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Should I Put Out This Fire?

Hyerpercompentence
Debra Woog
Written by Debra Woog

How can we tell for sure if we’re HyperCompetent? Are there different types of this phenomenon?

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A few months ago, I led a tele-teaching and community dialogue on HyperCompetence. Since then, a whole world seems to have opened up before me.


Apparently I’ve struck a chord with a tribe of overdoing, overgiving, overtired women and their colleagues and loved ones, and the response from our community has been inspiring.

This fall I am dedicating my coaching practice to facilitating recovery from HyperCompetence. This means I will be continuing to write, teach, and speak on the topic as well as reflect on, triage, and strategize about it with my private clients.

As always, my work starts at home, both literally and metaphorically. As I spend this fall growing my business, planning my son’s bar mitzvah celebrations, helping my kids with their substantial assignments, transporting them to their various activities, researching and handling various medical and legal matters, etc. (Oh yeah! Plus trying to take care of myself!) I find myself repeatedly muttering under my breath “I can’t do all the jobs. I can’t do my jobs plus yours too. It’s too much.”

Questions about what I must do, what I would like to do, and what I can let go provide potential for round-the-clock inquiry. Should I put out this fire? How about that one? Maybe the fire provides some value?

For example, I walked into the kitchen to heat up my lunch and noticed that the housecleaners (who left our house a short while ago) didn’t clean the microwave. Cleaning the microwave is their job, not mine. They usually do it every time. Not sure why they didn’t do it today. Grrr. Will anyone die because this job wasn’t done? No. Ate my lunch. Back to work.

At another moment, one in which I was already feeling overwhelm and fear, that little microwave incident might have sent me into a loud rant and/or a furious scrubbing frenzy. Fortunately, this time I was able to grasp that my response – the amount of energy I devote to someone else’s shortcoming – is fully my choice.

All this internal and external dialogue has raised multiple new questions for me. How can we tell for sure if we’re HyperCompetent? Are there different types of this phenomenon? Different degrees? What’s the difference between HyperCompetent and overachieving? What about workaholism? What are some other causes or triggers of HyperCompetence?

What have you noticed since you began contemplating this new concept? Do you feel more or less stuck than you did before you became aware in this way? What questions has it raised for you? What else would you like us to explore as we dive deeper into this topic?

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted that I’m not in control of nearly as much as I used to think or wish I was. I have accepted that it’s up to me to make choices, sometimes with difficult tradeoffs, about how to spend my precious time. I’m constantly working on accepting what’s my responsibility and what’s not.

2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?


I have learned to appreciate my body for all it has done for me. I have learned to appreciate that every experience has the potential to strengthen me. I have learned to appreciate my unique set of skills, interests and qualities. I’m still working on appreciating some of the specific strength-building opportunities that have come my way.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?


My education and my business have been my most rewarding achievements. I am most proud of my two children. They have already made a powerful difference in this world at their young ages and I know they will continue to do so as they grow. I still dream of growing my business to reach an even larger community.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways?


I am overweight. I am impatient. I am a stickler about language. I am lovingly honest, which means sometimes I say things that are hard for others to hear.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my children! I love my friends. I love my ability to find humor and laugh, even in the toughest of times.

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About the author

Debra Woog

Debra Woog

Debra A. Woog, President of connect2 Corporation, coaches women professionals to accelerate their individual development and career growth with outstanding intrapersonal and interpersonal communications. Teaching them to align their work with their brilliance and unique definitions of success, Debra enables leaders, experts, educators, consultants, and other creative professionals to transform from feeling time-crunched and overwhelmed to joy-filled and at ease in their lives and work.

With twenty-plus years of experience in corporate and academic settings, Debra knows firsthand how challenging it can be to lead a fulfilling career and also be a healthy, present family member and friend. From her personal commitment to making a positive impact on others by living her purpose and passions in accordance with her priorities, she created the Brilliance-Based Success System™. Her clients are delighted by the meaningful and prosperous lives, careers and businesses she has guided them to achieve.