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Mindful Leader Interview - Daria Albers


Patrick Kozakiewicz

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I recently held an interview with Daria Albers about leadership. Daria Albers is a former professional fighter. Currently, a MMA Coach, Muay Thai practitioner, physical therapist, psychologist and mind coach about mindful leadership.

You can listen to the full interview or you can read the main highlights below.


What are the biggest problems we face as leaders today?


In order to have balance, and equanimity in our life, in our minds, we need to be authentic. And authenticity is sometimes just this fine line from the truth and not.

When I lead 60/70 MMA fighters in groups or sometimes through big fights, then it's always this fine line between okay, here is me because I'm compassionate, I'm soft and kind but I'm more a soft person. I'm more an introvert by nature, and all of a sudden, I have to be extroverted I have to lead, I have to really kick them the right direction sometimes. I have to be hard. And I have to say that it's really hard for us to be authentic but also get things done. In other words, we have to find a balance between the mission at hand and our true self.

Another thing is leaders need to be intuitive, need to be in contact with their intuition. And if you're not authentic. It's very hard to be intuitive, because you are not yourself right, so you're not in contact with yourself and you're not in contact with the world. And so, I feel that every time, every time when I lose myself when I go off path. And I just, I don't feel it. I don't feel it anymore I can't read people anymore it’s because I wasn’t in touch with myself, I was not authentic, and I was not in touch with my intuition.


Your favorite quote, credo or mantra?

Yeah, I actually have two quotes and they, they're part of my life for 20 years now.

  1. empower people
  2. lead with love.

At the end of the day, love means also self-love. And it's coming back to authenticity. If you don't love yourself, you're not yourself you can't be authentic, I mean that's the whole chain going on right so definitely that love is the biggest force and every time when I get. Lost or angry. I get back to this place of love to this peaceful place and us that to empower people. Whatever it takes.


What is mindful leadership and why is it important?

Mindful Leadership is that one is very aware about the present moment awareness and they are non-judgmental to that. Everything happens in the now, right, we know that. The deeper you go into the present, the more you're in the now, you're at the base. The more clear and faster you will do your task, self-develop, be productive and all of that.

You don't have to be so super spiritual it's not even about that but when the more present you are the more mindful you are, your mind is more laser focused, on the task you have to do right now instead of being scattered.

And the self-awareness will make you, of course, a better leader.

And that's why mindfulness should be the base of everything we do. It is for me, that's always the starting point, whatever mental skill, like I said, whatever cognitive training I do with my clients or my fighters. At the end, it always comes back to awareness, presence, mindfulness, because that's where it all starts, that is where it builds from. That's the most fundamental thing we need to learn.


What's one of your strengths one of your weaknesses?

I would say my strength is that I am very intuitive. I can feel people a lot. Their energy. I can read people very well. And sometimes too well. The same time that's exactly my weakness, because sometimes if I don't control, if I'm not mindful about that. It's just overwhelming because I'm taking on all that information. And it’s not always good information.

That's why I need so much time by myself. Because traveling around a lot, teaching seminars with 50 to 70 guys, some of the best fighters in the world, usually there is a lot of press and there's a lot going on. I need to find balance and really calm down, because my mind, if it gets out of control and overwhelmed, I am close to breaking down. And I have to be mindful about that for sure.


How does one become a more mindful leader?

You know my, my really true answer to that is, you have to crash really hard. Most of the people have to have something really bad happen. Because when they are this deep down, they get this realization, that I really don't want to live like this.

And when you reach that point which I did reach, there is this awakening. Then it is a lot easier to become a mindful leader. Then you have the motivation and the drive.


1-2 suggestions of any materials/programs/projects

As a mindfulness teacher, I recommend people mindfulness, because I truly believe is just the base.

Mindfulness is one thing for sure and then definitely, yoga as the philosophy, not just yoga as an exercise. Sometimes people when they're to, cognitive when we start with mindfulness with them, they are still too much in the mind. So, it's important to match your mental training with exercises.

I work in this triangle. Everything happens in the mind, or in the body or with the environment so those are the anchoring points basically and so I wouldn't say do this program or that program, but I would advise people to think about those three parts.

  1. What does good for the mind, well, maybe it's mindfulness maybe it's not maybe it's a form of cognitive therapy or whatever you need.
  2. What is good for your body, is it yoga as of martial arts, is it running a marathon, whatever.
  3. Then the environment, you will understand this by noticing how your community, your friends, family, work and home makes you feel and think.


For more of Daria

Follow her on Instagram

Check out her Mindful Athlete Program – MAP

See her as a guest speaker at our 6 week Mindful Leader Program or as part of our Online Community.