I've never had a mentor, but I've had heroes. I've put myself in their shoes when I need to make design or business decisions. I've worked hard to align the quality of my work to my heroes. I can't mention a single name, there have been so many of them. Btw, it doesn't have to be for the design industry, isn't it the same when we are trying to be a better parent or partner, taking examples from our own parents or so...
Today we have an amazing community that is more than happy to help each other. I personally know designers from big corporations to individual freelancers offering free mentoring. In my 20 years of experience, I have received countless emails, messages asking for advice. I'm humbled by it and I have been doing my very best to respond to every one of them in my limited time. This is one of the reasons why I have started this blog.
However, this ease of communication also made the contribution from some experienced designers more challenging. There is just not enough time to respond to all, mentor all individually. We should not be discouraged by this.
We do not need to be in constant communication with our heroes (which would make them mentors), however, we can follow their work, blog, Twitter, etc. to have an understanding of what they are up to, how they are approaching certain situations and learn from them.
We can have countless heroes to learn from instead of waiting for a space in one's already tight calendar.
Let's share what we learn and be a hero to someone.