1.In the eulogies that came in the immediate wake of New York Times journalist David Carr’s death, people would come back to one adjective: Generous.Young reporters talked of how Carr gave them direction when they were directionless. Friends posted the encouragement he gave them in dark times. Everyone had a story about some way he made time for them, whether an e-mail, a cup of coffee, or just his presence.2.Kristy and I were drinking beers in a Belltown dive and talking about the state of our careers. So many people are hitting me up for career advice, I said, and so many of them are succeeding with it that I wondered if I should bail out on my current career and go be a career coach.“No, don’t do that,” she responded. “You’re doing what you’re supposed to do — you’re paying back by helping those that come after you.”3.I’ve seen a lot of fear in the tech industry, from the leadership to the rank-and-file. The fear of stagnation, displacement, or just waking up one morning and the ways of the tech world changed, again, for the 100th time in the history of the web. It’s not just impostor syndrome, but a fear of being left behind.Take responsive web design. Five years ago, it was an interesting, but complicated idea that you didn’t need to know unless you were a bleeding edge designer. Now, if you don’t know responsive, you’re way behind the times.For those who have been in this industry a while, we worry the kids are coming to put us out of work. So we keep trying to run harder and harder, learn more and more, and sometimes, push the new kids aside.But craft doesn’t come from running harder. Craft comes from learning the lessons and building new ways of doing things from experience and iteration.Craft is something we can teach the ones coming behind us. And by teaching craft to the next generation, we pay back those who came alongside us when we were young. And it can be as simple as passing an idea on.4.A few months ago a friend of mine asked me how I kept design projects organized and made sure the right information is spelled out for the rest of the team.I have a method, of course: An Excel file which consists of spreadsheets I’ve created and collected over the years to bring order to the design chaos. Deliverables, personas, goals, user flows, user stories, they’re all in there. I sent him a copy.He promptly adapted it for his uses by adding a tab for mapping out interactions across devices. It is now the standard method for organizing interactions and content at his employer. And, his changes made my system better.The lessons in craft we learn must be taught, so they can return to us as new lessons we can learn. If we treat our craft as open source and not hold it tightly behind personal NDAs and barricades, we collectively can build on each other’s ideas and make our craft better. Sharing is the only way we all get better at what we do.5.I am an introvert. Alone time is everything to me. And yet, I make the time to meet those who want to talk.I was up on Skype at 6am one morning to help a young designer figure out what to do next. I had coffee on a Saturday morning with a front end developer wanting advice on transitioning into UX. I inundated another dev with Twitter DMs laying out how to find a better job (which they promptly did.)Yes, it helps your ego when people come asking. But I probably learn more from them than they do from me. They help my craft. They help me iterate and remind me that I’ve come a ways on this journey, but I still have much ahead of me to learn.6.Are we frauds? Are we doomed to be found out? Yes, we most likely are. As much as we want to argue for a meritocracy, we got to where we are with some dumb luck, some coincidence and serendipity, and even some societal privilege.David Carr closed his memoir of drug addiction The Night Of The Gun with this line:I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.Carr showed his gratitude through his generosity, and with it, he was bending the rules of the game. Advice and guidance and a listening ear are their own forms of luck and serendipity.When people come to you for advice, what do you do? Do you dispense something pithy and get on with your day? Do you take the time to listen deeply and encourage them? Or do you guard yourself knowing that if others know your secrets they will use them to overcome you?For me, I choose to ignore my introversion and exhaustion in order to be present any place, any time, anywhere with anyone who asks. I’m where I am because of dumb luck, serendipity, and privilege. The best way to keep the charade going is to let others in on it, so that they become accessories to the caper I’m pulling off — and I in theirs.