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‘Volition’ Is Most Powerful Word, Says RFDC Keynote Rooney


Major Dan Rooney signed copies of his book, “A Patriot’s Calling,” after his keynote speech at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in November.

CAVU stands for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, declared Air Force fighter pilot and professional golfer Major Dan Rooney, and he challenged his audience to take on the acronym. “I adopted CAVU as a personal mantra in my life. 

“When you wake up early every morning, it is a gift, and the day that God has given us,” he said at a rousing keynote speech at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference Nov. 13. “I have one objective for our 35 minutes this morning. I can be an open vessel, and if God can breathe something through me” so that “you get to CAVU.”

Rooney talked about moments of “synchronicity” in his life, including meeting his wife at the University of Kansas, and also signing up for a sports psychology class, which he thought would be a breeze.

“Class is supposed to start at 10 a.m., the professor walks in at 10:10. He pulls out his pen and writes this word: volition. He said, can anyone tell me what this word means? He said it’s the most powerful word in the world. It means the power of choice. Understand the choices that you make every day both little and small, they will culminate to write the legacy of your life,” Rooney said. 

“Then he writes something down that changed me for the rest of my life. He said every choice you make follows a logical path:

I won’t.

I can’t.

I’d like to.

I’ll try.

I can.

I will.”

“Life is pretty simple. If you can make it to I will, nothing can stop you. And that moment of synchronicity changed me for my life. I made the choice I’d chase that dream I told my dad about as a 13-year-old kid,” he said, to be a fighter pilot and a professional golfer.

He started a non-profit called Folds of Honor to provide college scholarships to children and spouses of military members who were killed or injured in the line of duty.

“There’s almost 2 million dependents of spouses and children that have been killed. Nearly 9 out of 10 do not quality for federal academic scholarship assistance,” he said, asking for attendees to visit foldsofhonor.org and donate $13 per month, the 13 standing for the number of folds in a U.S. flag given to family members.

Then he showed a video of actor Adam Driver, a military veteran, showing up at an injured military member’s home to give the daughter a scholarship to finish college, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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