It’s easy to look at some people and think they have it all figured out, and maybe they do. Some people seem to effortlessly do it all. They make life look easy while the rest of us are still trying to keep a healthy work life balance.

Want to know a secret? Having it all isn’t easy for anyone, and some people who seem to have it all figured out actually made really big sacrifices to get where they are today.

Dolly Parton is a country music icon. She has won 10 Grammy Awards. She has had 25 number 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts. She has starred in multiple movies, and she even has her own theme park, Dollywood. It’s easy to think that she has it all and has it all figured out. Maybe she does, but what she figured out might not be what you expected.

In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Parton admitted that part of the reason she has been able to have such a successful career is that she has made some big sacrifices. She doesn’t have kids, and she has a husband who likes to stay out of the spotlight. She is able to work as much as she wants without anything tying her down.

Parton said, “I’ve made sacrifices, but I think, like I said, I believe what I know I’m supposed to do. I’ve made the sacrifice of time … and not having time to spend with family, and you give up family and friends, vacation, and work without end, 24/7, 365, but you got to make the sacrifice.”

Even though Parton doesn’t have children of her own, she gives back to children through her Imagination Library which gives a free book to children from birth until they are kindergarten-aged. So far the Imagination Library has given away over 100 million books.

Parton explained to Winfrey why she doesn’t have any regrets about not having children. “And I didn’t have children because I believed that God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn’t had the freedom to work, I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve done. I wouldn’t be in a position to do all of the things I’m doing now.”

Even though Parton is 74 years old, she is not slowing down. In fact, she has no plans to retire. It seems that choosing career over family was the right decision for her.

Do you think it’s possible to have a successful career while raising a family? What sacrifices have you had to make for your career?

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