From Grit to Gem: The Alchemy of Business - Kathy Varol

From Grit to Gem: The Alchemy of Business


Have you ever held a pearl and marveled at its luster? Or gazed upon a diamond, spellbound by its sparkle? These paragons of beauty aren’t born of fairy dust—they’re the product of patience and pressure that turns the mundane into the magnificent.

Take pearls, for instance. A pearl begins its life as a mere irritant—a parasite, or possibly a speck of sand that finds its way into an oyster. Over time, the oyster coats this dirt with layers of nacre, eventually producing a pearl.

Diamonds are formed under extreme heat and pressure. This process transforms plain old carbon into a precious gem.

Why the foray into gemology?

These jewels teach us a profound lesson: that which is truly valuable often arises from confronting and transforming the ‘dirty’—the unwanted, the commonplace, the overlooked.

Now, let’s shift this lens to the tapestry of our businesses, to the very fabric of commerce that weaves through our society. Here too, we find the ‘gritty’—outdated practices, inequities across supply chains, and products (and byproducts) that damage our planet. These are the irritants within our organizational oysters.

But what if we chose to be like the oyster? To embrace these gritty particles, not as irritants but as catalysts for creation? What if we applied the pressure of our intention, time, energy, and passion to transform the way we do business?

Imagine a business landscape that’s not just about avoiding harm, but about crafting legacies of beauty and value. Like pearls and diamonds. It’s about recognizing that the messiness, the ‘dirt’, is not just a byproduct but a vital ingredient in our journey towards something remarkable.

This transformation doesn’t happen overnight.

Like the patient oyster and the enduring carbon, it takes time and dedication. It takes a business willing to wrap layer upon layer of innovation, ethics, and social responsibility around its practices. It takes leaders who see beyond the immediate horizon, who understand that pressure—not as a force of destruction, but as a force for innovation—can reveal new treasures.

And the diamond we seek? It’s a symbol, not just of love, but of a future where businesses act as stewards, where supply chains gleam with equity, and where our collective actions craft a legacy as enduring and cherished as the hardest gemstone.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. 

Let’s welcome the grit because that’s where our potential lies. 

With intentionality and a sprinkle of passion, we can innovate a metamorphosis of our current practices into a business ethos that benefits not just the bottom line, but society and the planet—a true testament to the beauty that lies within the journey from grit to gem.

Is your business ready to begin polishing its own gems? I can help! Contact me to discover which of my workshops can help you and your people unearth your own hidden pearls and diamonds.

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