Prince Harry urges people to cope with 'whatever life throws at them'

‘Self-optimisation is not about fixing something… It’s becoming the best version of yourself’: Prince Harry posts motivational Instagram message in new role as Chief Impact Officer for mental health start-up Better Up

  • The Duke was unveiled as chief impact officer at BetterUp, a $1.73billion startup 
  • The start-up posted Harry’s first motivational message on its Instagram page 
  • In it, Duke of Sussex called for people to ‘become the best version’ of themselves

Prince Harry has urged people to cope with ‘whatever life throws at them’ and become the ‘best version’ of themselves in his first motivational message for the mental health company that gave him a job. 

The Duke of Sussex was appointed ‘chief impact officer’ at mental health services business BetterUp by CEO Alexi Robichaux, who says his royal employee insists on everyone calling him Harry because they are all ‘partners’ in the business valued at $1.7billion. 

Now, the start-up has posted Harry’s first motivational message on its Instagram page. 

He said: ‘Self-optimisation is not about fixing something that’s broken. It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves with whatever life throws at us – someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence and self-awareness.’

Mr Robichaux also admitted last night that the press around the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle was a bonus for his company. 

‘It’s awesome. I mean, look, we’ll take the press, it certainly helps,’ he said. But was quick to add, ‘that’s not the driving motivation here.’ 

The Duke of Sussex was unveiled on Tuesday morning as the chief impact officer at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of Harry released at the same time.


‘Prince Harry has been one of the the the fiercest advocates for mental wellness or mental fitness for many years,’ Robichaux said, citing Harry’s work for organizations like Head Fit, a service he launched in partnership with the U.K. Ministry of Defense.

 ‘This has been a big part of his personal life’s journey and his personal life’s mission.’ 

Robichaux said the role emerged out of months of conversations he and Harry had after they were introduced by an unnamed mutual friend who rightly thought the two thought alike.

‘There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm on both sides around this mission of how could we use technology, how could we use science, how could we use human experts to help people go through a personal growth and transformation journey?’ Robichaux said. ‘And so that was the start.’

‘Meet Harry, our new CImpO’: What does a Chief Impact Officer do – and is he even qualified?  

Prince Harry’s new boss Alexi Robichaux has said he and the Duke of Sussex weighed up ‘four buckets of opportunities’ before agreeing to work together and call his new job ‘chief impact officer’ (CImpO).

Although BetterUp say the role was created for the royal, similar jobs with the same title are becoming more common in Silicon Valley tech firms and laid-back Californian charities.

A CImpO is a senior manager, usually at board level, who reports into the ceo. 

Their main job is to bring in money, by wooing investors, securing grants or donations from high-profile businesses or high-wealth individuals. They will also lead on events that could bring in cash and publicity, which BetterUp have said is part of Harry’s role.

According a recent job advert for a similar role in state capital Sacramento, the CImpO must ‘be a leader within the Foundation and in the philanthropic, nonprofit, civic and social sectors in the region and beyond’. 

Harry’s global profile, and his years of charity work, especially at the Invictus Games, would tick many boxes.

But there are some areas he may not qualify for, with employers generally looking for someone with 10 years corporate experience, whereas Harry has never had a job like this before, having spent several years in the Army.

The role also involves experience of budgeting and writing grant applications, which the prince is unlikely to have. 

And bosses tend to want a Master’s degree in business or a related subject, or a bachelor’s degree with ‘significant and relevant work experience’ as a minimum.  

In June 2003, Harry completed his education at Eton with two A-Levels – achieving a grade B in art and D in geography. He dropped history of art after AS level.

One of Harry’s former teachers, Sarah Forsyth, later claimed that he was a ‘weak student’ accused staff at the exclusive private school of helping him with exams and coursework. Both Eton and Harry vehemently denied the claims.  

The Prince went to Sandhurst after Eton and a gap year abroad.

The pandemic has kept him from meeting Harry in person, however, and that might not happen soon. The company, whose work deals in helping employees via text and video conference, is naturally friendly to working remotely even under normal circumstances, and that’s what Harry will primarily do.

The Duke of Sussex will not have an office at the company’s San Francisco headquarters or have employees who report directly to him, Robichaux said.

‘He will come into offices and attend company events, once that’s safe and things reopen,’ Robichaux said.

He said said he’s not worried about the practicalities of having a prince roaming the halls or appearing at meetings, and that he won’t use any royal titles. 

And he said while he’s technically Harry’s boss, he’s going to avoid that approach to the relationship.

“It’s funny, I never thought about it until this week when reporters have been asking me what it feels like,” he said. “I don’t think of it that way. I really think of him as a as a partner.”

It was revealed earlier that Harry had started his job at the Californian startup dubbed life coaching Tinder for millennials in January – but waited to announce it until after his Oprah interview was watched by tens of millions around the globe. 

The Duke will help to promote a wellness app used by corporate giants including Hilton, Facebook, NASA, confectionery giant Mars and oil firm Chevron to improve the wellbeing of their staff.

Harry, whose new role at the firm could command a seven-figure salary plus share options, was introduced to the BetterUp co-founder through unnamed mutual friend last year, and after they weighed up ‘four buckets of opportunities’, they agreed to start working together, Mr Robichaux said today. 

