Don’t let the ‘Committee of They’ steal Your Dreams. Dolly Parton didn’t. Here’s how. This week’s #CoffeewithColm Episode #177

She was next up to the mic. All excited.

The Class of ’64 was graduating from Sevier County High School, in Sevierville, TN and, it being a small High School, everyone had a chance to tell the assembled audience of family friends and faculty what they were planning to ‘be’ when they left school.

No doubt you had the usual; “I’m going to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.” Each pupil got the customary ‘bualadh bos’ to wish them success, fame and fortune as they stepped into the next chapter of their young lives.

She was next up to the mic so nineteen-year old Dolly Parton excitedly announced she was going up the road – the 200-odd miles to Nashville – … to become a star.

What did they do?

They laughed at her.

They laughed at her! And she was absolutely devastated.

To find out what happened next, watch the four-minute video, listen to the four-minute podcast or read on below for more…

Dolly Parton couldn’t believe it – she’d been singing forever and recording from the tender age of thirteen and yet Smalltown USA laughed at her dreams.

So, what did Dolly do? We all know she went up the road – the 200-odd miles to Nashville – … and BECAME a star, but do you know what she did with that experience?

She pocketed it.

She put that laughter in her back pocket and took it out and used it over and over and over again when times got tough for her because she said, “How dare they laugh at my dreams!”

But they had! So Dolly decided do you know what? I’m going to Nashville, I’m going too become a star and the rest, as they say is history.

She never forgot that moment that they laughed at her dreams and instead of it being used to keep her in her box –

“Remember where you come from.”

“We know where you come from.”

“We know who you are.”

“You’re Smalltown USA just like us.”

Instead of her letting it hold her back, Dolly Parton used it as fuel! Every time it got tough out there, she dipped into her back pocket and remembered the laughter and determined over and over and over again that she would not allow the “Committee of They” win.

So, my friend, we can all learn from Dolly Parton. If ever ‘they’ tell you you’re not good enough, you’re not pretty enough, tall enough, rich enough, from the right side of the tracks enough, haven’t got the right accent enough, you need to pocket whatever they say and take it out when the going gets tough and use it as fuel.

The ‘Committee of They’, most of them are doing nothing with their lives, most of them are living in fear and the one thing they hate more than their current situation, is seeing someone rise beyond it.

Perhaps you are the one stepping out, perhaps there are a few people in the long grass taking potshots?

Don’t worry about them.

Don’t worry about them; leave them in the long grass – snakes always live in long grass, don’t they?

I hope that accountant, that lawyer, that doctor in Sierville, TN, aka Smalltown Usa, each had great life, because we sure know Dolly did.

Dolly Parton followed her dreams, went up the road to Nashville and became a star and as such shone so brightly that she brightened up the lives of millions of people around the world.

So, don’t let anybody snuff out your lamp.

What’s your unique lamp?

Light it, let it burn as brightly as you can, shine it for all to see and make the world a brighter place by just being you.


Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly.


Watch | Listen | Read | Think.

Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

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  • Stop To Prepare – Click here.
  • Are you carrying too much baggage for the journey?, click here.

HIRE ME TO SPEAK. Consider me speaking at your event, launch, awards, or as your after-dinner keynote. Find out more here.

WORK WITH ME OR THE COBM | SOUNDING BOARD TEAM. Need help with your business? Check out the areas I and The Sounding Board of trusted experts can assist with. Find out more here.

FREE AUDIO BOOK. If would like a complimentary copy of my book “Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks” in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

DEEP DIVE. If you would like to go deeper in your own personal journey, you can review the first step in my “12 Steps to Create the Life You Really Want” for FREE. Check it out here.

LINKEDIN. Perhaps the thing to do right now is simply to hook up professionally on LinkedIn – if that’s of interest, click here.

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