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Bioengineering an Unhindered Future | Ugur Tanriverdi

Today’s Guest Ugur Tanriverdi

Ugur is a bioengineering wizard, turning his academic brilliance into real-world magic. From a scholar in Turkey to a double master's and PhD at Imperial College London, he's the brain behind groundbreaking prosthetics, earning patents and a cool $3 million in funding. As the founder of Unhindr, his wearable robotics company is shaking up Europe, and his trophy shelf is packed with top global and London awards.

Bioengineering an Unhindered Future with Ugur Tanriverdi

In a world teeming with innovation, it's the fearless pursuit of progress that truly redefines boundaries. On this week's episode of Push To Be More, Matt sat down with Ugur Tanriverdi, a bioengineering wizard whose journey encapsulates the essence of transformation - not just in technology but within the human spirit itself.

Ugur’s story is not just about scientific achievement; it is a poignant narrative of overcoming personal trials through resilience and a visionary mindset. From a young age, Ugur was captivated by the mechanics of life—both the literal and the metaphorical. His early fascination with machines and later, the complexities of the human body, steered him towards bioengineering. Yet, it was the mesh of his childhood curiosity with his adult challenges that sculpted his current path - a path marked distinctly by innovation and a quest to make tangible differences in the lives of others.

One of the most striking aspects of Ugur’s story is his candid discussion about the challenges he faced, which resonated deeply during our conversation. Ugur shared his struggle with anxiety and the profound impact of therapy on his life. His vulnerability in discussing these topics not only sheds light on the personal battles many innovators face but also dismantles the stigma often associated with mental health struggles in the professional realm.

This conversation comes at a crucial time. As Ugur articulated, the journey to where he is today was unexpected and fraught with hurdles - be they his battles with visa issues or the deeper, more intimate fight against his own mental barriers. These included the fear of failure and rejection, two formidable foes that he has learned to confront and tame through therapy and introspection. This aspect of his narrative is not just inspiring; it’s a crucial lesson on the importance of mental health, particularly within the high-pressure environments of entrepreneurship and leadership.

Moreover, Ugur's approach to recharging and balancing his life is a testament to the power of introspection and innovation. His recent foray into Dungeons and Dragons - a game as strategic as it is whimsical - serves as a metaphor for his professional and personal life. In it, Ugur finds not just escape but a mirror to his method of problem-solving and creativity, a reminder that sometimes, to lead effectively, one must be willing to follow and learn from completely new experiences.

"Innovate & Inspire" are words that resonate through Ugur's work and life philosophy. His dedication to pushing the boundaries of bioengineering to improve human life, paired with his commitment to personal growth and overcoming internal barriers, encapsulates the very essence of innovation. Ugur is not just engineering devices; he is helping to engineer better futures for individuals who face physical challenges every day.

The insights from Ugur’s journey are not merely academic; they are profoundly personal and universally applicable. They encourage us to look beyond the immediate technical challenges and delve into the deeper, often turbulent waters of personal growth and self-realization. Ugur Tanriverdi's narrative is a compelling reminder of the power of resilience, the importance of mental health, and the boundless potential of human creativity when unhindered by fear.

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Matt Edmundson: [00:00:00] Welcome to Push To Be More. I'm your host, Matt Edmundson, and we're about to dive into another deep exploration of what truly fuels the journey of life. Oh yes, and joining me today, I've got, I'm really excited with today's guest actually, cause I've checked out the website, does some incredible Sanely cool stuff at a company called Unhindr.

We are talking to Ugur Tanriverdi, and I'm really sorry I've got the name pronunciation wrong, but, whew how do I pronounce your name correctly? Let's get this right at the start. Why don't you pronounce, correct my really poor pronunciation on your surname, sir.

Ugur Tanriverdi: It's Ugur Tanriverdi. It happens all the time, so this will be the most difficult part of the podcast for you. [00:01:00] I'll see

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, absolutely. I do know it means gift from God it's a very cool meaning. So yes, we are going to be getting into all kinds of stuff, things that, is that to push through? Things that he does to recharge his batteries and what more looks like we're going to get into all of that conversation.

So don't forget you can get all of the detailed show notes and a complete transcript with my conversation with Ugur at pushtobemore. com. And whilst you're there, if you haven't done so already, make sure you sign up to the newsletter because each week we send to you all the shows in sight links and goodies direct your inbox.

Absolutely free. So make sure you do that at Now this episode is proudly powered by Aurion Media, the magic behind the screen that lets entrepreneurs and business leaders like you and me amplify our voices. By hosting our own podcast. Oh yes, but you might be thinking, why would I want to start a podcast?

I'm [00:02:00] quite happy to just listening to them, if I'm honest with you, Matt. Let me tell you, my own podcast journey has been nothing short of transformational. It's not just about marketing, although perhaps it is. It's a big chunk of it. It's about community. It's about connection. It's about amplification.

It's given me a platform to celebrate my customers, my team, my suppliers and created a ripple of impact far beyond what I could have imagined. But I get it. The technical stuff can feel just a little bit daunting, can't it? Setup, distribution, getting the tech right, understanding the strategy. Seems a lot, and honestly, don't get me started on production because who wants to do all of that editing?

