We All Could Use a Mentor

Over the past year, my work has seemed to brought me more attention and recognition. I'm very happy to have received wonderful compliments, and hopefully I can keep it up. I occasionally get emails from people aspiring to become designers, or from fellow designers asking about my creative process. It is great to share experiences and insights with other people, especially when you are able to give guidance that will positively influence a person's career path. I sometimes get quite busy with work, so my responses to these emails may be delayed. But I do try to respond to everyone.

I've been thankful for all the wonderful comments and messages during the past year. Sometimes I don't know how to respond. I'll just try not to let it go to my head!

I've been thankful for all the wonderful comments and messages during the past year. Sometimes I don't know how to respond. I'll just try not to let it go to my head!

Starting my career path was quite difficult, as not many people around me at the time understood the design field or my goals. I often tried to seek out people with a similar background who had accomplished some of my goals, but I had little success. Many times when I hoped for support and guidance, I had none. So I understand the importance of mentorship and having good advice, and I try to help other people as much as I can when they ask me for it.

By my work desk at home, I put up photos reminding me of various mentors. Yagyu Munenori, legendary samurai whose writings taught me how to apply martial arts principles to everything, including design. Master Clayton and Grandmaster Cheung, who taught me fearlessness. Thai Buddhist monk who taught me meditation and believed in me. And that helicopter drawing was done on the whiteboard together by me and Norm Schureman.

By my work desk at home, I put up photos reminding me of various mentors. Yagyu Munenori, legendary samurai whose writings taught me how to apply martial arts principles to everything, including design. Master Clayton and Grandmaster Cheung, who taught me fearlessness. Thai Buddhist monk who taught me meditation and believed in me. And that helicopter drawing was done on the whiteboard together by me and Norm Schureman.

WISEWORDS.CO

Recently I was asked to be an Advisor for a new website called Wisewords. It is an interesting new platform where people can receive one-on-one career advice from professionals in the fields they are interested in. Users can browse Experiences of available Advisors on the site and set up a call to speak directly with that advisor. That way, the users can receive tailored advice and stories of experiences from a person who had already achieved those user's goals.

I thought this was a great idea, so I am now one of several Advisors already available on the Wisewords site. If anybody is interested in having a quick conversation about my experiences or have questions for me, you can register and set up a phone call with me through the site. It's still in beta version, so things like my page link aren't working quite well yet. There are also other Advisors of various levels, specialties, and backgrounds that you can check out as well.

wisewords.co

NORM SCHUREMAN, REST IN PEACE

While I am on the topic of mentorship, I must mention one instructor and dear friend at Art Center who I respected, Norm Schureman. As one of the few instructors who truly believed I would have a successful career, he meant a lot to me personally.

After my 4th term in Art Center, I decided to drop out of school to get an early start in my career. I only told a few people about my decision, as I had already faced some negative feedback from friends and family. I chose not to tell Norm, as he was perhaps the only person who could have swayed my decision to leave. I decided that I would tell him after my first product came out to market, and I would present my first product to him.

Soon after I landed my first freelance job, I heard the sudden news that Norm had been killed. He died protecting a number of people by preventing a hate crime shooting at a neighborhood Persian New Years party 4 years ago. His sudden death marked the harsh beginning of my professional career and had left a huge impression in my mind. I never got a chance to tell him I dropped out of school, but I owe a great deal to him for always believing in me and supporting me.  I learned many of my skills through my own studies, so to me, having someone believe in me was much more valuable than any instructor teaching a skill.

Never forget your mentors, and give back by taking time occasionally to help someone else along their path. It's a tough world out there. And maybe those few words or actions can make all the difference in someone's world.