To the top

“It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.” (Edmund Hillary)

(Edition: Travel as a metaphor of life, workshop 1/4)

Main objectives:

Reflecting on individual goals and possible ways of achieving them

During the workshops participants will:




Posters (flipcharts), markers, pens, projector (if you want to show a diagram with the process of change, you can also draw it in a flipchart instead)

To print:


1. Warm up (20 min)

Start with participants introducing themselves (if they don’t know each other yet). Then, divide participants into pairs in which they will talk on a given topic. There are three topics, with each new topic change pairs so that each person has the opportunity to talk to three different people.


After the third discussion is over, invite participants to sit in a circle and ask them to share their own sentences, helping with structure and vocabulary if needed. Then, ask also if there is anything they want to share with others from the discussions they had on the quotes. Ask also if there are any words they didn’t understand.

2. Listening, reading and writing: song (20 min)

Speaking of poetry, let’s try to listen to a song. Each participant receives the text of a song with some missing words (Appendix 2). By listening to it twice, everyone tries to fill as many gaps as possible ((Next to Normal, I Miss The Mountains). During the summary, write down the words on the board to make sure everyone wrote them down correctly. Also explain those which are not clear for participants.

3. Speaking: Life wheel (10 min)

To many people mountains, especially mountains’ tops, are a great metaphor for our goals in life. Let’s have a look at them. 

Give to the participants the printed template of the Life wheel (Appendix 3). They can also draw it themselves from the example. Explain that the Life wheel is a tool to check personal satisfaction in different areas of life. The Life wheels are empty at the moment. The first step is to complete eight categories. Suggest the following categories to participants, but allow them to modify them if they wish. Perhaps one of the categories will not be relevant to their current situation, and on the other hand, they will find that some other key area is missing. However, ask participants not to delete categories such as health or relax, as they are essential to our well-being.

Examples of categories:

Once participants have entered their categories, ask them to rate their satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10 on each of them and fill in the appropriate number of boxes. 1 is in the center of the circle, ten is on the outer side. If a person is satisfied with e.g. 6 in the finance category, they should color all fields from 1 till 6 in that category (see here example of a filled Life wheel). It is worth emphasizing that we are talking about subjective satisfaction, and not objective data, e.g. I can earn little compared to the national average, but recognize that it is enough for me and I’m satisfied with it.

When participants finish, ask how difficult it was for them to fill the Life wheel. What surprised them? What did they discover? What does a healthy Life wheel look like? Best is if the circle is evenly filled; the overall satisfaction could be at a level of 6 or 10, as each of us assesses it differently, so it is rather more important that we have a similar result in all categories. A wheel with 2 in one category and 10 in the other will run slower, stumbling over any obstacle, than a wheel with e.g. 5 in all categories.

4. Speaking: my top (25 min)

In the next part we will work on our goals, our tops. We will again discuss various topics in pairs and change every few minutes. Ask participants to find a person they want to speak with or group participants yourself. Give 5 minutes to answer each question, signaling when half of the time is gone so participants can take care that each person in the couple has the chance to talk. 

Topics to discuss (each topic in a new pair):

Underline that it doesn’t have to be necessarily the category in which they have the lowest score. Ask participants to reflect which area may be the most important to improve/ will bring the biggest impact also in other areas and they feel they are ready to work with.

You can add the question about the first step at the end of the conversation as an additional thing to reflect upon or maybe even share with the rest of the group at the end of this exercise. Ask participants also for general impressions, any thought, reflection or questions they want to share with others.

5. Speaking and writing: the process of change (30 min)

Before we set up for a journey to the top, before we introduce any change in our life, it’s good to understand what the process of change looks like. Invite participants for the last work in pairs, this time allowing them to choose a person they haven’t had the chance to speak with yet. Give them 5 minutes to share a story of a change they introduced in their life. It can be a big change (like changing the job) or a little change (like changing hairstyle). After 5 minutes divide participants into small groups of 4-6 people (or smaller, if not enough people). Ask the groups to try to generalize the experience of change they had and draw diagrams or any other visual representation on a poster about what the process of change looks like: what stages of change can they identify? What emotions appear in each stage? After 10 minutes of group work, ask participants to present their outcome. Summarizing, show and discuss together a diagram of the process of change (you can find examples in Appendix 5). At the end, invite participants to brainstorm about how we can support ourselves and other people in the process of change. Write down all the ideas on a board or a flipchart.

6. Summarizing (15 min)

Summarize the meeting with a short discussion – why knowing ourselves better, through setting goals, understanding the process of change, etc. is important? How can it contribute to a better world? After the discussion, invite participants for a round in which they share their opinions about the workshop. You can use the picture of a mountain – the mountain top being  the higher level of satisfaction. Where are they considering today’s workshop and why? At the end, invite participants to fill an evaluation form.

After the workshop you can share with participants additional material (Appendix 5) and glossary (Appendix 6).

Do you want to prepare and conduct a sayBabel workshop on your own on this or other topics? Do you need to know more about how to do that? You can find all sayBabel rules on sayBabel or just contact us.