Dolly Parton is a country music superstar whose own dreams took her from a small town in Tennessee to the highest levels of music and acting success. In her new book, "Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You," Parton reveals how she achieved such success and how others can too, advising people to "Dream More," "Learn More," "Care More" and "Do More." Parton's book is based on a 2009 commencement address she gave at the University of Tennessee that became a YouTube sensation.
Read an excerpt of "Dream More" below and click HERE to find out more about Parton.
Don't ask me how I feel about dreaming unless you really have some time to listen.
Since my early childhood, I've felt like my dreams were the foundation of my drive to accomplish all the things I love. It was a dream that made me feel dressed up when I just had old hand-me down, ragged clothes. A dream that filled me up with desserts of candy and cake when all we had were sweet thoughts, cornbread and molasses.
Dreams took me from a shack at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains to Nashville and then to Hollywood. And then around the world, like Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother all combined, in glitter, high heels and hair.
It's a long way from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to the top of the world, but I'm here— much to my delight and thanks to the love and support of many fine people. I don't take any of it or them for granted. I know that I am living the all-American dream. But chasing your dreams happens everywhere and there are dreamers like me all over the world. It makes me proud and humble to hear them say that my life has inspired them in some way.
While I'm proud of what I've done, the older I get, the more humble I feel. Yes, I've worked hard. Yes, I've been lucky. And yes, I've been truly blessed. But I always count my blessings far more than I ever count my money.
I asked my mother once why she thought God let me be so successful and didn't give the same opportunities to many of my family when some of them were far more talented than I am. She said, "God has his purpose for everybody. We all have our journey to walk." And she said she thought God knew that I'd be willing to share.
Well, I always pray that I have enough to share and some to spare. And so far, God has obliged me. I still struggle with how to help my kinfolks be more successful in music, and I suffer sometimes from a guilt complex about my own success, feeling that so many of them are so deserving. But I ask God to lead and to direct us all and to just let me be there when I'm needed, if I'm needed and as I'm needed. And I pray their dreams will eventually all come true.
I always dreamed hard and had a big imagination. When I was a kid, I used to put a tin can on a tobacco stick. I would jab one end of it into a crack on the porch of our old cabin. And those were not chickens out there in the yard, they were my audience. And that was no ragged dress I was wearing, it was a dress all aglitter with rhinestones. And it was made of the finest silk. Of course, in my mind's eye, I was standing onstage with my guitar and singing my heart out into a microphone, with thousands of people listening to me.