If you want to seriously trigger me, just call me shallow. Actually, even calling me “more of a big-picture person” or “really fun-focused” or anything along those lines will do. Because what I hear is, “Goebig, you are such a shallow bitch. You’ve got no depth whatsoever.” Next thing you know I am in full-blown defensive mode. And that’s not pretty to experience – for people around me, but especially not for me.
As we create our own reality, of course I have plenty of evidence to prove that I am lacking in depth and seriousness:
Exhibit A: I dropped out of my PhD program (and my master’s thesis was one of those big-picture things). That shows I’m not cut out for going deep, right?
Exhibit B: Professionally, I excel at workshops and speaking gigs. If I had depth, I would be best and feel best in 1-on-1 sessions, right?
Exhibit C: I talk outfits and style and hair a lot, and I can’t pass a mirror without checking if I’m looking good. Deep people would spend at least some of that time talking world peace or free college education for all, right?
Exhibit D: Oh, and I never found the idea of having own kids particularly tempting. I’m the fun aunt who comes with presents, invents stories, hands out too much chocolate and then leaves again, happy she doesn’t have to deal with the serious stuff. I’m one shallow bitch, right?
I’ll stop it right here because I am not into self-flagellation or deliberately making me feel bad about myself. And the thought that I am shallow does exactly that.
Also, I know the question to ask myself is: Is it really true?
Am I the shallow lake to other people’s deep well—and if so, is that bad?
And who says you can only be either—or anyway?
Maybe I’m a Crater Lake type of person! Or given that I was born and raised in Germany, I should say a Lake Constance. Those are pretty freaking wide and deep lakes—at the same time. Nobody’s telling them they can’t be.
Now here’s the issue: I am not a lake. (Duh!) Neither are any of the other people out there. There is no standard we can apply to measure our depth or correlate our depth to width ratio to figure out who’s on the deep and who’s on the shallow side.
And that’s a good thing. Because that means we can be whatever we want—we are free to choose. Always. Every day.
So first off, 2021 being my Year of Courage, I choose to own what I call my shallowness. (That already feels soooo uncomfortable just writing it).
I choose to own that I am usually drawn to what’s most fun, that I enjoy 1-to-many interactions more than 1-on-1, that I get bored easily with details.
I choose to own it because I can see the benefits this comes with: the fun I can share, the impact I can have, the visions I can create and pursue.
I may even reframe this whole shallowness business and see it as an element of my true gift: lightness. I can bring lightness to serious conversations and topics and still give people a strong sense that they are taken seriously—by someone who is approachable and authentic AF. Me. All of me.
That’s what I’m going to do from here on out. Oh, and have deep 1-on-1 conversations too. With all the vulnerability and discomfort and self-doubt it may bring for me to add more depth to the width. Lake Constance can do it, so why wouldn’t I?