Superpowers School
Superpowers School - Self-Improvement Podcast for Tech People
E106: Self-Help - Harnessing the Power of Intentional Mastery: A Path to Achieving Excellence - William Buist (Intentional Mastery)

E106: Self-Help - Harnessing the Power of Intentional Mastery: A Path to Achieving Excellence - William Buist (Intentional Mastery)

William Buist (Intentional Mastery)

Learning has become a superpower in the modern world we live in. But learning at a deep level is something that is extremely challenging. In this episode we explore the topic of Intentional Mastery and why it matters.

Key topics covered in this episode:

👉🏽 What does Mastery mean, and why does it matter?

👉🏽 Can you fast-track Mastery? Are there shortcuts?

👉🏽 What are the common strategic mistakes?

William Buist

William Buist enables business owners to become the masters of their markets, operate more effectively, and stand out from all their competitors. With a strategic focus on building better business daily, his clients are at the heart of their work, making better decisions and empowered to excel.

William thrives at supporting his clients as they develop a better, resonant understanding of their strategic intentions to create a company that is more aligned with their purpose. He knows that by asking the right questions, effective decisions will result. Those judgments will be based on a deeper, more complete understanding because of an unbiased analysis of the appropriate elements.

William prides himself on his well-honed skill, posing questions that unlock blocks and barriers. William is a speaker, business mentor and author of “Intentional Mastery: Step Beyond Your Expertise and Build Better Business”. He is a keen photographer, walker and skier.

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[00:01:03] Paddy Dhanda: Dear friend, thank you for joining me for another episode of the Superpower School podcast. I'm your host, Paddy Dander, and on today's show I have a fellow Britt. He is an author, a business mentor, a speaker and he's called William Bust. Did I get that right? Will

[00:01:22] William Buist: you, did you did Patty?

Yes. Thank you very much and delight to be with you today for our conversation. Looking forward to it. Oh,

[00:01:29] Paddy Dhanda: so am I, and I don't wanna spoil the topic that we're gonna go into just yet, but I'm really intrigued because you and I, we've literally only spoke for about five minutes beforehand and just some of your background really got me curious.

And I think it's gonna be, Extremely useful for the audience of this podcast. So I'm really excited about that. But before we go into that, first of all, where are you sitting right now?

[00:01:57] William Buist: I'm in an office that we are very fortunate to have. It's a small office in the garden of the house I live in, and that house is about 15 miles south of Oxford in between Oxford and Newbury, right in the middle of England.

About as far from the sea as you can get.

[00:02:11] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, wow. I wouldn't be complaining if I was sat in that environment because it looks amazing. And William, in terms of your background, could you share like your area of expertise in terms of how you've been helping people and also how you'd ended up in this

[00:02:27] William Buist: area?

Yeah, of course. I started my career. I left university and I guess like quite a few people, I left university without really having a clear idea of where I was gonna take a career. Some people are very fortunate. They fall into the thing they love and they know from day one what they're going to do.

And I wasn't one of those and I ended up in the insurance industry. So I had a career in insurance. I was an underwriter. The underwriters are the people who work out how much to charge for something that hasn't happened yet. It's an easy way to describe it. And I was in the industry for about 21 years, and towards the end of it I was working a lot with project teams and leading project teams.

So there's a lot of kind of, The leadership stuff that we maybe will come on and talk about happening there. And I got really interested in looking at how people in work develop the knowledge of what they do and the skills that they have and how they use experience. And in 2004, I set up my own business and started working with small business owners to bring some of that thinking, to help them develop strategies and to think about how they wanted to.

As I call it, build better business. And I carried on being curious about that way people learn. And that led me to think about what I call these days, intentional mastery. And I'll split that into the two halves. So first of all, the mastery bit, that's about how people go from knowing very little about a topic.

If you are wanting to learn to code a computer you've got to understand the computer languages and you may know none of them. First of all you look for knowledge and you learn about the different types of languages and what they do. You then go on, as a novice, you start writing code, but that's likely not to work very well to begin with 'cause you haven't got that much experience or skill at it.

