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A Tale of Resilience and Belief: Di Tran’s BELIEF Bourbon and Steven Yeng’s Skrewball Whiskey

In the heart of Louisville, KY, a remarkable meeting took place at Liquor Barn between two extraordinary individuals, Di Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant and proud American, and Steven Yeng, a refugee from Cambodia. Both men, hailing from humble beginnings, have carved out successful paths in the world of entrepreneurship and spirits, showcasing the power of resilience, belief, and the American dream.

Di Tran, a man of many talents, is not only a nurse, licensed nail technician, and computer engineer but also a serial entrepreneur. With a journey that began in dirt-poor Vietnam, Di and his family sought refuge in the United States, where they worked tirelessly to build a better life. Di’s relentless drive and passion for education led him to establish multiple businesses, including the Louisville Beauty Academy and a chain of nail salons, before venturing into the world of bourbon with his exclusive BELIEF collectible bourbon.

On the other side, Steven Yeng’s story mirrors that of Di Tran’s. As a refugee from war-torn Cambodia, Steven grew up in a world far removed from the comforts many take for granted. His fascination with peanut butter, a novel flavor in his new homeland, inspired him to create a best-selling peanut butter whiskey cocktail at his bar and restaurant. Alongside his wife Brittany, a lawyer and chemist, Steven developed Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, a spirit that celebrates diversity and the unconventional paths that lead to success.

The meeting between Di Tran and Steven Yeng was a moment of mutual admiration and recognition of their shared journey from adversity to prosperity. Di Tran, out of excitement and respect, offered Steven a bottle of his BELIEF bourbon, a symbol of their common belief in the power of hard work and determination. Their encounter was a testament to the fact that, regardless of one’s background, success is attainable through perseverance and a strong belief in one’s dreams.

As they exchanged stories and took pictures, Di Tran and Steven Yeng looked forward to future conversations, each wishing the other continued success. Their meeting serves as an inspiration to all, reminding us that the American dream is alive and well, fueled by the belief in oneself and the unwavering spirit to overcome obstacles.

In a world where stories of success often overshadow the struggles behind them, the tales of Di Tran and Steven Yeng stand as beacons of hope, reminding us that from the most challenging circumstances can emerge the most remarkable achievements. Here’s to the dreamers, the believers, and the trailblazers who show us that anything is possible when you hold onto your belief and strive for greatness.

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Embracing the Unseen: The Life Lessons of Di Tran

At the age of 41, Di Tran stands as a testament to the power of perseverance, education, and entrepreneurial spirit. As the author of a series of books, owner of multiple small businesses, and holder of several academic degrees, Di’s journey is a compelling narrative of success against the odds. But beyond the accolades and achievements lies a deeper understanding of life, one that Di has graciously shared: “I learned that value a human being around you in the best way you know how and best possible at your condition in your own ways. I learned that behind every person there is more than what is shown that the eye can see and the ear can hear.”

This philosophy underscores Di’s approach to both personal and professional life. It’s a reminder that each individual we encounter carries a unique set of experiences and perspectives, often hidden beneath the surface. Di’s words encourage us to look beyond the obvious, to appreciate the depth and complexity of those around us.

In Di’s view, life is not a matter of right or wrong, but of fit or not fit. This perspective is particularly relevant in today’s diverse and rapidly changing world. It’s a call to respect differences, to understand that what works for one person may not work for another. “Fit or not fit, still respect often its require you to ignore, avoid and thanks God for that difference,” Di advises. This attitude of respect and acceptance is crucial in both personal relationships and professional environments.

Di’s journey and insights offer valuable lessons for all of us. By valuing those around us, looking beyond the surface, and embracing differences, we can create a more inclusive and understanding world. Di Tran’s story is a reminder that behind every achievement lies a deeper wisdom, one that can guide us in our own lives.

