In this episode of Dominate Your Day, Dana Williams speaks with her mother, Marillyn Seeberger about her career journey and the importance of leaving a legacy.
Dominate Your Day Podcast
Welcome to the fifth episode of the Dominate Your Day Podcast! This podcast is for any professional or business owner who wants to live intentionally and dominate their day. Dana Williams and her guests will bring you practical advice about how to create a productive life through tools and experiences from guests who have designed the life they love.
At Dana Williams Consulting, we teach you everything you need to know about how to live intentionally and Dominate your Day based on your unique talents. We have also created some great tools like The Strengths Journal™. The Strengths Journal is a daily companion guide to the CliftonStrengths assessment.
Episode 5 ft. Marillyn Seeberger
Marillyn Seeberger has served in many roles throughout her life from secretary to TV producer to Vice President of an Ad Agency. During her work in film, Marillyn received the Achievement Award from Women in Film. On her 80th birthday, Marillyn announced to her family that she would be attending college to finally get her degree. Now, Marillyn is a junior at Southern Methodist University pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in film. Marillyn is a great example of pursuing her dreams, regardless of age or circumstance.
Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including timestamps. To subscribe to Dominate Your Day on Apple Podcasts, click here.
Narrator: [00:00:00] Welcome to the fifth episode of dominate your day, where Dana Williams shares real life conversations with leaders, coaches, and visionaries from all facets of life. We talk about all that goes into leading a life with intention and dominating your day today. Dana is speaking with Marilyn Siebert on leaving a legacy and designing a life you love.
Dana Williams: [00:00:27] Well, I am so excited today to be with one of my number one people in my world, and that’s my mom, and our theme this month on the podcast is design a life you love. And one of the activities I always have people do when they’re thinking about their mission and where they want to go in life. Is it?
Think about that 85th birthday, or the 90th birthday, or their 80th birthday, and what does that feel like? And what does it look like? What are the, who are their friends there and who are the family members there? And the inspiration for this came from my mom, because on her 80th birthday, she told us all that she was going to go back to college.
So I, for those of you who don’t know my mom I’d like to introduce her Marillyn Seeberger. Mom, tell us about your strengths, and I can help kind of walk you through them . I think we did your StrengthsFinder, was it in January of 2019, right before you went to SMU?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:01:24] Probably about that time.
Dana Williams: [00:01:26] Yeah. And you’re a junior right now at SMU. Is that correct? Okay, so we did your strengths right before you were starting school, and I was not surprised to hear that you had number one, Connectedness, number two, you have Responsibility, which I’m sure there was something about responsibility that made you want to go back to college.
And then number three, you have a Ranger which I’ve seen my whole life. Number four, Developer, and number five Input. When you learn those strengths, what kind of, what kind of strength did you say that you see in yourself all the time and is kind of one of your favorite ones when you learned what those were?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:02:07] Well, I think Connectedness, which obviously was the first is the one that I identify with the most of those five.
Dana Williams: [00:02:16] Yeah, because you’ve always been that person to see how everything connects the whole and connect people
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:02:21] yeah. I like to find things that work for one part of what I’m doing, but also work for another part of what I’m doing and have what I call cross breathing.
Dana Williams: [00:02:33] So when you decided on your 80th birthday to announce to your whole family and friends at your birthday, that you were going back to college, what was behind all of that?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:02:44] Well, a long time of not going to college, a long time concern that I should have gone to college. My parents were prepared to send me, but I decided to get married instead.
And so I always regretted that, I regretted not doing that for them, and I regretted not doing it for me. I, because I had children, I didn’t, you know, I didn’t have, I couldn’t conscientiously take the time and the money to go to school when I had children to raise and children to pay for their educations or to get them through school or whatever.
So I had reached a point in my life where I went, you know, there’s nothing stopping me now. And I, you know, what am I going to do for the rest of my life? I want to do something that’s positive, and I want to do something that will last the rest of my life because I have to have a project. Yeah.
Dana Williams: [00:03:40] And how cool it was that you decided to do that, then there’s so many people I talked to that are even in their fifties and sixties and thinking, “Oh, it’s too late for me to go to college.”
And I tell them your story and say, no, it’s not. So tell everybody what you’re getting your degree in and why.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:03:57] Well, my degree is to be it’s from the Meadow School in Film and Media, and what I particularly am focusing on is Screenwriting because that’s something that I ought to be able to do from home.