I sure as heck don't. Now that's where Aurion Media steps in. They are the backstage crew that makes your show and my show go flawlessly. You get to do what you love, engaging with incredible people. And Aurion Media gets to take care of all the nitty gritty details, which is fantastic. So if you've been [00:03:00] wondering whether podcasting is the missing piece.

To your growth strategy, and it probably is it's time to have a chat with Aurion Media and you can find out more about them at That's A-U-R-I-O-N

Let's talk about our guest. Ugur is a bioengineering wizard, oh yes, turning his academic brilliance into real world magic. From a scholar in Turkey to a double master's and PhD at Imperial College London, he's the brain behind groundbreaking prosthetics,

earning patents and a cool 3 million in funding. As the founder of Unhindr, his wearable robotics company is shaking up Europe and his trophy shelf is packed with top global and London awards. And there's a lot of them actually when you go to the website or I'm not going to lie, you've got a lot going [00:04:00] on.

And it's great to have you on the show, man. Thank you for joining us all the way.

It's great having you with us. And on the shelf behind you is, you've got the Space Shuttle which just reminds me of my sort of 12 year old self. Is it built from Lego or is it just like a life scale model?

Ugur Tanriverdi: Yes. So they are made of Lego. And they are actually to scale. They were birthday gifts from my co founder Frat who was also my PhD supervisor. I'm quite an aviation geek.

This is Discovery, that's Saturn V rocket,

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. Fantastic. You have the space shuttle Lego on your shelf. I have a different type of Lego on my shelf behind I have Lego Indiana Jones,

It's just a different level just a different level, maybe I should get the space shuttle yeah that would,

Ugur Tanriverdi: I'm not going to judge you by the number of pieces you had on that Lego, it's fine, it's the intention that counts

Matt Edmundson: actually got a lot more on the shelves [00:05:00] behind me as well, but I won't bother getting that.

So listen let me ask you the question I like to ask all I guess actually. This podcast is brought you by Aurion Media and if you did have your own podcast and you could have anybody on as a guest, past or present's had a big influence on your life,

who would you have as a guest on your show and why?

Ugur Tanriverdi: The answer to this would be a very good question. It would be probably Gillian Anderson if it were these days. Although what I do is science, like in science and that's like entertainment production world, I just find her quite inspiring, through the characters she plays and really like my recent crush is her and looking at her interviews and things and I would love to actually interview her or do a podcast.

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. Very good. I was about to say, is this Gillian Anderson, the actress, but you've preempted my question. And it's the first [00:06:00] time I'm just thinking back through all the answers that we've actually had Gillian Anderson mentioned. And I have to be honest with you, maybe because of the space show, I was expecting to say Neil Armstrong or somebody like that, but it's intriguing.

Gillian Anderson, was she the lady in the X Files? Was that the sort of the first time?

Ugur Tanriverdi: i haven't seen X-Files but recently I've seen a binge watched series called The Fall and she plays an inspector. Detective Inspector there. But it's mostly because the reason for that is

I went through so many mental challenges and barriers in my life that I put myself that I didn't realize.

And by watching movies and these characters really perfectly crafted and acted and played, I sometimes see how I can navigate through certain situations in life. Obviously, it is the film industry, but sometimes the character's [00:07:00] perspective into certain things just makes me think this is actually what I can do at work.

And recently she left that experience that thinking on me. And as an entrepreneur, this is an opportunity. This is going to be everywhere. So maybe she's going to hear it and send an email to say, hi, let's have a coffee. So you never know.

Matt Edmundson: You know what or if you do a podcast and you get to sit down and do an interview with Gillian Anderson, do let me know because I for one cannot wait to listen to that interview because I think it'd be quite fun. But that's interesting. What interests me about your answer actually, because I think when people answer this question, a lot of times it's easy to default to the, There's the answers that maybe we think we should give, oh, Einstein or Tony Robbins is a popular one, or even Jesus, is something.

Actually, Hollywood's obviously had a big impact on everybody, and actors and actresses have had a big impact on everybody and you cannot deny the role that television has played in our lives in any way, shape, or form, and I think [00:08:00] actually tying that all in is important.

It's quite profound in a lot of ways because you're right, I think there are some people on TV through their acting that have had a bigger impact on us that maybe we could know about, that maybe we could verbalize. And I remember the simple things like watching TV shows when I was a kid. I used to watch a TV show called L.A. Law and it made me want to become a lawyer and I watched

a TV show called The Red Hand Gang and that made me want to get into computer programming, and all these sorts of things.

And so I think that's really cool. Really cool. Gillian Anderson. Gillian, if you're listening do come as a guest, you're welcome on both our podcasts I feel I would love to have a conversation with you. One of the things that I find deeply cool about you

is the work that you guys do and the sort of the work that you've done within prosthetics, and I watched a little video of you with Imperial College where you were using an app to control gas into a prosthetic, is [00:09:00] it a prosthetic sock?

Is that what I should call it? Is that the wrong phrase?

Ugur Tanriverdi: The term is a liner. It is a prosthetic liner but it is actually not any different than a sock. It's just made of silicone rather than just purely fabric. So you could refer as a sock or as a liner. Liner will be the technically accurate term.

Matt Edmundson: So here you are creating these incredible things to help people. Who have to wear prosthetics and I'm watching the video. I'm going, man, that's some seriously cool work, super inspiring. You're making a big difference to a lot of people. And I look at that and go, that is really cool.

