Words You Don’t Want to Hear From Your Wife: “We Need to Talk”

Reinvention is a serious topic for me.  It has changed my life.

Over five years ago, I worked in Flint, Michigan, and drove over an hour to and from work every day.  I was married and we did not have any kids at the time.  I remember getting home from work late one evening, and my wife was waiting for me in our kitchen.  I remember being excited to see her at the time, because she usually wasn’t waiting for me when I got home.  As soon as I saw her, however, I knew something was wrong.  Her first words: “We need to talk.”

She was leaving me.

At least that’s what I thought.  A lot of things ran through my mind in that moment.  But what I came to learn was that I had the greatest wife any man could ask for.  She pushed me over the ledge.

“Something is wrong.”

I don’t remember exactly what she said.  But this is what I heard.

“You are not the same person that I married.  When we got married you were the happiest, most fun guy.  You were so enthusiastic and excited all the time.  You are not happy now.  And something needs to change.  I don’t know exactly what caused the change, but it doesn’t matter.  I don’t feel comfortable about where we are going in our lives, and I need you to make a change.  Something has to change right now or else.  I have done some research and I have a few ideas.  You are a talented and gifted person, and I think you can do better with your life.”

She was right.  I didn’t notice it because it had happened so gradually.  But she was absolutely right.  I didn’t know what to say, and actually, I didn’t know what to do either.  Fortunately, she already had an answer.

“I think you should go to law school.”

She had it all worked out.  If I took the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) and received a certain score, then I could receive a great scholarship.  I could go to a nearby school so we wouldn’t have to move.  It would only take three years, and she would be willing to work and support the two of us while I went to school full-time.  She was willing to sacrifice to make this happen.  She was willing to sacrifice because she believed in me.

We both talked and prayed about it for the next month.  But I knew she was right.  I wasn’t happy.  I was not the same person.  I felt trapped.  I felt like there was nothing else I could do.  If I thought back 5 or even 10 years earlier, I had so many dreams and goals that I wanted to accomplish – and at that point, those dreams didn’t seem any closer to being accomplished.

So the next month I started studying for the LSAT.  I studied during my lunch hour and at night.  I studied early in the morning and I bought every book I could find to help me.  I had a plan and I followed it.

In December of that year, I left my job to start law school full-time.  Just over three years later I graduated and passed the bar exam.  In short, I had completely reinvented myself – new degree, new career, new job, new colleagues, new network, and two new kids.  But I still had the same great wife.

For me, the reason I reinvented myself was because my wife reminded me what was possible in my life.  It’s not that way for everyone.

Sometimes we lose our job (or we’re fired, or downsized) and we have to find a new job (or career).

Sometimes, we are put into a new situation and it’s either sink or swim.

Sometimes, we lose at something, and we have to change everything about ourselves in order to even have a chance at winning again.

Sometimes, the world changes and our old way of doing things just isn’t going to work anymore.

Over the last five years (and more), I have reinvented myself and I have been taking notes along the way.  I am writing on this blog to do two things:

(1) Shorten the amount of time it takes you to reinvent yourself, and

(2) Take the guesswork out of reinvention by providing proven methods, strategies, and principles.

In summary, I want to help others reinvent themselves.  My life has been transformed ever since, “We need to talk.”

Let me know if you have ever reinvented yourself below!  


  • Kel

    Good read. I have had serious reinvention. I did not do it on my own though. It took surrender and the best I could to get out of my own way. I wonder if the reinvention ideals apply to groups, communities, or even cities?

    • John Mashni

      I absolutely think the principles will apply across multiple groups, but I also think there are different principles for each of those groups that will be useful. I am excited to start the thinking process for all of those groups, though! Thanks for the comment.

  • Jonathan Arias

    Good post man!

    • John Mashni

      Thanks! I really appreciate it. 🙂

  • Lynne Smelser

    John, thanks for sharing this. I’ve been there myself. I was in graduate school, being called the “golden girl” of the program with lots of great opportunities ahead of me, but something was wrong. My whole life I had been in teaching and suddenly I began to realize I was tired of telling other people that they could be great writers and change the world while I sat there grading an endless pile of papers and never doing any writing myself. It’s about joy. In the end joy and self-respect is what it’s all about for me.

  • Lateef Olajide

    “Sometimes, we are put into a new situation and it’s either sink or swim.” John Mashni

    Thank you.