Sun. Jun 26th, 2022

Prince Harry offered his own woke guide to business today as he told firms they should ‘give everyone time to focus on themselves’  during his first appearance of the year plugging his employer, mental health startup BetterUp.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, who was speaking from his $14 million mansion in California with Meghan Markle, 40, and has a series of endorsement deals with companies that pay him to represent their brands, spoke on a virtual panel alongside CEO Alexi Robichaux and the Duchess’ friend, Serena Williams

During the summit, Harry and Serena joked about ‘chatting for hours’ as they spoke about their close bond, while the  tennis star also revealed how the Duke acts as a life coach for her.          

The father-of-two, who was showcasing a new shorter hair cut at the event, claimed he had suffered ‘burn out’ and waxed lyrical about the importance of ‘taking time for inner work’. 

Harry said: ‘From an employer perspective, you can’t expect your people to put in the work on themselves when you’re not giving them the time to do that.’ 

Later, the Duke spoke about being taught ‘lessons from the universe’, saying: ‘Life is about learning right? If you’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, and even your 50s and you think you’ve got it sorted then bad stuff is going to happen.

‘But when bad things happen I think, “There’s a lesson here, I’m being schooled by the universe, there is something for me to learn.”

‘Next time it happens, I’m going to be more resilient and can see a way around it to achieve the ultimate goal.’ 

As the session came to a close, Harry went on to reveal how he sees his BetterUp coach, who act as a mental health mentor for individuals and businesses, every week.

After plugging the service, he joked to the CEO: ‘Maybe you should just put me on the coaching board as well, Alexi?’ 

BetterUp is valued at £3billion and Harry’s role, which he began in March, includes product strategy, philanthropy, and public advocacy related to mental health. He is also involved in its commitment to ‘Pledge 1%’ – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1 per cent of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities. 

While Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options. 

The interview comes months after Harry advised people who feel ‘stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’ to quit and said leaving work was something to be ‘celebrated’, nearly two years after his acrimonious departure from the Royal Family.  

Prince Harry spoke of 'experiencing burn out' as he made his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit for his employer, mental health startup BetterUp this evening

Prince Harry spoke of 'experiencing burn out' as he made his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit for his employer, mental health startup BetterUp this evening

Prince Harry spoke of ‘experiencing burn out’ as he made his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit for his employer, mental health startup BetterUp this evening

In the summit, Prince Harry was introduced by BetterUp’s CEO Alexi as being ‘one of the bravest advocates for mental fitness.’

The Duke began by stating how many viewers watching might be considering when they could fit mental fitness into their day, saying: ‘I’ll start by the intro you had there was amazing – what most people watching this will question is, “What about my time? Those are all amazing things, I would love to be able to do all those things, but I don’t have the time in my day.”

‘If you’ve got work or every element of our life…it becomes busier and busier. Then the attention economy of media and social media,…Most people will sit there and say, “I don’t have the time for [inner work]. But you can make time.  

He said: ‘I experienced burn out and getting to the very end of everything I had. Any fuel I had in the engine, it was like, boom. 

‘That is when you’re forced to look inside yourself, when everything else around you is seemingly working against you. The only way you can build resilience to your entire environment is the inner work.

‘Once you know how and why your react in certain situations, your reaction to them is more in your control.’

While Prince Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options

While Prince Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options

While Prince Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options

The world according to Prince Harry! The Duke of Sussex’s tips for achieving ‘mental fitness’

AIM FOR THE PINNACLE OF MENTAL FITNESS: ‘Mental fitness is the pinnacle, it’s what you’re aiming for. The road towards that can be really bumpy… it’s called inner “work” for a reason.’  

INNER WORK: ‘With everything else around you, the only way you can combat [burnout] and build resilience for the outside world and your entire environment is the inner work… Outer work becomes so much easier when you get to grips with the inner work… If everybody [had time] to do [inner work], the shift in global consciousness and awareness would be enormous, it would be vast.’

