Why I am Obsessed with Change

I am obsessed with change. In fact, I think a lot of us are obsessed with change.

You hear a lot of experts say people fear change. I want to change this statement. People fear bad change. People love good change.

For instance, why do most people want a new car? Unless their previous car is breaking down and not reliable there really isn’t a good reason to get a new car.

I still want a new car. I love the new car smell, the new interior, the change. But as soon as the newness blends into the background, as soon as this one seems old, I want a different one.

It’s the fear of bad change that stops people. No one wants to go backward. They would rather stay safe than risk bad changes.

I believe change moves you forward. Both good and bad. Because of this belief I have done some pretty crazy things, and not all of them were helpful to my finances!

My History of Change

In a period of seven years, I have owned four houses in three states.

I owned a home in Rochester, NY.

At the same time I owned a home in Derry, NH.

I owned a home in Milton, NH.

I now own a home in Turner, ME.

In a period of eight years, I have moved seven times.

From my parents home in Lyman, ME to an apartment in Buckfield, ME.

From Buckfield, ME to an apartment Rochester, NY

From the apartment to the house in Rochester, NY

From Rochester, NY to the house in Derry, NH

From Derry, NH to the house in Milton, NH

From Milton, NH to a rental in Lewiston, ME

From Lewiston, Me to the home I have now in Turner, ME.

In a period of ten years, I have had twelve different jobs, in eight companies.

Pizza girl

Dental Receptionist

JC Penney

Tech Support at Lamere

Tech Support at Frontier

Network Operations Tech at Frontier

Engineer at SeaChange

Project Manager at SeaChange

Project Manager with EepyBird

Personal Coach

Business Coach at Next Level Business Coaching

Currently Business Coach/Entrepreneur

Most of the location moves were not good for our finances. We lost money on the house in NY, and we lost money on the house in Milton, NH. (over $30k!) Each move has cost us money for the truck, the new set up fees for utilities, and time lost. So why do we keep doing it?

Most of the moves career-wise have helped my finances (with the exception of leaving SeaChange.) But whether or not they were smart moves, I tend to get bored and want to leave within a short time.

Looking back, I think my belief in progress pushes me toward change. For years my motto has been “Progress.” As long as I am making progress I am happy. Unfortunately, I want tangible progress. Improving my speaking skills isn’t tangible, but speaking in front of 200 people is.

I need to have something to show for my progress. That’s why I move, or change jobs. They are tangible and can be measured.

The Next Phase for me

I really don’t want to move again. I don’t want to change jobs. Looking at my history though, I am due for a new house and a career change. I’ve been trying to think of what could replace my need for change that doesn’t involve major changes for my family too.

So I have been thinking about business. I have never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, though I’ve always wanted to be one. I thought an entrepreneur had to have a “serious” businesses and take huge financial risks. The stories I read in Entrepreneur magazine. But I didn’t want to jeopardize my family for becoming an entrepreneur. I have always thought of myself as self-employed.

Business Week describes the difference between an entrepreneur and self-employed person:

“Founders who want to grow companies and freelancers who simply want to make their income working for themselves.”

I realize that this is the change I want. I don’t want to buy and sell more houses. (unless they are investment properties!) I don’t want to change jobs again. I don’t want to be just self-employed. I want to build something.

I love the clients I have, and the work I do. But I’ve continued to want more. Apparently, I’m not satisfied with just being self-employed. I work with clients that have businesses and employees and after our session, I dream about having that too.

This is scary to me. I also have a fear of bad change. What if my ideas don’t work? What if I have to invest more money? What if I can’t do it?

But I think that’s exactly what I need right now. Buying a house was safe. I knew the risks ahead of time. Now I don’t know what the risks will be, but I can do my best to plan for them. The rewards of a successful business far outweigh moving every few years.

Let’s hope my journey will keep us in this house for awhile, I’m pretty tired of packing my possessions in a Uhaul. 🙂

The Next Phase for You

What are your thoughts on change? Do you like change?

