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Looking up

June 17, 2013 -  By

Last month at this time, I was hiking trails along the Mediterranean Sea in Cinque Terre, Italy. With me were 10 strangers from Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Italy and Australia. We made for a diverse group. Among us were a marine biologist, a nurse, a multimillionaire couple and two 70-something sisters.

Despite our diversity, we all were united in an unspoken desire to live in the moment. And it was easy to do, even as we kept our eyes to the ground to navigate the trail’s large stones.

Below us, the Mediterranean collided with rocky cliffs in a spray of white. Above us, falcons spread their broad wings and glided silently through a cloudless blue sky. Beside us, wildflowers bloomed brightly amid the grass. And at every overlook, we stopped to take it all in. Then we moved on.

Overlooks are great, but there is more to Cinque Terre—and to life—than overlooks. If I’m going to Italy, I want to savor it every step of the way. I want to remember it not only from pictures, but also from memory.

While the group forged ahead, I hung back to admire the view. I heard a rustling above me. It was the millionaire man carefully making his way down a steep incline. “I have to remember to look up,” he said to me. And there it was.

Because as gratifying as it can be to reach the trail’s end, there’s little joy in it if you don’t even know what all you passed along the way—if you watched the sun glint off the sea in a sweeping vista but were blind to the lemon trees at your back; if you ascended Cinque Terre’s challenging steps in lightning speed but didn’t look down from the top; if you admired the fragrant scent of jasmine along the trail but didn’t hold it to your nose.

This summer, as you’re immersed in your busiest season, remember to look up. Look up to see the progress your team is making, to relish the strong year you’re having, to assess what needs to improve. Just look up.

And then, at summer’s end, be sure to look behind you. Take a breath, see how far your business has come, then move forward again.

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About the Author:

Geraci is a freelance writer based in Cleveland. She has worked as a professional journalist for more than 15 years, including six years as a writer for the Chicago Tribune. A graduate of Allegheny College and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Geraci began her career as an editor at a newswire service in Washington, D.C., where she edited and distributed press releases from the White House and congressional leaders. She went on to become the community news reporter at the Jackson Hole Guide newspaper, winning two national feature writing awards. Her other experience includes working as a book editor in Chicago and as a professor of business communications at Cleveland State University.

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