Experiment Without Limits: Inside the Creative Process
After three years of coaching, I had no idea why they hired me. I still thought that entrepreneurs paid me for my expertise.
You see, I’ve read just about every book, study, and blog that even touches on productivity or performance. I’ve adopted (and dropped) all the tools and systems at this point. I was quite invested in this self-image of Chris Sparks, Certified Expert.
I wanted so badly to believe that all of my personal experiments had a higher purpose. Surely, if everyone could just follow my own path, without all the missteps...
I’ve slowly realized my error in approach. The truth still blows my mind. Knowledge is only useful as a force multiplier. Knowledge X Action = Results. Without the right action, directed in the right direction, the equation spits out zero. Sometimes negative.
The most important thing I can offer clients is my objectivity: recognizing unproductive patterns and helping them alter contexts to break those patterns, illuminating wins and building solid systems that help clients unlock future value. All the things that don’t scale—these are the truly valuable pieces.
In poker, knowledge is something to be hoarded from your competition. Cards are kept close to your chest. But as a performance coach, I realized I no longer had competition. My theme for 2019 has been: “The biggest winners do not compete.” What if I took everything I had learned and open-sourced it?
I had kept hundreds of pages of notes from conversations and I went through each with one question in mind: “What techniques have had the most impact?” I started building a wiki of the key principles and my best practices for achieving peak performance.
Months passed. My level of interest oscillated. There was clearly something valuable here but what was missing? It hit me, once again. I was falling into that same comfortable trap of knowledge sharing. How could I get readers to cross that critical threshold from knowing → acting? A concept began to crystallize. The workbook format was born.
Action has two prerequisites: reflection and planning. I compiled my most incisive questions for inspiring deep reflection on what holds people back. I documented all of my processes and converted them into step-by-step experiments that anyone can follow. I brought on a designer to create a look and feel worthy of a reader's attention.
Each additional page reduced the (already small) chance of actual implementation. I endeavored to strip my system down to the essential. I reiterated to myself and my team that this project will deliver results.
Hundreds of hours and 32 iterations later, Experiment Without Limits is out in the wild. No matter the size of your ambitions, I am confident there is something inside which will propel you to the next level.
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