Letter 36 - How to find mentors

Dear Friend,

Yesterday I conducted a workshop called 'TRANSFORM' with a group of college students and entrepreneurship enthusiasts.

I asked them to fill in the blank in this statement - "I would easily be able to transform myself, if only I had _________"

One of the most common responses was 'Mentor'. I've been hearing more and more young people speak about wanting a mentor. I've been a mentor to hundreds of youngsters, and I've had several mentors in my life.

It is a blessing to be able to find a mentor who takes the time to understand you, support you, and is herself or himself experienced and well connected. It can be an important catalyst for your growth and development.

But, having a mentor is NOT a magic potion.

The word that I believe is even more important than mentor, is 'mentee'. No, mentee has nothing to do with mint, mentos or mental!

‘Mentee' is the counterpoint of ‘mentor’. Mentee is the one who receives the wisdom and guidance of a mentor.

The question we must ask ourself is - 'Am I ready to be a good mentee?'


A mentor-mentee relationship lies somewhere between that of a friend and that of a teacher.

I can be myself and speak my heart out openly with my mentor. Yet, I must never take the mentor for granted.

I can learn a lot from the mentor. Yet, it need not be a very formal relationship.

We can certainly have loads of fun together, but progress and sincerity must always be a major part of the equation.

In the corporate world, as in the art world, the business world, the politics world, the science world, those who aspire to reach the top, are advised to find mentors for themselves. While I was working at IBM, we were formally trained how to identify, approach, and work with mentors. Finding a mentor is always the mentee's responsibility.

Here are some famous mentor-mentee pairs:

Chanakya mentored Chandragupta Maurya to conquer and consolidate a large empire.

Benjamin Graham was Warren Buffet’s mentor since Warren was 21 years old.

Retired basketball player Bill Russell says his mother was his greatest mentor.

Mother Teresa was mentored by Father Michael van der Peet.

In the Mahabharata, Krishna was Arjun’s mentor.

The mentor - mentee relationship is as old has human history itself.


When I want speed AND right direction in my life, having a mentor is absolutely a must.

But the question is this - why should my mentor give me her valuable time?

For that to happen, I must be a GREAT mentee.

Here are a few things that I have done, that have helped me gain the time and attention of my mentors:

1 - Be PROACTIVE and ask them for help. Don’t be shy. Don’t think they are too busy. Great mentors are always in search of great mentees.

2 - At the end of a meeting with the mentor, be proactive and set the date for the NEXT MEETING yourself. Don’t wait for them to ask you.

3 - Takes notes and create an ACTION PLAN after every meeting. Send the action plan to them the same day.

4 - Report back to them on your PROGRESS on a regular basis (weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly, based on the nature of the relationship)

5 - Be very very honest and SINCERE. Don’t be ashamed to face your failures and shortcomings.

In whichever aspect of my life I have done these, I have always had great mentors in my life, and I have certainly had brilliant progress and satisfaction!

Now, do you want to find mentors?

All you need to do is find someone around who is experienced in whatever aspect of life you are interested in growing in. Become an excellent mentee. Implement the above 5 points with them.

IMPORTANT - They DON'T need to agree to be your mentor. Remember the story of Eklavya?

You be a great mentee first.


My next goal at Enterprise India Fellowship is to create a community 10000 ambitious and energetic entrepreneurs and change-makers who have big dreams in any field of work. I am looking for mentors who have created miracles in the digital world. Do you know anyone? I promise I will be a GREAT MENTEE!

And how about you? Are you ready to be a good mentee?

There is a Zen saying that says - 'When the student is ready, the teacher appears.'

You will be amazed, the moment you are ready to be a mentee, a mentor shall magically appear. This is my guarantee to you :-)


In friendship and with gratitude,