Attempt the Impossible

Joanna Zimmerman

The first time someone sent me this article, I kindly accepted their suggestion and went on with my business. Though I like to remain informed about matters affecting my hometown, I was busy on this particular day and didn’t have time to read it. But, after receiving the article two more times, ignoring it proved much more difficult.

Titled “How A Young Community Of Entrepreneurs Is Rebuilding Detroit” the article, featured in Fast Company, describes how people of various ages and backgrounds are working to restore my hometown to its former glory. While the magnitude and approach of their methods differ vastly, they all seem to share an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to scoff at the impossible, while embracing the unknown.

After spending my entire childhood in this fading city, I know just how difficult rebuilding will be. But, because the article reminds us “Where everything’s broken, anything’s possible,” the thought of tackling this seemingly insurmountable quagmire of despondency leaves me not just inspired by these men and women but invested in the outcome of their efforts.

As all good writing does, this piece forced me to think about my own challenges, especially in the workplace. What is my version of the impossible and the unknown? What areas of my work am I not improving because I haven’t thought critically and creatively? If we’re lucky, many of us work in companies where “everything isn’t broken” — places where paths have been blazed and guidance is available.

Even in these settings, however, attempting to implement new processes can seem daunting. But I encourage everyone, as I encourage myself, to engage your managers, those you manage and your peers. You’re surrounded by invaluable resources, and it’s your duty to make the most of them, especially because you never know what may inspire your next great idea.

Detroit’s gradual rehabilitation is poignant because people are looking underneath the city’s neglect to rediscover its beauty. Attempting the impossible requires you to embrace the opportunities and challenges around you and occasionally approach situations in unconventional ways. This is not only a model for fixing what’s broken, it’s also a model for creating something new and better.

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