I had a chance recently to take a car ride with an old friend who's worked on his own now for more than 20 years in the construction business. I asked him what, after all this time, he'd say to himself as a 21 year old.

His response, I thought, was worth sharing. Without hesitation, he said "you're worth a lot more than you think you are." He followed that by saying that the first few years were by far the scariest.

That's a profound response; from a leadership perspective, I think it means that the "diamonds in the rough" are indeed jewels in the long-run. It means don't underestimate the value of hard work and dedication. It suggests the power of believing in yourself, and it relates to a long-term view of work in an increasingly short-term focused world.

He concluded that what made a diamond was pressure and friction, and that it was only through that process that he emerged today as a successful business owner. And that's an idea worth sharing loudly, broadly, and clearly.

Clark Twiddy, President of Twiddy & Company, is the author of our Leadership Corner, published on our blog the third Tuesday of each month. He can be reached at ctwiddy@twiddy.com.