How to Develop the Courage to Make a Big Move After Divorce

How to Develop the Courage
to Make a Big Move After Divorce

I recently made a big move to San Francisco from the East Coast … alone. Why? To start a new chapter of my life after divorce. I

n fact, after being married for 26 years, I timed my move to be on the one year anniversary of my divorce. That seemed like a sweet and fitting way to celebrate the beginning of my new life, to reinvent myself as a newly single woman. Many have asked me how I developed the courage to make such a big move, so I’d like to share my approach with you.

What is courage anyway? Is it the same thing as fearlessness? No, because there WILL be fear … fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of loneliness, etc. Unless you’re in physical danger, most of our fears are caused by negative self-talk when you’re feeling a lack of control. The challenge is how to manage our fears by shifting our thinking.

I attribute my courage to my BAM … Beliefs, Attitude, and Motivation:


After high school, I decided to pursue a degree and a career in engineering, which at the time was a very male-dominated field. That seemed scary to some people. Why did I decide to do that? Because I believed women should be able to succeed in a “man’s world”, and I wanted to prove it. I had enough conviction in my beliefs that drove me to take such a bold action. And it worked. I graduated at the top of my class and went on to work for a prestigious engineering consulting firm.


I moved to the U.S. from Japan at age 17 to attend college and was the first person in my family to immigrate to this country. Many people are amazed that a 17 year old girl would have the courage to travel alone to the other side of the planet. But I didn’t think it was scary at all. I had grown up on U.S. military bases in Japan, so all my friends and classmates were American. I had always expected that when it was time to go to college, I would go to a university in the United States. I was looking forward to the adventure, and it was a great growth experience. I adapted quickly to my new homeland and have enjoyed living in the U.S. ever since.

If you think something is going to be scary, it will be. On the other hand, if you think it’s going to be a fun and adventurous learning experience, it will be. Your attitude and expectations make a huge difference in how a big bold change feels to you.


After my divorce, I was very motivated to move on with my life. At the time, I was commuting between Philadelphia and my home in Connecticut. I asked myself where I would live, if I could live anywhere in the world? My answer was San Francisco, the city of my dreams. It had the spectacular beauty of the water, mountains, and city lights, as well as the cultural diversity and urban excitement. And it was 2,600 miles away from my ex-husband. I was motivated to reinvent myself, to have a fresh new start on a new chapter of my life.

It proved to be easier than you might think to establish oneself in a new city. You can search online for social groups to join, including newcomer groups. is a great resource to meet new friends who share the same hobbies and interests as you have. You can also make friends by joining a ski club, hiking group, tennis club, golfing group, bridge club, or any social or activity-related organization. I’ve made dozens of new friends in San Francisco over the past few months. And I still stay in touch with my friends on the East Coast. I’m so happy I made the move to San Francisco. It really feels like home to me now.

What bold actions do you want to take? What mental blocks are getting in your way? How might you manage your fears by focusing on your BAM … your Beliefs, Attitude, and Motivation?

Tell us what you think. We would love to get your comments!

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One Response to How to Develop the Courage to Make a Big Move After Divorce

  1. Joyce July 17, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Great article! I really like your comparison of courage and fearlessness. Courage is not the absence of fear but faith that things will be ok in spite of fears. Getting out of our comfort zones can be an amazing experience. We are capable of much more than our minds (at times) limit us to. You have proven that with many of your life experiences and choices. Thanks for sharing your inspiring stories!

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