Pilot Fire is the energy you put into steering your life. If there is one overarching mission of this work, it is this:

To help people get control of their lives so they can focus on doing something that matters.

Your best introduction is through the stories of these Pilot Fire students. They are great examples of people discovering what’s most important to them and using the Pilot Fire tools to focus their attention, every week, to make lives they believe in. They are beautiful, honest, and inspiring.


I do my best to simplify a path to a life of purpose, assure you that small steps are usually the best way to get there, provide tools to make the most of every day, and teach the practice of focusing your attention which will give you back a life rich with rewarding experiences, abundant wisdom, and little regret.

Lighting the Fire

The question burns. Some people respond fluidly to the collisions that surprise events create. Some know what they want at an early age and pursue it with clarity and success. And then there are those who always resort to curiosity when confronted with something they don’t understand. These people are rare, and I am tempted to call them enlightened.

The question is, What do these people have that the rest of us want?

I call it Balance, the ability to respond to the changing world around us with clarity, flexibility, curiosity, and resilience.

To these people I dedicate my writings and pictures, for you have been their inspiration. To the rest of us, we must take heart. Our lives can be led by what we believe most deeply; of that I am sure. I’ve turned the ship of my own life, and I’ve helped others do the same. Perhaps, you too will find the fuel you need to light your own fire.

Some Back Story

As the last millennium clocked out, along with the first half of my life, things looked pretty bad. My fancy job as a corporate Creative Director was painfully frustrating and under-stimulating, my marriage was falling apart, and, as a new father, I was flailing to find my way. On top of that, commuting was turning my body into a lifeless sponge. I desperately needed a dramatic change.

And change came.

Everything fell apart, my job, my home, my marriage, the entire structure of my life. And it felt like the best thing that ever happened to me. I had the opportunity to build a life from scratch, to redesign it, which I did, cobbling together a system that became the basis for the work I do now.

Having discovered some answers, in 2004 I started a support group for people seeking to improve our relationships, careers, creativity, and health through conscious planning and group feedback. We wanted balance, passion, focus, and meaning. Coming from another career as a Designer, I was particularly interested in discovering how the practice of iterative design, when applied to daily life, could effect dramatic changes in someone’s life through small steps. For several people in the group, the practice worked like a charm, so I created a course called Designing a Balanced Life. It was extremely encouraging when, as I gave more workshops and started teaching the full course, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive!

What’s unique about Pilot Fire.

Most people want to make some changes in their lives, and I found that many of the current methods people teach are either too complicated or too piecemeal or reliant on a charismatic guru, who, when absent, leaves the students unmoored. And then there are the ridiculous and dangerous people who offer you quick-fixes, silver bullets, and magic pills. Pilot Fire is none of the above.

Change is difficult most of the time, and often overwhelming. Of the techniques I’ve learned and taught, the Ten Lessons for Designing a Balanced Life stand out as fundamental, practical, flexible, and particularly inspiring to my students. They come from a systematic foundation, and individually they are geared to give you tools you can easily use without the teacher.

Pilot Fire at its core depends on your basic desire to make change happen, tap into your own passions, and act, fail sometimes, and try again because trying is better than not trying. If that sounds right, this place is going to have some answers.

Start here

If you are new to this site, the best way to dig in is to start here.

The Emails. And get your weekly dose of Pilot Fire and a free goal-starting guide by signing up here. I give you simple ways to help you understand your roles, use your goals to focus, and make coming week as good as possible plus musings that attempt to illuminate the larger beautiful world available when your Pilot Fire burns brightly. Occasionally there might be an urgent news that comes along, too, but I try to limit those.

David Delp in Sum

My background includes over 25 years designing for leading technology companies through my company Viewfarm Incorporated, facilitating groups and self-improvement experiences, and continuous learning from experts in psychology, improvisation, time-management, acting, performing, writing, and creativity through class work, reading, experimentation, and collaborations. I love to teach.

A designer by trade, an artist at heart, and a playwright by sheer will, I am also a father, friend, lover, homemaker, neighborhood organizer, gardener, breadwinner, musician, ham and hack. I’ve taught the course Designing a Balanced Life at the California College of the Arts and workshops on making powerful roles, inspiring goals, and great plans at College Connect in San Francisco’s Mission District and the HOW Design Conference, and I offer lessons privately through workshops and individual consultations.

In May, 2011 I started writing this blog as a repository of what I’ve learned on the subject and can get into words and pictures. In my first post, I described my wishes and intent as clearly as I could. I wonder how I’m doing.

A Big Easy Favor

If this work interests you in any way, please help spread the word. Here are a few easy ways to do that:

  1. Sign up for updates here. I’ll send you one of my best tools.
  2. Like the Pilot Fire Facebook page.
  3. Say hi, so if we get a chance to meet, at least we’ll be acquainted.
  4. And most importantly, engage with the Pilot Fire community by letting us know what you think of these ideas.