Published On: November 4th, 2020By Categories: Feature, New, News6 min read
new rules

Change can be painful. Uncertainty creates fear and then there’s grieving for what was. When you lose something that gives you a feeling of purpose it hits deep.

A pilot doesn’t become a pilot because they didn’t know what to do, it’s a passion and a purpose in life.

Yesterday I renewed my instructor’s rating. It was my first flight in seven months, which is the longest gap in my logbook since I started flying. I don’t know who was more excited to fly yesterday, the DFE or me.

Today I flew with some friends and they insisted that my 11-year-old son, Michael, came along. He was so excited that night before he struggled to sleep and was awake from 05h00, so eager to go. The whole day he’s been talking non-stop, pointing at everything and has had the most excited, joyful face to look at. One of those real smiles that happen in the eyes. Everything was filmed or photographed and questioned. He’s had a day of pure passion and it’s really special to see. It’s part of the magic that’s behind what we do.

Grieving your passion is not weakness, it’s a feeling. Songwriters have written that grief (over a lost loved one) is proof that love lasts forever. I’m not equating the loss of a loved one to the loss of a career or job, I’m merely saying that grieving is because of the presence of something strong and that it is natural. However, dwelling on your career misfortune is a thinking weakness, and is not the presence of something.

People who dwell often own a ‘blame thrower’ and they torch the world with it. The politicians, a virus, their colleagues, family, friends… nothing escapes. A message to the blame throwers: So, you lost your job and it seems like your industry got cut in half? Good. (see Jocko Willink “Good” on YouTube). It’s time for you to start owning your own passion and courage.

Passion and courage are like muscles, they need exercise to grow. I listened to an inspiring talk by Lewis Pugh (endurance swimmer and ocean advocate); he’s someone who has faced real fear and is inspiringly humble about managing it. Using a metaphor learned from a tribe in Greenland, Lewis explained that in every person’s mind exists a good wolf and a bad wolf. The bad wolf believes you will fail, you are not good enough and that there is little hope of success. The good wolf believes in your ability to learn new things and find a way to achieve your goals. The wolf you feed the most is the one that will survive. Every day, condition yourself to feed the good wolf and achieve your goals. You won’t get rid of the bad wolf, just make sure you feed the good one more.

When you have to pivot in your career it’s important to understand what it is that motivates and fulfils you.

That’s something only you know and you have to go through a process of asking yourself “why?” until you can’t go any further. Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ is a practical way to do this. There will be core passions that you need to understand about yourself in order to pivot successfully. Sinek’s golden circle concept is that your career operates on the three levels; what we do, how we do it and why we do it. ‘Why’ is in the inner circle of the three. To pivot means to turn on a point, like putting a stick in the ground and turning on it. If you pivot on the inner circle of ‘why,’ then your ‘how’ and ‘what’ may change but you will never lose sight of what motivates and fulfils you. If you pivot on the outer circle (‘what you do’), as you turn, you’ll lose sight of the inner ‘why’ and you may not be as successful as you think.

Once you understand what motivates you, don’t listen to the naysayers.

It doesn’t mean you can ‘plug and play’ into another industry overnight but it does mean that once you’ve learned the ropes in a new role that an effective pilot has the potential to apply a wide range of highly developed, high-performance skills into a business.

Every person on this planet needs to read Carol Dweck’s book ‘Growth Mindset.’

The fixed mindset belief is that your skills and talent are inherent and given to you by your genes, your education and upbringing.

Don’t listen to the politicians offering an easy way out, the old school examiner waving a stick, the parent that said you’re limited or a colleague that said you just haven’t got what it takes. They’re all just projecting their own fixed mindset on you, and they’re influencing you to stop trying. Take a growth mindset into your career and into your relationships with people, it may just change your life.

I watched a great discussion recently between Tom Bilyeu and Vusi Thembekwayo. They were discussing creating momentum and Vusi gave an analogy of a car breaking down, yet you need to keep moving. The hardest part is pushing the car those first few metres, once it is moving it has its own momentum and the pushing becomes easier. Why is this important? Because there’s more power in your uniqueness and what you have to offer to the world that you haven’t discovered yet. Get moving.

Who is David Doull?

David spent 9 years in the emergency medical services as a paramedic and the last 17 years in the aviation industry as a pilot with the last 10 of them at SAA. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Medical Care from the Durban University of Technology, a Master Degree in Human Factors in Aviation from Coventry University (UK), an ATPL and around 9000 flying hours. He worked in various leadership and management positions within both industries, more recently as the CRM Training Manager and as a Safety Incident Investigator at SAA. David is now a Human Factors Specialist and managing partner at the Human Factor Hub. He is currently undergoing certification to apply systems theory to accident investigation and risk management through Stamp Engineering Services (USA).

The Human Factor Hub:

The Human Factor Hub team is passionate about unlocking the potential for high performance within people. Our vision is for people and organisations to adapt and grow so that they may advance into the future with resilience and flexibility. We achieve this by focusing on people, using cutting-edge sciences of systems engineering and human factors to understand, design and improve how things are done as well as integrate new technologies that distribute awareness. We believe one of our greatest strengths lies in delivering on what we say; to this end trust, learning, bespoke design and an openness to change are among our highest values. To get in contact go to or send an email to