DAILY MEDITATION: ‘I know that I need to meditate every day… Put it [into your daily routine] like brushing your teeth every morning… You need to put it into your day diary as a habit otherwise it’s the first thing that drops away from your busy day.’ 

DAILY ME TIME: ‘I have now put in about half an hour, 45 minutes in the morning when one kid has gone to school and the other is having a nap, there’s a break in our program. It’s like, right, it’s either for a workout, take the dog for a walk, get out in nature, maybe meditate. I would hope that everybody would be able to do that.’

LISTEN TO LESSONS FROM THE UNIVERSE: ‘Life is about learning and if you’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, and even your 50s and you think you’ve got it sorted then bad stuff is going to happen. But when bad thing happen I think, there’s a lesson here, I’m being schooled by the universe, there is something for me to learn.’

TURN NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES: ‘Every single bad thing – or the things you perceive to be bad – that happen actually can be good.’ 

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MENTAL COACHES: ‘You need to have someone there who is not only coaching you through life but challenging your perspective. That’s what I ask [my mental coach] for on a weekly basis… Professional help, friends, family, anyone can help you in that coaching process [and give you] the ability to be able to find somebody else to throw ideas off or feelings or thoughts.’

WIPE YOUR MENTAL WINDSCREEN: ‘Have different points of views in your life and friends who will not worry about pushing back on things you say or feel to be able to encourage you to be able to see it more clearly. I view that as trying to surround myself with people who will happily wash [my mental] windscreen and clear those filters… There is an endless filter system of what you think is happening.’

CREATE A MENTAL TOOL BOX: ‘I know how my nervous system is going to react to certain situations that are out of my control, [so I think], what have I got in my tool box? What tools can help me deal with this?’

HONE YOUR MENTAL SUPERPOWER: ‘Life is about discovery. In that discovery you are going to find things that you don’t like, you’re going to find things that make you uncomfortable, that are constantly pushing back on you but as you work your way around those things, all of a sudden the stresses, the chaos, and all of the things that were working against you in your life, be it private life, be it work life… all of the things getting in your way either fall away or you visualize them and are able to turn a negative into a positive and therefore make those things work for you. It almost feels like a superpower.’

Speaking about mental health, Prince Harry continued: ‘It has to start from yourself, this idea you can find mental fitness from other people. 

‘As a team you can encourage each other, but it starts at home and it starts internal. The effect that has for yourself and the people around you – [as a business leader] to say, you know what, everyone is going to have today to focus on themselves.

‘As I said at the beginning, everyone has such busy days, if you have 15 minutes of white space…I allot half an hour or 45 minutes in the morning when one kid has gone to school and the other is having a nap, there’s a break in our program.

‘It’s like, right, it’s either a workout, take the dog for a walk, get out in nature, maybe meditate.’ 

He said that ‘as a father, husband and someone starting a business’, he ‘knows he needs to meditate every day.’

The Duke continued: ‘I hope everybody is available to do that but…once you have to show up for other people, the self care is the first thing to drop away.

‘As someone starting up a business, as a husband, as a dad – you just don’t have the time to do that. 

‘Mental fitness is the pinnacle, it’s what you’re aiming for. The road towards that can be really bumpy… it’s called inner “work” for a reason.

‘The outer work begins so much easier when the inner work falls into place.’

Serena asked him if the inner work was something he did everyday, he told her: ‘I know how my nervous system is going to react to things out of my control. [I think] ‘What do I have in my toolbox? What do I have available?” 

‘You’ve got to put it in after brushing your teeth every morning, it’s a habit. I need to make it a habit. If it’s not, it’s the first one that dropped away from your busy day.’ 

According to Vanity Fair's Katie Nicholl, the Duke has 'paused and reflected' on his comments and how they affected the Queen and planned to 'lay low' in 2022

According to Vanity Fair's Katie Nicholl, the Duke has 'paused and reflected' on his comments and how they affected the Queen and planned to 'lay low' in 2022

According to Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl, the Duke has ‘paused and reflected’ on his comments and how they affected the Queen and planned to ‘lay low’ in 2022

Serena said the pair ‘always have crazy discussions’, adding: ‘We talk for hours.’

