Growing up as a teenager I hated mentoring. I couldn’t stand the fact that someone was trying to teach me something and coach me on life. Heck, I knew everything! So I thought. Being a typical teenager I never really allowed myself to be as teachable as I should have been. But luckily as I’ve grown older I realize the great benefit of having a mentor. I not only have one mentor, but several for different areas of my life. One for design, one for my career and one for my personal life. I have realized that I need to be mentored to grow. It’s good to be told when I am going the wrong way and also to be encouraged when I am going on a path that is beneficial.
What I wanted to share was having a design mentor and career mentor. Someone you can go to at anytime to ask questions, receive advice, listen and be teachable.
How to choose a mentor:
- Find someone that is in your career field
- Have admiration and respect for this person
- Enjoy their work
- Study their accomplishments
Choose someone who you admire and respect what you do. They should be accomplished in their field and have a good amount of experience. You’ll want to grow from someone who has already grown in their life. A lot of designers would be willing to help out another designer. When you find someone that you would like to be mentor just simply ask! What else is the community for? I see there is a lot more potential in us then just showing off our work and trying to get as many likes as possible on Dribbble. Or trying to gain some kind of popularity. My mission ever since day 1 as a designer was to help out the design community and give back. Sure, having an online presence helps a lot but that’s not what it’s all about.
A mentor should be someone you go to about:
- Pricing for projects
- Salary questions
- And even deeper issues such as dealing with clients
You don’t want to exhaust your mentor so only go to them when you are truly in need of help or a certain kind of information you are unable to find anywhere else. It’s find to send your mentor designers to receive feedback, but remember sometimes it takes time to hear back.
Having a mentor for design and your career will help you grow a lot and also you improve professionally as time goes on. It’s even better if your mentor is close to you. Going out for a cup of coffee once a week and building that relationship is to profitable to not only you, but to your mentor as well. Being open and allowing yourself to listen and take in all that they have to say is vital for your career. Taking the right steps in the early stages of your career will make a strong and straight pathway to the rest of your life. These lessons learned will probably even pave you to the success of your own company or design firm. The possibilities are endless with your career and your dreams. Having a mentor and someone to help guide you will make you hit your dreams even faster.
Who are your mentors, or who would you want to be yours? Do you have other ideas for mentoring?