Are you happy with the change you’ve had in the past? What do you think your choices in the past mean? How will that affect your future?

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Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

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29 responses

  • I crave change but I don’t adapt to it very well. It takes me several months after a big change to get my groove back. My entire life has been about change: #of K-12 Schools attended-8; Avg time spent in one home prior to 2005- 1.5 years; # of Cities I’ve lived in- 11(does not include moving to and from the same cities); # of jobs – 23 (some part time in addition to a full time gig).

    I’ve been pretty settled since 2005 when I purchased my first home but I am now looking into becoming self-employed and maybe building the business into something more in the future. I think change is good, which to me also includes changing for progress and to alleviate boredom. Why stay somewhere if your bored? Most of my constant change was not my choice and if I had kids I’d settle down.

    I haven’t always made the best choices when I desired a change in my environment, like going into debt for school or constantly moving. Regardless, I don’t think I’ve changed often enough.

    • Wow that’s very interesting. You said “My entire life has been about change.” but you also said, “I don’t think I’ve changed often enough.”
      Why don’t you think you have changed often enough?

      I love how you said, you crave change. That’s a better way to put it! I’m not exactly obsessed, I just crave it.

      • That is a good point. I did contradict myself with those comments. I thought about what I meant when I was writing it and it came down to most of the constant change in my life was by a parent who didn’t provide stability. As an adult I made constant changes also, but mostly within safe confines. I don’t feel I have taken any real risks in life, I think that was my thought when I wrote that last sentence.

        • Ah Jenn! So it sounds like we are in the same boat. Safe risks are nice. 😉

          A little exercise I like to do:
          Pretend you are 60 years old. What would you tell yourself to do right now? (tangible, actionable steps too!)

  • Progress has always been my motto as well. As long as I am progressing, I feel good and healthy; I feel successful. That changed for me when I took a job because I had to. I settled on it because I needed income. I took a pay cut, but with this job, I also learned a lot about myself.

    Progress isn’t always about the money. In this job, I have far less travel time, and much more free time. I am able to pursue my own ideas and goals, while still making a living. The job is a dead end job, but I have accomplished more in my personal life since I started here than I ever have in any other job. My finances, although fairly stationary at work, have come a LONG way in the right direction since I have time to supplement my income and focus on using money the right way.

    My family growing up moved every two years, almost on the day. I had lived in a dozen different cities before I graduated high school, and then I continued the process with my own family. I am finally in a home I am happy with, a job that allows more life balance and progressing on ME instead of just a career. This allows me to satisfy my craving for change in other ways such as multiple creative outlets, multiple income ventures and many many ideas, including plenty of failures.

    ( On a side-note, have either of you ever heard of the term Scanner personality? Google it 🙂 )

    • Ah yes, from Barbara Sher’s book! I read that book when I had no idea what I wanted to do.

      I think that’s a really great point. It’s not about the money. It’s not even about the job. It’s about what you are doing, and taking action on. Whenever I’m asked for advice on career changes, if you need money of a stable job, then find a job that takes the least energy possible. That way you can still have energy to pursue what you want.

      We only have one life. It should be used to find out more about ourselves than investing in work we hate! It sounds like you are doing just that. 🙂

  • This is interesting and something I have been thinking a lot about recently, because so many of the bloggers I work with suffer from what I’ve started calling “Constant change” syndrome.

    No sooner have they perfected one blog design, and they’re working on the next theme. One product launch is over, and they’re thinking about what to create next. A strategy that works is replaced by a new shiny one that doesn’t…

    I wonder if this is related to the fact that most bloggers are early adopters?

    The problem I see is that earning a living from a blog is actually not about constant change, but constant improvement (with apologies to Volkswagen). The rewards from creating an online business – traffic, product sales etc actually come from doing the same things over and over again. If you look at the really successful people with businesses based around blogs, they keep the same blogs, they keep on writing great content and they keep on promoting the same products, and that’s how they create long term sustainable businesses. Think Copyblogger and Thesis as one example.

