Beyond PMO Consulting

"welcome to my personal blog," Ammar W Mango

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    Organizational Project Management Consultant, using profession as a platform for learning beyond just work. My passion is learning more about self, people, universe, and God.
    I am into Religion, Meditation, Yoga, and Tai Chi. I love learning about human behavior and motivation.
    I am a gourmand who loves healthy food and following latest research into health and natural healing and remedies. I jog and swim whenever I get a chance.
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Posts Tagged ‘work stress’

Can You Stop Thinking about that Project?

Posted by Ammar Mango on June 7, 2014

The controller project manager needs everything in order.  And since nothing is in order almost ever, the project manager’s mind is always working to find ways to put things in order.  The result is a mind that is always trying to change things, never happy with things as they are.  This mind is a tired mind.  Stressed.  Unable to take a break.

If this describes you sometimes, then that is OK.  This is part of urban life as designed for us modern urban-ites (is there such a word?) But when this becomes “you” most of the time, then it might be time for some changes.

The human mind needs to rest the same way the body needs to rest.  Sometimes people neglect this fact, as the toils of the brains are not accompanied by sweat and physical movement.  So we do not feel the need to rest.  However, a preoccupied brain causes tensed muscles, irregular breathing, and the feeling of being flat out beat.  This is more stressful than physical work.  So how do we put our minds to rest?

Ahhh, the million dollar question.  I personally have not figured out a cure-for-all on this issue, but if you have, please do share.  Luckily there are a few things that can be done, so if one does not work the other might, and each person is different so do not dispair.  Here are a few proven methods that worked for some.  Which one is for you? it is up to you to try:

Some swear by prayer.  Personally, I believe nothing can be as calming as asking God for help in complete surrender.  Now, if you have tried this and did not work immediately, remember that the problem might be in your approach not the prayer itself.  Prayer works.  However, sometimes we are too hasty, or do the physical moves, but the brain refuses to succumb.  Then prayer might not be as effective.  However practice makes perfect.  One thing I learned form a colleague is to speak to God in my own language.  Tell him what is bothering me, and asking him for guidance.  Try that after formal prayer see if that works for you.

For some, intense cardio exercise gets their mind off work.  When the body tires, it requires full attention from the brain.  A friend of mine runs, not jogs.  When he is “tired” from work, he runs as soon as he gets home.  Before anything.  It helps him remove the clutter from the mind.  Another friend took more extreme measures.  He loves boxing.  He says “nothing will keep your mind focused and clear like someone trying to punch you square in the face.”  He also loves his punching bag.  Before starting, he remembers the most annoying thing on his mind that day, then punches away until he can go on no more.

Then there are the yoga types.  Some say that 20 minutes a day of yoga can help you reorder the “top shelves” (i.e. the brain) and feel in sync with surroundings, no matter how stressful the day is.  Some practice “moving” yoga in the form of Tai Chi.  Some practice yoga by watching their breath.  There are numerous ways of doing this and any might do the trick.  Try breathing deeply and slowly, allowing more time to exhale than inhale.  after doing this for a couple of minutes, try to pause for a few seconds after the exhale.  How did that feel.  Some swear by it.  You judge what is right for you.

Another thing to consider, is that you might have a personality that is prone to over thinking.  This is very common in today’s day and age.  Some (OK many) have obsessive compulsive tendencies, so they repeat the same thought over and over again in their mind, ruthlessly over heating their systems, so to speak.  Someone once described it as “a car being stuck in first gear.” To get out of that gear, you need to be consciously aware of the problem you have to agree with self to move on to another subject, or get off thinking altogether.  Obsessive compulsive behavior can be mild but also can be a mental illness that requires medication to control.

Not only obsessive compulsives overthink, but also regular personalities that are more on the “sensitive” side, like empaths.  Empaths will scrutinize their behavior in fear of being wrong, or in having to defend themselves from verbal abuse.  Some people do not care how they come across to others, or what others say to them or about them.  These are rare.  Most do care.  However, some care too much, and as a result overthink ways to protect themselves from these “attacks” by others.  Empaths need to be aware of their tendencies to be sensitive, and accordingly deal with their, sometimes overwhelming, emotions.  Deal does not mean suppress, or reject, or demean.  To the contrary; it means accepting and respecting self for what it feels and how it feels.   Then letting go.

It is amazing how we evolve and “grow” as human beings, and with that comes changes in our personalities and the ways we deal with work related stress. We need to be in tune with these changes and be accepting of ourselves and emotions.  To some, this might be the hardest thing to do, and the biggest hurdle on their road to cope with stress at work.

In the end, please remember that most projects fail, most stakeholders are dissatisfied, and when projects succeed, you might be the last to be recognized.  So, where does that leave us? Have a good day!


