Surviving a Dry Spell

by Cheryl Richardson -

A dry spell is a period of time when progress comes to a grinding halt. If you're trying to lose weight for example, it may be that despite your best efforts the scale just won't budge. Or, if you're trying to find a new job, the phone might stop ringing and it may suddenly feel as though no one is hiring in your field. During this period, you're likely to feel frustrated and discouraged.

As a result, it's common to do one of two things -- try harder (to no avail), or give up. This is also the time when self-doubt rears its ugly head.

During a dry spell, you'll probably begin to question yourself and your goals.

For example, if you're involved in a job search, you might start second-guessing your credentials, doubting your skills, or questioning your direction altogether. Or, if you're trying to lose weight, you may lose your motivation and go back to the erroneous belief that your stalled progress is related to a lack of discipline.

The biggest challenge during a dry spell is to be patient -- to sit back, take a deep breath and know that despite what appears to be "the end of the road," over the horizon is a path that will lead where you most need to go.

Whenever we decide to make a major change in our lives, it's important to know that along with taking new actions, we also may need to let go of some things in order to welcome in new experiences.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come." --Joseph Campbell

While it's certainly true that a period of stagnancy or inertia sometimes means that we just need to have faith that we're on the right track, other times, it may mean something more.

It may be that you need to loosen your grip and let go of something -- an old habit, an outdated belief, or a strategy that doesn't serve you anymore. Sometimes this letting go is more tangible like ending an unsupportive relationship to set the stage for becoming the "new you." 

Other times it might be that you need to let go of an unrealistic expectation. I remember one friend who realized this when she reached a weight loss plateau and had to give up the fantasy that her body would ever look like something out of a fashion magazine. Only then could she continue without sabotaging her success.

The moral of this story is: 

Don't lose hope! A dry spell may be exactly what you need to re-evaluate your progress so you can redirect the course of your life.

To help you use a dry spell as a catalyst for success, answer the following question:

What do I need to let go of in order to welcome in the new life I desire?

Then, pay attention to what immediately comes to mind. Listen with your heart (not your head) and write down the answers regardless of how strange or unexpected they may be. Once you do, sit with this information for a while before taking action. Then, proceed with a patient heart.

When you understand that dry spells are merely speed bumps on the road to a great life, you'll begin to see them as gifts -- a reminder to slow down so you can get your bearings, reevaluate your plans and slowly shed the old you to make way for the new!