Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2004-10-12

Mentoring

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." - Albert Pine

We are getting ready for our first student intern at the firm. While we have worked with new grads, this is our first 18 year old, fresh-out-of-high-school student to emerge on the scene. Believe it or not, we are pretty enthusiastic. It's a good chance to give back to the community and provide a learning opportunity to someone with a burgeoning interest in design.

In Toronto, internships can be hard to come by. There's a lot of competition out there for internship spots with popular industries, design being one. We are pleased to be able to carve a niche for mentoring - and as most of you who run your own business know, time is limited.

This opportunity has me really thinking about the importance of mentoring and being mentored. Rick, being the creative director and founder of the firm, has had a lot of difficulty finding a mentor who is both involved in a creative field and is a business owner. As an entrepreneur in a creative field, sometimes finding likemindeds can be pretty tough.

I can sympathize - although as a writer it's a little easier - it's difficult to find a mentor who has experience in both running their own business and creative ability. (Anyone want to volunteer?) It's probably not for lack of these qualities in potential mentors, but rather it's finding the time to share with others. Or, at times, it's that "knowledge hoarding" I spoke of in a previous post.

This challenge in finding our own mentors has driven us to want to mentor others. Leading by example and sharing your life's wisdom with upcoming students has an impact that is far reaching. I have spoken to countless friends and colleagues, and almost everyone of them have at least 1 person who has really challenged and inspired them. It's more than gaining knowledge - it's a lesson in humility, trust, sharing, and character development.

On some level we are all mentors, whether we intend to be or not. Our actions and attitude are witnessed every day. Scary thought! Especially when we are not at our best or brightest. Even as passive mentors, we reflect our chosen role and leave an impression on those fledglings in our path.

To directly mentor is to accept the challenge of being truly accountable, understanding the role we have and using it to serve others. It can be both gratifying and terrifying, depending on how you look at it. Personally, our firm is excited about providing an example to a student and, in turn, learning a little about ourselves along the way.

What's your experience with mentoring? Who has been/is a positive role model for you?

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