Harry continued: ‘From an employer perspective, you can’t expect your people to put in the work on themselves when you’re not giving them the time to do that. [Business leaders should say] if you want to be able to do it, have the chance to do it in your own spare time – we are going to factor that into  your routine at work.

‘The only way you can combat burnout and build resilience for the outside world is by doing inner work… Outer work becomes so much easier when you get to grips with the inner work…

‘If everybody [had time] to do [inner work], the shift in global consciousness and awareness would be enormous, it would be vast. 

‘Look at these companies who had BetterUp coaches for how every many years. The employees, their potential and their performance at work and home has increased ten fold in places.’

‘You’re creating more capacity for individuals at home to show up to be the person they need to be for their community. It is one whole cycle of connectivity that everyone around you starts to benefit.’

He continued: ‘You need to have someone there who is not only coaching you through life but challenging your perspective. 

‘That’s what I ask [my mental coach] for on a weekly basis… Professional help, friends, family, anyone can help you in that coaching process [and give you] the ability to be able to find somebody else to throw ideas off or feelings or thoughts.’ 

Meanwhile the Duke also spoke about the importance of ‘having different points of views in your life and friends who will not worry about pushing back on things you say or feel to encourage you to be able to see [things] more clearly.

‘I view that as trying to surround myself with people who will wash [my mental] windscreen and clear those filters… There is an endless filter system of what you think is happening.’

Harry ended the interview by saying: ‘I don’t have it sorted, none of us have it sorted.  

‘Life is about discovery. You’re going to find things that make you uncomfortable and are constantly pushing back on you. 

‘As you work your way around that chaos, all of the things getting in your way fall away or you visualize them and are able to turn a positive into a negative.

Meghan's best friend Serena Williams appeared alongside Prince Harry in his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit earlier today

Meghan's best friend Serena Williams appeared alongside Prince Harry in his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit earlier today

Meghan’s best friend Serena Williams appeared alongside Prince Harry in his first appearance of the year at a virtual summit earlier today 

‘And when you get to that point, it’s like a superpower. For me, some days it’s great and some days it’s harder.

‘It’s work but out of all the work we do and all the work we’re pulled towards, it’s the most fulfilling work…apart from being a dad.’ 

Ahead of the interview yesterday, royal expert Katie Nicholl suggested  Prince Harry ‘doesn’t want to cause any more upset’ to the Queen and is ‘laying low for now’.

She said the Duke has ‘paused and reflected’ on his comments, telling Closer magazine: ‘He’s realised how much last year took a toll on his grandmother, and doesn’t want to cause any more upset, so is laying low for now’.

Meanwhile Katie also told the magazine the Duchess of Cambridge could act as a peacemaker between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family.

She said that Kate will play a key role in building bridges with her brother and sister-in-law, even if it’s just to save face for the Jubilee celebrations.  

‘Tensions are high but Kate will do what she can to heal the rift,’ she said.  

Revealing news of Prince Harry’s appearance at the summit on Twitter last month, the company’s official page wrote: ‘Breakthroughs happen when you take a break High voltage. 

‘Learn how Inner Work builds Mental Fitness with BetterUp CEO @Arobichaux, Chief Impact Officer Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and world-renowned athlete @serenawilliams.’

The Duchess, 40, and Serena have been close friends since 2014 after having their first 'real hangout' at the DirecTV Beach Bowl (pictured), although they briefly crossed paths in 2010 at the SuperBowl

The Duchess, 40, and Serena have been close friends since 2014 after having their first 'real hangout' at the DirecTV Beach Bowl (pictured), although they briefly crossed paths in 2010 at the SuperBowl

The Duchess, 40, and Serena have been close friends since 2014 after having their first ‘real hangout’ at the DirecTV Beach Bowl (pictured), although they briefly crossed paths in 2010 at the SuperBowl

The Duchess, 40, and Serena have been close friends since 2014 after having their first ‘real hangout’ at the DirecTV Beach Bowl, although they briefly crossed paths in 2010 at the SuperBowl.  

