“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~ Pema Chödrön ~
In this fast-paced world, it is easy for us to get caught up in constant motion. We understandably become so busy with our lives, our work and various distractions that we often forget to pause and reflect on what is truly essential to our well-being.
Dr. Bruno Sobral, geneticist, agronomics engineer, founding director of the Colorado State University’s One Health Initiative, and alum of the 16 week Authentic Leadership program, explores how learning to become comfortable with “not knowing” can eventually lead to greater clarity.
Throughout Dr. Sobral’s career he has been valued as a technical leader. However, sometimes the identity of being a “knower” has kept him from taking risks or being vulnerable–qualities that are essential for cultivating innovation among teams. The Authentic Leadership program reminded him that being a “learner” can be a much more productive stance to take as a leader.
Dr. Sobral recognizes that most of us have an inherent fear of losing control of our lives. We find it extremely difficult to accept that our path in life does not always have to be crystal clear. We struggle with leaving our preconceptions behind because what we hold dear has become co-mingled with our own sense of self. However, this belief may well be getting in the way of our achieving clarity and purpose in our own life.
Dr. Sobral reminds us that there is a continual ebb and flow in our quest for clarity and we need to have patience as we continue on our journey. He counsels us to take a leap of faith and not be afraid of being caught up in uncertainty. He likens this feeling of uncertainty to being in a fog, and points out that we need to learn to pause, reflect and become comfortable being in this fog before we can move toward clarity.
While Dr. Sobral appreciates that letting go of our perception of control is one of the hardest things for individuals to do, he advocates the importance of divesting ourselves of the pressure of constantly having to find the correct path. Instead, he guides us to open ourselves up to feeling comfortable with the calming mindset of waiting without knowing.
Only by having the courage to reflect deeply and accept the unknown can we begin to see clearly. Once we let go of our insecurities and pause in our need to constantly be in motion, we can embrace the joy of uncertainty and free ourselves to move through the fog toward clarity in mind and spirit.
Dr. Bruno Sobral is the first director of the Colorado State University One Health Initiative and a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. The One Health Initiative focuses on finding solutions to climactic, ecological, food security, population and public-health challenges in today’s world by delivering innovative interventions for healthy systems.
Dr. Sobral was born in Brazil and educated both there and in the United States. He attained his under-graduate degree in Brazil in agronomic engineering and, in his late 20s, achieved a PhD in genetics in the US.
Early in his career, Dr. Sobral was founding director of the the Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech. He went on to become assistant vice president and head of Biosystem Informatics and Human Microbial Ecology at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to working with the CSU One Health Initiative, Dr. Sobral served as chief science officer for Alkol Biotech, a London-based feedstock research company that develops agricultural products for biofuels.
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