I don't know. And maybe you can answer this question for me. Is this what you planned on doing maybe when you were 13 years old, or is this how you ended up where you are?

Ugur Tanriverdi: The short answer is yes. The long answer is now I just realized it was a yes. When I was going through that journey,

I [00:10:00] was everywhere through that journey. When I was a kid like five, six years old I was fascinated by machines and devices. Actually, as a baby, my first word was matcha,

which it wasn't a, I wasn't trying to say mom or dad because I was trying to say machina, which is, which comes from the Italian word machine because I was fascinated by them.

I was just trying to call them. So it was macha. And ever since I was aware of myself, devices, mechanical systems fascinates me. So I thought I was going to be a mechanical engineer when I went to high school, which is the age around 13 I realized I am really interested in biology, particularly human body.

And I realized the human body is a machine. It's an organic machine. So I decided to be a doctor.

But being a control freak and having an analytical [00:11:00] mind. So I started to interview my parents, friends, who are doctors to say I'm going to be a doctor. What do you think as an experienced doctor?

None of them said be a doctor. They said they were brutally honest with a 13 years old child. They said, look, you are gonna just stop making enough money for your life when you are 45, 50, it will be long hours, you won't have family holidays, it's gonna be always based on your agenda, it's a lot of sacrifice.

And I was thinking about being a surgeon so I thought, okay, I want to help people but I don't want to sacrifice 45 years of my life. So I sat down and there was a occupation guide because my brother was getting ready for university. So it is all the occupations from A to Z. So I started from letter A to see what I can be.

And at B, I read Biomedical Engineer and it says it is a [00:12:00] bridge between a human body and machines and designing and developing machines that support life. And that was it. That was the moment. I remember so clearly that moment. That was the moment I said, I am going to be a biomedical engineer. And when I went to the university, it was on the single choice in the ranking

exam. And I got the scholarship. I went in there. And that was it.

With through those masters faced some challenges like visa challenges. Biomedical engineer was a new thing in Turkey when I was applying, so most of the graduates became medical device sales representatives, which we were actually bo warned by our professors on day one.

They said, this is a new occupation. It was mostly done by electrical engineers, so you are gonna get job offers. Sales represent, being a sales representative, we teach you here how to make those devices, not to sell them. If you want to sell them, go to the other building. And that's what [00:13:00] happened to my cohort.

Me, excluding me, everybody else became a sales representative. So I was tutoring back then at the at university and high school level, because I believe learning best way of learning something is teaching. So I decided not to work as a sales rep, I did tutoring for one and a half years after graduation while applying for master's.

So when I found advanced engineering design program in London at Brunel University, I was like, so I know now where medical engineer, I want to understand general engineering design. So I was accepted to that one, moved to London, 2014, and finished that. The Distinction Award, where I ended up being a prosthetic system by just sheer creativity.

Chance there because people were designing, like I designed crane gearboxes, high pressure vessels, automated doors, nothing biomedical, it was just engineering. But I wanted to go into biomedical, so it [00:14:00] was a prosthetic limb. But after that I was. I was graduated as the top of the cohort, but I couldn't get any job because I hold Turkish passport, which was a non EU passport.

So everyone in my cohort, like we were 21 of us they all got jobs because of the passports they held. And it just felt very bitter to me to be able to do good at something and not being able to do it. And I decided to launch my own company. I said, okay, if they are not giving me as a worker visa, I am going to be an entrepreneur.

So I applied for Turkish entrepreneur visa to set up my first company, which was an engineering design consultancy company. But short after a year, I realized I want to learn more. I want to study more and went into medical device design and entrepreneurship. It was the second masters where I invented the the technology, co invented the technology and then went into PhD.

So where I am [00:15:00] now is where I wanted to be when I was 30. The pathway was not straightforward. It had lots of challenges through rejections and visa issues and problems. But that's why the short answer is yes, this is what I

Matt Edmundson: Wow. What a remarkable story. It's fascinating, isn't it? That like you say, where you are is where you want it to be, but the journey to get there is, and so often that's true, isn't it? Where we see ourselves in life, we look back and the journey, no one could have predicted the journey that we go on.

Ugur Tanriverdi: No, what I feel content and satisfied is that when I go and look back okay, if I weren't doing this, what would I be doing and what would make me happy? And I'm truly content that I cannot find answer to that question other than what I am doing. So that makes me feel like I am in the place where I belong to.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, that's really powerful because there's a lot of people who can't say that, and when your vocation is also your calling [00:16:00] is also your passion is, is what gives you your joie de vivre, as they say. I think it's a very privileged position to be in. I tend to feel the same, although my work doesn't necessarily have the impact that yours has, but I love what I do every day and I think that's remarkable.

You could say that. Okay. Let's

Ugur Tanriverdi: Actually, I would actually disagree with you there about the impact of your job because some days I just had the fears and I just did not want to face the world and I was seeking inspiration and sometimes a line you read a page from a book or something you listen on, listen to podcast, something that you listen to. You never know where that inspiration or courage, motivation come from, and you will never know whether you were actually that inspiration to someone who has listened to this podcast. So it's not the detail of the work, whether you are a scientist or you produce podcasts, you're a producer or an artist.

It's like we won't know truly [00:17:00] our real impact on other people's lives. And that's just the probably secret of the universe that you don't know how many people you have inspired so far, apart from the ones who have commented, obviously, but the real impact.

