Name: Lee Weinstein
Businesses: Weinstein PR and Intentional Life Planning
Founded: 2007 and 2017
One morning about 10 years ago, Lee Weinstein was standing in front of his bathroom mirror, shaving. He asked his reflection a question: Do you want to keep working for someone else? After 15 years happily working as a corporate public relations executive, he opened his own PR firm. In 2017, he wrote a book that details his goal-setting methods. He and his wife offer companion workshops to help individuals plan out their life goals.
Why did you decide to write a book about life planning?
My wife Melinda and I were married in 2000. Soon after, on a Saturday morning, I bought this big sheet of grease-proof paper into the kitchen and said, “OK. We’re married. What do you want to do with your life?” We figured we had until we were about 83 years old or so. We sketched out the years, and we saw we had about 4 decades to plan out.
When we shared reports on our life plan on Facebook, friends went crazy. “How do we do that?” people asked. “We can’t do that ourselves! Could you lead workshops?” We started teaching workshops in our area, and it’s been life-changing for participants. Now we wanted to offer this project-management approach to life planning to a wider group of people with our book.
What does the title of your book Write, Open, Act mean?
“Write, Open, Act” refers to 3 things: “Writing” down your life’s wishes “opens” up new possibilities that you can “act” on to live a fulfilling life. We’ve developed a hands-on workbook that enables people to build a visual “Intentional Life Plan” in less than a day. It gives them a clear view of their life’s wishes and goals, plus steps and tools to help them realise and manage their plans.
Does it work?
I think that the sheer act of writing something down makes it happen! As airy-fairy as that sounds, it activates the universe. I’ve learned you can have these big things in your mind, but if you don’t write them down, will they happen?
From our original life plan from 18 years ago, my wife and I have accomplished about 90% of what we wrote down—getting the jobs we wanted, buying a farm, travelling various places with our 2 daughters. There are goals you know you won’t realise—for me, it was climbing Mt. Hood—and you can put those aside when you update your plan each year.
Why not use a computer or diary?
Human beings are visual creatures. Having something in a computer program or in a book or rolled up in your closet isn’t as powerful as having a large visual timeline of your life, from the current year to your expected death year. We’ve had people try to put their plans into Excel spreadsheets or who’ve rolled them up and put them away, and then never look at them. Most of our alumni have their plans hanging in their homes—in the stairwell, hallway, bathroom or bedroom.
Where is your plan hanging?
Our plan hangs in a hallway right outside our guest bathroom. I walk by it every morning. We go to it and look at it, and we update it every January. Our guests see it and ask, “Are you really going to do those things?” It’s fun because it prompts conversations.
Having your visual plan somewhere in your home makes it a constant presence in your life. Life is short. We all have hopes and dreams and can get side-tracked by our daily duties such as work, taking kids places and doing things around home. Our process helps people achieve those big things that, at the end of life, they can look back on with pride.
Why a “death date”?
I’ve had some pushback on this, saying it was depressing. I don’t think you want 17 years to fly by and then you’re wishing you’d done something. So, let’s make sure we’re being intentional, let’s make sure we get these big things done. I personally believe that we’re supposed to leave this world a better place, and we want to make sure we realise some of our dreams too.
How do you prepare for the business year ahead?
One of the things we do at the beginning of every year is a SWOT analysis of our business. What are our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? It’s a wonderful reminder of how good our business is, but it also helps us look at what we need to change to stay in business, to compete and to be better.
I’d recommend everyone do a SWOT analysis and be really truthful so you can address problems or behaviours that need to be busted. Life is short—and business lives can be shorter if we don’t tackle issues straight on.
Go back and re-review your plans to be sure they’re relevant. If you don’t have a brand plan, create one. If you do, see if it needs updating and if it’s still relevant to your consumers. Above all, listen to your consumers and ask them what they want from you. They’ll be more than willing to offer ideas and suggestions.
Before you go, do you have a brand plan? Comment below! We would love to know more!
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No. It was definitely not an on the spot decision. I actually worked on for another twelve months after state retirement age, and then ran my accounting practice for another 36 months until last year.
Apart from the projects already mentioned, there is not yet anything else (so far).
Wow! That's amazing. I have managed many different workloads in the past and it's been challenging but really rewarding too! How did you find the multiple streams of work? Did you struggle with anything? (time management - work/life balance).
Also, is there something you would love to achieve now you have stepped away from your other work? - business or none business related! I know that when I eventually retire, I would love to cruise around the world and write a book... (maybe that's too ambitious?!).
I love the new profile picture, really summery! Was this taken in Brighton?
Also, do you have a brand plan and do you structure things for the year ahead? Or... Do you take each day as it comes? - this can be accountancy or personal related!
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this.
We took the pictures for our new website which is going live very soon! They were actually taken on Shoreham beach which is a 2 minute walk from our offices. We are very lucky that we can pop down to the beach on our lunch breaks to enjoy the sunshine.
At PJCO we have been working for the last year very consciously to get ourselves on the map and recognised as a forward thinking accountancy practice which is very technologically minded. We have branded ourselves as QuickBooks specialists and have 5 of the top pro advisors in the country by rating. We have been working towards this for our Firm of the Future application.
Personally, I set myself personal targets towards succeeding in my ACCA accountancy exams and set deadlines for my knowledge to be at a suitable standard depending on exam dates. This is very demanding alongside a full time job however the reward of passing each exam makes it worth it.
Great to have you here again.
That's so wonderful. I loved being beside the seaside in the North of England! I am desperate to come to Brighton really soon. It's on my bucket list actually!
This is amazing to hear. Keeping up-to-date with everything in the industry can be so overwhelming sometimes. From a small business perspective, I know the pressure of this. However, your dedication as a firm is so inspiring!
How do you monitor these targets? Is there anything you use to track your progress?
You're a rockstar, @EmilyMockett! Great work.