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Sachin Jain: My piano teacher recently told me about a difficult early mentor whose advice left a lasting impression and led to major improvements in her playing
Apr 8, 2024, 12:09

Sachin Jain: My piano teacher recently told me about a difficult early mentor whose advice left a lasting impression and led to major improvements in her playing

Sachin Jain, President and CEO of SCAN Group and Health Plan, recently posted on LinkedIn:

“My piano teacher recently told me about a difficult early mentor who was harsh in style and feedback—but whose advice left a lasting impression and led to major improvements in her playing.

I asked her… ‘Was the harshness critical to your improvement?’

And she said… ‘Yes’. It left an impression and made me rethink my approach to practice and playing. But I was fortunately at an age and stage of my development where it made me better. Had I been less confident in myself, it might have made me quit playing.

This leads to an interesting topic. The diversity of voices we need in our lives to get better and improve.

While we all certainly need supportive voices who unconditionally encourage us, some of us occasionally need “the harsh piano teacher” to get us to question our assumptions and improve.

When I reflect on it—some of my greatest growth has happened working with people who were hard on me and offered timely redirection—but who I also know had the best of intentions.

And people like this abound in different settings:

  • The fitness instructor who yells at us to pedal harder or run faster…
  • The professor who lights up your paper with red ink…
  • The boss with exacting standards for whom nothing is ever good enough…

Our most impactful mentors and bosses aren’t always the nicest and most conventionally supportive. Sometimes they are the ones who tell us harsh truths are the ones who point us in the right direction. And in the land of milquetoast advice and generic encouragement (that often doesn’t take a lot of effort or forethought or courage)—the most memorable and impactful mentors and bosses may be the ones that extend themselves to tell you what they really think. Provided we are in a place to hear them.

Have you ever had a ‘harsh piano teacher’ in one setting or another? Did they leave a lasting impression? How did it feel at the moment? Looking back, does it feel the same or different?”

Source: Sachin Jain/LinkedIn