Matt Edmundson: Say with folks, it's for every one person that tells you there's probably a hundred to 200 people that haven't. And it's not a criticism because, and I find this as a bit of a challenge to myself, and I don't know if you're the same, where

realizing that fact, it makes me want to go and tell people that have had an impact on my life, if that makes sense. And just go, when you said that really helped me. Thank you. Because sometimes I know that when I get that feedback, it's super helpful. I just know I'm not always as quick to give the feedback as I probably should be to other people.

Ugur Tanriverdi: Truly, this is an example from last week. I was at the restaurant and I saw a manager's response to one of the guests at the restaurant who was not happy and he handled the situation so great, gracefully and so efficient and professional yet [00:18:00] friendly. And I was like, wow, this is definitely an approach to like customer conflict.

And I should try to implement it in my scenarios. So that person will not, obviously it will be a bit freak if you say, Hey, you were very inspiring. And next, if you don't want to be in a socially awkward situation, you don't say it, but that person, for example, without knowing has inspired me.

And from last week to date in those kinds of situations, I try to put myself into that mindset. It will take some practice, but there you go.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. No,

very powerful. Very good point. You don't know, actually, you don't know how you're impacting the lives of other people quite often around you. Both, both in a good way and sometimes in a negative way.

Yeah. Yeah really good point. Where have you, in this journey then, or where have you had to as we like to ask, push?

What challenges, it sounds like you've faced a lot of challenges just from, I'm guessing, language, from [00:19:00] visa issues, from not being able to get the jobs, but what's maybe the biggest thing that you've had to push yourself through?

Ugur Tanriverdi: I'm glad we are doing this podcast this year because if it was last year, probably the answer would be very different and it would be a premature answer. So I'm 33 years old and this year, this last one year has become an annual podcast. It is an eye opening year for me. I became aware of myself and certain choices in my life, why I made them or I started to face my fears and I actually started to bear to question my fears.

And what I'm realizing is throughout my education and career, I had mental barriers and they were Fear of failure, fear of rejection. Most of the time I thought the barriers to this career would be the technical difficulties, whether you can actually do something or you cannot because it is not [00:20:00] viable and things.

What I'm realizing is in my life, the biggest barriers were the mental barriers that somehow either my upbringing or my thinking pattern has created. So

It was where I am now in this journey. I just finished the soul searching aspect of the phase one. So I found where I belong and both In terms of career and in terms of satisfaction and fulfillment that this is what I'm doing.

And there were some traumatic events in my life, in mostly with my education life that has made, that has triggered this fear of failure and fear of rejection. And those are the ones that every single day just. It made me so scared to take the next step, yet the career path I am on, the people, the project I'm leading was forcing me to take that step because there are things that rely on me.

So I was [00:21:00] stuck between the fear and the requirement okay, I have to do this. And now I am realizing whatever was my fear in my life. I have found myself in the centre of that fear. I designed my life accordingly and without knowing, so that I will be in the centre of that fear to overcome it. One example of this six years ago, seven years ago I am a trained public speaker, and 6-7 years ago when I started this journey there were some small competitions I was applying, and they are, like pitching in front of 10 people.

I could not pitch or present anything in front of 10 people. I was just completely shaking, my voice was shaking, I couldn't control myself, and, I said if I were to continue on this journey, I'm going to be a CEO. I'm going to be the face of the company, go and talk to lots of different people.

I will need to know how to do [00:22:00] this. So I work, I worked with some professionals, including some therapists who are experienced in performance performance arts or public speaking to overcome this. And later on, like one of the things I don't like is conflict in life..

And that's a negative side of being raised in a loving and caring family because I have never witnessed a conflict within my family.

So everything was just so well, and I always assumed people are always good and people always agree with each other. But in the entrepreneurial world you will see different people, especially also in science. Different people. They're not agreeing with you. They're not agreeing with each other.

And sometimes if Their character allows, it can turn into really bit two conversations or like snap comments. And so that was the second time I realized I cannot be comfortable in these situations yet I became a project manager. I became, again, the CEO to handle [00:23:00] these things. So my friend, when I was talking to her, she said, have you noticed whenever, whatever the thing you were afraid of.

You put it in the center of your life and you overcome it. Whether it was public speaking, I became a CEO, I pitched to investors or I pitched to the funding bodies. Whether it was confrontational speeches that you lead a team or you talk to stakeholders who do not agree with your value, or sometimes Just random people who think, you're not right on this.

And that happens now on a day to day basis, and I feel comfortable with these things now. But at the bottom of it, it was, it only takes now one sentence to say this, but it took me 33 years. It's just, it was fear of failure and fear of rejection. If I don't agree with people, or if I don't look confident when I'm presenting like six years ago, I will be a failure when people will not trust me or people will not be friends with me.[00:24:00]

And it's just coming down to these two things to you overcome. I am so grateful to this year. I had both ups and downs that I lost some very close friends. And I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and moderate depression in the last year. It wasn't. Overall, it wasn't a really bright year, but I ended up the year at a high note.

So when I look back now to 2023, I was like, wow, I had my lowest and also I had my highest in my life. I'm actually content with it now.

Matt Edmundson: Wow, there's a lot there, man, there's a lot there. Can I ask, how did it feel when you came to the realisation, when you could, the phrase I would use is label, when you could label your fears, when you could go, that is the fear of failure. When you came to that realisation, when you could label it how did you feel at that point?

