For Akshay Munjal, founder and CEO of Hero Vired, waking up early to start his day was a distant dream till before the pandemic. Now, with a renewed focus on health, New Delhi-based Munjal wakes up at 5.30 am every day and plays tennis — he can see the difference, he says, as it allows him energy and time to dedicate to things beyond work.
Munjal began Hero Vired, an ed-tech company backed by the Hero Group, in 2021. However, he’s not new to the education sector. In 2014, he founded BML Munjal University and lead the group’s professional upskilling company Hero Mindmine. Before this, Munjal started his career with Accenture.
In this interview with Lounge, he speaks about his mentorship style and what sculpting has taught him. Edited excerpts.
Whom do you consider your mentor and why?
My grandfather, Brijmohan Lall Munjal, has been the biggest influence in my personal and professional life. His philosophy was to ‘focus on the basics and big things will take care of themselves’. What he meant by basics was punctuality, discipline, hard work, integrity, and values.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
A mentor recognises your innate talent and guides you to bring out the best. They are sounding boards and help you introspect and retrospect with your best interest in mind. I believe in leading by example and learning by doing.
What's your morning routine?
I wake up at 5.30 am, play tennis for an hour, and spend time with my kids before they leave for school. This helps me get supercharged for my day.
What are your productivity hacks?
I believe in setting weekly targets, and focussing on a mix of high value and operational output, to achieve both personal and company goals. The ever-evolving economic landscape and strengthening of the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) trend have reaffirmed the significance of immediate and short-term goals, in addition to the larger ones.
Do you pursue any serious hobbies?
I try to make time for sculpting, which I’ve been interested in since my school days. (I took up sculpting again) in 2010. It is relaxing, yes, but it also teaches you various life lessons.
One is acceptance. An artist cannot force his will on the clay. No matter how beautiful a sculpture is, it can just break for no fault of yours. Likewise, in life, we need to be open to taking risks and concentrate on putting in all our efforts without worrying about the outcome.
The other virtue is patience. Just as you can’t force clay to mould (into shape) quickly, the key is to put in all effort and then wait and watch.
Any book you would recommend about mentorship and workplace growth? Why?
I am a voracious reader and my home library is stacked with books of all genres. I would recommend the following as a must-read.
Pebbles of Perception by Laurence Endersen reaffirms the significance of our choices in shaping our lives. It is inspired by Poor Charlie’s Almanac and is a playbook for young people to achieve success. Through succinct yet powerful storytelling, the author aims to impart worldly wisdom to young people so that they need not grow old to become wise.
Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel is a must-read if you are looking for a recommendation on how to plan and manage your expenses prudently. It explores the psychological aspects of Personal Finance and Money Management and their impact on our lifestyle. Every chapter gives financial life lessons through interesting anecdotes and examples.
Masters of Scale, authored by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, delves into the lives of successful entrepreneurs and their secret ingredients for achieving success. The book is truly inspirational not only for aspiring entrepreneurs but anyone looking to propel their career onto a higher trajectory.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.