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Caldwell: Mining the acres of diamonds all around you

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

While pondering Christmas gifts for my husband, I looked through Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas catalog.

For over a century, the upscale retailer has stayed true to its founder’s guiding principles of providing “distinctive merchandise and superior service.”

After deciding to postpone the Rolls Royce golf cart and the Ciclotte – an $11,000 exercise bike – gifts until another year, one of the adventures that caught my eye is a luxurious trip for two to Africa to mine our own 25-carat diamond. The off-the-charts gift extravaganza is a $1,850,000 investment, and I began to think, “What if we mined the diamonds in our backyard rather than taking the trip to Africa to search for valuable jewels?”

The diamonds you seek are right beneath your feet. The first step is to open your eyes and recognize that brilliant shining diamonds are all around you. These gems are in your workplace, home and community, and are waiting to be noticed and excavated by you. 

In the business world, how can you mine the diamonds in your career, business, employees, co-workers, clients and emerging opportunities? Personally, where are the gems in your health, home, local community and family relationships? They are all around you if you look for the sparkle and dazzle in your life.

We miss the opportunity of unearthing and examining the jewels of success because we think that the real gems are “over there” in someone else’s backyard and not in our own. The myth that their backyard has more diamonds on it is so alluring that we must constantly and fearlessly be on a search in our own acreage for the brilliant and spectacular. In order to see the real gems in the rough, we need to take an excursion into cleaning up our own diamond mine. Is your mine, or backyard, so cluttered that you can’t see anything of value? When was the last time that you took an inventory of your acreage to determine who and what are the real gems versus the rocks or stones that are taking up space?

Not all diamonds have the same 4Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight – so while they all look different, they are all precious and valuable, especially when polished and admired for their uniqueness and individual beauty. When you find a real diamond in the rough, are you taking the time to polish it or are you tossing it away because it may seem too small or it might take some work to make it more treasured?

To help your diamonds shine more brightly, you might consider inviting your most valuable employees and clients to the upcoming Crystal Lake Chamber Foundation’s inaugural GEMs (generous, enthusiastic, motivated) Leadership Appreciation Luncheon on Feb. 13. (Thank you from the chairwoman for your support of this brilliant event). You will be awestruck by the twinkle in your guest’s eyes before, during and after this inspiring event.

If you look for the diamonds of success, you just might find them within the acres of business opportunities in your backyard. If you can do that, you can make business success a reality in 2014 and beyond.

• Kathleen Caldwell is president of Caldwell Consulting Group and the founder of the WHEE Institute (Wealthy, Healthy, Energetic Edge) of Woodstock. She can be reached at, or 815-206-4014.

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