Cheryl Strayed is a New York Times bestselling author whose work has been translated into 40 languages around the world and whose memoir "Wild" was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon.
Yet when she was just getting started, she found her ambition paralyzing.
To be great, Strayed first had to get over wanting to be great.
When Strayed talked to entrepreneur, investor and author Tim Ferriss in Austin for the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, she revealed that if she could put any phrase on a billboard, it would be, "Surrender to your own mediocrity."
She recognizes that the advice may sound depressing. But, she insists, it's liberating.
Early on in her career, "I really felt like, 'OK, I am going to try to write the Great American Novel.' Like every writer," says Strayed. "There is this American idea that you reach for those kinds of heights, and I found when I was about two-thirds the way into that endeavor, writing that book, that the idea of greatness was what was keeping me from fulfilling this dream."