    • That’s a really good distinction. Constant change vs constant improvement. I tend to use the term interchangeably but they are different. What I seek is constant improvement. Maybe not for monetary sake, but for my life style. We moved to Maine to be closer to our family. Not smart financially since we lost $30k on the house, but extremely smart personally.

      I think it’s easier to start new things, because that means you never fail with the previous project. What I have been trying to do lately is continue a project to some sort of goal I create beforehand, then I can make my decision.

      So like with this blog. I started it because I was passionate about this topic. My plan has been to get 1,000 subscribers and then decide what I want to do with it. If I love it, great, move forward and monetize. If not, I will decide what I want to do. I have a new project I’m excited about and working on too, but since I set that goal of 1,000 readers I need to see it out before I make any decisions.

      In listening to interviews from BlogcastFM it seems like a lot of successful bloggers have tried different things before they stuck with their current blog. I think it’s all a learning process. 🙂

    • Oh and yes, I consider myself an early adopter.. 🙂

      It’s funny though, I started blogging back in 2006. I’m wondering if people just getting into the game now are early adopters or jumping on the ‘make money online’ bandwagon?

  • I LOVE change, I would go crazy without it. I get bored so easily. The only problem with change is I think I don’t finish things because I’m on to the next shiny thing that catches my eye.

    • Yep! I love being open to new opportunities, but we also have to figure out which ones are distractions.

      It’s so much easier to see from an outsiders perspective. I help clients figure that out by asking a lot of questions. If you run into a new opportunity try talking about it with some trusted people.

      Or do like I said in the previous comment. Commit to a certain small goal, and only after you accomplish that, make your decision about changing. 🙂

  • I dislike major changes in general. Increasing my income sounds great, but I’ve gotten comfortable/complacent with my job. I don’t want to move again…ever… We moved when I was in high school to Holland for half a year and then Argentina for 2 1/2 years.

    I’m good where I am in Houston and love my life, hubby, friends, etc. I think I’d have to be in dire financial straights before I ever move again (city-wise…house-wise, I’m okay with trading up in 10-15 years).

    It does seem that people who crave change and pursue progress are way more successful financially than me and Mr. BFS, but that doesn’t motivate me enough to do anything about it. I guess I’m your career opposite, lol. 🙂

    • Haha 🙂 That’s awesome. It’s very funny how we have the same passions but are wired so differently! I’ve often wondered why change was such a big deal for people. I can understand that you like where you live and your home. I’m just now in that same mindset. I love where I live, and I love my house. Since I have two small children too, I need to tone down my changes!

      It sounds like you are content. That is a wonderful thing! I am working on that, but my brain tends to always want more. No matter how ‘successful’ I become I always want another challenge.

      • I can get where you are coming from…since I started my blog, I’ve just wanted more from it every day – more readers, more commenters, more money – just more. So, maybe your desire for a challenge and mine are just through different mediums – the physical versus the virtual, lol. Although I’d say you have both. 🙂

  • Wow, I am so impressed with your guts to change so much! Most people are afraid of change, especially due to bad change, so they don’t change!

    I’ve been in my same job for 10 years, and I wonder about change, but I don’t take the step b/c I still have unfinished business.

    I admit I’m afraid of change, but looking at your record, I don’t think you’re afraid of change compared to the average Jane AT ALL!

    I would love to read more about how you get the gumption to change so much. I understand progress, which is my one word definition of happiness… but our change is so different.




    ps and if you come up with that entrepreneurial idea, you’re welcome to write about it on Yakezie.com in the Yakezie Lifestyle or Yakezie Personal Finance vertical!

    • Thanks Sam! It’s funny that you call it guts. I think after it becomes routine, it’s not guts anymore. It’s just, “Here we go again!” And it would be awesome to write about it for Yakezie! 🙂

      I think you can build your change muscle though too. It’s just pushing out of your comfort zone. That is a big thing I work on with business owners. I think one of the biggest things people need for change is support. If you have someone right there will you and helping you along the way it’s much easier. That’s one of the reasons why I’m a coach.

