Lee Estridge & Associates



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Why React When You Can Respond?

Why Now?
I'm always fascinated and moved by the way the universe helps us grow throughout our lives. Many of my clients will say something like, "Why is this person in my life right now? It's such a burden to deal with him/her." Each time I hear this question, I remind my client that people come into our lives at a specific moment to teach us something. Each interaction--painful, joyful, frustrating--holds a mirror to us and to others. My job is to help my clients bravely and compassionately look into that mirror and own their own piece of personal work.

Free Phone Consultation
For those of you who haven't worked with me, but are interested in learning how to see yourself and others clearly and deeply, I'm offering a free phone consultation during the month of October. I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to start creating insights that lead to profound change!

This month Suzy Leif shares some of the insights and profound changes that helped her understand and improve her interactions with friends, collogues, and family members.

Happy Fall!
Warm Regards,


Why React When You Can Respond?

"Suzy Leif's story"

Reflective, Not Reactive
I had known Lee for several years before I realized I needed to work with her. For quite some time, I'd been wondering if the way I said something sounded harsh, or perhaps didn't sound the way I meant it to sound. I knew at some level that the way I responded to others in my work and personal life was deeply ingrained and found myself thinking, "I wish I had said that differently." Recognizing my reactions to colleagues, supervisors, friends, and family was a tremendous and difficult step, but one that lead to my ability to actually change the way I respond to anyone who crossed my path.  For me, being able to see myself clearly was critical to understanding why I often wished I could take my words back.

In and Down
As a sales manager in a pharmaceutical company, my daily life was filled with meetings with collogues, executive leadership, my sales staff, and clients. Life was not going to slow down because I was learning about myself, so I needed to shift the way I responded to others in a way that I could manage and feel a sense of accomplishment. Lee taught me a process that sounds easy, but was challenging because it meant changing the way I perceived and responded to people and events in my life. So, here it is: when a person says something or an event occurs that I have a non-neutral reaction to (i.e. feel defensive, angry, judgmental, etc.), I take the interaction in, then bring it down into myself, and sit with it. Similar to learning a new language or a new sport, in and down was hard at first, but gradually became part of my daily living. As luck would have it, I had an excellent opportunity to try out this new skill within my professional sphere.

Another sales manager, one whom I thought of as friend, sent me an email in which he accused me of being secretive and undermining him as a colleague. I was outraged, and the old me would have immediately picked up the phone and given him an earful. Rather than react, I gave myself two weeks to go in and down. Lee and I discussed possible responses, and ultimately we agreed that the accusations were actually reflections of his own personality and that we were not really friends, but rather, people who happened to work in the same company. This colleague had projected his own stuff onto me. Armed with this insight and with the passage of time, I arranged an in person meeting and it went surprisingly well. I was able to express myself in a professional and open manner, staying true to my own feelings while maintaining the working relationship.

Everything Changed
My work with Lee showed me how I could respond to events and interactions within my professional life in a respectful way, while honoring my own feelings and thoughts. On a deeper level, my newfound ability to separate out my own issues from someone else's "stuff" has helped me enormously in my family life. I have more compassion and patience for my son, and appreciate my husband's approach to communication. I no longer wish I'd said things differently, and I've increased my tolerance for living with an issue before responding to it. I have mental and emotional space to experience my life fully and authentically.