Posted in Uncategorized, Understanding SELF | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tips for not taking things personally at work

Posted by Ammar Mango on August 16, 2012

Not taking things personally at work is a tough goal to attain.  I have been pursuing this illusive goal for years and I am still looking until now.  Recently I had a discussion with Sifu Doug Floto (Sifu means teacher in Cantonese) about the subject.  Doug Floto is my Tai Chi teacher.  I copied parts of the discussion related to the subject to share with you.

I know it is not easy reading, and I am personally still trying to digest and understand it.  I am so interested to hear from you to help me understand this more and if your take on how to take this into real life action.  One final note. I did replace few words, I put them in brackets, to keep the discussion within the context intended:

Ammar Mango

  • Hi Sifu, I am trying to learn to not to react to work stress.  Sometimes work issues get on my nerves.  I believe the problem is with me not with the work.  I need to learn to take things easily.  Any advice? Regards, Ammar
  • Doug Floto
    •  Ammar, it’s always great to hear from you.  Stress is a killer.  I may have something for you. Everything is inside of you.  The events are external, but your emotions belong strictly to you.  So how do you deal with this? Well, think about what stirs emotion.  [Some] call it attachment. But really, its simple.  When you look at it as a problem to solve, you don’t feel stress.  Your ego isn’t.involved, so you use your intellect and skills to solve a problem that isn’t “yours”. When you attach your ego to it, whether its a proposal or a missed payment, you now have to win or lose and that causes internal turmoil. I think of it as parenting.  You know it’s going to get ugly when you go ego first and make it a power struggle.  But when you set it up as choices and consequences you take the power out of the equation so you both can respond naturally. The most difficult thing is to act naturally out of your own nature and let things unfold from there.  It’s difficult because you have to leave your culture and your upbringing behind and respond or create from your own true heart.  Then you’ve left the ego world behind and you always feel at peace. Let me know when you get there, and I’ll come there to study from you.  Best wishes, Doug
  • Ammar Mango
    • Thank you Doug. Very insightful. Let me try and get back to you. The funny thing is that meditation and yoga make me super calm as a norm, but don’t help when I am agitated.
  • Doug Floto
    •  I have used all the techniques I mentioned to you so as not to be drawn into a fight defending the use of good method and doing a  proper job.  But Pride of Authorship is a terrible trap to fall into, so I have to remind myself that this is the way the experts do it and put my ego aside and just not attach myself to personal while aiming to do the professional and solve the problem.
  • Ammar Mango
    •  I like your example above, I think I understand more .  I started practicing.  In a way, are we  saying that there are many copies of “me” that are not really “me” and one real “me”? So, if someone criticizes my work, he is criticizing the work of the “professional” me, which is not the “personal me”? So it is not personal? So the work is done by a “professional” not the “personal me”?  Is this it or am I over complicating things?  I want to truly understand.
  • Doug Floto
    •  I would put it the other way.  There are multiple personas that we put before the world, depending on the audience.  The fatherly you, the husbandly you, the professional you, the pious you and so on.   These are the socially conditioned selves that by example and expectation, geography and history, have been placed upon you. The “you” that responds is most often the “you” whose button has been pushed.  So in my example, it wasn’t the professional that was responding, it was the insecure and self-conscious me that I usually don’t want the other professionals to see.  [Some would say] that my attachment to the work was through the ego that is wrapped up in the childish and insecure me.  And because I responded through the ego, then I build up whatever [fate] is going to come around.   An authentic response would be creative and free of ego and we wouldn’t have to suffer because there’s nothing for the suffering to cling to.   We’re not attached to it so it’s not attached to us.   But as long as we do our duty and play our role, we aren’t true to our true selves and so are doomed to repeat the play and feel awful most of the time.  My interpretation is that we respond badly when the part of us that is secretly ours is touched and so what is called for is to redirect that energy to a better place, such as our professional self, to respond as if we were not touched.  But better yet, is to find our true self and create something unheard  of and laugh or dance our way to the conclusion.  That’s kind of what the Tai Chi is trying to teach us.  Stilling the mind cuts through all the layers of selves so we can feel our consciousness and our consciousness can feel the world without the interference of the mind.    My teacher said ” As the pulse is the blood being acted on by the heart, so the mind is the brain acting on the consciousness”   So the extended practice of the Tai Chi brings stillness to the mind.  So in this state, you get the first taste of the consciousness experiencing the world without interpretation of the mind.  You are free of ego and preconception, scenarios and strategies.  You see what is before you and create spontaneously, so I’m told.  I’ve gone on at length so I’ll close this off now.   Peace, brother seeker.

Posted in Understanding SELF | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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