There are two types of people that have immediate power over our lives: Teachers and Bosses. In some ways they both play similar roles. But the outcomes are very different.
Bosses - call them managers or shift supervisors or even professors - are those that seem to exercise influence over most of our lives. They can be tolerable or terrible, power mad or occasionally even great. They can teach us some great lessons or they can ensure that our lives can become a very unfortunate place to be. What unites them is the fact that they exercise power over our lives and in some cases our destinies, power that derives simply from the position that they occupy in our lives.
Teachers - call them coach or sensei or mentor or even a real teacher - are different. They can exercise vast influence over lives, from reigning in our small vices to completely changing the course of our lives. The difference is that we ultimately put ourselves under their guidance and control. It is not something that we are forced to do - instead, we do this willingly in the hopes that we will emerge changed and improved on the other side.
I have had many bosses. I have had few teachers - and the teachers I have had always improved me. They have been hard on me - in some cases, far harder than even the worst of bosses. But I have always trusted that in their difficulty, they have had my ultimate growth and success in mind.
Why? Because to put ourselves in the hand of a teacher is to put ourselves in a position of vulnerability and trust. It is to surrender some level of rights of ourselves to another, to make ourself vulnerable in a way that if the teacher fails, will at best embarrass us and at worst hurt us. It is to believe that someone can come into our lives and exercise power over us in a way that will ultimately be to our benefit, not our detriment.
Bottom line? Wherever possible seek out Teachers in every aspect of your life. Bosses - at least all the ones except the Teachers - view us as something which is required for achieving their own goals. Teachers view us as work in progress towards a better, fuller, richer us.