Charlie Sheen and Paula Abdul: A Study in Success Rituals

Success Rituals: Design Your Habits – Change Your Life

Charlie Sheen has dominated entertainment headlines since his very public departure from the popular CBS-TV show “Two and a Half Men“.  In some ways it reminds me of all the publicity surrounding Paula Abdul‘s departure from the Fox-TV sensation “American Idol“.   Both stars left after 7 very successful seasons with their respective shows.  Both departures were big headline generating controversies.  But for me, the similarities end there.  What I find useful in comparing these two stars is how they handled the events, their success rituals if you will, in dealing with their situations.

Let’s take a look:

Charlie Sheen has routinely used the press to badmouth, bash and denigrate Chuck Lorre, the producer of “Two and a Half Men“.  Based on what we know thus far, Charlie Sheen was fired after indulging in number of drug and alcohol related incidents and proceeding to publicly blast Chuck Lorre (creator of “Two and a Half Men“) and other CBS executives. 

In addition to the destructive habit he appears to have with alcohol and illegal drug use, Charlie Sheen seems to be engaging in a habit that makes him feel good–lashing out at his former employer–but by doing so publicly, even though this may feel like a success ritual to him, he’s likely poisoning any potential producer or production company against hiring him.  If this is a habit he relies on in a time of stress, how influenced would you be by his lack of success rituals when deciding whether to hire him or not? 

Now contrast Charlie Sheen’s success rituals or lack of success rituals with how Paula Abdul handled a stressful contract dispute with “American Idol“:

First of all, Paula Abdul did NOT get into trouble with the law nor did she bring bad press upon her employer or force them to halt production of the show.  

Secondly, when it became obvious there was a dispute over her continued participation on “American Idol“,   Paula Abdul’s comments to the press were that she was disappointed in how negotiations were going and at no point did she resort to profanities and name calling.  Her success rituals involved conducting herself professionally, with dignity and respect for what she’d devoted 7 years of her career to helping build. 

Paula Abdul made it a habit of dealing with her dispute in a powerful and diplomatic way that ensured she burned no bridges and left doors open for any number of positive future possibilities to develop.

Proof: Just this past week, Paula Abdul signed on with the TV show “The X Factor” where she will be working with her former “American Idol” co-star judge, Simon Cowell. 

Do you think Paula Abdul would’ve been offered the opportunity to join “The X Factor” if she had gone on numerous profanity laced verbal attacks against “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe every week during her contract dispute? 

I suppose someone might’ve been willing to take a chance on someone habitually acting in such an unprofessional manner, but I think the success rituals Paula Abdul uses every day in her personal and professional life played a big part in making that decision a lot easier for her new employer.

What do you think?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Charlie Sheen and Paula Abdul: A Study in Success Rituals

  1. It’s interesting to see the habits of two successful people. One handled the situation better while the other caused his own problems.

  2. Eva Palmer says:

    I had heard of the controversy with Charlie Sheen. Did not know what had happened to Paula Abdul. By what you write, she seems a very intelligent person! I have never heard her talk, but I think she did succeded in this job ritual!

  3. Eva Palmer says:

    Michael! I forgot!: so happy that you are writing!

  4. Hi Michael,

    I couldn’t agree with you more in your comparing and contrasting Charlie Sheen and Paula Abdul. How Paula Abdul has conducted herself has made an impact for herself now with her career as well as in the future. It’s not about now, it’s about the seeds we sow which will garner us the career relationships as well as romantic relationships for life.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Professional Dating Profile Writing Service

  5. Kevin Bettencourt says:

    Does this not all go back to “Good sportsmanship is shown when you lose, not when you win.” If class is what you desire then embrace dignity.

    Las Vegas Air Conditioning Repair

  6. Peggy Larson says:

    Yes there certainly is a difference in their approach to their issues. Good examples for people to learn from.


  7. Clare Delaney says:

    Michael, good to have you back blogging again!
    Great examples used to make your point. We sow seeds all the time, and they do have an impact.

    Eco-Friendly Tips, Articles & Products

  8. Michael, I think you did a great job explaining the success rituals of Paula and the anti success rituals of Charlie.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Sales trainings most common costly mistakes
    Now go implement!

  9. Dewayne Chriswell says:

    Yin and Yang on their approaches to the same task, or as an old rural Indiana farmer friend would have put it, “Charlie Sheen is acting like a yingyang.”
    Dewayne Chriswell

  10. I think Paula Abdul is a remarkable woman and it is your good fortune
    to have crossed paths with her. She gets my vote.

  11. Jennifer Battaglino says:

    So happy you are blogging as you are one of the coolest people in the world!
    Love the post and the comparison which makes complete sense.
    I can only imagine what words Paula may have used towards the people she was in dispute with…in the privacy of her own bedroom, with the lights out, when no one else could hear. The difference is that she had self-control and saw the big picture of her actions versus possibly satisfying her urge to lash out in the moment.
    As you said, no bridges burned and it paid off.

    Jennifer Battaglino
    IBS Treatment

  12. Neil Dhawan says:

    I can already tell that this is going to be another amazing blog that I will look forward to return to with each new article. The Success Ritual disciplines exhibited by Paula is a perfect example of why she will continue to grow, while (as sad as it is) Charlie’s lack of discipline will continue to raise questions of, not only his professionalism but his sanity, as well.

    Best, Neil

  13. Ann says:

    Huge contrast between Paula and Charlie Sheen. A great one that people can learn from. Paula Abdul is a very classy lady. Kudos to her for being so dignified and respectful. And I’m very happy that she is back with Simon Cowell on his new show.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for noticing what a class act Paula Abdul is. The “media” never does their homework where she is concerned and to this day they continue to spew ridiculous accusations about her. But no matter what, Paula takes the high road and never fires back with an unkind word about ANYONE. She focuses on the positive and lives her life without regrets. I was fortunate enough to have met her once, and within a few minutes I knew I was in the presense of one of the kindest, most gentle souls on earth. We could all take a lesson from her. And, yes, a big contrast to her former brother-in-law Charlie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>