The five most important relationships: advice from Stacey Flowers

Aggie gives us a breakdown of Stacey Flower’s TED talk ‘5 people you need to be happy’ and how this resonated with her

I recently watched Stacey Flowers’ TED Talk, ‘The 5 People You Need in Life to be Happy’. In it Stacey, an international speaker, business strategist, and author, describes her journey to leading a happy and successful life. She outlines the talk beautifully, describing how in order to be happy you need to connect with five key people: a cheerleader, a mentor, a coach, a friend and a peer. I felt inspired by the presence this woman was bringing to the stage. She spoke with an energy that emitted happiness, and delivered her truth with conviction.

Stacey begins her talk by presenting us with one of her happiest moments in life: experiencing a Beyoncé concert. She emphasises the importance of the experience, not only for being one which brought her joy, but one in which she finally understood what it meant to be happy. She then followed this story up with a time when she was not so happy – when she found out she was pregnant in high school. She describes being lost and confused as she considered abandoning her studies, and denying herself the future she now has. She goes on to explain that if it wasn’t for her first cheerleader in life, a teacher at school, she wouldn’t have overcome her initial decision to drop out of high school. But with her teacher’s support, she pursued her ambitions whilst bringing up her baby boy.

My fantastic mentor, Adibah Iqbal, has been guiding me through my placement at Rife magazine; and my friend Harwin Gill has been practicing her coaching skills with me as she trains to be a life coach. As my mentor, Adibah helps me to see my strengths, understand my working style, and gives me the confidence to go for opportunities I would otherwise question going for. As a coach, Harwin provides me with insight, alternative frameworks for addressing thinking patterns, and challenges me on my perspective and behaviours. According to Stacey, your mentor is there to show you the way, and your coach is there to make you feel slightly uncomfortable. She recommends that you combine these roles with the roles of a friend, peer and cheerleader, to help you build the happiest version of you.Inspired by this story, I began to think about the roles of the relationships in my life, and how they have helped shape me. I realised how much my life had improved since having these five relationships Stacey speaks of in my life. The newest roles being: a mentor and a coach. And I am very grateful this year to have had the opportunity of having two amazing women advising me.

According to Stacey, your mentor is there to show you the way, and your coach is there to make you feel slightly uncomfortable.

It is important to note that these relationships and roles can often overlap. I definitely have friends that overlap into other roles. For example, anyone who is rooting for me, is also my cheerleader – and usually my friend. When I think of my main cheerleaders in life, they are my best friends; people whose heart fills with joy when they know I’m happy and I have achieved what I set out to achieve.

For me, peers have been the hardest relationship to come by, which may seem surprising because your colleagues should be your peers. And while I have many amazing people working alongside me, I don’t have peers with the exact same interests and passions as me in the creative field. As a result of this, I don’t always turn to them for advice on things such as building a career in Design. But I do recognise that their support and advice throughout this programme placement is still incredibly valuable. Finding a peer is about recognising who can help you with your interests or career, and come at it from the perspective of being at a similar stage in life.


I want to finish by asking you: how many of these people that Stacey speaks of do you have in your life? Have you ever reached a crossroads? And has there been someone important there to guide you through it?
If you feel lost at the thought of knowing how to find: a mentor, a cheerleader, a coach, or whoever, don’t get too caught up on what their identity is in relation to you. It is the quality, and type of advice and feedback that matters the most. For instance, a mentor doesn’t have to be someone from work – it can also be a family member, a counselor, or a teacher from school. A coach doesn’t have to be someone who is qualified in coaching – they can also be a neighbour, a family friend, or a parent.

Have you ever reached a crossroads? And has there been someone important there to guide you through it?

I think if there is one thing to take away from this, it is how important a role relationships play in determining your happiness. It is so important to surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and to find a mentor that can help guide you through obstacles. And while it’s important to have support around you, it is equally worth remembering that perhaps the greatest gift is not to receive advice, but to support someone else, too. In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’, for that is so important.

Do you have any thoughts on Stacey’s TED talk, have you recently found a mentor, or would like to be one? Get in touch on Social Media and let us know.

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