What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side?

November 29, 2017

Hey, I’m Kurt Sanders, and welcome to another epis

She gave me her number.

And I called.

“Ben, you need to get on Bumble,” my Manager said.

I got a match.

And I asked if we could speak on the phone.


I called - and she declined it.

And replied with, “Sup?”

Call me old school, but I prefer voice over text.

The truth is I tried all the dating apps.

And they all failed me.

It’s a best-selfie contest.

With people advertising their Instagram and Snapchat.

I don’t care if you can make the best duck face.

Or own the cutest dog.

I’ve realized these apps objectify men and women.

I care about you as a person.

Especially, your values.

And selfies don’t translate to values.

I may not be as active as some of my peers on these dating apps.

But I’m sticking to my guns and building authentic relationships.

I may have fewer dates.

But at least don’t meet people off a few texts.

If you’re doing anything important with your life -

Your time is worth way more than that.

As an entrepreneur, I know better.

I don’t settle for what’s there.

I chase what could be.

So that was a real LinkedIn post posted by a real human. I think. Look, I shouldn’t bag people out, Unfound Fears is a safe space. But that LinkedIn post, if you care, had an insane amount of positive comments and thousands upon thousands of that mystical currency with more value than Bitcoin right now, something known as likes. Yes, I gagged a little at these wise words. But on the whole they are adored, cheered and even aspired to. And I get it. Emotional content evokes in most of us a response. But these long, winding roads of keyboard wisdom bring something else with them. A face behind the words. A 40 Under 40 recipient, a serial business owner who you just know would have the word “hustle” tattooed to their fingers if only it contained 5 letters, one for each finger. Someone who has contributed to Forbes Magazine, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, NPR, Adweek, WeakAds, Woman’s Day, Beige Knitting Patterns Quarterly, you get the picture..

We see all these things and we react, be it with envy, jealousy, a snicker or boredom. Some worship at the altar of it.

In episode 1 I asked you guys to send in the thing you fear the most, but only using eight words to do it. I got some brilliant answers, some similar to my own and some that, well, may not be suitable to mention in this podcast. Let’s just say there are certain places you shouldn’t put a toy car. And thank you to ladieslad79@hotmail.com for sending that one in. Trolls are a vital part of the internet and I endorse them wholeheartedly.

But one in particular came from Carlie, who got in touch and shared a fear that is, for most people, fundamental in our decision making around taking risks, happiness and fulfillment. I’m going to use more than eight words to say it but Carlie’s fear was this:

What if i take a risk and the grass isn’t greener?

OK, that was totally too dramatic, but it’s so goddamn true. For so many of us it’s a killer. What if I go broke? What if I lose something precious to me? What if I fail so badly that my entire life falls apart? What if, what if, what if.

But it did get me thinking. What is it about the grass being greener that we’re so attached to? Is it as simple as suggesting things might be marginally worse or is it that things could get a lot worse? What is the level of greenness we’re willing to accept? How do we even judge the greenness of the grass? Why do we even care and what drives this fear?

So I started digging. It turns out the original fat man himself, Buddha, had a red-hot take on this that has probably graced a million Pinterest boards throughout history. Buddha, in between bites of a huge bowl of roghan josh no doubt, said that the key to happiness was pretty simple: learn to want what you have and not want what you don’t have.

Thanks Obama, I mean Buddha. Helpful stuff.

But does that really help us here at Unfound Fears? We’re not here to settle, we’re here to take the leap and show fear who’s boss. Well, in a way, Buddha’s probably right. But maybe, the interpretation should be more about the process of learning to want what you have while you go about having it.

Time for some science.

Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, who works with adults and couples in her practice in Pasadena, California.

She says the troubles in life come when we believe the myth that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  We are taken over by envy, believing that other people have the good stuff and then feeling depressed, anxious, and persecuted by the belief that we have so little.

Now I’m pretty sure Carlie wasn’t thinking this way when she said what she feared most was the grass not being greener. Her fears weren’t envious or jealous in nature. They are about risk and balancing that with the life she has now. But what Dr Kunst says is poignant for her situation and for pretty much anybody anywhere that has ever taken a leap (or the small steps) towards doing something that will make them truly happy, despite the risk, fears and stress that come with it.


She says the reason this “grass is greener” attitude undermines us is that it leads us to turn away from the main task of life, which is to make the most of what we have. She says by denying the goodness of our very own lives, we believe we have nothing good to work with nor the capacity to work with it.  We lose focus, self-confidence, and hope.


But therein lies the key. She says when we accept our lives for what they are, the research suggests we’re more likely to develop, be better and grow.


Carly, there’s probably a million cliches out there that say this way better than I ever will, but here I go. Maybe it’s not about wondering if the grass will be greener on the other side but more about accepting that there isn’t really a fence at all. There may be some weeds wherever you stand. You can pull them out, mow over them, plant new grass, plant some flowers, add some garden furniture, spruce the joint up a bit. A cyclone may come and blow it all away or a cruel neighbour may come along and salt the earth because you borrowed their hedge trimmer and thanks a lot Roger I was going to bring it back there goes your invite to the street Christmas party. Ahem, excuse me. Anyway you get the point.