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You Have to Seed to Sow: Embracing Pain as a Pathway to Growth

In the journey of life, the axiom “you have to seed to sow” serves as a profound metaphor for personal development and growth. This phrase encapsulates the essence of transformation, emphasizing that before we can reap the benefits of our labors, we must first undergo the process of planting, nurturing, and enduring the challenges that come with growth. It draws a parallel to the natural world, where a seed must be buried in the soil, endure darkness, and break open to sprout and reach towards the sunlight. Similarly, human growth is often predicated on our ability to endure pain and challenges, which ultimately lead to our rebirth and development.

The Necessity of Pain in Growth

Pain, both physical and emotional, is an inevitable part of the human experience. It is often perceived negatively, as something to be avoided at all costs. However, when viewed through the lens of growth, pain transforms into a necessary precursor to development. Just as a seed must endure the pressure of the soil and break open to grow, individuals must go through difficulties and challenges to evolve. These experiences, though painful, are essential for shedding old patterns, beliefs, and aspects of our identity that no longer serve us.

The Process of Being “Born” Again

The concept of being “born” into a new phase of existence through pain is not just a metaphorical one. It mirrors the literal process of birth, where both the mother and child undergo intense pain and stress for the miracle of life to take place. This process of birth and rebirth is repeated throughout our lives in various forms, whether it’s transitioning to a new career, moving through the end of a relationship, or embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Each of these transitions involves a form of “death” of the old self and a “birth” of the new.

The Role of Resilience and Perseverance

The journey from seed to sown is not a passive one. It requires resilience, perseverance, and an active engagement with our pain and challenges. Just as a gardener tends to their seeds with care, ensuring they have enough water, sunlight, and nutrients, individuals must nurture their growth with patience, self-care, and determination. This active engagement with our growth process allows us to transform our pain into lessons, strength, and eventually, wisdom.

Embracing Pain as a Teacher

Pain, in its many forms, is one of life’s most powerful teachers. It pushes us out of our comfort zones, forces us to confront our vulnerabilities, and teaches us about our strengths and limitations. By embracing pain as an integral part of the growth process, we learn to approach life with a sense of openness and curiosity. We begin to see challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for growth, learning, and self-discovery.


The phrase “you have to seed to sow” serves as a powerful reminder of the natural cycle of growth and rebirth that is inherent in the human experience. It teaches us that pain and challenges are not merely obstacles to be feared or avoided but are essential components of the process that leads to personal development and transformation. By embracing these experiences with resilience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn, we can navigate the journey of life with greater wisdom, strength, and grace, ultimately reaping the rich harvest that our efforts sow.

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Belief: The Foundation of Progress and Faith in 2024


As we embark on 2024, a fresh chapter unfolds, offering us a canvas to paint our aspirations and dreams. Central to this journey of growth and achievement is a fundamental concept: belief. Belief, in its essence, is the seed from which the tree of our endeavors grows. It’s the quiet confidence that whispers in our hearts, urging us to take the first step towards the unknown. When belief is nurtured, it transforms into faith, a powerful force that sustains us through life’s myriad challenges.

Belief: The Starting Point of All Endeavors

Belief begins as a flicker of thought, a subtle conviction that something can be achieved or a situation can be overcome. In every invention, discovery, or personal achievement, belief is the starting line. It’s the silent assurance that what we are about to embark on, no matter how daunting, is possible. This belief in oneself, in one’s abilities and potential, is what sets the wheels of progress in motion.

Faith: Belief on Steroids

When belief is deeply rooted and unwavering, it evolves into faith. Faith is belief in its most potent form – an unshakeable trust in our abilities, in the universe, or a higher power. It is belief amplified, providing us with resilience during trials and tribulations. Faith doesn’t eliminate doubt or fear; instead, it gives us the strength to face them head-on. It’s the inner conviction that carries us through when the path is obscured by uncertainty.

The Role of Action and Self-Reflection

Belief and faith alone, while powerful, need the wings of action to truly soar. The journey of 2024 must be one of proactive steps, of moving forward even when progress seems minuscule. It involves self-reflection – an honest assessment of our strengths and areas for growth. Self-reflection fosters self-awareness, which in turn strengthens our belief in ourselves.

