Vail Daily column: Looking up and looking out |

Vail Daily column: Looking up and looking out

A couple of weeks ago I happened to be flying back to Colorado from a business meeting in Dallas. Now I have made this trip dozens of times over the past few years, but there was something very different about my flight home this time.

As I departed from Dallas it was about 70 degrees, sunny, and just a gorgeous Texas day outside and the take-off was the very best kind, uneventful. Climbing to 35,000 feet the city faded behind us and Colorado was somewhere ahead in the distance. Looking out the window from my seat in 11A it was a spectacular day for flying as the blue sky was only disrupted by the occasional passing airplanes on the horizon.

However, this was the day of the first snowstorm to hit Denver this year and the closer we got to DIA, the more the sky began to fill with clouds. It was still bright blue skies and sunny at 35,000 feet, but I could no longer see the landscape below as the blanket of puffy white clouds obscured my vision.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains rose above the cloud line and it was amazing to see the mountain tops claim their majesty over the low lying clouds. White capped and radiant they stood as the sun bounced off of each peak contrasted against an incredible blue sky and the crispness of the stark white clouds.

Soon enough we began our descent through the clouds. All of us aboard the flight went from looking up and out at an unlimited beautiful horizon that filled our heads and hearts with hope and inspiration to a gray, cold, dark, and snow filled sky. Our attention was drawn to the ground, the slick roads, and the challenges we may face to get home or to our final destination. Hope and inspiration were replaced by dread and caution.

The skier in me loves the fact that it snowed and snowed early and any kind of precipitation is always good for Colorado. However, I was reminded that when we look up and out at our horizons we see blue skies and mountain peaks. When we hold our heads and eyes up, we see potential for a bright and prosperous future. And that when we look down, chins tucked to our chests, hands in our pockets, shoulders slumped, seeing only a foot or so in front of us at any one time, there is no way that we can possibly see or envision our purpose and passion filled limitless potential.

You may not have the chance to be at 35,000 feet very often, but living here in Colorado those peaks are visible almost each and every day from the ground as we have more than 300 days of sunshine every year. Looking up inspires us and looking out fills us with hope. For some it maybe just a little spark of hope, but it is hope none the less. And for others, it is huge hope, big dreams, and an enormous vision for a better tomorrow. Either way, or any place in between, is simply awesome.

Are you looking up and out at a blue sky horizon? I would love to hear all about what inspires you and keeps your head held high as you see, hope, and plan for the best that is awaiting you at This will be a better than good week, I can see it from 35,000 feet.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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