Nic Hillbery- Bouldering – A Metaphor for Approaching Life with a Growth Mindset

Bouldering - A Metaphor for Approaching Life with a Growth Mindset

Nic Hillbery


When we are held back by fear-based thinking or a ‘fixed mindset’ our self-talk can often lead us toward failure if we allow it to limit our options for learning and growth. The experience of bouldering or rock climbing always involves a challenge not only for the body but more importantly for the mind. It can therefore be a powerful metaphor for approaching life with a ‘growth mindset’, where we embrace setbacks as learning opportunities.

In this fun, challenging and thought-provoking session, we will explore the learning and personal growth opportunities that bouldering or rock climbing can offer, when it is facilitated with an ‘experiential learning’ focus that encompasses the ingredients of physical and psychological safety; challenge; fun; responsible-risk-taking; and reflective practice.

Therapeutic learning and personal growth benefits can include strengthening problem-solving skills; assessing and managing risk; emotional regulation; understanding how to steer fear; transforming unhelpful fixed narrative; developing trust in self and others; mindful response-ability and more.

We can often learn more in one hour of play than we can listening to theoretical words! Come with an adventurous mind, ready to have some fun where the only consequence of ‘letting go’, might be ‘falling’ asleep on a cosy mattress! 

About the presenter/s

My passion for the outdoors has been the main driver in guiding my personal interests and career. A mix of this passion and my desire to leave the world a better place has led me to work for a fantastic adventure-based therapy organisation called Operation Flinders Foundation, where I coordinate a youth development program called Step Out. My enthusiasm for surfing, climbing, and hiking has taken me to beautiful and thrilling natural locations across the planet, and the personal benefits I have found from engaging with nature have both shaped and humbled me. I am excited to share my experience of climbing in combination with adventure-based therapy in the youth work setting.