And as long as I live and have anything going on up here. So that’s my plan and why screenwriting? Well, I had always wanted to write and in fact, when I was intentionally, well, when I thought I was intentionally going to school, I’m wanted, as a youngster, to be a journalist because I liked to write, except I found, I like to kind of write, write, write instead of journalistically
write. Because I always wanted to add something to it. So I knew that I had stories that I enjoyed telling, and I might use a little bit of fact and a little bit of fiction. So that was, did that to answer your question?
Dana Williams: [00:04:54] And your strengths have been with you your entire life. I think you’ve heard me say this.
So probably writing. I remember you telling me you had a job right out of, and during high school where you were writing at that newspaper?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:05:06] I worked at the newspaper. I had an internship. It really wasn’t called that then. My journalism teacher said “there’s an opportunity over at the, at the newspaper, which is a kind of across the street from the school.”
And none of my friends worked, but I wanted to work. I had this burning desire always to work, and it was sort of strange and I was an odd ball for doing it, but anyway, I worked at the newspaper and I got paid 50 cents an hour. And I worked at before school and after school. And when I was interviewed for the job, I said, well, you know, I’m a cheerleader.
And I have to, I might have to come in, in my cheerleader uniform on Fridays. Or I might even have a costume on- that was okay. So yes, that was my first job. And when I worked at the newspaper, I worked for the publishing editor. And so he, you know, it’s a small news, small town newspaper. So he did a lot of things, and he let me do a lot of things and he mentored me.
He really was wonderful.
Dana Williams: [00:06:10] And what do you think? So you had, that was your first writing job. And then I remember growing up, you had jobs at TV stations, ad agencies, and then you had your own business all back in the time when women didn’t work. I mean, you were, I was one of the few in my classroom, who had a working mom.
So what, and you talked about a drive, you had that nobody else had, of your friends in high school. So what, what do you think that drive , where do you think that came from?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:06:38] I do not know. I just I’m wanted to achieve and I wanted, I didn’t want to just be a housewife. There’s nothing wrong with being a wife, but I didn’t want to be at home sweeping the floor and wearing my high heels and in your pearls, vacuuming and whatever.
So, because I felt like, Hey, you know, God gave us a brain. Why do we have to not achieve?
Dana Williams: [00:07:03] Who was your role model during that time?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:07:07] Oh, well, always movie stars. So I would say people in, in the movies, characters in the movies were kind of my role models because I went to the movies every weekend. From the time I can remember.
So that was, that was where I learned a lot of things. And I used to sit and look at the credits, you know, and read every name. So I knew, you know, who the names were of all the people that did everything. And I did not know what a producer was. And I ended up producing a lot of years, but I would say my role models were probably people in character roles, like Betty Davis.
I loved Ida Lupino. People like that, and they always had roles of strong women, and they were always doing things they weren’t expected to do. Got it.
Dana Williams: [00:07:57] And so you, you kind of saw that there was something back probably that we would see in your strengths from that. That when you were a child, that you loved the movies and here you are in your eighties, and you’re still loving screen writing and you had this wonderful career of producing, and working in advertising and television.
So all the experiences you had from that first job in high school, all the way through, what was your favorite work experience?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:08:26] Well, I absolutely loved working at the television station, and that was kind of my second big job, and that was in Oklahoma city. I worked on live programs that was in the, during the days of live television.
So we did live television shows that I was involved in two of those that were produced each day. One was a woman’s show, but it was, it was a woman hostess, Miss Fran from Storyland. But it was live every morning, every weekday morning. And it was directed toward children and there were very few women on camera.
In those days. You had, you might have a weather lady. And you might have never, never any women newscasters and you’d have a, children’s kind of a children’s performer. And so that’s what Ms. Fran did. Then I worked on the live TV show in the afternoon, that was a variety show. We interviewed anybody who came to town who was of interest.
And these would be people appearing in concerts or whatever. As you recall, or maybe you don’t, when Kennedy was killed, I was getting ready to tell people how to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey on TV, on TV. So on that show because I helped out. And when we didn’t have something to fill a space, I would do a little woman’s bit.
And I was allowed to do that because it was a woman’s a bit.
Dana Williams: [00:09:52] So I see and hear your Input and your Arranger, your Input gathered information probably daily for the show as producer. And then when you were on the show, being able to arrange and work quickly, cause Arranger can make mid-course corrections very quickly.
So that I can see that. And then of course, just the responsibility of getting the show out the door every day, on time. So as you, as you think back on you reflect back on your career before you start this next career, what advice would you give to other women who are working and leading in their industry and trying to do something different? You talked a little bit about strong women, but what what would be the advice. I know back then, you didn’t have a lot of role models in the workplace that you could go to.
