Monthly Archives: June 2016

Out of the Box Thinking Part 2


Expect Miracles Series

by Lynn U Stewart


1967, Grenoble, France

I was trained to be an elementary school teacher. I taught for four years, with the final two years at the Êcole Françaises, a bilingual French school in New York City. While there, I learned to ski and spent vivid weekends in Vermont.

As I taught at the Ėcole, my passion for France grew. It was 1967, and the year of the first televised Olympic games. A desire began to brew within me to travel to France and work for the Olympics. Being on a teacher’s salary, however, there was no way to underwrite that dream—I had to get creative.

My neighbor, David, was the producer on a TV show called Snap Judgment. After several conversations I convinced him to give me a chance to audition for his TV show.  I had an enchanted third meeting with “guest talent” was chosen. That magical day I won $1,000! When the check arrived, I headed for the United States cruise line and bought a one-way ticket to Cherbourg, France.

Upon arrival, I took the train to Grenoble; this was to be my home for the next six months. On registration day at the university, I met Jacques, a restaurateur for the Park Hotel—a wonderful 5-star in central Grenoble. Having met him by chance, he invited me for lunch at his hotel. Our connection was undeniable. He liked me, and I liked him. He became my Olympic angel.

Every week I would go to either lunch or dinner at the Park and confided my Olympic dream in him.  Louise, my housemate, always joined me (as the invitation was dining for two.) Jacques was always busy with guests; he asked me to bring a friend, and I gladly obliged.

One afternoon, Jacques informed me that the staff from ABC, the American television network, had arrived at the Park. Having written over 30 solicitation letters without reply, I knew my chances for getting a job with ABC were slim. I introduced myself to the VP in charge of personnel, Eric Calder. I told him about my skills and qualifications, and to my great surprise, he invited me for an interview.

I was hired as a translator and hostess for the press. I was in charge of getting the press to and from the village/mountains to their various destinations. I was to take care of their French needs. From gloves, to vans, to hamburgers, my responsibilities were to see that their every wish was my command. Jim Mckay, Chris Schenkel, Roone Arledge, and Red Buttons were in my charge and I loved every minute of every day. Serving and supporting veteran Olympic stars and interviewers make their TV magic was my job description.

What I learned during that period was, “If I could dream it, I could do it!”  I made the seemingly impossible happen. I simply kept on going amid the “No’s” and the unresponsiveness of the Grenoble hospitality. I was determined to find my way into serving the Olympics.  Watching Jean Claude Keelie receive his gold medals changed my life.  The Grenoble Olympics launched my belief in serendipity, synchronicity, and causality.

Out of the Box Thinking


Expect Miracles Series

By Lynn U Stewart


If you keep doing what you are doing you’ll keep getting what you’ve got. Sometimes you have to do something different to change your results. This is one of those stories…

Ken had been an employee of the Hard Rock Café since he was 17. When I started working with him he was an unfulfilled, highly successful, executive restaurateur. He desperately wanted to do something different. He knew what he wanted; however, he didn’t think he could get there. In his heart he was an artist.

When we first met, he arrived with an intricate hand-carved box. Hidden within the mahogany box were delicately arranged stamps, carefully crafted with inspirational words. The box was sturdy, impressive, and beautifully created. When he told me exactly what he wanted, I heard him. He wanted to work with a design firm. With no credentials, no degrees, and no formal training, he was at a loss as to what to do.

As we sat together, he shared his passion with me. He had carved many objects of art, all of which were impressive. They demonstrated precision, imagination—an artistic eye. He had amazing attention to detail, and creative ideas that made the ordinary into extraordinary. I listened attentively to his story and asked him if he was ready to make something happen through his own creativity. That’s when I told him about coaching. We chose to work together, and the process begun.

In our first coaching session, of which there were two, he identified firms that got his attention. Unfortunately, he didn’t know anybody there. He simply thought they were the kind of businesses where he might enjoy working. There were four design firms in Santa Barbara, California. He chose to go with his special box of words and his big smile to each of the firms and “look around.” He chose to do the research on “which one was his place?”

The first two were clear no’s, the third was a maybe, and the fourth was a “yes.” The people were friendly and open. He asked for a meeting with the office manager. He defined his specialty, his unique selling point. He told them he was a specialist at “bringing order out of chaos.” He wanted to know if they could use his services. He let them know that he had no formal training but showed his box to illustrate his attention to detail and his design eye. The manager’s “no they didn’t need any help” was not a deterrent. Ken asked for a tour. As he walked around the office he saw one trouble spot— the mailroom. At the end of their walk-through, he asked if they might trust him with a project to demonstrate his skills. He cited the mailroom as a place that could use his help and offered to do a pro-bono project for the firm… just because! The manager met with his manager, and they chose to give him a chance.

After organizing the mailroom, Ken was hired and his creative career was launched.