So those novices, as I call them, Searching for skill development and when they've got that, they become practitioners, people who can do what they do really well. But again, to use computer language as an example, there may be code really well in one language, but they can't yet transfer that insight, that knowledge into a different language.

In my day I learned a little bit of coding and it thing called cobalt, which you may remember long time. Nowadays there's a whole host of different languages and I don't know pretty much any of them, which is fabulous. But then from that practitioner level, people go on, they build experience and they become an expert, and they become that person that we know they really know their topic well.

I think there's another stage and that. Last stage is the step towards mastery, and that's that when somebody arrives in the room who really knows a subject inside out, a great depth, can answer any question, is never phased. They've got experience across a wide range of stuff, and importantly, I think they have insights into.

Not just that topic, but how to share it with others, how to see the benefits of it. They can talk with equal comfort to somebody who knows absolutely nothing about their topic, as well as somebody who is already an expert and they just stand out in their market. So that's the mastery bit. I think the other thing and the reason why the book that I wrote is called Intentional Mastery is because I don't think you can make that shift from practitioner to expert to master unless you are completely deliberate about it.

You make a conscious effort. To become the best person in the world, perhaps at the thing that you do. And I've seen business people good practitioners run great businesses successfully, but they're just a kind of run of the mill business. They're another insert name of business here, another accountant, another computer agency, another marketing agency.

But there's a few who say, no, that's not enough. I need to stand out. I need to be really at the top of their game. And they take those intentional steps. And then you get the businesses that really thrive in their niche, and they might be quite small. They're just serving a very particular niche area.

Or they might be successful in the sense of growing and employing lots of people and becoming internationally known. So that building better business, part of what I talk about is really the better bit is down to the business owner and what is better for them. There is no universal definition of what's better for everybody.

I don't think.

[00:07:14] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, that gives me some really good insight then into your kind of specialist subject. And in your experience, I'm sure you've worked with many different people, are we in a state where people are successfully getting to this level of a mastery? Or are you finding that actually it's only a handful of people that are achieving

[00:07:37] William Buist: this?

I think there's some places where you can see mastery very clearly and very obviously. The simplest example of that is in sport because we see premiership, footballers on the television. If we watch Match of the Day or we're just in the middle of summer in 2023 and England just drew the cricket and there was some fabulous cricket played as well in the Ashe series.

 These are people who really are at the top of their game and what I would call the masters of what they do. They're very easy to spot. I think they're much harder to spot in business particularly if you've got some masters who are within a big business. That itself perhaps isn't yet masterful, but the people within it are.

I think there are diminishing numbers. There's an army of practitioners. Most of the people who are working are practitioners at what they do. A few will go on and become experts, but a reasonably high proportion it's that intentionality piece I think that gets in the way of people thinking, I can really thrive here, really put down a marker as being the only person who does what I do this way.

And I think that's an important part of it. It becomes part of who we are as individuals as much as it is what we do as an individual. You see it too. The other areas where I think it's a little bit more obvious in healthcare, if you have the need for some serious healthcare, and I hope none of your listeners do, but if they do, they go to a specialist, you seek out the expert or the master of that area.

And you see it in the law too. You hear these big cases with difficult challenges being talked at through the courts and there'll be. A few people whose names keep coming back as the lawyers that are representing those people. And that's because they are the masters of that bit of the law.

But what you won't find is somebody who's good at copyright law taking on a V A T tribunal case, because it's not their, it's not their area of mastery. Their area was contract law. So that's where they stick.

[00:09:46] Paddy Dhanda: Yeah, the phrase that comes to mind is the one about jack of all trades, master of none is sometimes used.

And when I coach and train people in my day-to-day job, which is helping tech teams build products and services, something that we often talk about is T-shaped skills. And talking about this kind of having a breadth of skills. But long, that's the top of the T. And then having a deep understanding of maybe one or two things, in your opinion, to really attain this level of mastery.