Ugur Tanriverdi: So how did I come to that point? It was the answer is like 40 plus hours of psychotherapy, intense [00:25:00] clinical therapy, lots of listening and talking and EMDR therapy.

But when I reached that point, it wasn't that moment saying that this is it. It was a transition period over two, three, four months that little by little, as my therapist says, subtle but strong changes.

Little by little, I realized I'm like, I'm daring to do things without feeling uncomfortable about them. And I started to realize the old me would have not doing, wouldn't do this or wouldn't agree to do this, but now I'm feeling actually comfortable and I'm taking the initiative to do this.

And those were the moments of like golden nuggets, moments that I realized it was all about the fear of failure because I am no longer afraid of failing. I started to see, although I have never judged people when they make a mistake, whether it's a failure or not, I always encourage and empower people to say, failure is a [00:26:00] painful lesson that we learn from.

It is. When you fail, you learn something. It may sound cliche, but in every mistake you make, if you are, I think, courageous and smart enough to question, you will learn something not to repeat it. And as I guide, people and lead people to encourage them to make mistakes to learn from it when it comes to myself I was the harshest to myself you can't make a mistake you cannot fail and it's these little moments of like self exploration in certain situations during the therapy it made me realize it is the fear of failure, because you ask the question yourself, why?

Why I don't want to do this now? Why I don't want to send that application? And then once you open that Pandora's box, for me, it was the therapy. You start to bearing to question your life choices and everything. And as I say because what if? So the moment I started to question what ifs are very [00:27:00] closely associated with perfectionist mind style, and I did not know that I had a perfection mind style.

I thought it was always about the quality, like perfect is equals to good quality. And the perfectionist mind thinking pattern is something that is unrealistic, and it actually burns resources more than is necessary. It is a fault. It's a short one. It's like a burnt fuse in the brain.

It is in the past when people said, Oh, you're a perfectionist. I was quite proud to be perfectionist.

But now what I'm realizing is perfectionism had nothing to do with high standards. It was burning resources for the situations that was more than necessary. It was a burnt fuse. So those were this, when I asked the question.

Why do I don't, why don't, why I don't want to send this is because what if they think of this, so okay, what's the alternative to that? What if it should be this way? So I started to compare the [00:28:00] versions of the things that didn't even exist in this world, yet along it was just my perfectionist thinking, because if it's not perfect.

It is not good enough. If it's not good enough, it's my work. I'm not good enough. If I'm not good enough, I will fail. So it is just this train of thoughts that leads. Once you open that Pandora's box, when you have the liberty to question your thoughts it becomes quite easy to find the source of it.

For me, it was in the beginning, quite challenged because you don't really want to accept that you are afraid of failure or you have failed in this case, in your life that you have failed to be brave. Because you had failed you had the fear of it.

So yeah, it was for me through day to day activities that I faced, that I did participated during the therapy that made me realize this.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Super powerful, man. And learning those lessons in your mid thirties, people in their seventies still are learning these lessons. It's one of those where it's a good, it's a good time to figure it out. But I'm curious [00:29:00] what kickstarted the, journey, if you don't mind me asking, what kickstarted your journey into therapy?

Was it just a case of you were like, something's wrong, I need to go talk to somebody? Or was it a friend recommending you? I guess in some respects, you've been so candid, and I really appreciate it. You've just taken the stigma away slightly from going to therapy.

Ugur Tanriverdi: Yeah, I will speak for the rest of my life where I can about therapy, that I received therapy because if you are, I will speak for the entrepreneurs, if you are an entrepreneur and if you are leading teams, especially in tech environments, you will very likely face a elevated levels of anxiety.

Sometimes it will be more than what you can handle. Once I did this, actually in November, I was invited to a health tech summit of NHS and they have these clinical checkups every month. And they have these check ins on those [00:30:00] Saturday morning, where you have a host and they ask you they ask the crowd, which is their cohort, to say okay, how are we doing mentally?

So this one, Matt, did not exist five years ago. When I was part of these kind of cohorts, people would not speak about how they are feeling on that morning, because you had to put your best LinkedIn post to work. Profile and wear it and go there and do not speak because showing weakness is a weakness.

But now what I realize is there is on the agenda, a specific time slot that says check in and they're asking people, how are they feeling today? And like whether down or not, and there was a silence. And no one knew me there because I was a guest in that cohort. I just picked the microphone and I said, it was a bit like an AA session at that moment.

It was like, hi, my name is Aur, I'm an entrepreneur. I do this and I have severe anxiety and moderate depression. And this is what I've been going through. I said that. And [00:31:00] then like in the movies, the microphone went to the next row, the back row, the middle of the room, the front of the room, the presenter, the facilitator, everybody starts to talk about their day and how they're feeling, and you realize we are not really different than each other when it comes to our emotions. We are all some days going to say feel really bad.

And so that's why I speak about this, because when I was facing these challenges, I felt like I am the only one.

I was the, I felt lonely that I'm the only one. I started to question myself, what's wrong with me? It's just because people did not speak. And because I was questioning it, I thought it's the problem is me. Now I speak I talk to people where I can help or direct to help as much as can. And It was going back to your question, like how did I start the therapy?

