Tori Amos is a singer-songwriter, composer and accomplished pianist from the US. She began composing music on the piano by the time she was three years old. At the age of five she was admitted to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University with a full scholarship, the youngest person ever to be invited to attend. Interestingly, she was expelled at the age of 11 for ‘musical insubordination’, which may be a foreshadow to some of her musical choices later in her career.
Tori’s incredibly talented and incredibly well-regarded in the music industry, having received five MTV VMA nominations and eight Grammy Award nominations along with numerous other award throughout her long music career. Part of the reason she’s earned so many awards is because she’s released an astounding 15 albums since the age of 17, making her one of the most prolific artists around.
And being prolific is part of the reason that she’s so successful.
The Power of the Prolific Expert
The Prolific Model
When it comes to creating, there are extremes. On the one end is crazy. That’s where we’re so busy creating and working and doing all the things that we get burnt out and overwhelmed. On the other end is mainstream. When we’re mainstream we’ll find it hard to stand out from the crowd because we’re just like everyone else.
But between crazy and mainstream lies prolific. This is the Goldilocks Zone where we’re motivated to spend our time creating and working, but on our own terms. This is the place where it gets polarising, because it’s here that you start having your own voice by sharing your thoughts and opinions. But this is also the place where you can start to generate real income and real success in your business.
Research looking at the careers of 2,800 of the world’s top scientists found that those who published the most papers also had the biggest breakthroughs and accumulated the most prizes. This holds true for experts as well. Once you’re in the prolific sweet spot, it will drive your success.
Tori Amos has found this sweet spot. Yes, she’s polarising. She’s adored by her fans, but there are many others that don’t enjoy her particular style of music, which is off-beat and confrontational. But she is also extremely successful.
What Holds Us Back from Being Prolific
Being prolific leads to success. Yet, we often hold ourselves back from really putting ourselves out there, from creating content that showcases our expertise and ourselves. Why do we do that?
The Tall Poppy Syndrome
In our culture we have the idea of the tall poppy syndrome. This is where we don’t believe it’s cool to stand out or have a voice. Instead, in Australia, we reward the mainstream and disincentivize anything that would seem to hold us above someone else. This is derived from our convict and strong compliance culture.
Fear of being polarising.
To be comfortable with being prolific, experts must get comfortable with being polarising. We have to recognise that when we put ourselves out there, not everyone will like us. But the more we’re willing to accept that, the more we’ll be able to create and create often.
Having a scarcity mindset.
We’re often afraid that if we put ourselves out there through creating content, that we’ll lose clients or revenue. But becoming prolific gives you a chance to showcase your own voice. And while this might drive away the ‘wrong’ clients, it will draw in the ‘right’ ones.
Not having new opportunities or experiences.
Tori Amos famously said, ‘There are ways to stimulate being prolific, and part of that is making pilgrimages, and being open to listening, changing up the routine.’
In today’s environment, many of us aren’t getting the same experiences that we once were. We’re home more. We’re working directly with less people, and working more from behind the computer. As experts we’re not out giving keynotes or holding workshops. But we can still grab hold of opportunities and experiences (insert internal link from new article), and this will lead us to being more prolific.
Not knowing who you are.
A big part of being prolific is knowing yourself. When you know who you are, you have the conviction to have a voice, to say what you think and believe and to be polarising. Understanding yourself helps you to not care what other people think, especially those that don’t particularly care about you. Once you know yourself, and have a voice, you have all the tools you need to become a prolific expert.
Next Steps: How to Become Prolific
- Understand your identity – who you are – and accept that not everyone will like you all the time.
- Be conscious and aware when it comes to capturing your own ideas. As Kurt Cobain said, ‘I’ve never been a very prolific person, so when creativity flows, it flows. I find myself scribbling on little notepads and pieces of loose paper, which results in a very small portion of my writings to ever show up in true form.’
- Publish your work. You’re only prolific if you actually publish. If you need support to do so, then find it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker and the author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. With over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently, she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. She delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.