Should we be focused on just one thing or could someone who's passionate about multiple things be your mastery in all of

[00:10:27] William Buist: those? It is a really interesting question and I like the T-shaped model. It's that kind of mile wide and an inch deep, or an inch wide and a mile deep and which are you going to choose?

There is definitely a place for generalists, people who know a wide range of things and can Do them practically. It's why I call them practitioners, you know, can do all of those things practically reasonably well. And that's great. I think you can certainly be master of more than one thing.

As a hobby, I've been a photographer for most of my life. I find bits of what I do as a photographer. I'm no master at it. Getting reasonably competent with a camera and when producing some lovely images from time to time. But what I find is that I'm getting insight from framing a picture that I'm then thinking about working with one of my clients.

I'll think about what picture is their business painting? What are people seeing? From that business, how are they framing it? How much exposure have they got? Those are all photographic words that translate well into the business arena as well. So I think you can be master of a few things, but you can't be master of everything.

It is that jack of all trades, master of none. And it's converse, it is master of a few related things, maybe drawing insights from each of those to support the others. But it's very unlikely you could be a master builder and a master at the violin and a master at football. We don't see sports people being masters of multiple sports. They focus on one. So I think it's a mile deep, but just an inch wide. Got it. I love that. I've never

[00:12:17] Paddy Dhanda: heard it that being put in that way before. So that's that's something I'm gonna take away. So thank you for that. And how much of it is natural talent?

We always hear about people that we know who are really good at something and we go, yeah, but they're just a natural at that. That's something they're just born with. So in some ways we convinced ourselves that we could never be that good because we weren't born with that talent.

How much of it is hard work. And actual lifelong learning.

[00:12:50] William Buist: It's a fascinating area, isn't it? I'm five foot seven and a bit, I'm quite short really. Probably would never have succeeded as a basketball player however much I wanted to.

I'm just not tall enough. And so there's a constraint there, a physical constraint that I can't get past. I've run marathons, but never at the sort of speed that the marathon runners that win world records do. Could I have run them faster if I'd put more time and effort in?

Yeah, of course I could, without question. As a young man, could I have got to those world record times? I suppose I'll never know really, but I somehow doubt it. I just think I'm not built that way. So I think there are some things where we look at them and go, yeah, I can never really be the very best at that.

But then of course there's the other side of that coin and that is, I think when we're born, we don't innately have a set of talents so that almost everything work related, at least business related. We learn as we go, as we grow up and as we choose, as we make choices at school about which subjects to study and at university, if we go to university, and so on.

So we've got all that choice making along the way that leads us down. To a path that says, actually I want, I'm going to really focus on being an underwriter as it was in my case. And then what happens is you learn that you get the knowledge, you learn and get the skills and get those honed through experience and trial and error and making mistakes and that will certainly get, anybody, I think, can get to a practitioner of pretty much anything, that practitioner level.

Get your expert by putting more time and effort in and narrowing down the width of the field you're studying to, so that you can go deeper with what's left. Can you get to master? If there are no constraints, no physical constraints certainly when we think about knowledge type work and the sort of thing that I'm doing, mentoring people, the sort of work that you are doing, I don't think there's anything.

It's there to constrain us apart from our own belief and our own ability. And that again, comes back to intentionality, doesn't it? If we don't believe we can get that step up and get better, we probably won't try because we don't believe we can get there. And because we don't try, guess what we don't. I think it is very much a mindset thing and if you want to be a better business person tomorrow will then set out to do that. Start asking the questions that enable you to improve. What is it you need to know? What else do you need to develop a skill with? What more experience do you need? How are you gonna get that? Who do you know who can work with you and lift your game and mentor you to be that next best person?

[00:15:50] Paddy Dhanda: I have a lot of respect, William, for authors of books because I appreciate how much time and effort it takes to write a book. There's thousands of words you've gotta get together and often it can be a lifelong piece of work where people bring together all their experiences. When you are writing the book, I'm sure you did lots of research.

