Tiger Woods needs to tell a hero's tale.
By his silence, Tiger Woods is breaking every rule in PR, crisis communications and reputation management, allowing his story to swirl around in the media ether, fueled by tales of speculation, and whipped into frenzy by anyone with a platform or soapbox.
But more importantly, he's forgetting that for millions of people around the world, he is their real life hero, a champion of mythical proportions. And unlike reality shooting stars and 15-minute celebrities,
Tiger Woods became a hero role because of his persistence, talent, and consistent achievements, something we all aspire to.
Our purpose, the reason we are born, is to experience a joyful life through the expression of what fills our heart. We want to believe that if we follow our internal calling, we can achieve greatness. Tiger Woods did it, so can we.
So now what's Tiger Woods to do? How can he redeem himself, regardless of the current situation?
Tiger Woods needs to tell a hero's story. To our collective soul, a good hero's story well told is both redemptive and healing.
In this story, our hero is a young, incredibly gifted, very rich African American golfer and self proclaimed Buddhist. He's married to a white former Swedish model and together are raising two beautiful children.
And then it happens. For the hero, there's always an "it," the "Call to Adventure," as the late mythologist, Joseph Campbell, calls it; an inciting incident where the hero is presented with a situation he or she can't ignore. Colliding with a fire hydrant and tree in the dark, early morning hours outside your home is a good example. Add in the intrigue of the wife's role - is she a villain or life saver? - and you've got a really good story.
The next plot point on the hero's path is usually where he or she refuses to acknowledge the present situation, hoping it will all just go away. Campbell calls this "The Refusal of the Call," and by Tiger Woods issuing a terse, cryptic, vapid press statement, along with refusing to speak with police authorities, and then not appearing at his own golf tournament, tracks perfectly for this story.
Also in the beginning of a hero's story he or she connects with a mentor, usually someone old and wise, who helps our hero navigate the perils of the approaching extraordinary, uncharted world. But wait, in Tiger's story the mentor, Tiger Wood's father, Earl, died just over three years ago. Are Tiger's actions in today's story influenced by the loss of his father, his hero and mentor? If so, and regardless of his actions, by opening his heart, we, too, would be more understanding and compassionate to Tiger's account of his actions. Is Tiger Wood still heartbroken over his father's death, or is there something else going on? Let the hero tell us.
Great stories also have compelling characters, metaphors for the different aspects of the discovery of our essential truth, which, ultimately, is the essence of every story.
Who is the antagonist in Tiger Wood's story? Who is the person, or what is the force, preventing Tiger from achieving his goal and possibly thwarting him from continuing his winning life? Is there a femme fatale, French for the "deadly woman," a mistress or a female confidant previously unknown to his wife or public? Or is there a more universal antagonist, a broader, more pervasive villain, known throughout humanity as feeling undeserving and worthless? Right now, this Tiger Woods' story is without an antagonist, although we know there is someone, something, lurking behind the scenes, and a hero's story is not complete without knowing the enemy.
Tiger Woods has to finish this story, making this hero's tale whole and satisfying, both for him and for us. What literally drove him into that tree? What enemies, villains, friends, coaches, sidekicks, and lovers (or not) has he encountered along his competitive and magnificent path? What external truth may Tiger Woods not be facing? And what internal truth must he now confront? Tell us, Tiger, we're with you.
Either way, as with every memorable hero's tale, Tiger will have more tests, torments and rewards, followed by the long road back to a normal world, yet forever changed, reborn, renewed, and enlightened.
Tiger Woods doesn't need a PR handler; just a reminder that he's a hero, and that truth is always the ultimate spin.
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