Get help from our network of more than 300 experts on changes big and small, personal and professional.
Steve Glenn on Pursuing Your Dreams
Steve Glenn is an entrepreneur committed to social change. He is the founder and CEO of LivingHomes, LLC, which builds and develops modern, prefabricated, affordable, energy-efficient homes designed by world-class architects. For the past several years, Glenn has volunteered with the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation on a variety of projects, including a childhood health and nutrition initiative with the American Heart Association. Between 2002 and 2004, Glenn worked full-time with the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), managing the development of a $330 million program in Mozambique. Glenn is also the founder and former chairman and CEO of PeopleLink, a software and service provider whose clients include Oracle, GE, MTV and CBS. Prior to that, Glenn was a partner and part of the founding team of Idealab, a business incubation firm that raised more than $1 billion in equity and founded or invested in a number of successful companies. Here, Glenn shares his tips for dream success.
What are the typical concerns or fears people experience in the first 30 days of pursuing a dream?
On the professional side, they ask themselves, “Is this really a market? Does anyone care? Is this the right project? Can I raise the money? Are there competitors? Do I have the right team? Is this unique and important? Is it viable from a market perspective?” On the personal side, the fears include, “Can I really do this? Do I have the talent and ability? Am I willing to make the sacrifices?”
What really makes people commit?
Perspective, bullheadedness and ambition. Perspective comes from just doing it. Once you do it, then you have confidence and you understand the process, the ebb and flow, the timing. Bullheadedness is the ability to face challenges and move forward anyway because you’re not willing to fail and not willing to let go. Ambition means you’ve got an agenda, personal or professional, and you feel like this is what you have to do.
What are some of the phases a person will experience while pursuing a dream?
At each stage, you learn more. You may have to take a step back, bail out and go through a number of iterations. Your confidence expands or contracts. At times you feel insecure, at other times you feel like you’ve hit a home run and at some points you bail out along the way. It’s normal to be insecure—the insecurity keeps you honest. By constantly questioning your assumptions, you’ll inevitably ensure that you’re doing the homework you need to do, covering the bases and becoming more open to data you need. But if you’re too paranoid, insecure or lacking the confidence to move forward, you’ll bail out too early. It’s a delicate dance.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
Perspective. I’ve experienced a lot of change and hardship, especially at a young age. It’s a part of living, so I understand that life is precious and tenuous, and change is positive and negative. You have to focus—energize the positive and deal with the negative.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Learning that I could take responsibility for changing the things in my life that I didn’t like. My change in attitude and perspective happened when I was 12 or 13. I was unhappy in my life and overweight. I started working out and learned that I could change my physical appearance. That opened a whole new life and a whole new perspective.
For more information on Steve Steve Glenn, visit www.glennmail.com.