It’s not the first time the royal couple have cashed in on their connections, with the Duchess previously cannily using her connections by gifting Oprah Winfrey a coffee from a brand she had invested in to plug to her 19 million followers on Instagram. 

Serena is a close friend of the couple, attended their royal wedding, and has spoken out in defence of Meghan on several occasion.

Last March, Serena praised Meghan saying she was the ‘epitome of class and strength’ following her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

‘Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of just selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything that she’s gone through,’ the tennis player told the Shine series.  

The Duchess previously cleverly used her relationships with A-listers to promote a coffee brand she had invested in.  

In December 2020, Meghan’s close friend Oprah promoted a basket of coffee latte treats from Clevrly Blends. 

Speaking to her 19 million followers on Instagram, she captioned the post: ‘On the first day of Christmas my neighbor ‘M’ sent to me…A basket of deliciousness! (Yes that M).’ 

The news that the tennis superstar would be appearing alongside the Duke of Sussex was announced on Twitter last month

The news that the tennis superstar would be appearing alongside the Duke of Sussex was announced on Twitter last month

The news that the tennis superstar would be appearing alongside the Duke of Sussex was announced on Twitter last month 

At the time speaking to FEMAIL, Ronn Torossian, CEO of NYC based 5WPR, a leading PR agency said the Duchess’s investment is worth ‘much more than a cheque’ as the product is now likely to become a ‘household name’.

Jasmine Birtles, Founder of MoneyMagpie.com added that the Duchess’s involvement would be worth ‘millions’ in publicity and that she may have struck a good deal thanks to her star power. 

Announcing Harry’s appearance at the event last month on Twitter, the couple’s journalist friend Omid Scobie wrote: ‘In his role as Chief Impact Officer at @BetterUp , Prince Harry will join CEO @Arobichaux for a virtual event on Feb 3 to discuss their “bold commitment” to the company’s new #InnerWork initiative.  

‘Expect to hear the duke talking about personal stories, challenges, and successes.’ 

In a separate tweet on its official social media, BetterUp described its #InnerWork initiative as ‘a mindful, conscious effort to organize the inner you’.

The tweet continued: ‘It’s engaging in activities that recharge, reinspire, and reignite your sense of purpose. It’s the work dedicated to ordering your mind.’

The summit was just the latest in personal insights given by the Duke. Last year, he gave a series of bombshell interviews, in which he revealed an astonishing rift with his father as well as accusing an unnamed Royal Family member of racism.  

The royal family are already bracing for Harry’s memoirs, which are due to be released later this year. 

Harry promised to give an ‘accurate and wholly truthful’ account of his life, writing as ‘the man he has become.’

Home life during the break-up of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s marriage, the period of Diana’s death and its aftermath, Harry’s relationship with Camilla and past girlfriends are likely to form part of the book, which will be eagerly anticipated by readers.

Meanwhile Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah last March sent shock waves around the world as the couple laid bare the extent of their rift with the Firm.

Last year the Duke gave a series of bombshell interviews, in which he revealed an astonishing rift with his father as well as accusing an unnamed Royal Family member of racism

Last year the Duke gave a series of bombshell interviews, in which he revealed an astonishing rift with his father as well as accusing an unnamed Royal Family member of racism

Last year the Duke gave a series of bombshell interviews, in which he revealed an astonishing rift with his father as well as accusing an unnamed Royal Family member of racism

They accused an unnamed Royal Family member of racism, suggesting the relative had asked ‘how dark’ their son would be; said they had been driven out of Britain, in part, by racism; and accused the Palace machinery of failing to support a ‘suicidal’ Meghan.