First of all, I am very interested in psychotherapy and [00:32:00] neuroscience and psychotherapy. Actually, maybe my third masters in the future. All my friends are going to kill me for saying this, but I may actually think about the psychology masters because I do observing the human mind, the thinking.

It is quite a bit like we were talking about Gillian Anderson, it's like you are an inspector and you're inspecting something that's not there in physical, like in material sense. It's like you have to read between the lines and it's much more complicated. So because I was interested, I never rejected it.

And for public speaking training, I learned, I realized how much it helps me. It was my friends initially said. When we were catching up for weekends and things, they said, are you okay? And I started to hear this question more and more. Are you okay? You look calm. Are you okay?

So I promised my friends, I said, this was September 2022. I said, [00:33:00] okay, yeah I will go to the therapy. But because of work, because of emails and this and the project and that it was December.

And one morning when I was commuting, I just couldn't breathe on tube. I started to have palpitations very strong palpitations that I was feeling them on my neck.

Couldn't breathe. And I just felt because there is not really a phone reception on tube. I just felt like there is something bad happened, and I am about to receive bad news. Something passed, someone passed away, something bad happened that I cannot correct it. And I just had this urge to surface, to connect, and to check the phone, whether there was something bad happening or not.

I called a friend to say, I am not feeling well, I am just so scared at the moment and nothing specific. Those attacks started to happen more often. I was waking up with 110 beats per minute in the morning or in the middle of the night. Anxiety is something for those who has experienced it, [00:34:00] they will know this, but for those who has not experienced it.

I don't even wish it to my worst enemy because it's like a shadow. You can't escape it. When you're asleep, when you're awake, when you're out, when you're with your loved ones, when you're sick, when you're in the toilet, it's always in your head and it does not get out of your head. Yeah. So that was December and I told myself I need to do something about this.

Again, late emails and work and this and that. Another two, three months passed. I didn't do anything about it. It was one week in my life. I believe that was the triggering point. The day I got my British citizenship, which I wanted to call my dad because it was a long time for me, all those visa rejections and things.

I called my dad to say that I got my citizenship before I was able to say it. He said he is going to start radiotherapy. He's diagnosed with cancer. So a moment that [00:35:00] I waited almost a decade in my life

Matt Edmundson: Yeah.

Ugur Tanriverdi: was shadowed by something like that. And I wanted to go and see him. So when I went there, he also said, my dad is an entrepreneur.

He's a serial entrepreneur. So we had textile factory in Turkey, in Istanbul. And he said he is exiting the business that he had enough and the business is now acquired by another textile company. But it was something, like my father has worked as an entrepreneur for 30 years over different ventures.

And this was something he was doing day in day out. It was like, it was a rock of our family in the sense, he always goes to work, there is always work for him and that. And suddenly telling me, I'm actually going to exit, I don't want to work anymore. So that was a second change in my life.

And then my brother said, I am moving to the US, I'm launching my own business in home textile. So he's not going to be there [00:36:00] anymore.

And me and my brother are very close. So that was the third change in my life. So in one, less than one week, everything I'm known for 33 years, all the parameters essentials suddenly shifted.

And I did not have any time to process it. And on top of the previous anxiety attacks that was coming up. That was it. End of March, I'm writing my PhD thesis. I have four weeks left on top of Unhindr

Matt Edmundson: wow.

Ugur Tanriverdi: And everything happening. It was a Thursday evening. I came home and I found myself talking to myself very loud, like screaming, playing stories in my head of past conversations, events that has never happened. And that was the moment I realized you got to do something. I called my friend. I was both like hysteric and crying and shouting on the phone. He came to just calm me down. And that was it. I realized if I don't do something now about [00:37:00] myself. There won't be a PhD, there won't be a company, there won't be anything in my life because I'm just losing it.

And I waited until the very last minute in my life because there was always something to do. And that was really it. I finally lost it to short answer to your question. I lost it and decided that this is the time. And it has been more than like 40 weeks now, it is probably the best decision of my life so far.

Working with that therapist over these things, it was very painful. It's not just like you go there and talk because you start talking and you face some questions that you have never asked yourself or you have never thought about the answer. And as a scientist, as an analytical, like questioning mind, I always have an answer to a question.

Whether it is the right answer or the wrong answer, I do. [00:38:00] But when I face those questions about my life, about my choices, and I realize that I don't have an answer to them.

I just felt something that you think that was the answer is being challenged, that was not the answer. So it was, it is, how I see it is like fitness.

You go, no pain, no gain. You really, during the session, it is emotionally painful that you feel and you cry your heart out. But then you get rid of that old skin and you turn into. A better version of yourself and not a new version, not necessarily, but a better version of yourself. And that was it.

And I don't know.

In the future, I want to do something in this field, like to empower people because still not people are talking about this that much about their fears. Obviously, it's not something to be in the the center of attention at every opportunity that you should be talking about.

The reason I'm talking about this now because you talked about, you asked me about the challenges, what I had [00:39:00] to push through. And so To me, this is an appropriate subject for this conversation, but I would like to explore this more in my life to help people, to make them feel okay to make them feel normal, that they are not, anxiety is not the problem.

All of us have it these days.

Matt Edmundson: Wow. Mate, thanks for sharing that. Super powerful stuff. And I think it's interesting. I know, like you, I know a lot of entrepreneurs and I think when you close the door, when the team's not watching, when people aren't seeing you and it's Just you alone in a dark room, It's fascinating how different a lot of entrepreneurs are and how we more and more, I think, especially in the modern world, it's easy to do.

