On Sunday I watched the 2019 documentary of Dolly Parton: Here I Am. 

Before you eye roll, hit delete or just cringe, you might appreciate that my husband has often hinted that he might have had second thoughts about me if he knew I liked country music before we tied the knot. You have an ally in him if country music or Dolly are not your thing! But stay with me, I promise I won’t sing…

While I can spend the next few paragraphs coaxing you into the awesomeness that is country music, and Dolly Parton, I will instead share some lessons that I picked up from watching the documentary.

Why? Because ….

Just because I’m blonde
Don’t think I’m dumb
Cause this dumb blonde ain’t nobody’s fool

So here are a few of the lessons…

Dumb Blonde

(As per the lyrics and video above.) This was released in 1967, talk about a powerful message to send! And to sing back in the late 1960’s! This song is a good summation of Dolly’s persona.

Question: What’s your persona that can continue to inspire you and gives you strength?


“You have to believe you have something to offer.”

 I don’t think anything really needs to be said! This statement Dolly made is self-explanatory.

Question: What are you known for? What do you need to do to be known for what you want to be known for?


“Carve out boundaries before you get eaten alive.”  

The message I take from this is also pretty clear and as a female musician who is a prolific songwriter, touring artist and entrepreneur these are wise words. Her husband Carl Dean, has stayed out of the spotlight deliberately. With Dolly being famous for decades what a clear boundary the couple have created that works for them.

Question: What hasn’t worked well this year, that a boundary or boundaries would help; that you could set in 2023?


“Don’t ever stoop so low as to be fashionable.” 

I love this. To me I take this as: why blend in when you are meant to stand out. To progress in your career, whether that’s promotion, profit, recognition, don’t do what everyone else is doing.

Question: What did you do this year that was ‘fashionable’ that you could stop doing in 2023?


3000 Songs 

Did you know that Dolly wrote over 3000 songs? By any standard, that’s phenomenal. The lesson I take from this, is to practice, keep practicing, keep working on your craft, whether that’s your leadership or professional or personal development, keep investing in you.

Question: How will you keep developing?


I love that I sat down to simply enjoy a show about someone I like and I came away with so much more. We can get lessons from all sorts of places. 

Who’s your favourite artist that teaches you valuable lessons?