[This post is part of a series on Mentors and Heroes]
Todd Zaki Warfel is a founding partner and design researcher at Messagefirst, a consulting firm. He is also the author of the upcoming book A Practitioner’s Guide to Prototyping. Follow him on Twitter @zakiwarfel.
Todd Zaki Warfel’s heroes are…
Paul Shaffer, Grandfather, and Larry Warfel, Father
How have your heroes had such a profound impact on your life?
Both of these men taught me the value of ethics, honesty, and the importance of doing quality work. They taught me to think about the legacy I’m going to leave behind in this world. Both on and off “the stage.” They taught me about consequence and accountability.
How do you gain knowledge and inspiration from your heroes?
The lessons I’ve learned from these great men are found in the way I live my life and how I work. I believe in being honest and transparent with clients. I believe in doing my best work, always.
What is one piece of wisdom your heroes have been quoted as saying that has stuck with you the most?
“A man is only as good as his word.” If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. While I haven’t always been perfect at this, it has inspired me to continually try. It’s also been a good piece of advice to know when to say “No.” If you don’t intend to do something, then don’t say you will. This has been a real struggle for me. Especially when you start consulting. But in time, you learn when to say “No.” I’m sure I’ll struggle with this one the rest of my life, but I’m going to keep trying.
What else do you want the world to know about your heroes?
How much I appreciate them teaching me to be a person with honor, integrity, and to live based on what I believe is right in life, rather than what the world around me tells me is right. I’ve taken this to heart and try to do what is right in both my personal and professional life, regardless of what “is legal” or what others are doing. My legacy is mine to leave and no-one else’s.
Thank you Todd for sharing your heroes with us!