You Get What You Give

My brother in law has a saying, “you get what you give.” Every time he says it, I just nod my head.

In the late 90s, after I started my first venture capital firm, I was working like a dog and had a young family, a wife and three kids. At an offsite that I attended, there was a psychologist who talked about work life balance. He said, “you’d better pay attention to your kids when they are young, build the connections early, because if you don’t, when they become teenagers, you won’t be able to reach them and you’ll have missed your opportunity”. I made a point to get home earlier and pay more attention on the weekends. You get what you give.

Working with entrepreneurs is a lot like being a parent. If you are attentive, work hard to build a connection, if you are there when the entrepreneur needs you, then they’ll listen to you. Otherwise, they’ll just end up “managing you” and you’ll never have the impact you want to have on the company. You get what you give.

Living in a community, being a neighbor, belonging to an organization or a school is the same way. You can stick to yourself, make your own way, focus on your own needs. Or you can get involved, roll up your sleeves, and give of yourself in whatever way you can. The latter approach is so much more rewarding. You get what you give.

And it’s no surprise that blogging works the same way. I put myself, my thoughts, my experiences out there for all of you to read and react to. And everyday I get a host of comments that teach me something. You all take the time to educate me back. And I am so much better off because of it. You get what you give.