Today's written interview is with Lisa Gust (INFJ).
I’m German by passport, British at heart and Mancunian by choice. And probably a lot older than you think.
Hello! My name is Lisa Gust, nice to meet you :)
Hi Lisa! So can we get started by finding out where in the world you currently reside? Is this also where you grew up?
I currently live in Stockport, UK, but I grew up in a small town near Düsseldorf, Germany.
Do you remember what you were like as a child?
I’ve always been empathetic, sensitive, stubborn and had a real sense of fairness. I also never liked to be the centre of attention and needed friends and family around me for security. Rumour has it that I refused to cover the main character in a nativity play in primary school even though I knew all their lines because I just didn’t like the idea of having all eyes on me.
What was school like for you? And how were your teenage years as a whole?
Overall, school was good. I changed school after year 10, then went to Australia for six months, then ended up voluntarily re-doing year 11 (this might not make any sense; the German school system is a bit complicated). But I always had a lot of friends and attended every party and get-together there was. I’d also say that I never quite fit in, though. I was part of it, but I didn’t truly feel like I belonged.
What words, or phrases, would you use to describe your current self?
Still empathetic, sensitive, stubborn and with a real sense of fairness. I’ve also become quite good at reading people. I like to get to the bottom of things and I can pick up people’s moods within seconds of them interacting with me. It’s both a blessing and a curse. There is also a great quote from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland that goes, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it”, which is pretty much me in a nutshell.
When did you first realise that you were an introvert? How did this happen?
I don’t really know, actually. I think I learnt about the term ‘introvert’ quite late, but I couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment.
Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type?
I’m an INFJ-T.
When did you first do the Myers-Briggs test and discover your 'type'?
That must’ve been quite a few years ago now. Possibly 2016? 2017? Something like that.
And has its discovery impacted you in any way?
It did open my eyes to a lot of my characteristics and how/why I perceive the world the way I do. I think it described and named a lot about my personality which I wouldn’t have been able to get to the bottom of at the time.
What qualities do you think INFs and intuitives share?
I think we’re all very observant and very good at assessing other people. We pay attention to the little things someone says or does. When it comes to relationships with people (whether that’s platonic or romantic), I think we all struggle a little bit because we a) never quite feel like we fit in, and b) look for something more, something deeper, something beyond the surface. That can be a bit tricky, too.
What were your favourite subjects at school? (If applicable) What did you study at university/college?
My favourite subjects were English and German, and I ended up studying English and German Linguistics and Literature.
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
I’ve been self-employed for almost three years now, which I’m still loving and expanding. Outside of my business, I’ve been focusing a lot more on my physical (and, consequently, mental) health recently by going to the gym regularly. I’ve also picked up learning Icelandic, but I fell off the wagon a little bit with it, so I need to jump back on!
Was there a moment in your life when you made a drastic change?
I suppose immigrating to the UK was pretty life-changing! I moved to London in 2016, then moved around a bit before finally finding my place in Manchester in March 2018. I also went on a world trip with my dad for four months in 2018, which was an incredible experience.
Do you have a preferred creative/artistic outlet? Can you tell us a bit about this?
Even though I write for a living, I also write for fun. I’ve always said that I can express myself in writing a lot better than I can verbally; ask me to write my feelings down and I’ll give you an essay, ask me to speak about them and I will most likely fall silent. I also love to take photographs. I used to do it a lot more, but I would love to pick it back up again. Even though I prefer to be in the moment and make memories in my head rather than through a lens, I love the artistic and creative side to it.
Would you describe yourself as a 'highly sensitive person', or as an empath?
Absolutely. I always say I’m the most empathetic person you’ll ever meet. I reckon the reason why some people aren’t empathetic is because I’ve got it all in me!
Do you have a personal definition of 'success'? What does being 'successful' look like to you?
One thing is for sure: it’s not money-related. ‘Success’ has nothing to do with monetary value. Come to think of it, I don’t even think ‘being successful’ in the traditional sense is important to me at all. What’s important is finding your purpose in life, and striving to live a fulfilled life.
What about 'happiness' - do you have a personal recipe for that?
Trust. Trust that life will find a way to work itself out. If you let go of expectations, worries, imagining worst case scenarios and letting negativity drag you down, happiness will unfold. You do attract what you put out.
Do you like to plan things, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person?
I’m definitely more of a planner. Sometimes, going with the flow is the right thing to do, and many of my favourite memories have come from doing just that. But at heart, I like to plan.
What does your 'perfect Sunday' look like?
Wake up to sunshine - it doesn’t have to be warm, in fact, ideally this would be a crisp autumn morning -, make a nice breakfast, go for a walk, maybe have lunch or a coffee somewhere. After, come back home and curl up on the sofa with a book before making tea and watching a film or a show.
Is there anything you've read, watch or listened to recently, that you've loved?
I’m constantly inspired by a lot of different sources, whether that’s online or offline. I’ve read some very good books recently, all from completely different genres but each amazing in their own way. Two that spontaneously come to mind are “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. Oh, and “Nausea” by Jean-Paul Sartre. It’s not an easy read but so thought-provoking and interesting.
Speaking of which, do you have any favourite blogs or podcasts?
I’m not a massive fan of podcasts for some reason. Blogs, however, I love! It’s a shame that blogging is sort of dying a slow death, because I always loved writing mine (I closed it in 2018 but had it for years and years). My favourite to read is by a woman called Chloe Plumstead (http://thelittleplum.co.uk/). Her writing style is phenomenal and I like the mixture of deeper ‘think pieces’ and more light-hearted posts she puts out.
How about favourite movies or TV shows? Anything you've seen recently that you'd recommend?
My absolute favourite film of all time is Disney’s Alice in Wonderland from 1951. I see myself in Alice so much, and the film is full of inspirational quotes (I’ve already managed to sneak one into this interview!). Harry Potter is also always a good idea. Other, more recent recommendations would be “The Crown”, “The End of the F***ing World” and “You”. They’re all on Netflix!
If you could go back in time and meet "you" back in 2010, is there any advice that you'd give this younger self?
“You’ll worry less about what other people think of you when you realise how seldom they do.” I used to be so aware of other people’s opinions of me. Everyone and anyone had the ability to unsettle me. But those who feel the need to comment on everything you do, don’t really matter, anyway.
If you could one or two pieces of advice to your fellow INFs and intuitives, what would they be?
Stop living in the past and future so much. I find it impossible to fully live in the present (and I also think it’s unhealthy to never revisit the past or think about the future), but there’s no use in constantly churning over what was, could have been or will be. And leave your sensitivity behind sometimes. It can be a bit destructive on occasion.
What does 'self-care' mean for you? How do you practise it?
As an introvert, it’s got to be alone time. I need time to myself to recharge my batteries and just be with myself. I read, watch TV, browse the internet, listen to music, cook - but all in the comfort of my own bubble. It’s my favourite.
Do you have a favourite quote?
So many! The first two that spring to mind are:
- “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
- “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” - “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” - “I don’t care much where--” - “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” (you guessed it… Alice in Wonderland)
Where can others find and connect with you online?
Come say hello on Twitter! @lisagustwrites
This has been really fun. Before we bring this interview to a close, is there anything else you'd like to say?
Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Compiled: January 2020
👤 Jas Hothi is an INFP, coach & writer. He is the curator of INF Club, where he provides resources and coaching for INFPs, INFJs & intuitive types. He values: connection, spiritual growth and freedom. He likes: sports, auto-biographies and Columbo the detective.
Subscribe to INF Club
Subscribe to the newsletter and unlock access to member-only content.