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.
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.
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.