Elizabeth Schwartz’s five-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail was an exercise in letting go and trusting that work would still be there when she got back.

“Sometimes the best way to improve your work is to stop working,” says Elizabeth Schwartz. She should know. The chief operating officer at Austin-based software startup Square Root took a five month sabbatical to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016, after working at the company for six years.

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