Is there any scientific research or interesting studies that you came across that you could share to back up some of the concepts in the book?

[00:16:22] William Buist: You remember I was saying I was really curious about the way that people learn, particularly in business and the way they develop that knowledge and skill and experience and how they got insights.

And I spent quite a bit of time looking at the psychology of that. So I was thinking about really about how adults learn and. One of the things I studied there was a psychological study around four different ways that adults learn. And there's the first of which is around what they call pedagogy learning.

That's like learning like a child which was all is the stage where you go from explorer to novice when you are needing to get. That extra information, the extra facts. The second stage they talked about was I can't remember the name, they gave it off the top of my head, but this is about the skills development and it's all about practical, using your hands, seeing things work and that kinesthetic learning Yeah.

Kind of kinesthetic learning. Yeah, exactly. And then, We go on to the third type of learning that adults do, which is all about experiential learning and learning from, again, from doing and seeing what works, what doesn't, what goes wrong. And that experiential learning takes you, I think, from practitioner to expert.

The interesting thing with the psychology study was that they looked at those three ways of learning and were saying, these are all filling in gaps. They're filling in something that's missing. So something that that you haven't got, but you need. And the last stage was not about filling in a gap.

It was about drawing insight from other aspects of life. Things that you come across, seeing connections that other people don't make. And that for me is the bit that sits between expert and master. So you can keep building the knowledge, keep honing the skill, keep getting more experience. That will get you to expert, but it won't get you to master.

It's that last bit about seeing the insights that take you the last bit of that. And it was Ken Ack and. William Bergquist, I think that were the psychologists that did that study. And it felt really like a really good fit with the model that I'm that I've developed. And so I think there's a lot of overlap there between the two bits.

[00:18:53] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, fantastic. And so that gets me curious about the model that you've developed. Could you share some insights on that? Is that a framework that people can pick up and start to put into action themselves? I.

[00:19:07] William Buist: I think it is. It really boils down that, first of all, what are you really struggling?

That you don't know enough? You haven't got enough facts to really understand the topic. That's when you are an explorer, right at the beginning of the model. So it's five stages. Explore to novice to practitioner that is about that building skills and learning how to do it. So the first stage, if you like, is learning what it is.

Second stage is learning how to do it. That takes you to practitioner, practitioner to expert, is about experience and about learning all of the different contexts in which what you are doing can work and building the knowledge of around. Again, this is about depth. It's about narrowing down the width of what you are working with, but going much deeper with what's left.

And then the last bit is say from expert to master about thinking about where else you can draw inspiration from. Where are the insights? What have you not thought about in connection with your work? And that's the bit that really stands you out, I think, because it allows you to tell stories, allow you to share that. Deep knowledge with an audience that hasn't yet been through that journey and have it land well. I remember reading and had the good fortune to meet and chat to Clive Woodward as part of what was doing with the book. Clive who I was the England coach that won the Rugby World Cup.

It's getting to be quite a long time ago now, but nevertheless, still remember it. He talks in his book winning and talks that I've seen him give about. The idea of two types of people, he called them rocks and sponges so that the rocks were people who thought they knew best already and wouldn't take new information, couldn't absorb new ways of doing things, and he fairly quickly.

Dropped them from the squad and the sponges who were hungry for new knowledge and new skill and new insight who would absorb it and try things out and wanted data. And he was one of the first people to bring really detailed data about the positions on the field, how much, how many yards they'd run in the match, how hard they were working as a team and using technology to help.

Give them that information, be able to analyze it after the game and look at why did we lose a point here? Why did we lose a try? What happened? Where were we mispositioned And so helping to improve it. And that's that intentional piece at work again. And being really determined to find out how you get better and what data you need to do that, what knowledge, what skill, what experience, and what insight.

[00:21:49] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, thank you. I love that analogy as well. The rock or sponge analogy, which I can think of a few people that I know that would fit into each of those categories. So it's quite interesting. Your mind starts visualizing this stuff. It's, and I know there's some people who really try hard at something.

