Dolly Parton Shares Piece of Advice From Her Mother That Shaped Her Career

by Anna Dunn
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 18: Dolly Parton performs on stage at ACL Live during Blockchain Creative Labs’ Dollyverse event at SXSW during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

Dolly Parton recently shared a piece of advice she received from her mother that shaped her career. Parton, a country music superstar and all-around legend, grew up in Tennessee with 11 siblings. And one piece of advice from her mom, just six words long, changed everything for her.

“Always keep something back for you,” Parton shared on Apple Music Country’s The Kelleigh Bannen Show last Tuesday. For her, this applies to business and the importance of work-life balance. That’s right, even someone like Parton believes in the importance of work-life balance and taking care of yourself.

“You can give what you’ve got, but don’t give it all away,” Parton told the podcast. “I pray also that God will, you know, give me enough to share and enough to spare when it comes to my money, but also to myself. Let me share everything I can, but let me keep me.”

Dolly Parton’s Advice From Her Mother Influenced Her Early Career

It’s the early years when those six words made all the difference. When Parton was learning how to connect to audiences and grow a following while staying true to herself, this advice really came in handy.

“Even in the early days, a lot of people told me I should change my look or nobody’s going to ever take me serious. I thought, ‘Yeah, they will, when they see [the talent] I’ve got,’” she said.

Now, Parton has amassed a significant amount of success as not only a musician but a businesswoman. But she’s not about keeping that money for herself. Parton has donated millions to charity. These causes include animal protection, COVID-19 vaccine research and development, and education.

And in the later stages of her career, that advice still rings true for her. She only accepts projects she hopes will challenge her and only commits to projects she feels will actually benefit from her.

The icon recently released a new album AND a new book. The book and album are companion pieces and are both titled Run, Rose Run. She co-authored the book with famous author James Patterson and has always dreamed of being an author.

And at 76, she has no desire to slow down anytime soon. She has no plans to retire, and between book writing, running and donating to charities, owning a theme park, and being an overall treasure, Parton will always return to her true passion: Song-writing.

“I take myself more serious as a songwriter than anything else,” she said. “I always say I’ve written about 3,000 songs and three good ones, but I just love the joy of writing.”