Photo by Gabriela Matic
Madlen Buchbauer is a legal project manager in a big London City law firm, a fearless martial artist in the evenings and a passionate nutritional coach on the weekends. Born in Austria, she decided to move to the UK for her bachelor studies and has stayed ever since. I’ve known her for almost 12 years and don’t know anyone who is more authentic and full of energy. I’ve watched her grow up to an inspirational and badass woman while she was always an incredibly loyal friend. She can kick ass. Literally.
What is your morning routine?
I foam roll and stretch for about 15 minutes. I get ready and then I walk to work. It’s a 30-minute walk, and I love it because it’s my time to clear my head and get into the right mindset for the day.
What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
I have a Bachelor and Masters in Law. Pretty much everyone would say that that’s already a great achievement but, to be honest, I think the last year has changed that. Finding out what sort of life I want to lead and what it is that I want to do has in my opinion been my biggest achievement so far. After all, it was a bit hard to admit, as it is the opposite of what I do right now.
Why did you decide to study law?
I find the concept of law interesting. Admittedly, there are too many rules by now, but some aspects of life within a society need to be regulated. I wanted to learn about those rules because in their essence many exist to protect the weaker party. Apart from that, I am interested in financial markets, finances and economic law, which is the area I did my masters in and currently work in. It is fascinating what power those institutions have and how they work or fail to work.
What has been your biggest failure and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure. I think every failure or mistake is just a lesson to be learned, and if we step up and learn it, there is always something good coming out of it.
What is the trait you most admire in others?
Authenticity. Everyone is amazing in their own way. If we are truly ourselves, we let that part shine. I believe there is always more to everyone, and neither you yourself nor anybody else can’t see it if you don’t dare to be authentic. It creates an energy that you cannot fake and that makes all the difference.
What are you most passionate about?
What do you love about martial arts?
I love that it is a never-ending journey. There is just so much to it. It challenges your mind and body. It’s a lot about self-discipline and body awareness. Although it is often labelled as an “aggressive” sport, it makes you a calmer and more peaceful person. Certain techniques are set in stone but truly when it comes down to sparring or fighting, it’s quite creative because you apply what you know but in a way that is unique to you and your body. It’s a journey of self-discovery. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know anything.
Describe the moment before a fight.
I think I was a bit nervous, but in my head I was calm. Not much existed or mattered, just me, my coach and the ring. I wasn’t thinking at all, and I wasn’t listening to anyone. I was dead calm, and I was ready. I just felt ready. You don’t get to be much more in the moment than before and during a fight. Nothing else exists. I didn’t even realize how much this is true until I watched the video of the fight and noticed for the first time that there was music on in the background (which was awful).
How do you define a great leader?
A great leader to me is someone that sees everyone as equal, appreciates their efforts and inspires them to do their best work while being the one doing it first.
Who is the most badass woman you know and why?
Anna McNuff. Anna is an adventurer who used to work in a cooperate firm. She realized that she only spent 10% of her time with things she loved so she saved up money, quit her job and started traveling and going on crazy adventures. What I found most impressive was not just the cool stuff she is doing, but her energy. She is this amazingly alive person who is just so herself and so excited to be leading this particular life of hers.
What advice would you go back and give your younger self?
Don’t go after the money and don’t do what you think you should do. Don’t make these things priorities. Do more of what you love and do it every day.
Phone call or email and why?
Phone call. I love talking, and you can feel the vibe through the phone.
Where do you get most of your information?
Online and books.
What apps could you not live without?
Whatsapp, city mapper, my alarm, workout timers and YouTube.
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
People are your most valuable asset. Treat them right, and you have a productive and motivated workforce. Treat them badly, and you just have a bunch of complainers, who are looking for other opportunities.
What do you regret most?
I usually only regret decisions where I don’t go with my gut.
How does healthy nutrition look for you and how do you stick to it?
Healthy nutrition for me means eating clean: lots of water, lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, no sugar, booze or caffeine and I only eat whenever I’m hungry. Sticking to it becomes easier after a few days because my body feels great and I have tons of energy, and that’s motivation enough for me.
Why did you choose to live in the UK?
When I was seventeen, I was on a school trip in the UK. Something fascinated me about it, and I just wanted to live here for a bit. I didn’t think I would stay for seven years but I love it, and I love the accent.
How do you define happiness?
Happiness for me is enjoying every moment for what it is – not what I want it to be but what it truly is. Having honest conversations with people and doing what I love.
What makes you badass?
I strive to be as authentic as I possibly can. This life is this amazing gift, and I love being out there making the most of it. When I want something, and it feels right, I relentlessly pursue it – and I refuse to get up.