I've done it myself. I've thought, right. I'm gonna learn this thing. I'm gonna try and get really good at it. I. Read on the topic. I try to practice the skill, but then I find that I'm not making as much progress that I hoped. So are there any pitfalls that we should look out for when we're on this journey towards mastery that you would suggest we avoid?

[00:22:35] William Buist: Yeah, and I think that's really common that you start something, you do the reading about it. I'm. Learning. I'm going to Italy in the spring. Well, I thought, I don't really speak much Italian, so I better start learning at least some basic Italian, and I've hit that war way.

I don't feel like I'm getting any better. And it's difficult, isn't it, this, you've got to motivate yourself to drive through that. And I think the reason that happens is because you realize. How big that topic is. You know, speaking a language. I've spoken English all my life and I know, effectively I know maybe, certainly a large number of the words that are in the Oxford English dictionary.

There's plenty I don't know as well, but I know enough to get by. I don't know anything like enough of the words in Italian to get by. So I've got to do a lot of knowledge gathering. And that feels like a bit like wadding through treacle, but they'll, I know there will come a point when suddenly things start to become much easier because they become familiar.

 And at that point I can move on again. So the first bit of advice really is if you are waiting through Treacle, I think it was Churchill who said, if you're going through, hell keep going. 'cause you want to get out the other side of it. So you know, if you are waiting through cheek, you'll keep waiting because if you just stop, you're just left in the treacle, every time you go back to it, you're still in the treacle and it doesn't feel like things have got better.

So keep going. Keep at it, but also recognize where you are on the journey. I'm in this knowledge gathering phase, so what I shouldn't try to do right now is to jump ahead and try to be an expert. Italian because that's too big a jump. I need to keep gathering the knowledge so that I can then work on the skill of speaking effectively and conversationally.

And I haven't got enough of the knowledge yet to do that, so I've got to just keep learning the vocab. Musicians talk about this a lot. They talk about, that great practice isn't about playing pieces, it's about doing scales. I. That's about building the skill of playing the instrument in a way that you really know and understand it.

Then you can work on the pieces and get the piece to sound really good because you are, where Csharp is or dfl or whatever on the Keys, if it's a piano. And so again, that wadding through that early stuff takes a bit of time, but it's worth it.

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[00:26:37] Paddy Dhanda: That's great advice. And actually the skill I was thinking of was also languages for myself because I enrolled onto a Spanish speaking class a few years ago with a good friend of mine, and my assumption was, if I do this with a friend, then we can push each other along.

The problem was, I think both was. Got to hell and then we both run back the other way. Where if one of us had stayed, I think they might have pulled the other one along, but

[00:27:04] William Buist: We both decided we couldn't really continue it. I mean, it's a really important point too for people and maybe in people who are listening to us today who are leading teams of people that.

If you're looking at your team and thinking, how do I best support them? If you were a Spanish teacher for you and your friend, recognizing that you were in that stage where you needed more vocabulary and you needed more understanding about how the verbs work, perhaps when you are thinking about past and future tenses and all those things where we get muzzled up easily.

If they recognize that's where you are, then they can focus on making that an enjoyable part of the journey for you. But if they think you've got further and start expecting you to hold a conversation with them in Spanish and you can't do it, that just frustrates you. Now we take that into business and we think about a business challenge.

If you are leading a team and you've got somebody who just doesn't have the knowledge to do the job, your job as leader is to share the knowledge, not. Failing to deliver the of the model helps. Leaders to do that too. To just think about all your people and where are they on that journey towards mastery in the skills that you need them to have so that the team works effectively.

I've seen when leaders do that and start really focusing how they support their team members, the whole team suddenly comes to life and gets excited again. It's fab.

[00:28:36] Paddy Dhanda: Talking about fab. So in your experience as you've worked with teams and individuals, is there one that really sticks out for you where you were able to help them attain that level of mastery?

