Be more Dolly

I’m putting myself on the line here in saying that I want to be the ‘Dolly Parton of the design business’.

No, I don’t mean that I want to start playing guitar and wearing rhinestones, (although a bit of sparkle is never a bad thing). I’ll be sticking to branding design, but I’ll be trying to upgrade my attitude to Parton level 10. I might start wearing a cowboy hat though…

I’ve loved Dolly since she performed on the BBC’s Pebble Mill in the early 80s. I remember playing in the living room with the tv on when she began to sing ‘Jolene’. That voice, that song, those sparkles. I was transfixed!

I am still in awe of her and think she is an absolute powerhouse. She is a great example that us women can be whoever we want to be and do whatever we want to do.

You probably know Dolly as a country music icon, but did you know that she also runs a production company, owns a theme park called ‘Dollywood’, she co-wrote the Broadway musical for 9-to-5 and is just a thoroughly lovely person? 

The other day I heard a podcast which reminded me of how much of a badass she is so I thought I’d share a few things I admire about Dolly which I intend to do more of.

She keeps it real.
Dolly came from a large, poor family, but she has always been honest about her roots. She is proud of her humble beginnings and wrote many songs about it.

She is ambitious.
She doesn’t bend to what others expect of her.
“I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else”

She uses her platform and her money to do good things.
Dolly’s Dad was illiterate, but this spurred her on to start a charity called the ‘Imagination Library’ which sends books all over the world in order to help kids learn to read.

She works hard.
I love the fact that she doesn’t think her profession or fame makes her better than anyone else. She’s just a woman making a living doing what she loves. But she puts all her effort into doing it well.
“I never have considered myself a perfectionist, but I do think of myself as a ‘professionalist’… I always strive simply to be my very best.”

She also has a work/life balance.
She works incredibly hard, but also makes time for her family and friends.
“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

She follows her gut.
When Elvis Presley wanted to record a version of ‘I will always love you’ his team told her that it was standard practice for her to give half of the publishing rights to him. Despite being flattered that the king of rock and roll wanted to cover her song she followed her gut and refused. 

“Other people were saying, ‘You’re nuts. It’s Elvis Presley.’ …I said, ‘I can’t do that. Something in my heart says, ‘Don’t do that. And I just didn’t do it… He would have killed it. But anyway, so he didn’t. Then when Whitney came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland”

She is a leader.
She takes her status very seriously and uses it wisely.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

She has a lot of love to give.
“I love everybody, and I go right through the bullsh*t to the core of every person because we are all one… The biggest freaks in the world are my favourite people, like you, like me.”

All of these are great qualities to have in your life and business, and many of them have Dolly’s own soundtrack to go along with them! What’s not to love?

I hope you feel inspired, like me, to be more Dolly.

Who are your business idols, and why do you admire them?