Today's written interview is with Kat Nicholls (INFJ).
Kat Nicholls is a writer, podcaster and self-worth coach. Throughout all of her work her aim is to support people to find their worth, build self-belief and grow confidence so they can move past fear and live a life they love.
Hello Kat, and thanks so much for taking part in this interview. Please could we get started by finding out where in the world you currently reside? Is this also where you grew up?
I live in Guildford in the UK and grew up in a nearby town.
Oh, you’re just up the road from where I am near Hampton Court. Do you remember what you were like as a child?
As a child I was a bit of a worrier (I still am!) I was scared of a lot of things, but I had a lot of drive to do the things I was passionate about - back then this included horse riding, playing the flute and singing.
What was school like for you? And how were your teenage years as a whole?
School wasn’t great for me. I was verbally bullied and remember really wanting to blend into the background and not stand out. I lost my sense of self-worth and developed an eating disorder as a result. When I left school, things improved and with the help of therapy I got better.
Thank you for being so honest in sharing this with us. What words, or phrases, would you use to describe your current self?
Creative, intuitive, empathetic, caring, supportive and driven.
And when did you first realise that you were an introvert? How did this happen?
I found the book ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain and remember reading the description of introverts and everything clicked into place. I had just come out of a long-term relationship and so much of our break-up made sense after reading it. It was a revelation!
I discovered being an introvert through Susan Cain, too, and I have a feeling it’s the same for lots of us. Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type?
I’m an INFJ.
And when did you first take the test and discover your 'type'?
Several years ago now, a colleague suggested we do it and I was amazed to read the description, I am a very typical INFJ.
I remember first discovering I was an INFP and then subsequently diving into more information and talking with other INFPs (and INFJs). It’s been quite remarkable. Has discovering you were an INFJ impacted you in any way? If so, how?
Interestingly the area it’s impacted me the most is at work. It’s helped me understand how I work and reinforced my desire to be a coach (a career path that’s well suited to INFJs).
Oh that’s great. Coaching feels like a really great fit for lots of INFPs and INFJs, and a number of the people we interviewed for the INF Summit earlier this year were coaches (some of them doing coaching alongside other options).
What qualities do you think you share with other INFs and intuitives?
Being empathetic and thoughtful of other people’s emotions.
And what were your favourite subjects at school? And what did you study at university/college?
At school I loved drama, music and English. I went on to study writing at university and now work as a writer and coach.
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
At the moment I work four days a week at a company that runs mental health and wellbeing websites, and Happiful magazine. I’m a writer there, creating content for the websites and social media, and writing articles for the magazine. Outside of this I’m a self-worth coach, running my own blog and podcast.
Was there a moment in your life when you made a drastic change?
I worked in retail after university and decided to quit and go traveling in Thailand. I knew I wanted to focus on my dream to be a writer and taking the time off to travel gave me the space I needed to do this.
So you’ve mentioned writing and being a creative person already… Do you have a preferred creative/artistic outlet? Can you tell us a bit about this?
Writing and photography are where I feel most at home. Writing will always be my first love, I do it for work and also like experimenting with fiction writing. Photography is a bit more playful for me, I like taking artistic self-portraits and getting involved with the Instagram community.
And would you describe yourself as a 'highly sensitive person' (HSP) or an empath?
I do think I can be very empathetic, but I don’t think I’m highly sensitive or necessarily an ‘empath’. My boyfriend is both an HSP and empath, and I can see the difference between us, he has to be very careful with his energy.
What does being 'successful' look like to you?
Being successful to me looks like being fulfilled and content. Supporting others is a marker of success for me and knowing I’m making an impact in the world, even if it’s only a very small impact!
And what about 'happiness'... what does that look like to you? Do you have any ‘ingredients’ for this?
I’ve actually written a blog about my ‘happiness formula’. For me this includes: feeling in control and confident at work, having space for relaxation, feeling inspired, spending time with the people I love, getting into a state of flow, having a vision of the future and having a change of scenery now and then.
Oh, thank you for sharing your article; I can resonate with lots of the ‘ingredients’ you have mentioned there and in your answer.
Moving along a little… do you like to plan things, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person?
I am definitely a planner! I have anxiety and having things planned out really helps me feel calmer, although I am working on my ability to go with the flow more!
And what does your 'perfect Sunday' look like?
Breakfast in bed to start with for sure, then going to a coffee shop to read, maybe a nice lunch out then an afternoon under a blanket watching films followed by a bath and an early night.
That sounds really lovely :) Is there anything you've recently read, watch or listened to that you've loved?
A book I loved recently was ‘Arctic Zoo’ by Robert Muchamore. It follows two teenagers in very different places in their lives and covers a range of topics including politics, sexuality and mental health. Well worth a read!
Thank you for the recommendation! And how about favourite blogs or podcasts?
Oh so many! My favourite podcasts at the moment include ‘Hashtag Authentic’ and ‘Grow with Soul’ (both about running a creative online business) and my favourite blogs include ‘Simple and Season’ and ‘Daisy Butter’.
What about favourite movies or TV shows? Is there anything you've seen recently that you'd recommend?
One of my favourite movies of all time is ‘Into the Wild’, the music and language used always takes my breath away. I’ve recently finished watching the latest season of a TV show called ‘Sex Education’ which I loved - it’s about teenage love and sex which is both funny and emotional. It’s also effortlessly diverse which I love.
I’m actually currently reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild book, from which this movie was adapted, and I’m really enjoying it; I’ll have to watch the movie at some point for sure.
If you could go back in time and meet "you" back in 2010, is there any advice that you'd give this younger self?
I would tell her that this was going to be a pivotal year and that any endings or beginnings that take place now are just the beginning. I would tell her to keep going and to keep learning.
That sounds like sound advice. And if you could one or two pieces of advice to your follow INFs and intuitives, what would they be?
I would encourage them to embrace their introverted nature and not try to pretend to be extroverted. Once you understand what it means to be introverted, you can take the space you need to recharge. Build strong boundaries and practice saying no more.
What does 'self-care' mean for you? How do you practise it?
Self-care is essential to me. I practice it very intuitively now. I have a weekly routine with several self-care practices, including meditation, journaling, having baths and practising yoga, but the most important part of self-care for me is checking in with myself regularly and asking myself what I need.
I love all of this - and especially that last sentence! I have actually recently started journaling again and I find asking myself “What do I need right now?” a really useful prompting question. Checking in like this - and also into how I feel is so important to me.
Do you have a favourite quote?
A quote I found recently that really stuck with me is “Fear is excitement without the breath”. Fear and excitement feel the same physically and if we can breathe into fear, we can turn it into excitement. As I have anxiety, and feel fear often, this has been a game-changer.
Wow, I love this, too. Such a subtle - yet powerful - shift.
This has been so enjoyable, Kat. Before we bring things to a close, where can others find and connect with you online?
Just that I’m so pleased more of us are learning more about ourselves. Self-awareness is so essential for personal development and growth and I feel super thankful that we’re all learning more about personality types.
Thanks so much for taking part in this interview, Kat, it’s been a pleasure.
👤 Jas Hothi is the curator of INF Club, providing resources and coaching for INFPs, INFJs, intuitives & highly sensitives. He is also putting together his first book, The Indie Author. Subscribe to the newsletter here, or start here.
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