This is the first in a four-part series dedicated to helping you create the right mindset for success.

Henry Ford once said that “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” Today we are going to discuss “getting ready” by creating the right self-image.

Who are you? Take a moment and jot down four or five attributes that describe yourself.

Now, more specifically, who are you as a business owner?

What type of adjectives did you use? Moderately successful? A failure? A brilliant manager?

Odds are good that the words you used to describe yourself are determined by the state of your business. If you are staring bankruptcy in the face, chances are “successful” wasn’t part of your self analysis.

But here’s the thing: You may assume that your self-image is largely determined by your success in business and in life – but the opposite is true. Your self image, in large part, determines the level of success you are able to achieve.

As Maxwell Maltz, the author of the world renowned guide to self improvement Psycho-Cybernetics explains, “Self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment.”

Athletes know that this is true—that’s why you’ll hear them talking about the importance of “visualizing” themselves as winning they win.

The concept is true in business as well. If you want to achieve your dreams, the first step is to create the self image that will allow you to do so.

Below are three ways to begin:

Take criticism with a grain of salt. One of the most common causes of poor self-image is taking all criticism to heart. Don’t ignore criticism, but don’t let it define you, either. You can’t make everyone happy, so don’t go down that road.

Make a mental inventory of your strengths. What are you good at? As a business owner, chances are you’re a visionary. Most people aren’t – it’s an ability you should be proud of. Make a list and refer to it regularly, it can make a real difference.

Modify your behavior. Typically, your behavior is influenced by your self image. But with a deliberate effort, you can turn the tables. Act confident and successful – and before long, your self image will begin to adapt.

While it is your actions that directly determine success or failure, it is your self image that largely determines your actions. Work to create a positive self image and I can promise you that you’ll see changes in your day-to-day life.