By Joanne Wilson (Blogger & Angel Investor, Gotham Gal)

Ann Mehl, who is an executive and business coach, wrote a great end of year piece that she sent out to all her colleagues and clients about giving or taking. It got me thinking about the topic of give or take. I have always been more of a giver than a taker. I am always delighted when someone gives to me but I never expect it.

Ann writes that most people who are successful share common traits: things like passion, hard work, innovation and persistence. But there’s another ingredient that people often overlook, and that is generosity. The most important question she asks is how much of ourselves are we willing to give?

One of the constants I have seen in the technology/startup community is that the majority of people I come across are willing to share their advice and their own personal experiences that others can learn from, and it is obvious that most truly care. I have seen entrepreneurs approached on panels by random people who want to introduce them to someone who might be a huge help to them with no interest for something in return. I’ve heard of someone making a game-changing introduction for nothing in return. It is commendable and certainly goes under the heading what goes around comes around.

Survive or Thrive?

A woman who has read my blog for years and years first connected with me in London to talk about a topic that is near and dear to her which is, are you thriving or surviving?  I put them both together. It is easier to give in your personal life. It is more difficult to take the time out to do that in your career. You learn how to survive at work, but it is much more interesting if you can learn how to thrive.  Thriving and giving make people feel better about themselves and in turn are happier people.

There is only so much giving a person can give in a day to people that is outside their world from work to personal. It is a good time to start the year thinking about give or take, survive or thrive. The little shifts in the way we think about these topics and react to them can be life changing.

This post originally appeared on Gotham Gal. 

Are you striking the right balance between give and take?

About the blogger: Joanne (@thegothamgal) is an advisor and investor in startups, including Curbed (Eater/Racked), Food52, Red Stamp, Catchafire, DailyWorth, Editd, Ricks Picks, Cacao Pietro, Editions 01, Hot Bread Kitchen,, Gotham Gym, The Moon Group and MOUSE. Her most successful venture is being married to her best friend and raising three kids.