He said: ‘He’s been in the role for a couple of months, and we’re so excited to share the news with the world. We’re partners here, he likes to be called Harry in the workplace, so we just address him as Harry.’

Brand expert Mark Bukowski told MailOnline that timing the announcement for after the Oprah interview generated free publicity worth millions of dollars for the startup, and could help Harry cash in if he has shares in the business.

Tech-CEO Mr Robichaux, who likes to quote Einstein and Marcus Aurelius and once gave a presentation on his business to leading scientists and academics while wearing a spacesuit, told Sky News today: ‘We were just so impressed, and really I think there was such a natural chemistry and synergy around the insights and the contributions he can make creatively to BetterUp in ensuring that we achieve our mission.

‘Bigger than commercial success, this is about global impact, and so as we crafted the role together, those four buckets of opportunities, we came to the title ‘chief impact officer’, really denoting that he’s focused on our mission and he’s focused on ensuring that we’re doing everything we can to achieve our mission on a bigger and larger and grander scale to impact the lives of more people.’ 

He added: ‘He’s also helping to work on everything from product design to product strategy, to co-creating content and the experience for our members and helping with partnerships, like creating some new content for our users related to mental toughness and mental fitness as well.’ 

Harry told Oprah that he has been forced to seek corporate work after his father Prince Charles ‘cut him off’ financially after they emigrated to Canada and then on to LA

Harry’s first real job will see him spending time at the firm’s San Francisco office – when Covid-19 allows – where the prince can take part in weekly office yoga sessions, beat a punch bag when he’s frustrated or pet the office dog ‘Gordo’ when he’s concerned about his ‘wellness’. He can also bring his dogs Guy and Pula to work if he likes.

BetterUp also throws regular onesie-fancy dress parties for staff, including at Halloween – but if this gets too much for the prince he can relax using some of his five ‘inner work’ days a year – on top of his holiday days – to focus on ‘personalised growth’ by hiking in California, reading books or doing volunteer work.

His new office has sofas to flop on during a hard day and games to play when staff need a break, with one employee, Lily, saying the office was designed for both work and play. She said: ‘When one of us is flourishing, the whole team gets stronger. So every decision we made about what to put in the office had those baselines in mind’. 

Harry’s CEO, a devout Christian fluent in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, said he had experimented with therapy and life coaching in his twenties and the idea for BetterUp came to him while on a pilgrimage of self-reflection to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. His mantra is: ‘I don’t believe technology is the enemy when used right.’  

Prince Harry announced another new job today – his second in 48 hours – joining Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder

Harry will work with Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Mudoch who resigned all his roles with News Corp last year

Harry, who has served in the British Army but has no corporate experience, will not manage any employees but will be expected to appear at special company events and spend time at the company’s San Francisco HQ for meetings once Covid restrictions are lifted (pictured)

Prince Harry announced his first job in the corporate world yesterday by revealing he had taken an executive position at a Silicon Valley start-up that claims to be worth $1.7billion. 

He announced another new job today – his second in 48 hours – as a celebrity commissioner fighting what he calls an ‘avalanche of misinformation’ in the digital world for an American study funded by a controversial billionaire whose website was blamed for helping wipe out newspapers. 

The Duke of Sussex is joining the left-leaning Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder in Washington DC along with 14 others including Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who resigned from his father’s media empire last year.

His appointment came after he and his wife Meghan were accused of spreading misinformation about the Royal Family and why they quit in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey this month.

The Aspen Institute is one of America’s best known, and best funded think tanks, drawing cash for research from rich donors and big businesses, including Facebook.

The organisation, whose HQ is a few blocks from the White House, looks at all areas of US life and says its mission is to build a ‘free, just, and equitable society’. But last year it was shamed after it was revealed its bosses accepted more than $8million in federal small-business funds during the pandemic – despite having a board of billionaire trustees and a $115million endowment. After a period of ‘reflection’, they handed the cash back.

BetterUp, meanwhile, is thought to charge companies about $2,000 (£1,450) per worker for six months of executive coaching, and has more than 200 employees and 2,000 contract coaches on its books. 

Mr Robichaux – who is in his 30s and grew up in Dallas, Texas, where his father was a biblical linguist father and his Greek immigrant mother worked for Texas Instruments – has compared the app to a life coaching Tinder for millennials to keep them happy at work.

He has spoken about his Christian beliefs and said the firm came to him as an epiphany while doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in Spain, and attended the University of Southern California (USC) along with co-founder Eduardo Medina.

Harry, who has served in the British Army but has no corporate experience, will not manage any employees but will be expected to appear at special company events and spend time at the firm’s San Francisco offices for meetings once Covid restrictions are lifted.

The Duke, 36, revealed he has been using BetterUp’s services including talking to one of its ‘truly awesome’ coaches for a couple of months who gave him ‘sound advice and a fresh perspective’.

He wrote in a blog post how he will focus on ‘driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness’, helping to guide the firm’s ‘social mission and impact’, ‘influencing the vision of BetterUp’s platform, community and member experience’ and expand its ‘global community of thought leadership, coaches, customers, and members through outreach and strategic planning’.  

Explaining why he took the job, Harry told the Wall Street Journal in a suitably corporate response: ‘I intend to help create impact in people’s lives. Proactive coaching provides endless possibilities for personal development, increased awareness, and an all-round better life’.  

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