Don’t Kick the Dog
Written by Pati Root
As I sat through a four hour flight delay today, surrounded in a waiting area of impatient, foot tapping, knee jiggling, short tempered people, I was reminded of the old Zig Ziglar story “Don’t Kick my Dog”. As the story unfolds, Ziglar speaks of a boss getting bad news (poor numbers perhaps). The boss grumbles and gruffly yells at his managers, “Did you study to be stupid or were you born this way – just look at this balance sheet!” The managers filter the news to the reps, “You don’t know how to forecast, you don’t know how to prospect, you don’t know how to close the deal. Get your numbers up”.
The rep says, “Hey, I’ve been working my hiney off! I’m one of the best you have! Don’t yell at me, jerk.” Then the rep goes home and is greeted at the door by the one true friend that is always there, no matter how good or bad their own day is. As mans-best-friend jumps up in greeting…..swhoosh! KICK.” “Get out of the way you dumb dog.”
AND that’s how my morning has been today. I listened to a number of really angry people receiving calls and making calls, taking their aggravation and frustration out on unsuspecting folk on the other end of the phone line. Frankly, as I listened to the raised pitch in voices, I felt my own anxiety rise and thought, there goes another dog getting kicked.
We can’t always control the situation we are in. We can control how we react to it. For me, I’m going to be very late for a meeting in Chicago. Can I change the situation? No. Can I change how I feel about being late? Maybe. In self reflection I realize my frustration comes from a feeling of being out of control and not productive (everyone seems to have so much on their schedules, time is a high priced commodity). Well, I’m not going to be in that meeting, but I can readjust what I can accomplish with the resources I have.
When things aren’t what you want them to be, evaluate: what can you control, what can you change, what do you want to do, and what can you do. You don’t have to kick the dog.
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