Growing up in Pennsylvania, I rarely played golf in dramatic wind. If I did, it was usually a cold winter day when the wind was blowing off any feeling I had in my hands and feet. It was in those moments I’d tell myself to fight on, to be stronger, and keep practicing. I think I learned how to withstand the cold, but I’m not so sure I learned all that much about playing in the wind.

So, when I moved to Florida a few months back, I quickly realized it’s time to learn to play into the wind. It doesn’t matter the day of the week; there is a 99% chance you will be playing with wind. As most golfers would say, I felt like it was almost always into me. I just kept thinking, when is this par 5 going to be downwind, and I can easily reach in two?

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One day I was out playing, and it was consistently whipping at 20-30 mph all day. I was relentless in my determination that today would be the day I’d conquer the wind. I was out there all day hitting shots high, low, draws, fades, and stingers. It felt a bit like when I was a little kid flying kites with my dad on the beach—pulling it this way and pulling it that way to get it to fly in the direction I wanted.

By the time the sun started to set, the wind was dying down, and so was I. I drove home, sat my golf clubs in my living room, and quickly fell straight on the couch. The wind had knocked it out of me.

I pulled out my phone and started scrolling through emails. As a Folds of Honor supporter, I receive email updates weekly on what is going on with the foundation. I clicked on the one from that week about the CEO and founder, Lt Colonel Dan Rooney’s new book Fly Into the Wind.

I love to read, and I love to write. It was in that moment I realized I hadn’t done much of either recently. And if I am being truthful, I felt like the way the wind was beating me down in golf wasn’t far off certain setbacks I was facing in life.

So as Lt Col Rooney would say, it was a moment of synchronicity that led me to download the book and start reading right away. After I was about 10 minutes into the book, I quickly realized this was exactly what I needed. I grabbed my phone and texted my dad if he was reading a book at the moment because I thought that he would love it too. I told him to stop the books he was reading and start this one. I guess I knew it was going to be good from the start.

After just finishing the book, I reflected on what it has taught me and how I can continue to apply it to my life. My first idea with this blog was to highlight the specific lessons from Fly Into the Wind that resonated with me. I then realized that there were too many to pick from, and I didn’t want to be selling the book short if I missed any of them. I’ve already gifted the book to five different people, and I wish I could gift it to all of you. That being said, I didn’t want to ruin any of the messages for those of you that will read it.

I’d rather tell you that it’s already had a profound impact on my life. Lt Col Rooney takes you through his journey as a fighter pilot, husband, father, PGA Professional, speaker, and founder of Folds of Honor. In doing so. He shares the lessons he learned along the way on living a more fulfilled life by pursuing his passions and harnessing faith. These lessons are compiled into his code of living, CAVU.

CAVU isn’t a step-by-step process that guarantees an easy road to happiness. No, it’s about fighting through any resistance and allowing it to elevate you instead of push you back. So, it is with great thanks to Lt Col Rooney that I won’t ask for any more par 5’s to be downwind. Just like golf, life is rarely downwind. Sometimes we have to hit a knockdown and fight through. Other times we can hit our stock shot, embrace the wind and use it as lift to land us softly on the green. One way or another, there is always an opportunity for a birdie. It may not be in the way you imagined, but with persistence and belief, it can be done.

Thank you, Lt Col Rooney, for your service to our country and the many lives you’ve touched through Folds of Honor and for sharing your story. Your life is inspiring, and I hope that I was able to capture some of it to inspire all of you through this blog.