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The Takeaway: Improvising Family and Career
Marc and his wife Karen improvise a career lifestyle that works for the entire family. His
self-created hours allow for the kind of flexibility where his wife can take on the demands of
working as an OB/GYN while knowing that the kids and house are well managed. Marc
and his wife engage in the improvisational practice of alternating between soloing and
supporting (Barrett, 1998).
Marc has admitted that his family inspires many of his projects. His recent co-
collaborations, Side Effects May Include and Shaking With Laughter, are prime examples of
how they positively deal with the challenge of her diagnosis. They both continue to work
full time. They created and co-chair the Shaking With Laughter foundation where they have
raised substantial funds that are then donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for
Parkinson research. The following link allows you to learn more about the foundation
“Shaking With Laughter” (http://shakingwithlaughter.org/).
The Takeaway: Seizing Opportunity Is It Really Luck?
Luck is a word I hear often from freelancers. Marc attributes the Seinfeld gig to the luck of
being in the right place at the right time. Is it a humble way to describe his success or is it
a way to forfeit taking credit for work initiated or accomplished? Why luck? Did he not
make the effort to seek the job and have the skills to back it up? Does saying “it’s luck”
make it easier to handle when work isn’t there? I was curious about why so many
freelancers used the word “luck” when opportunity knocks and they answer.
Then I read an article in Psychology Today called “Make Your Own Luck” and realized that
all these participants possess many of the characteristics that avail themselves for chance
opportunities and then they act.
Elizabeth Nutt Williams, a psychology professor at St Mary’s College in Maryland,
found that chance was significant factor in shaping the career paths of thirteen
professional women she studied. Women who take advantage of happenstance
have competence, self-confidence and the ability to take risks. (Webber, May/June
2010, p. 64-66)
The author also notes that a relaxed approach to life certainly helps, “Anxiety in particular
gives us tunnel vision; while we’re focusing on potential danger; we end up missing a lot of
extraneous but potentially beneficial information” (Webber, May/June 2010 p. 64-66).
There is the suggestion that those who embrace serendipity are more fearless about trying
something new. If they are willing to embrace something new, they must also be willing to
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