      Everyone has so much potential! They just need to give themselves a chance.
      I’m not religious but this quote gives me goosebumps every time I read it:

      By Marianne Williamson,
      “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

      • Good points. I just feel so comfortable with my job, and the city of San Francisco, that it’s hard for me to change. I’ve always said I’d like to retire in 7-8 years, but I just don’t know when the time comes whether I will be able to. It’s an awful lot to give up, and I’m doing these side projects on the side anyway.

  • Jaime, Thought provoking article. I love to work, read, blog etc. Change? I’m not sure. I like variety and not being bored, but is variety the same as change? Lots to think about. I don’t have an answer. Thanks for making me think, Barb

    • Good question Barb. How does variety fit? That’s something that would take another blog post. 🙂

  • Ah! A woman after my own heart. Change is inevitable for me. I do long for security and stability, but right now I’m working towards finding something great enough to make me want to settle

    • I really like that. But let me tell you, when you love change you will almost never find something that satisfies you 100%! 🙂

  • I am also a change craver. I’ve often thought it was my low threshold for boredom. Maybe it is, but it has to do with growth, too. Maintaining status quo is like a death sentence for me. Being “average” at something is not acceptable. If i engage in any new activity or hobby, I go hog wild – researching and reading about it until I’m virtually an expert. Then, when I’ve learned as much as I can about something, I move on to something else. But, I never give that interest up.

    I go on solo vacations (long weekends) a couple times a year. I’ve never gone to the same place twice, and I don’t plan to. These trips all center around some new activity: cycling, rodeoing, hiking, meditation retreats, etc. I read about all these things, then I must DO them!

  • Change is all there is. In fact, if you don’t change you are insane.

  • I also love and crave change. I understand that the desire for change impulses you to do extraordinary things.

    But, I have been contemplating for the last 6 months what my next career move should be and I can not decide. I am currently deciding on changing my career from finance to the arts. I had been so focused on picking the “right” career instead of what was right for me and after 2 years in the workforce I am realizing that what I want is a creative career. I have narrowed it down to a few options and don’t know what to pick, although I have been exposed to change all my life.

    I have lived in 20 different homes/apts in my short 24 years (perhaps that is what caused me to pick a secure career because I was so tired of the instability). But now I am discovering that what I want is a change but I am a little bit scared although I know change has helped me grow.

    Should I take the leap?

  • I totally relate to this post. As a matter of fact I just happened to find this site because I googled “why am i obsessed with moving every few years?”. I really don’t want to move again either. I just recently purchased a small farm that I was convinced was my final move. I thought that I had finally found “home”. Not so….within 4 years I had sold and found another home. I too have lost alot of money with all these changes. This time I am renting until I can figure out what I want to do when I grow up!!
    I agree with your statement….when you love change you will almost never find something that satisfies you 100%! 🙂
    So… I am trying to embrace change. Thanks for helping me feel like I am not alone in my world of constant change!!

    • I am having the sam edd problem. I rent but I move too many times is exhausting. Above I ready constant change vs constant improvement. I think this help me get more focus on myself internally then seeking outside myself.

  • i am obsessed with moving as well. So obsessed I am checking the internet to see if others are like me and how I can change it. I have been obsessed with change since I have been a child. I begged my Dad to let me catch a bus when I was 17 years old to go travel one what was called then an ameri pass. I could go anywhere I wanted as long as I made it back in 21 days. I have to have a vacation at least once a year. In the 21 years ive been married we have moved 12 times within the same state. Now I have moved out of state. Ive been in the real estate business for 25 years the longest stable job i ever held was for five years. Real estate lets me have plenty of change and many new beginnings. I do not want to include all the network marketing and side businesses I have had. Many of these moves have cost us money as well. I truly can not say I will not move again.

    • It’s funny since I wrote this post such a long time ago, and yet, I am planning on moving again!!
      hahaa. It is what is it, I like to move! And that’s ok! 🙂

  • It was nice to read this article from a kindred spirit

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