Reese Witherspoon, InStyle

Thomas Whiteside/InStyle

Reese Witherspoon is ending the year on a high.

E! News has the first look at InStyle's the December 2016 issue, featuring the actress, producer and entrepreneur on its cover. Witherspoon—who next appears in Sing and HBO's upcoming miniseries Big Little Lies—has been working overtime this year, due in part to her clothing and lifestyle brand, Draper James. It can be overwhelming, at times—but it's worth it.

"It's a new chapter for me starting a business, going around passing the hat, and promoting it all over the place. It's a different experience, but I'm enjoying learning something new," says Witherspoon, who debuted the line in 2015 and launched pop-up stores in 2016. "I've been acting for about 25 years, and I still love it, but I like the challenge of trying something else too."

Witherspoon calls her own shots, in life and in business. And like her childhood idol Dolly Parton—who interviews her for the cover story—the Southern star is a steel magnolia. "I've learned, particularly when you're in a business for a long time, you need to treat people the way you want to be treated," Witherspoon says. "Because at the end of the day, you're going to be up, you're going to be down, but it's really about how you behaved. That's important to me."

Cross the line and Witherspoon will make sure the person knows it. "I lose my temper only about once a year, but when I do, they usually deserve it," she tells InStyle. "Really deserve it."

In those instances, Witherspoon reevaluates her relationships. "I've realized that life is too short to spend my time with anybody who doesn't appreciate me, treat me with respect or bring value to the relationship," she explains. "I'm much more confident now, and I feel like I have the ability to say, 'Nope, I don't want to work with that person.'"

Witherspoon hopes her kids—Ava Phillippe, 17, Deacon Phillippe, 13, and Tennessee Toth, 4—will learn from her example.

"My mom worked, and I think it's good for kids to see women working and being successful. I think it's going to make them hard workers because they see that I don't get much sleep. But I love what I do. I want them to grow up with passion," she says. "This is the one life you get, and you have to live it to the very end."

For more from Witherspoon, pick up InStyle's December issue, on sale Friday, Nov. 11.

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