And could you share some of the insights

[00:28:52] William Buist: there? Yeah, of course. There's one that really does stand out. It was a great deal of fun. We had a lot of fun working together as well and I think that's important. The third section of my book is called Mastering Joy.

It's all about making sure that what we're doing is fun along the way. I was working with a family owned training business and the family members Who were running the business were for various reasons needing to step away, not really related to the business at all, but they'd wanted to pass the business on and yet still hang onto some of the values that they'd created.

 Obviously their customers and their clients and their modus operandi, they wanted to make sure we're well and truly protected. 'cause it meant a lot to the family. They just couldn't be in the business long term. They'd appointed a new management team to take over the role of running the business day-to-day.

Four people, some of whom had been in the business for a while. Some who were new to the business with very different skills. There was some finance skills, sales, operational skills, and so on amongst the four people. And I got involved because they were. Really a little bit unsure about how to take it forward and achieve all of these various different aspects that they all wanted to hold onto.

They're keeping the values of the business. And I'll maybe explain why that was important in a minute. And so we worked together over the course of five or six months. We met once a month as a group of four, and I worked with each of them individually as well. And. I think the most important aspect of that was helping them to recognize each other's mastery, each other's talents, because whilst there was the finance guy, finance director of the business, everybody makes an assumption.

They know what that means in terms of that person's skill and. Actually he was a great negotiator. He was quite good at sales as well. And that when needs be, he was a really good project manager too. Had a lot of project skills and those weren't necessarily recognized within the job title, within the name.

And by working with them closely they could see all the talents that they had and then draw on them and act synergistically together. So when there was a project, It didn't automatically mean that the project management aspects went to the operational team in the business because sometimes the finance guy was the best guy to do that.

And the lady who was looking after operations, really extraordinary talent around making sure that all the moving pieces in developing a training course, in delivering it in multiple countries with multiple trainers to a client, Amazing vision to see all those moving pieces and keep 'em in the right place.

 When there were moving pieces elsewhere in the business, they weren't turning to and saying, help us out to make sure we keep our eye on all of these too, until we'd done the work. And then they really stopped thinking about what their job title was and what that meant they should do.

And started thinking about what's the best way to get this particular task delivered? And they really were acting as if they were one person rather than as if there were four people trying to negotiate the best way through it. 'cause they instinctively knew where the right place for this particular piece was.

And that was brilliant to watch. The whole transition, the business was ultimately sold to a another company who have absolutely maintained the values. And the important bit in that was they do a lot of work with a trust fund that they build to help. Predominantly young people in other parts of the world where training and education is difficult.

So they build, for example, they've built floating classrooms in Bangladesh and they've worked in some of the more rundown areas of places like Johannesburg and South Africa where there are, there's a kind of gang culture and kids find it difficult to get the education they need. They're busy doing that outta the back of the business and the work they do training in corporate world and changing lives forever in those places, which, is really important stuff enabled by having the training company that develops the profits to be able to support doing that work makes a difference.

To the rest of the world forever. Fabulous stuff. Oh wow.

[00:33:25] Paddy Dhanda: That's an amazing story. Probably I can understand now why it sticks out so much, just 'cause of the amazing work that they're doing on top of the amazing sort of charity work that they're doing there.

That's phenomenal. And I guess, William, from your side if a client were to come to you and. Say, Hey, we're struggling. We'd like to, build our learning, our skillset in this particular capability. How would you engage with them? Is there a way in which you would kick off that engagement?

And is there anything there that you can share with us?

[00:33:58] William Buist: Yeah, of course. And it's really important actually I think, to make sure early on in any relationship around supporting building better business, that we first of all get a really clear view of where that business is today and what it aspires to.

 We make sure that's all kept in alignment. I have an audit that's on, it's available on the website. It's free to complete. So anybody who's listening who wants to do that would be very welcome. That looks at five strategic areas of running a business. Through the lens of mastery and so I can help to guide people on where they are on that journey right now and where they should focus to get the best result in the short and the long term.