We use distraction to stop ourselves from thinking about things. And so we don't put ourselves in dark rooms and quiet rooms anymore. We're constantly busy. We work harder. We do more stuff at the gym. We do this, we do that. And actually it becomes a distraction, I think, to stop you asking some of those questions.[00:40:00]

Probably all important questions you should really ask yourself in a dark, quiet room. So thank you for sharing that. And I hope it gives some, I'm sure it will actually, people listening to the show, give them courage to actually go, no maybe that's something I need to dig to the bottom of here.

And to reach out and to get some help to process some of that stuff. And it's, like you say, anxiety is one of those things that is it's the silent killer in a lot of ways. We don't talk about it we, you're right actually we don't, we either don't talk about it or we, that's all we talk about, and I don't think either is right, but I think getting help for dealing with these things, especially in the world in which we live is paramount and the, yeah powerful stuff.

So how do you're doing therapy, are there other things that you do to sort to recharge, to keep yourself going. Are you an exercise dude? Do you, are you a movie buff kind of guy? Do you like to read? What other stuff do you do?

Ugur Tanriverdi: Earlier you were talking about being alone and just like in a dark room. So I actually do something like that not necessarily in [00:41:00] a dark room, but on my calendar, I have some weekends where I book them as solitude weekends. It is specifically designed not to engage with anyone, even your loved ones, including your loved ones, to be alone by yourself.

So I am an introvert with an extrovert profile. So I am, I'm selective, I'm selectively extrovert you leave me to myself. I am happy by myself. I can just leave home for a week and I am happy in my own company.

I will read something. I will draw something. I will play loud music. I would dance. I would cook. I'm really good friends with myself.

By the way in the past that friendship was with myself is more a harsh friendship where I was judging myself much.

So now ironing those creases now, I am more a gentle and compassionate friend with myself. But if I'm around people, my loved ones, my friends, partner, family I can [00:42:00] be quite an extrovert, like the joker and the silly one that makes all the jokes and make people have fun. If it's a business event or something that I have.

I have responsibility to do. I'm, again, an extrovert to go and open the conversation with people. But with myself, if I were to recharge myself, I would prefer to be alone. In that time I do journaling. I finished five, six notebooks now. I love asking questions to myself and answer them.

Give some answers. So journaling is one of them. But also mindfulness meditation that is something that actually kept me insane. That anxiety attacks I was having, that was me also having that doing mindfulness meditation to that extent, it was, I don't know if I weren't practicing mindfulness.

I don't know where I would be. Reading is something, but also calisthenics and fitness.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah.

Ugur Tanriverdi: So I train four or five times a week that helps me [00:43:00] mentally and physically that helps me feeling sharp. One last thing that is a new addition to me is spending more time by doing opposite of what I do at work.

So at work I lead people. I explain things. I encourage people to do I have that. It's also in my character to share information and lead. But what I now do when I meet my friends or when I choose some events or engagements, I choose to be a follower rather than a leader. I want to put myself in situations where I don't want to be the one choosing the restaurant.

Where are we? Where we are meeting. I don't want to decide what is the agenda for the day in social setups. I'm just that silent one in the WhatsApp group reads all the messages while people are trying to convince what to do and whatever is the [00:44:00] result. I'm like, okay, fine, let's go and do that. One example of this is

last night, so I have a confession to make, I have never seen Lord of the Rings.

Matt Edmundson: Oh, wow.

Ugur Tanriverdi: I

Matt Edmundson: my, my eldest son will be having strong words with you, I feel.

Ugur Tanriverdi: Okay and I just watched two, first two movies of Harry Potter last month when I was in the U. S. flying and that was a movie available on the plane. And I don't really know what an elf means I have an idea, but I don't know. With this knowledge, I yesterday met a friend to go and play Dungeons and Dragons.

In a game club called Mutant Freaks it's like there are these gaming room, gaming tables. I don't know if you know about Dungeons and Dragons, it's a role playing game but most of the words I did not know. People are talking about this, I thought I knew English.

Matt Edmundson: Oh, they take it seriously, man. Dungeons Dragons is taken very [00:45:00] seriously.

Ugur Tanriverdi: Yes, I know. And there are so many like details that I've never known. So I watched Young Sheldon and I have watched the Big Bang Theory. I know that it's a role playing game and I know that it requires creativity. And that was the part that I was feeling comfortable that, okay, I think I am a creative person to come up with something.

So this friend who goes and plays I said okay, shall we go and do it? But I have never played zero understanding of what's happening. Shall we do it? Okay. So there are these game nights. So I went into a game club with 30-40 It's it looks like a dungeon. It's an elephant castle, underground, dark, on purpose, decorated like it's a dungeon and you're just around this table.

I did not know any of the instructions. I just yesterday felt like I am at the school, like the first day of the school.

And it was, I always have an idea about something around [00:46:00] me. Like I now where I am, I have an understanding of what I'm doing day to day or what our next year, et cetera. I've really enjoyed being in that situation where someone is telling me the rules, which I have no understanding, like prior understanding, trying to make sense of them. And obviously you also make mistakes and trying to be a follower rather than the lead. So I could see myself after the game, by the way, I got quite compliments saying that they did not believe it was my first time.

