Over 50 years ago, a man with a mission began his life’s work in a dusty, remote location in western South Dakota.
Korczak Ziolkowski had a dream of creating a tribute to the legendary Sioux Chief, Crazy Horse. So, Ziolkowski bought some land and started carving a monument out of a mountain. It’s considered the largest mountain carving in the world.
He was thinking big. Real big.
When the monument is done, Chief Crazy Horse will be sitting on his horse. The head of his horse will be 22 stories high. The Chief’s left arm will be almost as long as a baseball field. The entire structure will be 561 feet high and 641 feet long.
(Thanks to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for the facts.)
The work started in 1948. It continues today, years after Ziolkowski’s death. It has included their children, grandchildren and hundreds of volunteers throughout the years.
His widow, though in her 80’s, manages the project and the business that’s developed around the project.
And it’s this business that amazes me.
It’s a multi-million dollar operation that attracts over 1 million visitors every year. It employees 176 people. Travelers from all corners of the world have visited the monument. They even have a museum on the site.
Generations of families have taken their turn visiting the monument. I was there as a child. (The monument was a lot smaller back then!)
It’s safe to say this project has become known all over the world. And, I think anything that has been seen by millions of people can be called a successful brand.
Especially when they never promoted it. It all happened through word of mouth. “Buzz marketing” in a big way.
What does that say about the power of passion focus to build something?
The more passion and focus we give our business, the more fuel we give it to grow. Passion and focus are the lifeblood of a business because they can carry a business through almost anything.
Or, another way to look at it is this way. Without passion and without focus, what kind of business would you have? Would it get you up in the morning? Would it pull you through difficult times? Would you be able to sustain the energy needed to grow your business if you have no passion for it?
As we strive to grow our businesses, we think about marketing, advertising, planning, selling and many other ways to promote the business.
But, without passion and focus, it’s like starting the race miles behind everyone else. Without passion and focus it’s nearly impossible to rise to the top of your profession or industry. It’s much harder to accomplish your goals.
So, remember Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski and their passion for their work at the Crazy Horse Monument.
Passion and focus can literally change a mountain.