We received word yesterday that a friend and colleague had to lay off nearly 80% of his staff – proof positive that the economy in the United States continues to be a huge Challenger in the lives of many.

As TED* fan, Bill Carver, recently wrote on the Power of TED* Facebook page, “With the poor economy, the need to be creative is even more important. Exploring new frontiers versus the familiar way is the way forward.”

The old “psychological contract” between employee and employer used to be this: “come to work; keep your ‘nose clean’; do what you are told; and we will take care of you.”  This paternalistic, ultimately disempowering mindset has been fading for decades and, in the current climate for all-too-many, has now been ripped to shreds.

A natural reaction of those whose lives have been thrown off course in this economy is to fall into the Dreaded Drama Triangle and its roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.  One feels victimized by the economy and different people see different persecutors – those individuals and institutions they blame for the turn of events of the past couple of years.  Many are hoping that, somehow and from somewhere, a great Rescuer will turn things around, be that the government or the Federal Reserve or some other individual or institution.  However, when the hoped-for Rescuer does not deliver – or do so fast enough – they are then seen as yet another disappointing Persecutor.  And so the drama is perpetuated.

The Victim Orientation, in which we await a Rescuer, is “the familiar way” to which Bill is referring.  Perhaps the way forward first and foremost requires the shift into a Creator Orientation.  From this mindset we can begin to create “new frontiers.”  Instead of finding and following a “career path” provided by an employer, we can begin to create a career path, baby step by baby step.

From this orientation we can tap into the resourcefulness of The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) and its roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach.  From this perspective, the down economy serves as a Challenger which sparks innovation, learning and growth.  As we work in collaboration with others, we look for and serve as a Coach, clarifying our vision and tapping resources to create our career paths.  (One great example is TED* Champion, coach and self-employment guru, Molly Gordon, and her upcoming “Self Employment Telesummit.”)

These times are a Challenger for many.  How are you being a Creator during this down economy?