote I read that goes to the heart of the issue. “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.” If you want success, sooner or later you have to go for it.

Too often we try to schedule success. Life doesn’t work that way. The simple truth is that every day is the perfect day to do the right thing, to pursue your dreams and take action.

The question is how to do that? I’m often asked where to begin and how to take action. In my case, as a new manager, I had an idea of what a successful manager should possess. During the first week on the job, I spent time studying my counterparts. No single manager represented the one good model I was seeking so I took characteristics from several that did fit my model and proceeded to emulate them.

On a broader scope, personally as well as professionally, the following are a few things to consider when creating a model for success.

A strong belief system. If you want to be successful, you have to first believe that success is within your grasp. Once you believe that you can achieve success, your mind will open up possibilities that will take you to what you want in life. If you don’t truly believe it, your mind will shut off and never let you see the opportunities as they come your way.

Set clear and specific goals by clarifying your dreams and aspirations. Dream big and often. As a new manager I was asked where I wanted to be in the future. I thought about it and set my sights high. I exceeded that expectation. If there is one single thing that can make you successful, it is goal setting.

Develop a strategy. You must have an overall game plan to execute, and you have to know what strategies you need to take in order to achieve your goals. What will your goals cost? How long will they take? What resources do you require? Who can help you? It is your strategies and action plans that will determine your results.

Take action. This is where most people fail. Your intentions may be good, but success generally is about the long haul. It takes time and in today’s world most people aren’t ready to make that investment. Without taking planned, sustained action, you will accomplish little. If you are serious, you will take some action every day. Whether it’s adjusting your schedule, your finances or your use of energy, you’ll have to make room, and time, for success. Don’t procrastinate and accept responsibility for your actions. Success is really the output of one’s input.

Realign as needed. At some frequency-annually at the minimum-assess your strategy, action plans, progress and results. Adjust as needed to ensure you are still on the correct path.

Have a mentor or coach. There are very few “self-made” successes; we all need someone to believe in us, encourage us, challenge us and applaud our achievements. Develop a close, working relationship with a mentor or coach who can show you the way to your target.

Success is no accident. It is always the result of our best efforts. Success doesn’t necessarily come from being the best; it comes from doing your best. It is the result of investing time, energy, careful thought and hard work. It’s the result of taking action, getting started, making mistakes, learning from them and trying again.

Remember that progressive discipline beats postponed perfection. There is simply no better time to start your journey to success than today. If you follow through on this six-step model, you can achieve the success that you’ve always wanted. Never give up and you’ll find a way to succeed.