Serena Williams and Prince Harry did their BetterUp “Inner Work” conversation yesterday via video-conference. I assume Harry was in Montecito and I assume Serena was in Florida. Seeing Serena talk these days is pretty rare – while she’s active on social media, she hasn’t been at a tennis tournament since Wimbledon last year. She’s been especially quiet on the tennis/injury front. She folded that into the conversation, basically saying that she’s been doing that “inner work” during her time away from the tour, that she’s taking time for herself. Harry spoke about being burned out and needing to take time for himself, to calm his mind and just disconnect.
Prince Harry, Serena Williams and BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux took part in the inaugural Inner Work conference. The three discussed the importance of doing work on yourself to prevent burnout and improve your mental health. Prince Harry urged why people should make time for themself, using himself as an example of reaching burnout. Harry said he was “burning the candle at both ends” and was forced to look inward. Williams, as a top-performing athlete, was “pulled in so many different directions.”
“I’m super strategic– I take ‘me time,’” she explained. “What really is important is focusing on me and me time. Boundaries are so important to have. If you don’t have boundaries you aren’t going to reach what you can do… Don’t send emails at 11 p.m. You will burn out.”
Harry agreed with Williams on setting boundaries and knowing what you can take on, “It starts at home, it starts internal.” He also shared how his day goes and how he fits time in for self-reflection. When “one of the kids have gone to school, one is having a nap,” Prince Harry said he will then carve out 30-45 minutes to “take the dog for a walk” or meditate.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Harry and Williams spoke about maintaining good mental health even when times get hard, such as losses on the tennis court. “When it comes to losing, I hate that word, I want to coin it a growing experience,” Williams said. “As much as I hate it, I have learned so much. Losses are important, learn from them,” she added.
Realizing they were rambling, Williams and Harry both apologized, “Sorry we can talk for hours.”
“Harry is always solving all my problems,” Williams said of Harry’s improvement through the BetterUp. “You are just always figuring it out for me.”
Harry gave credit to Williams for doing the work herself but joked that he should be on BetterUp’s coaching board.
“I don’t have it sorted, Serena doesn’t have it sorted, none of us do. Life is about discovery,” Harry concluded, noting that one of the best things he has learned to do is “turn a negative into a positive.” It “feels like a superpower. It’s work, but out of all the work we do… it is the most fulfilling. Apart from being a dad!”
It sounds like a nice conversation, and Serena sounds like she was hyping Harry a bit, which is also pretty nice. “When it comes to losing, I hate that word, I want to coin it a growing experience” – girl, you’ve had too many growing experiences lately, figure out a way to win those damn matches!! As for what Harry said about being burned out and finding time to meditate or walk the dog every day… the usual suspects have a problem with what he said, and they’re trying to make him sound like an elitist for suggesting that adults should try to spend 30 minutes of every day on their own mental health? It’s pretty basic stuff, it’s not elitist at all.
Something slightly superficial: when I first looked at the clip of Harry speaking, I thought he had gotten a too-short haircut. But no. He’s lost a lot of hair in recent months!! *ginger sob*
"It's work, but out of all the work we do… it is the most fulfilling," Harry said. "Apart from being a dad!" pic.twitter.com/xnKLXg7Hbl
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) February 3, 2022
Prince Harry gets it: doing Inner Work® can be tough, but it’s a solid foundation to build on. And once you get all of that sorted out, everything else seems to fall into place. ☁️ pic.twitter.com/C1Wn4Tj3Be
— BetterUp (@BetterUp) February 3, 2022
— BetterUp (@BetterUp) February 3, 2022
Screencaps courtesy of BetterUp.