If you are an ambitious person like me, you're always rushing to get the next gig, worried about political in-fighting in your workplace or organization, distraught at what's happening in the world, and leveraging every opportunity that comes your way in a struggle for survival.
But Carl's words were not an admonition. They were a soothing balm. Yes, these days were are surrounded by strife, worry, politics, and protecting our own egos. We have a lot to do and what we do is important.
However, sometimes you have to rest in order to receive clarity of purpose. This was Carl's advice to me.
I have been reflecting on this, and have come up with a comparison of "panic" and "ambition".
You're running out of money. You have no prospects. You're sliding down an icy slope full-tilt-boogie, ready to reach out for the first thing you can to stop the perilous fall. What will you break today: your arm? Your neck? Your ankle? WILL YOU DIE????
You're sliding down an icy slope because you love the winter weather. You're well-equipped for the outing. The rush of adrenaline and the cold wind on your face is exhilarating. You made a plan to go down this hill and you're in control. Your destiny awaits you: you are prepared and confident in your skills and - even if you fall - you have a backup plan.
If you find yourself in a metaphorical free fall, you can afford to take time and reflect on the things that make you strong, your talents, your skills, what you can offer. If you found you have fallen, you still have your mental capacities and you're smart and creative enough to develop a plan to recover.
Ambition is goal-driven, whilst panic is ... well, panic. Don't sacrifice your goals because you're in a free fall, ready to grab the first opportunity that comes your way. If you are in a position to do so, allow yourself a bit of time. Of course it's not easy, and I'm not saying you shouldn't work your ass off (you should)! But before you reach for that next branch or helping hand, ask yourself: is this a panic move, or can I afford to wait?
Use your imagination. Change your perception. Focus on your goals. Good luck out there, everyone.