The Kicking the Cat story is about a person having a bad day and passing those negative feelings on to others. It’s going ok: Jim is pissed because the morning traffic has caused him to be very late for work. Shortly after he gets to work, he yells at his assistant for a report he needs. Alice, the assistant, calls the manager who didn’t hand in the report on time. In a very emphatic manner, Alice demands that the manager bring the report to her immediately. Jack, the manager, is very upset but agrees. Jack is still angry when he comes into his house after work. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting cat just passes the front door when Jack enters. Kick! * The cat did nothing wrong, but he took the brunt of the bad day that passed from Jim to Alice to Jack and finally to the cat. Why?
What would have happened if they shared their negative feelings and didn’t share their anger with others during the day? When someone is having a bad day, they often try to share the burden. If there is a legitimate concern, then by all means address the situation. However, these concerns are often unjustified.
They’re just annoying attempts by someone trying to draw attention, inject drama into the room, or show that they have some perceived power. Recognize the negative feelings for what they are. If they are legitimate, act accordingly, but don’t spread the negative thoughts to others. If it’s just attempts to kick the cat, then you should be the person stopping the negativity.
ideas for implementation
- Observe when people get upset and see how they deal with those feelings.
- The next time you’re upset about something, check your reactions.
- Think of a recent event that upset you. Was your reaction appropriate for the event or did you overreact?
- Why did you react like that?
- What will you do differently next time?
Much luck! You are a winner! * I paraphrased this story from Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s leading motivational speakers. He weaves homegrown humor and inspirational stories to give you valuable life lessons. I would encourage you to get his CDs. Please visit www.TeachingMoments.com