But what would you recommend to women today and trying to, I don’t think we use that word bounce anymore, but it’s more about how do you navigate your life, your personal life and your work life and your work life. And what does that look like and what have looking back, what would you say right now is the biggest lessons you learned from that?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:10:58] Well, I regret that I was not with my children more, but I knew that this, I had this moment. You were talking about having moments when, you know, you’re where you’re supposed to be at the right time. I knew that I had to take advantage of where I was at that time and the learn what I could, and I would say as far as advice goes, I guess my advice is mostly to people who are not so experienced that I can think of right now.
And that is to never turn down an opportunity, even if you think it’s less than what you want to be or less than what you’re capable of. But if it’s an opportunity that gets you where you can observe others in the action, you can learn without having the burden on you, of performing. You can soak up everything that’s going on around you.
And that to me is something that I think everybody needs to remain open to.
Dana Williams: [00:11:57] Whether you’re male, female, whatever it is. And I think, I think back then, I think you were having to break through a lot of Glass ceilings and doors, as you worked your way up to Vice President at, at Bloom Agency and as you were in different areas.
But I think also just, I would say for just the general human being out there working and trying to find their passion and their mission every day. And that’s why I’m so big on mission because it gives you that energy every day to get going and to push through those when those opportunities come.
And to know, well, this is part of my where my mission is. So something inside of you probably was stirring that up, and it probably came a little bit from that connectedness, and also just that Developer, I hear a lot of developing yourself through that time. And we talk about putting strings on ourselves sometimes.
Not always just outwardly, but how do we develop ourselves? So right now you’re developing yourself while in college, so talk to us a little bit about what this experience has been like signing up being, you know, you might be the oldest one in your class. There, there might’ve been some interesting stories.
So share with us what that’s been like.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:13:02] Well, I’ve had some wonderful experiences with young people, and they’ve all been very accepting of me. And most of the time when I’m in class, and I haven’t been in class now since last February, I haven’t been in person. That is so I miss that. But I’ve met some lovely young people who have went.
They, I think they’re not paying attention to me or they’re not noticing me or anything. And I try not to be the person who’s trying to get attention. So I just, didn’t, I’m kind of quiet, but if I’ve talked to them, all of a sudden they’re listening. Mm, you know, I see their heads whipped around. They want to know what I’m going to say.
So that kind of puts a little burden on me cause I’m going, “Ooh, I have to say something smart.” So that’s, but I’ve had some really nice experiences with people. Young people have helped me, and I have their name and number, and I say, “Is it alright if I call you and ask you about this or that?” And they’ve been very kind, extremely helpful,
and I’ve found them wonderful tutor from a young lady who graduated last year from SMU and she lives in Arizona and we talk, she was in one of my classes last year. And so we talk on Zoom, and she helps me understand how to use my computer.
Dana Williams: [00:14:19] That’s awesome. Cause you had to get you weren’t on Apple computer before this class you were on a regular.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:14:24] I was on a desktop.
Dana Williams: [00:14:26] Yeah. And so you had to learn that you also had to learn how to do virtual school and you also had to get motivated. And one of the things we talk about a lot in strengths is that our strengths don’t develop by ourselves, that we need to find people that can compliment what we don’t have.
And it sounds like that’s what you’ve done with this gal in Arizona.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:14:46] Yes. I found out through my work time when I was in business, that all you have to do is know who to call. So if you find some, you know, I just kept calling until I found somebody that could help me find someone. Yeah. So that was the, that was a hard, that’s a hard thing,
and I’m still struggling with some, because I don’t know a lot of the tricks, cause I never really got to be trained by Apple because the store shut down.
Dana Williams: [00:15:14] Oh yeah. Right when the pandemic happened, right.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:15:17] I had one, I had the first half of the semester at school. I hope I can get to graduate and actually attend school.
Dana Williams: [00:15:26] That would be fun. So tell us what has been the most challenging thing? It sounds like those were some challenges just getting through those.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:15:31] Yeah, those were the most challenging I believe and then just, you know, finding my way around the campus and organizing. You know, organizing them work as much as anything and finding out who the people were that I could ask for help.
And just, you know, passwords change every year and stuff like that. That always throws me.
Dana Williams: [00:15:53] Yeah. So it’s a lot. So what has been your favorite class so far?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:15:58] Oh, well, obviously the Screen Writing classes, I love them.
And what did about it? Do you love,
I love the teacher. I love her method. I love getting to actually write you know, doing, I love doing and, you know, just that’s that to me has been the best experience.
Dana Williams: [00:16:17] And so when you graduate from SMU another year and a half.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:16:22] Hopefully in the spring, in the spring of 22.
