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Do You Embrace Failure? How to Feel Uncomfortable, Get Loud and Grow More.

Lauren Heimbach
Lead Systems Specialist
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Being my own purpose

For a long time, when people asked about my purpose at work, I searched for what I felt was an “appropriate” response. Was it to get my degree? Get promoted? My family? Eventually, it hit me. Me. I, myself, am enough for me to get up in the morning. My family, education and career are all huge motivators for me, but at the end of the day what drives me is knowing I gave my best each day and that tomorrow is a fresh start.

Getting through 2020

I think we can all agree that 2020 came at us like a freight train. Some days I had extreme anxiety and I truly wanted live under a rock. I felt sad, anxious and uncertain of what each day would bring. However, I channeled my strength in adaptability and told myself to stay strong. I talked to friends and family as often as I could. I didn’t have a reason to call, I just called. For me, knowing that I wasn’t in this alone really helped. I also focused on what I could control— my health, relationships and career all helped me adapt to this new way of living.

Refusing to be silenced

In the past, I was told I was too positive. That statement could have been enough to silence me. I took a long, hard look at how I wanted to represent myself. And I decided to get louder. I’ll always be positive, that’s who I am— but I’m more than just a basket of rainbows. I truly found my voice at work once I learned how to properly channel my positivity into loud, enthusiastic advocacy.

Technology doesn’t discriminate

To this day, when I mention to someone outside of Discover that I work in technology, I notice they immediately “size me up.” I don’t think they doubt my ability, but I can tell they think it’s unusual. I try to demonstrate that technology doesn’t discriminate who or what can work with it— so why should people? I educate people about the limitless opportunities there are for women to work in fields they might not stereotypically picture women dominating in.

Being the only one

I’m sometimes the only woman in the room. I’m also sometimes the youngest person in the room. Because of my identity, I hate seeing outdated scripts play out again and again. I encourage people to embrace differences and put old stereotypes to rest. The good news is, this is changing— but it won’t happen overnight. I’ve stopped focusing on what makes me different in the room and instead draw attention to all the unique qualities of all the individuals in the room.

Getting uncomfortable

At the beginning of my career, leaning into what felt comfortable and came naturally to me accelerated my success. Beyond that, in order to continue growing and challenging myself, I had to get out of my comfort zone. Nothing ever grows in your comfort zone. But some days, I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable. To be honest, I didn’t have to. I did well and could continue to sail through calm waters while I did my work. But being who I am, I needed to be challenged.

Growth doesn’t have a finish line

I realized (albeit not quickly enough), that some days I didn’t know the answer, I didn’t always possess the right skills. I had to get uncomfortable to learn new things. The beauty of it is, my career isn’t a race. There’s no finish line to growth. At the end of the day, any challenge that’s put in front of me is an opportunity to shine. I’ve stopped being afraid to fail and started being excited to learn.

 

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