When you think of ice sculpting, do you immediately think “great business idea?” Probably not. It’s hard to picture carving chunks of ice with power tools as little more than an eccentric hobby.
But sometimes the “eccentric” ideas are the best ones.
Fear No Ice is a performance ice-sculpting company that’s been going strong for 20 years. The idea for this business came about when Scott Rella and his two partners—all chefs—realized that whenever they were sculpting ice for an event, it drew a crowd.
“I don’t know exactly when the moment was but we started saying, ‘Instead of just sculpting, why don’t we put on a little show?'” says Rella. Today, Fear No Ice have performed at the Winter Olympics and traveled all over the world with their act. They’ve produced ice art for movie sets and for winter festivals around the world. And the business has even evolved into doing corporate-team building programs.
But Fear No Ice is far from the only crazy idea that became a surprising success.
Take, for example, author Lynn Truss. While we all use—and are regularly confused by—punctuation, it’s hardly the first subject that comes to mind if you’re aiming to write a bestseller.
Lynn—the author of the enormously successful Eats, Shoots & Leaves—was as surprised as anyone that her treatise on proper punctuation took the publishing world by storm. “No one involved in the production of Eats, Shoots & Leaves expected the words ‘runaway’ and ‘bestseller’ would ever be associated with it,” says Lynn.
No conventional book of business advice would suggest that any road to success is paved with ice sculpting or punctuation instruction. Yet, as is so often the case, conventional wisdom would be wrong.
Although surprising success stories like these seem to have little in common, there is one thing shared by all such tales: pure unadulterated passion. Making a fortune was not on the “to-do list” for Lynne Truss or Scott Rella. But they were rewarded for their passion for, and dedication to, their crazy ideas.
Nearly every day someone’s passion brings about another unexpected success story. Whether it’s passion for the game of business, an idea, a better way of doing things, personal freedom, or living an adventurous life, passion is the thread that runs through every great story of surprising success.
Happily, passion is a renewable resource—it’s never gone for good. So, if yours has dwindled, make it your priority to reignite it and start applying it to your own success. Start now and you too could end up in the Surprising Success Hall of Fame.
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