Climbing Mount HSC is tough and in order for students to climb as high as they possibly can and fulfil their potential they need to be very clear on what is at the top of their Mount HSC. Having a clear vision which is front of mind will ensure that students will keep on climbing when they don’t want to climb any more because they want what is at the top of their mountain.

While the benefits of having a clear goal when trying to achieve anything are well known, David Rock’s “Choose your focus” model provides a powerful tool which will last long after the HSC is completed for our students.

Through out the HSC year, students focus can vary from one of the five focuses that David Rock has identified in this model.

  1. Vision
  2. Planning
  3. Detail
  4. Problem
  5. Drama

Mount HSC

Having worked with thousands of students over the last 6 years at HSC CoWorks the most common obstacle to the achievement of a students vision is “distraction”. With this in mind I am adding a variation to David Rock’s model where a problem focus is also a “distracted” focus. If you are distracted it’s time to revisit your vision.

Let’s look at how the model relates to the journey up Mount HSC.

Vision focus

What would you like to achieve this year? What is at the top of your mountain? Where are we going with this?

At HSC CoWorks we create a vision focus with our “Vision Sessions” and by checking in with students around their vision every time we see them. HSC Students, just like anyone else will take their eyes off their vision and only be able to see problems and reasons why they can’t achieve their vision which is why our team check in with students visions as often is possible. “Tell me about your vision”, “How important is it that you achieve your vision?”, “What will it feel like when you achieve this vision?” are examples of the questions that we ask when we need to get our students back into vision.

Planning focus

How are we going to get to our vision? What is the path we are taking to get to the top of your mountain?

Breaking down the vision into small and manageable chunks ensures that we are consistently taking steps to the top of the mountain. If we don’t do the planning, the mountain can seem overwhelming and no – one does their best work when they are overwhelmed. The project management tool, Basecamp, which every student at HSC CoWorks uses is the means by which we do the planning for students climb up Mount HSC. As students complete the tasks they determined would get them closer to the top of their Mount HSC, they are able to tick that item off and feel a sense of accomplishment and progress.

Detail focus

What are you going to achieve today towards climbing your mountain? What can you achieve in the next two hours that will support you achieving your vision?

A detail focus is the actual climbing of the mountain and in the context of the HSC, it’s the writing of practice essays, building and memorising mindmaps, completing practice exams and so on. Getting to the top of a students Mount HSC is not possible without completing the detail required however the problem with detail is that if a student spends too long with this focus without reminding themselves of their vision, they will inevitably end up in “problem/distraction”. Therefore it is crucial that as students work on the detail they remind themselves of why they are climbing Mount HSC by returning to their vision.

Problem/Distraction Focus

When a Mountain climber takes their eyes off the peak of the mountain, they are getting tired and sore, they are hungry, wishing they were at home, forgetting why they started the climb in the beginning they will start saying to themselves “I don’t think I can do this”, “I shouldn’t be here”, “I’m never going to get to the top”, “I don’t need to be mountain climber” and with this kind of focus, the mountain climber will struggle all the way to the peak or alternatively turn around and say “Mount climbing is just not for me”. The same goes for an HSC Student climbing their own Mount HSC.

An HSC student with a “problem/distraction” focus will be justifying why they can’t do well, why it’s unfair that they have to do so much work, saying things like “I’m over the HSC”, “my teacher doesn’t like me” and so on. If a student is distracted easily by TV, social media, chatting online to friends or anything else, that immediately tells me that they have lost sight of their vision and the bright shiny new thing that is distracting them looks more attractive than what’s at the top of their Mount HSC.

Trying to climb Mount HSC with a “Problem/Distraction” focus is like climbing a mountain with an extra 50Kgs in your back pack. The quickest way to lighten the load is to get back into the creation cycle of “Vision, Planning and Detail” then back to “Vision, Planning, Detail”.

Too long spent in “problem and distraction” will inevitably lead to us falling into Drama.

Drama focus

When we have a drama focus we are highly emotional and not able to complete any productive work towards our vision. A drama focus will often be accompanied by tears, anger and a fear of the task at hand preventing us from making progress. Being in drama is the least helpful focus and the sooner we get out of it the better (obviously). The first step to get out of drama is to acknowledge your current focus is drama. Once you have acknowledged this it’s time to get back to vision and get back into the creation cycle.

Whether we are climbing Mount HSC, growing our business or trying to achieve success in any field we owe it to ourselves to protect our vision by giving it the air time it deserves. Without vision we are not going to get far.

For our parents, the best way to support your child on their journey to the top of Mount HSC is to support them to stay in the creation cycle by helping them have a Vision focus. If you focus on the detail “have you done your homework”, “how much study have you done today”, “what should you be doing right now” the conversation will very quickly slide in to problem and then drama.

Keep the conversation in vision by reminding them what’s at the top of the mountain.

If you would like to know more about how we use David Rock’s “Choose your focus” model please post a message on your child’s basecamp project or email [email protected]

Jesse Gardiner

Head Performance Coach


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