And it all brings me back to the end of that reeeeally long LinkedIn post I quoted before:


Your time is worth way more than that.

As an entrepreneur, I know better.

I don’t settle for what’s there.

I chase what could be.


You don’t have to chase what could be, but you do get to grow the grass the way you want to.


Thanks for letting me have a rant episode today. Our normal programming will resume next week (hopefully you come back!)


What’s your Ikigai? (or why you should embrace life like a funeral director)

November 22, 2017

Have you ever heard of the Japanese term Ikigai?

So there’s this study that was done by National Geographic that shone a light on the people of Okinawa in Japan.

Okinawans lay claim to what I think is a pretty awesome statistic: on average, they live 7 years longer than people in the United States and about 4 years longer than us Aussies.  Also, they have more 100-year-olds in their population than anywhere else in the world.

Is it their diet? Their living standards? Medical facilities? I’m sure they’re all a factor in some way. Even a bite of a hot dog off the streets of New York can chip a year off your life.  

But there is another data point that creates an interesting correlation, if you you can indeed draw one. Okinawans are considered some of the happiest people in the world.

And the study from National Geographic attempts to correlate that happiness may be related to Okinawans uncanny ability to live a long life. And they say it has something to with the term ikigai. So what does it mean?

It roughly translates to “a reason for being” or “a reason for getting up in the morning”. Purpose. Satisfaction. Happiness. Fulfillment.

Pretty much all the things we here at Unfound Fears are trying to achieve through shunning fear, anxiety and stress. So is this it? Have we found our answer to an even longer and fulfilling life? Can I shut down the podcast now? Have we conquered death? Well before I do that, we probably need to talk about death in context. Or, more to the point, how death can help us put our fears into perspective.


3. Little victories: Why they can help your overthinky brain

November 15, 2017

Adrian is the co-founder and CEO of Pitchblak, a company that helps business founders prove their ideas, get funding and launch companies that disrupt things. And yes, it has proven chops. Glen Richards, of Shark Tank Australia and Green Cross fame, reckons it’s the best model for getting new ideas off the ground that he’s seen. And that’s big kudos. But what does any of this have to do with your Unfound Fears? Well, quite a bit. In episodes 1 and 2 we talked about what happens chemically to your body when you feel fear, and on a macro level, why the fears you feel about doing certain things are almost always worth it in the end.

But in Adrian’s work, he sees people experience tens, maybe hundreds of fear micro-moments a day. And that, he says, is a good thing. The right thing. Because what better way to overcome fears than in a bunch of small steps, rather than a massive leap.

So in Adrian’s experience, little victories and non-biased results are the things that help push your fears aside when you’re starting a business. And like the theme from the rather excellent 80s sitcom Step by Step suggests, it’s done in increments, not giant leaps. Some could say the giant leap is starting the business in the first place.

But the thing I like most about Adrian’s approach is this: it’s the non-biased results that create your little victories, not hype. That first order, that first investment in marketing, turning a customer complaint into a positive, launching your website, buying your domain, even hiring a virtual assistant - they’re all little steps that get fear off your back bit by bit. And, as Erin Hegarty said in episode 1, exposure is the best way to defeat the things that stress you out or produce anxiety. Doing them again and again in small steps makes them automatic.


2. That time you gave up a cash-money career to build rad headphones

November 7, 2017

Meet James Fielding, the founder and CEO of Audeara. One night in March 2017, the team from Audeara, a headphone startup company with a unique twist, was preparing for the biggest moment in the company’s short but highly watched, highly publicised and extremely buzzworthy existence.

Turning to Kickstarter for funding is often scoffed at, the success rates for large amounts of funding severe to look at. But not for Audeara. The company was ready. Its founders fortified by months of preparation. They’d done everything right - engaged marketers and public relations pros who knew how to make crowd-funding campaigns pop; their product was buzzworthy, yes, but more than that it was a thing of beauty to audiophiles, music lovers and to those whom the startup’s founders deemed to be the most deserving of the beauty that music and sound can deliver - people with hearing loss.

They were ready to hit go, ready to open the floodgates, ready to see this milestone come to life. And then, Kickstarter crashed.


1. What the hell is fear (and why your amygdala is a bit of a jerk)

October 31, 2017

Hey, I’m Kurt Sanders. When I put the thing that scares me most into just eight words, it comes out like this: I habitually fear things that haven’t even happened.

And I reckon it’s all too common that people make this their default setting. It’s so easy to tell yourself all the reasons why something won’t work instead of that big, lovely, wonderful reason as to why it will. And that’s why this podcast exists. Welcome to Unfound Fears.

