OK, right. I know. NO way I would ever wish to be in the path to help him. But every good PR professional out there is talking about the very amazing story today of Charlie Sheen being fired from his $2 million per episode gig “Two and a Half Men.” I have really never been a fan of that show because at it’s height, my kids were parallel with the half and, well, let’s just say, I’m a mom so I have never loved that show. What I can relate to is how Charlie handled himself after his wild ride of what we know has been over-reported. And, yes, here I am writing about something I swore I didn’t care about. Until today. He got FIRED from one of the biggest networks, the most profitable show on TV. Wow. How fast you can fall. Like him or not, a significant event in today’s entertainment industry.
But wait–Charlie’s on Twitter…..AH ha! He’s there talking, gathering his “tribe” (which he should have done sooner). And preparing his “next” gig. Trust me, he will. He will rally. Why? Here is my take on how he failed and more importantly, why he’ll rise to be bigger and better: (Disclaimer: I could be wrong. And although personally I don’t respect what he’s wasted, I admit he’s compelling–even in this state of denial, so I’m drawn to watching this. For PR, for human nature, as a Mom, wife, someone his age…–all that).
Immediate mistakes Charlie Sheen Made:
1. Being stupid. The best policy in viral media and social is simple: Don’t be so stupid. Surely Charlie could figure this out. He didn’t. The press ate his lunch. Did he have a PR person? I’m sure some of you have followed this closely but by today’s news, I’m not sure it mattered.
2. It’s not what happens to you as much as how you handle what happens to you. Everybody makes mistakes. Even big, public ones. How you handle them makes all the difference. We see a pattern here..Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson..Hey guys with big egos: we know you will make a mistake. We love you most when you sincerely apologize and own up to it. That’s the beauty of social media. People really value authenticity and sincerity. You can’t hide it if you are sincere. If you make a mistake–even a huge one–owning up, manning up–is critical. Can you think of prominent people who have made big mistakes and owned up to them? Takes a strong person to do it. My Dad always said “Strong people often make big mistakes,” and that has really been true. I think about that all the time when I’m working in PR.
3. Worse and worse. I hope Charlie didn’t have a PR person. If he did, I feel sorry for them as I’m sure they tried to give him advice. Next time Charlie (and I think there will be), LISTEN with really BIG ears! And do what they tell you (or try to).
4. Don’t be so arrogant. If you are, the public won’t help you and that’s what I’m seeing now on the media outlets. I think it’s important to note that in today’s social media, internet, viral world–you can’t afford to be arrogant. Seems being “in touch” and “down to earth” earns more love. Just Sayin’
5. Twitter may help you but it won’t save you. You have to build your tribe “before” you need it. Charlie is late to the game. Experts say that you join Twitter before you need to use it. Sheen will find that while he has loyal fans who support and follow him, he might want to be careful for what he asks for. Twitter can be very powerful (either way). You can’t just broadcast. You must *engage*. Time will tell how this plays out on Twitter. Remember Charlie–you are what you Tweet (but you know that).
6. Charlie Sheen is going to have to decide what type of person he is. I’m the same age (exactly one year older). He needs to decide how he wants to spend the rest of his life. At this point in “our” lives, it’s more about the “time remaining” than our age. GROW up Charlie. You ain’t 25 anymore! If I were his PR person….
Why I think Charlie Sheen will make a comeback:
Let me clarify that I really don’t like him. But, I only know him through his show and now his real life PR drama. Can you really judge someone by what you hear in the media? on Twitter? on Facebook? The cold, true fact about PR is that perceptions become reality and if you expect to thrive, you must survive. In Hollywood AND in life, you must have a solid reputation to produce value and work. Charlie? You up for the clean up act? If so, I believe you can make the best and biggest comeback ever. But here’s what you have to do. If I were your PR agent, you would thrive if you embraced the following:
1. Clean up the drugs. They are illegal, distracting, unhealthy and demonstrate the absolute WORST role model you could be for your kids and kids everywhere. Just do it for your kids.
2. Do something for others. Nothing like helping other people to help find yourself. My deepest hours have been glorified because I found the ability to focus on helping other people. Once–at a low point (to me) a woman with no hair walked into my gym. Her cancer had returned. Suddenly, my problem (I thought I had) vanished. Makes really great sense and results in good stuff.
3. You have real, raw, great talent. It’s your ego and this obsession that has you stumped. Get back to coaches who can help bring out the “real” Charlie Sheen–it’s there. It’s great. And you have the resources to do it. Be grateful. Most people don’t.
4. Find yourself and create a better show. Create a show that helps foster the good and employs your great humor and skill. Why not put your genius to work for good.
5. America loves the underdog as long as he/she says they’re sorry and uses that to start over. You–of all people–can do it.
That is all. Hope this gets to Sheen on #Twitter. I’m a sucker for the underdog. Are you? I want to hear your comments! Good, bad, ugly. Thanks for listening!