BetterUp: The Silicon Valley start-up that has hired Prince Harry

BetterUp describes itself as company that ‘combines coaching with dynamic and personalised digital experiences to accelerate members’ long-term professional development and drive personal growth’.

It sells executive coaching and therapy services to individuals and large companies, and employs clinical therapists and ‘executive coaches’ on contract to provide those services. 

One blue chip company that recently employed their services was charged $2,000 for six months of unlimited coaching for each employee. 

Those who sign up for their app can receive one-to-one video therapy or coaching through the app.

It was founded by two USC graduates Alexi Robichaux and Eduardo Medina. Mr Robinchaux grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has described growing up with his father a biblical linguist who translates from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. 

His mother is an immigrant from Greece who was an executive assistant at Texas Instruments. In high school he started a non-profit called Youth Leadership for America. Mr Medina is also a USC graduate who worked at management consultant companies Altamont Capital Partners and Bain & Company before starting BetterUp.

Harry revealed an astonishing rift with his father, saying his family had cut him off financially while suggesting the Queen had been badly advised and had cancelled a meeting scheduled at Sandringham.

Meghan also accused her sister-in-law Kate of making her cry; suggested senior royals plotted to ensure Archie would never have a title or adequate security; and said officials had failed to stand up for the couple against ‘racist’ commentary, while lying to protect other royals.

Meanwhile the Duke also appeared on Dax Shepard’s ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast in which he compared his life as a mixture of The Truman Show – when Jim Carrey’s character discovers his life is a TV show – and being an animal at the zoo. 

When asked if he felt ‘in a cage’ while in royal duties, he said: ‘It’s the job right? Grin and bear it. Get on with it. I was in my early twenties and I was thinking I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here.

‘I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum, how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know it’s going to happen again’.

He added: ‘I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model and seen how this whole thing works and I don’t want to be part of this’, before revealing he had therapy after meeting Meghan, which ‘burst’ a bubble and he decided to ‘stop complaining’. 

The last time Prince Harry gave an interview from his position at BetterUp, he was slammed on social media as ‘privileged’ and a hypocrite after advising people to leave their jobs in favor of bolstering their mental health. 

In December, Harry discussed his role as ‘chief impact officer’ with California-based mental health start-up BetterUp.

Harry said that the world was at the ‘beginning of the mental health awakening’ and spoke about ‘continuing to pioneer the conversation’.

Social media users on Twitter were quick to criticize the ‘woke’ prince, who is sixth in line to the British throne. The couple have a $25 million Spotify deal and a $150 million contract Netflix.

‘Prince Harry says that we should all leave R jobs if we aren’t happy. What about hospital porters hotel workers, women & men just grateful they have work. #princeharry UR so out of touch with real everyday working class people. U have become a figure of laughter and embarrassment,’ @ducchessfake007 tweeted.

‘So multi millionaire Prince Harry who has never held down a proper job in his life and has never had to worry about paying bills says quitting jobs brings joy and it’s actually good for ‘self awareness. Couldn’t make it up, please someone, anyone, make it stop!,’ @helen_spirit1 tweeted. 

Harry had previously held a 10-year career with the British Army where he began as a recruit in 2005 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was reportedly paid around $45,000 for his contribution. 

BetterUp offers companies coaching regimes for their employees on topics ranging from mental fitness to nutrition and parenting. Its app costs around $240 per month for each user.

Customers include Google, the Hilton hotel chain and movie studio Warner Bros. The company recently announced plans to open a London office and hire 75 staff. 

Harry’s comments come two months after it emerged that the value of BetterUp has topped $4 billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players.

In October, BetterUp, which took on the Duke as ‘chief impact officer’ in March, raised $291 million from investors – valuing the company at around $4.5 billion.

BetterUp is based at these offices at San Francisco in California. The value of the start up has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley's biggest players

BetterUp is based at these offices at San Francisco in California. The value of the start up has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley's biggest players

BetterUp is based at these offices at San Francisco in California. The value of the start up has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players

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