So it's a 20 questions. It's a fairly quick to complete but it doesn't produce automated AI generated report at the end of it. I spend a bit of time looking at the answers and some of the other metadata that I get from the back end of the website, like how long you took to fill in some of the questions, which is quite insightful at times.

And I'll also look at things like LinkedIn profiles, so I get a bit of a flavor for the business as well. There's a report that will go back to people who fill it in and if that's of interest, if they think it's hitting the right notes for where they see the issues too, then we should have a conversation.

And I'd normally start an engagement with that audit followed by. Probably a day spent just talking through those aspirations for the business and where they are now and listening to the answers and playing back some of what I hear and bringing my experience to bear on what that means. I'm hearing, let's say for example, sales are a problem and I'm hearing that you are working 15 hours a day to try to solve that problem and keep everything running.

And I look at those two things and start thinking, well, where is the issue? What is it that there's something wrong in the business that's in that situation? So what is it that's wrong? How can we break that cycle of running to stand still and not getting the result you want?

'cause somewhere there'll be a tweak and it probably is only a tweak that can make a difference. So we look for that allows 'em to get a bit more time in the business to be able to do some other things, and then we can use that time to keep building and making the business better as time goes by.

[00:36:26] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, thank you for that. And we'll share that link in the show notes as well to do that audit. So that's fantastic. Now. I can't finish this episode without mentioning those two dreaded letters. Ai and getting your opinion on a couple of things there, William. Some would argue that in the world we live in right now, we've got such powerful tools that our disposal that.

Yeah, we probably don't need to waste our energy on learning loads of stuff anymore because we can take this shortcut by asking AI to give us the answers for things. What's your opinion on that? Should people be investing as much time as they did in the past in learning and attaining mastery or can they take some shortcuts along the way by using these powerful

[00:37:15] William Buist: tools?

 It answer your question, I don't think that people should spend as much time as they used to learning. I think they should spend more. Actually things like AI allows us to spend more time focusing on learning in those areas where it gives us. A big and a better benefit and a bigger step towards mastery and less time learning the things that can be done by machine.

You know? So it is a very interesting area, AI still despite it, having appeared as a big, bright star in the last certainly no more than a year ago. A year ago, we weren't really talking about it at all, and now it's everywhere. That's partly I think because the technology has reached a point where it can be opened to the world, to everybody.

Computers have got to the level of power to deliver it. The technology, the software behind it has got to the level where it can do it fast enough and so on. So there's a kind of crossed the line where we could, everybody could have access to it. Like a lot of new tools everybody's treating it a little bit like they've got their first hammer and they're hitting everything with it, so they're hitting nails, which is great, but they're also hitting screws and not necessarily using the tool in the best way possible.

 I use ai, I think it's a useful tool in its rightful place, which is for me is mostly around sometimes just helping me to hone an email, maybe to rewrite something I've written and make the tone a bit friendlier or even to make the tone a bit more assertive and a bit more direct.

'cause I have been known to use. 15 words where five will do, so AI's really good at that stuff, I think and can help me really get punchier with what I want to say. What I don't use it for though is I'm not using it to write a complete blog and then posting that unaltered or I could go onto air and say, write a blog about mastery.

It would come back with 600 words. Wouldn't be. Vaguely related to what I'm thinking, I suspect. So you've gotta be careful about how you use them. Use tools in the right way. And as I say, I think that then frees us. 'cause if we use a tool that shortens the time that we were spending before to maybe draft that email or write bits of a proposal, we can do that a little bit quicker.

 That frees up some time. That's fabulous. What are we gonna use the time for? Why not use it to get better? What you do to get more relevant to your target market, to stand out from that target market by not being another company that does all their landing pages written by ai, but put some heart and soul into what you do that says, this is William, be speaking, not chat g p t or what, whichever AI you're using and free up the time to be.

The masterful person that you could be by using the tools really effectively. Oh,

[00:40:22] Paddy Dhanda: great answer. I love that. Spend more time on learning than you did in the past, because we should have that time if we're doing things so much more productively with ai. Where we've saved, let's invest that saving into ourselves.