Dana Williams: [00:16:25] Okay. So yeah, about a year from now. So tell us what you envision happening then. What do you, what’s the narrative you have in your head and the picture you have of what, what that will look like after you walk across the stage and get your degree?
What would you picture that?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:16:38] Well, what I hope to do with my degree is know that I have credentials. That was important to me because I thought, how am I going to sell a screenplay to somebody? Or how am I going to get anybody interested in using me to help them be a script doctor? I can do that easily.
And you know, a script doctor as I signed two or three people, perhaps on a project to be a script doctor and they say, “This is where we are. We don’t like what’s happening here. Try something.” So maybe three or four people are trying. Well, I need to make myself known to those people who have those kinds of assignments, and I’m not looking for a job.
I don’t intend to look for a job, and I don’t know who would hire an 85 year old woman, which is what I will be next year, closer to 86 anyway for a job- job. But this is the kind of work I’ve always loved doing, which is freelance. And so I, you know, If I get known to people as someone who’s dependable, that they can call and give an assignment to, and I get it into them and it’s usable then,
great. So I can see myself doing that, but I have to make those connections and through my class, I am having opportunities to learn the ways to get into those groups.
Dana Williams: [00:18:07] I just heard your Connectedness right there. I just heard it , I just spotted it. Okay, and your Responsibility just to have this done, cause you told yourself you were going to get this done.
Yeah. And I get that. So, and I remember you telling me that you went and took a screenwriting class in New Mexico. Was it New Mexico? Or here?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:18:24] I actually, I took a screen directing screen directing class and took that in New Mexico. Yes.
Dana Williams: [00:18:31] And that was how many years ago?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:18:33] Oh, that was, that was in the seventies.
That was in the seventies or early eighties. In the eighties. Early eighties.
Dana Williams: [00:18:41] Yeah. So how long ago was that? Like long time ago.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:18:45] Last century. Yeah.
Dana Williams: [00:18:47] So this has been a burning desire of yours. And how cool that you’re getting to do that.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:18:52] You said screen writing, but it was a directing class, but some of the same techniques are included.
Dana Williams: [00:19:01] That you learned way back then,
and you still had your file from back then. You showed it to me. That’s another thing that we see with Input is they always are able to put their hands on information. They don’t want to be caught with not having the information. Does that sound familiar? So being able, when you pulled that up and showed me and you still had the file from whenever it was and early eighties, I was like, wow.
So as we get ready to close out, is there anything I haven’t asked you or anything else on your mind that you want to share with the audience today? About building and designing a life you love and going ahead and going for your dreams and not being afraid to just be strong and go through them?
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:19:43] Well, I would say number one, you have to have a supportive environment. Yeah, and I certainly do. You know, I have a very supportive husband. I couldn’t do this if he weren’t so encouraging to me. And that’s wonderful. I think you have to be not be afraid. I’m was scared to death when I went over to the community college when I first started, to take a test just to see, you know, if I could get in and I was scared to death and somehow I got into some classes.
So just breaking that ice is one thing. That not being afraid and just, you have to purposely decide you’re going to do something and then do it.
Dana Williams: [00:20:31] I love that intentional living. I think we talk a lot about that in the journal every day, ask yourself what is one fear I’m going to conquer today because the fear you had was getting in, right?
And once you break through that, then there’s the growth. And that’s what we want every day, because we’re not growing if we’re not stepping in that fear. Yeah.
Marillyn Seeberger: [00:20:50] I do have one other thing to mention. I was thinking about this again for some time and we took, my husband and I, took a class together that was called Education for Ministry and it’s comes from Suwanee University.
We did that at our church, and it was a four year course. And we went every week, and we would spend three hours, at least I think it was three hours, it was a long evening. And we had homework, now, homework was reading. I had a lot of reading to do. And after doing that. I went, you know, I stuck with this for four years and I did it.
I could actually go to school because I wasn’t sure before then that I could do the work.
Dana Williams: [00:21:41] So it sounds like there was a lesson in there that try something small, even though that was four . , it wasn’t as intimidating as going into a college campus and saying “I’m, you know, 80 years old and I want to go to school,” and you did that.
And that helped you set up a new file, and that created a new opportunity for you. That’s awesome. Was great. Great advice. Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing legacy. We love it.
Wow. That was such an incredible opportunity for me to sit down and ask my mom questions. I would have never asked her, had I not gone through this process of discovering my own journey,
and developing the strengths journal to help people figure out their legacy, their mission and goals, and what kind of mark that they want to make in their lifetime. If that’s you and you were interested in learning more about what we offer, feel free to send me an email at Dana at danawilliamsco.com or you can go to our website at thestrengthsjournal.com.
Thank you so much. Now go out there and dominate your day.