I have a theory that our stresses and fears about doing things that make us fundamentally happier in life are mostly unfounded, or at worse a small price to pay to achieve true fulfillment. But, I’m also a journalist and marketer by trade, and am far from qualified to make the assumption. So I’m on a bit of a mission to find out more about fear, what makes it weigh heavy on us, why we allow it to stop us from doing things that could bring joy to our lives, and how people brush it aside to achieve big, money-making things and also the small, but potentially more crucial, emotional things.

So stay with me for the full episode because at the end I want to know what scares you most - but only in eight words.

Make sure you subscribe at unfoundfears.com.au and get the podcast delivered to your inbox every week.


Episode 21 - Nathan Harvey of Game Plan Asia

September 13, 2017

Last week on Telltale, our guest Peta Ellis implored us to think globally and think far bigger about our businesses from the outset. Here's a reminder of what she said.

"Are we working on something that's big enough? Let's stop playing around with the small, fun, great app ideas ... But are they working on something that's going to fundamentally change an industry or fundamentally change or transform an organisation."

Funnily enough, just to the north of Australia - a fairly short flight away - are 650 million people who see Australia as the home to aspirational, premium and covetable products and services. And they are hungry for them.

This week on the Telltale Podcast, Nathan Harvey, who is the founder of business consultancy Game Plan Asia and the former CFO of Flight Centre India and Singapore, gets real about the huge opportunities South-East Asia has on offer for Australian businesses.

He discusses how businesses should hit the ground running in the ASEAN nations, the cultural nuances that affect the little things businesses need to be aware of and, of course, the importance building an audience for your business in the most effective and simple way. Hint: It just might be while they are here visiting Australia. Which they are, in droves.

This is the season 1 finale of Telltale. Let's play.

Music by bensound.com


Episode 20 - Peta Ellis of River City Labs

September 5, 2017

In startup land, thinking big is the only option. Your idea, that thing you may be about to dedicate your time, money, life and love to, has to solve a big problem, reach a global market and dominate, lest it be cast aside, forgotten or worse - never seen at all.

But it can be a lonely journey, and the power of people and connecting to ideas and networks can mean the difference between failure and triumph. It's something Peta Ellis, the chief executive officer of startup co-working space River City Labs, has seen over and over again.

In this episode of the Telltale podcast, Peta discusses why startups need to think big about their product, their market and the amount of disruption they need to cause to ensure a foothold in their industry becomes the foundation for something far bigger. Join me, Kurt Sanders and co-host Brittanie Dreghorn as we find out what makes River City Labs tick. Let's start the show.


Episode 19 - Edda Hamar of Undress Runways and Undress

August 29, 2017

Deciding to pivot your product can be a difficult decision but once you do, embracing the change can deliver on your business plans. It's something Edda Hamar knows well.

On today’s episode of the Telltale podcast Edda Hamar, the founder of Undress Runways and clothes renting platform Undress, talks about how to build an audience, how sustainability can be a byproduct of great business ideas and about knowing when to pivot. In Edda's case, it was pivoting - or adding to - her business with a scaleable platform that leverages a niche audience.

Edda discusses how she built an audience for her sustainable fashion show Undress Runways and how she has been able to leverage that audience (or not leverage them) in her clothes lending platform Undress.


Episode 18 - PANEL: How brands should use influencer marketing (and how they shouldn’t)

August 22, 2017

No matter where you look the term "influencer marketing" is being tossed about with (sometimes reckless) abandon. But it doesn't always mean what you think it means, or do what you think it should. But if that's the case, were you using it correctly in the first place?

This week on the Telltale podcast we speak with three of Brisbane's brightest influencer marketing minds: Mackayla Paul, the founder of influencer marketing business Social Stylings; Victoria Harrison, Managing Director and Co-Founder of influencer marketing agency The Exposure Co; and Danielle Lewis, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of influencer platform Scrunch.

Our expert influencer marketing panel delves into what influencer marketing actually means for brands right now, and why the biggest audiences aren't always the best for brands wanting high engagement around their business objectives. We also take a look at the latest change to Instagram with its "Sponsored post" tag to be added to influencers' posts and whether it's something to be feared or embraced.

Music courtesy of bensound.com.


Episode 17 - Louisa Dahl of Interactive Minds

August 15, 2017

You are the sum of the people who surround you, or so the saying goes, and it's as true in your personal life as it is in your business life. And there's nothing quite like live events to create a spark, a special connection that educates you, entertains you and redefines your philosophies on a much deeper level than a blog, an ad or even a podcast can manage.

In this episode of the Telltale podcast, the founder and CEO of Interactive Minds, Louisa Dahl, talks about how marketers and small businesses can use events to provide huge value for audiences and how to put them along the path to converting into a client, or even a connection.

Louisa discusses how Interactive Minds came to fruition, how the events grew from small gatherings in Brisbane to large congregations of digital marketers across several capital cities, and how topic-driven, educational content led to the digital marketing behemoth that is the Interactive Minds Digital Summit. She also delves into how data is driving decision making on a deeper level across marketing disciplines, and how businesses considering events can leverage it to make the right decisions about format, content and the numerous other factors that make a cracking live event.