Dolly Parton's advice to young people: 'You've got your own journey'

David Crotty | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

To many fans, Dolly Parton is more than just an iconic musician and a living legend, she's a role model for success.

"I'm like that mother figure," Parton told ABC News' Robin Roberts in a recent interview. "I'm the one that's older now to kind of look down on the kids and say, 'OK, come on, you can do it and you're doing great. I'm proud of you.'"

The 73-year-old singer has been making music since 1962, and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and written thousands of songs. In 2017, Forbes reported Parton's net worth as $37 million.

But when Parton was starting out as a musician, she faced a lot of criticism from people who claimed she was making the "wrong" choices. Specifically, Parton was told that she wouldn't be taken seriously due to the way she dressed and presented herself, she told People.

"I thought, 'How can I do things wrong when it's about me? I will know it if it's wrong. I will know it because I'm that in tune with myself and that in tune with God,'" Parton recalled to People. "It may not always turn out right from me, but I'm still safer in doing what feels right in my gut and in my heart."

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus perform onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Kevin Mazur | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

For these reasons, Parton said she doesn't like to tell young people what to do with their careers. "If someone just point blank asked me something, I'll give them my take on it," she told People. "But I still ain't going to advise them."

Parton is singer Miley Cyrus' godmother, but told People that she doesn't give her advice because, "Miley knows what she's doing."

Instead, Parton said she wants to "be an example rather than just try to tell somebody to do this, do that, because I don't think that's right," she told People.

"Everybody's different. You've got your own journey. And some people are going to help you along the way and they can kick a few rocks out of the road for you, but you got to walk it."

That said, there are a few pages people can take from Parton's book. For example, the prolific writer wakes up extremely early (between midnight and 3 a.m.) to start working, because she says that's when she's most creative.

Parton is also not afraid to ask for more money. "I always felt that I was worth something, and I still do," Parton told ABC News' Roberts.

To this day, working is what makes Parton feel fulfilled, she told ABC News. "I've dreamed myself into a corner so I have to be responsible for those dreams. I have to be out there doing it," she said. "Sometimes I work too hard, but I wanted this. I've seen these dreams come true and every time one dream comes true, you've got to support it."

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