I’ll never forget the feeling.
Standing on stage as the audience cheered and clapped.
It wasn’t Carnegie Hall but it changed my life.
Here’s the story…
Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a concert pianist, and practiced every day for four, five hours or more. 🎹🎹🎹
Though I was accepted to the Juilliard School, I struggled.
My teacher discouraged me from learning pieces that were “too difficult.”
I entered competitions but never made it past preliminary rounds.
Eventually, I abandoned my dream of a career in music and enrolled in law school.
There, despite the pressure of studying and working as a law clerk, I decided to enter a national piano competition.
Every night, after evening classes, I headed to the music school where I practiced for two or three hours until midnight.
A few months later, I did it.
I won 2nd prize in the competition and performed Rachmaninoff Concerto #1 with orchestra.
More importantly, I proved to myself what I was really capable of.
The key to success?
It wasn’t a sudden increase in talent or more time in front of the keyboard.
In fact, I practiced half as much as I did growing up.
The difference was: my approach to practice:
1️⃣ I set specific goals.
Time was limited so, every session, I knew exactly what I needed to accomplish. This gave me laser focus.
2️⃣I created a feedback loop.
I didn’t just rely on subjective perception. I recorded my playing so I could listen objectively and improve specific aspects with each repetition.
3️⃣ I got support from a teacher and fellow musicians.
Playing for others in a safe space highlighted the weak links and gave me the confidence to play full out — not hold back — when the stakes were high.
It’s the same thing when you’re a tech founder in growth mode, leading a team of smart, ambitious people.
You need to be getting better faster than everyone else.
When competition is heating up.
And everyone is watching.
Otherwise you become the bottleneck.
If you’re ready to learn how to practice the skills and strategies of great leadership, then let’s talk, I’d love to help.