Matt Edmundson: Very good. Very good.

Ugur Tanriverdi: And so I enjoyed it. I created my character. So like it was full on the first one hour. I was like, Oh, what did I do? Why am here? But after the character was created, I was like, Okay, I could see this like creative part of it. So that's something I did yesterday, last night. I put myself in a situation that I have never been and never had an understanding just to see.

What it is like to be like in that situation [00:47:00] again. And it felt very relaxing, although it doesn't sound like one.

Matt Edmundson: yeah. No, it's just fascinating. I love this idea of doing something completely opposite to what you do I'd say normally, what you normally do at work. It's a fascinating idea. I like that. Listen, I'm aware of time, right?

And I really want to get to the question box.

So I'm gonna, I'm gonna do the question box. Now, this is where I have my random questions here in my hands. I'm going to flick through them. You're going to tell me when to stop and that's when we're going to stop. And this will be that's our last question, but let's do this.

Let's just say when. Okay, so, we've actually had this question asked before. Matthew Brackett who's been on the podcast too, is actually, you would really like Matthew Brackett. He is such a legend. Really liked the conversation with him. Here's the question.

What are the best things you owe your parents?

Ugur Tanriverdi: I think being a calm and loving person, [00:48:00] that's what I learned from them. And as I age now, and as I see examples, this will be that I know how to love, not necessarily romantically. I know at least this is my personal opinion about how to love. Obviously it's a two or multiple way of things.

Understanding. And remember I was saying I don't like to be in confrontational situations because I wasn't raised, I wasn't grow up in one. And that calm, safe space at home just showed me to believe in the goodness in people and just Take the first step towards them to show that you are trustworthy and they are trustworthy.

That will be it. I think I wouldn't give a, there are lots of answers, like material answers to that question, but they would not be as satisfying as this one.

Matt Edmundson: you, I'm with [00:49:00] you. I think there's, I can look back over my life, and I think I might have mentioned this before on the show, but my parents divorced when I was nine.

But, I think both parents worked hard to try and not let that affect life, if that makes sense. And I think I'm an entrepreneur because when my dad was an entrepreneur and also my mum who became a single mum in the eighties, she had to hustle, she knew what it was to work two jobs a day and all this sort of stuff to try and make ends meet.

And you learn that, you learn the hustle, you learn the need of creativity. But I think, fundamentally, certainly with my mum, I learned love in a lot of ways. My mum is still one of my favourite people on the planet. My dad's really cool, but we lived more with my mum.

And so I think I have a closer relationship with my mum. And I think, yeah, it's fascinating thinking it through. And all I can say is for both my parents, my mum and my dad, I'm very grateful. Because I know a lot of stories where people don't have [00:50:00] the same story that I have. And the same ending.

Listen, what a fantastic conversation, man. I appreciate So much, your honesty, your openness, your willingness to be vulnerable super inspiring what you had to say, and I'm sure a lot of people listening to the show are really grateful as well. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect, what's the best way to do that?

Ugur Tanriverdi: It would be my LinkedIn profile. Which is my name in English characters that will be the best way to connect with me in a way that I could manage the incoming messages. But also one thing assuming there will be some amputee listeners subscribers to your podcast, and also for them our website, has a live chat window and from there, they can send us messages to the team about their amputation experience, their life experience as an amputee, and it will come to [00:51:00] our mobile devices that we can track and be connected with them. But if it is about the subjects we talked, being vulnerable, anxieties, therapy, public speaking, or lots of other things we have covered, I'm more than happy to share my experience further via messaging on LinkedIn.

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. We will, of course, link to your LinkedIn on

the show notes as well. Link to the LinkedIn.

Yes, I just realized what I've said we will of course put that in the show notes as well. But listen, so appreciate you, man really do, really loved the conversation. Really great to meet you.

And thanks for, like I say, being honest and thanks for just being super cool and doing all the amazing things that you're doing. With Unhindr as well. Just absolute legend.

Ugur Tanriverdi: Thank you so much, Matt. This was my pleasure. This is great the way it is structured and the questions and everything. It is good. We need more of these. We need more of our personal. Sites to be visible rather than our professional sites to be visible and [00:52:00] so I appreciate your questions and your time.

So thank you for all the effort.

Matt Edmundson: Oh, no, great. Thank you. Thanks for coming on, man. Genuinely super cool. And of course, a huge thanks to today's champion sponsor, Aurion Media. For all you change makers out there contemplating podcasting as your new vehicle of expression Do check them out at Say, if you wanna check, understand why you should set up and run your own podcast, just get in touch or, A-U-R-I-O-N

Remember, keep pushing to be more. Don't forget to follow the show wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more seriously great conversations coming up and I don't want you to miss any of them. And in case no one has told you yet today, let me be the first. See if I can press the right button here.

See if it works. There you go. You are awesome. Yes, you are. Created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Ugur has to bear it. I've got to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. Now, Push To Be More is brought to [00:53:00] life by Aurion Media. For transcripts or show notes, head on to the website, pushtobemore. com. A big kudos to the team that makes this show possible, including the beautiful and legendary Dan Orange, Sadaf Beynon, Tanya Hutsuliak, and also a big shout out to Josh Edmundson for the theme music. That's it from me, that's it from Ugur, thank you so much for joining us, have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world, I'll see you next time, bye for now.