So that, that's a great way of looking at things. We are running. Towards the end of this episode. But before we leave, William, I'd love to hear any recommendations you have for people who are thinking of continuing their journey towards mastery. Any resources that you would recommend, and could you tell us a little bit more about your book and how people can get hold of that as well?

[00:41:00] William Buist: Yeah, of course. I think there's a couple of things that I think really have made a massive difference for me on my journey. And the first of those was really understanding, spending some time to understand What listening really means. We often talk about, oh, well, people need to listen.

And what does that really mean? And I came across the work of a lady called Nancy Klein. And she's written a series of books I think she's on, she's written three that are around the topic of listening. In fact, the first one was called Time to Think.

The second book was called More Time To Think. And the third book is called The Promise That Changes Everything, which is a great title for book, isn't it? The promise that changes everything fundamentally is, I promise I won't interrupt, and giving people the space to really. Talk and allow their thinking to be develop and to being a really good listener.

And I think the thinking behind all of that has really helped me to become a better leader, a better business mentor. All of those things that, that go with listening. So that's a book I'd recommend, not my book. Somebody else's book that I'd recommend. I would of course also obviously recommend my book.

It's called Intentional Mastery and Step Beyond Your Expertise to Build Better Business. It's in three sections, which I've alluded to. The first is about mastery itself. A bit of an explanation of what that is. You've got a flavor for that from this podcast. The middle section is about the really powerful business strategies that those who are Masters of their game are employing every day to make their business work really well.

And the last part is about mastering joy, which I also mentioned earlier is about making sure that you are focused for yourself on being. You are most joyful. You are most talented. You are most effective at what you do and being the best person you can be, as well as being the best business person you can be.

So that's my book that's available, as they say at all. Good bookshops, although many of them might have to order it in, it comes in the next day. It's on Amazon as well. If you'd like a signed copy, then order it from my website and I will pop a signed copy in the post to you. And that's of, so

[00:43:22] Paddy Dhanda: fantastic.

And again, we'll share that link as well for people in the show notes. William, my final question. So if you were looking back at a younger self, at a younger William who had.

[00:43:39] William Buist: I really looked

[00:43:40] Paddy Dhanda: forward and thought, what am I gonna do with my life? What one big piece of advice would you give yourself having gone through all the experiences you have now?

[00:43:52] William Buist: Yeah, so I think there's a couple of things. I tell one of these stories in the book actually, which is about my relationship with my parents, both of whom unfortunately no longer with us, but various things that I learned from them, and some of which I learned after they had gone which is curious gift that my parents left for me, that I discover things after they've gone that I really should have picked up on while they were still alive.

The biggest single thing I would've said is never ever be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. I spent too many years battling through with things I was struggling with because I didn't want to stick my hand up and say, I need a bit of help here.

And I think that's the thing that. Actually, my parents were busy trying to tell me and I didn't understand until they'd gone. So yeah, stick your hand up and ask for help if you need it, because your friends, your colleagues, the people around you, they don't want you to fail. They don't want you to do badly.

They want to help you. And actually denying them the opportunity when you need the help is a bit daft, isn't it? So yeah, stick your hand up, ask for help. Don't don't be worried about what other people think or think. You might not be doing a great job. They'll think you're doing the brave thing and the right thing and asking for the help in the first place.


[00:45:12] Paddy Dhanda: thank you for sharing that. That's great advice. I often talk about wisdom of crowds and how to collectively we have such diverse skills, backgrounds, knowledge, and Yeah, the more people we can tap into in terms of their knowledge the more interesting things are, rather than us just trying to battle through on our own.

Really thank you for for sharing that. William, it's been a pleasure. I feel like I've become a lot wiser than I had before this conversation. So, that's credit to you and I appreciate you sharing those insights. Yeah, so thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:45:47] William Buist: A pleasure and I really enjoyed the conversation too, Paddy, so thank you very much.

[00:45:52] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, you're welcome.

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