Cultivating Self-Love and Self-Belief

An essential component of this journey is self-love. Loving oneself is not an act of narcissism but an acknowledgment of our worth and potential. It is through self-love that we nurture our belief in ourselves, allowing us to take risks and embrace challenges. Self-love acts as a buffer against the inevitable setbacks and failures, reminding us that our worth is not solely defined by our achievements.

The Perils of Stagnation

2024 is not the year for idleness or stagnation. The absence of action leads to the atrophy of belief and faith. It is only through action, through the process of doing and trying, that we reinforce our belief in our capabilities. Each step forward, no matter how small, is a testament to our faith in ourselves and our future.

Embracing Progress in Small Measures

This year, let’s redefine progress. Progress doesn’t always have to be monumental. Sometimes, it’s the small, consistent steps that culminate in significant change. Celebrate the small victories, for they are the building blocks of greater achievements.


In conclusion, as we step into 2024, let’s anchor ourselves in belief. Let’s cultivate it, let it grow into faith, and propel ourselves forward with action. Let self-reflection, self-love, and a commitment to progress, no matter how gradual, be our guiding principles. In doing so, we not only move towards our personal goals but also contribute to a world where belief and faith in oneself and each other lead to collective advancement and prosperity. Let this year be a testament to the power of belief and the extraordinary feats it can achieve when coupled with action.

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Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessBy Carol S. Dweck, PhD

Introduction: The way we think about our abilities and potential greatly affects our success. This book discusses two mindsets: fixed and growth.

1. The Two Mindsets:

  • Fixed Mindset: Belief that qualities like intelligence and talent are static. People with this mindset often avoid challenges to avoid failure.
  • Growth Mindset: Belief that abilities can be developed with dedication and hard work. These individuals love learning and often embrace challenges.

2. How Mindsets are Formed: From a young age, praise can shape our mindset. Praising intelligence can lead to a fixed mindset, while praising effort encourages a growth mindset.

3. The Truth About Ability and Accomplishment: Natural talent is not a clear indicator of success. A growth mindset can lead to perseverance and resilience, crucial factors for achieving long-term goals.

4. Sports: The Mindset of a Champion: Athletes with a growth mindset, such as Michael Jordan, faced failures as opportunities to learn, which often made them legends in their field.

5. Business: Mindset and Leadership: Fixed-mindset leaders often feel threatened by others’ success. Growth-mindset leaders, on the other hand, often foster positive team environments.

6. Relationships: Mindsets in Love (or Not): In relationships, a fixed mindset can lead to blaming partners for problems. A growth mindset can lead to understanding and working together to improve the relationship.

7. Parenting, Teaching, and Coaching: How we interact with young people can foster one mindset over the other. Encouraging effort and perseverance, rather than innate talent, can foster a growth mindset.

8. Changing Mindsets: It’s possible to change one’s mindset. By understanding triggers and re-framing challenges as opportunities to grow, individuals can shift from a fixed to a growth mindset.

In essence, Dr. Dweck’s research emphasizes the power of belief in shaping our actions, outcomes, and ultimately our lives. The book provides actionable insights on how to cultivate a growth mindset for success in personal and professional domains.

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The American Dream: From Lao to Louisville, a Father-Daughter Tale of Hard Work and Inspiration

In the heart of America, the story of Ti Lin Khounkham and his daughter Lily Lin offers a vivid illustration of perseverance, hope, and the indefatigable American spirit. Originally hailing from Lao, the Khounkham family epitomizes the essence of the American Dream, embodying the ideals of hard work and determination.

As the morning sun peeks over Louisville, Kentucky, the city witnesses an endearing tableau: a young 16-year-old, Lily, giving her hardworking father, Ti Lin, a pedicure. It’s not just any pedicure; it’s one she has honed and refined as a student at the renowned Louisville Beauty Academy. Founded by Di Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant and a beacon of the American spirit, this academy stands as a symbol of accessibility, affordability, and most importantly, dreams achieved. Serving the underserved, the academy has proudly graduated over a thousand students, each with a unique story of resilience.

Lily is no ordinary teenager. With her accelerated studies, she graduated high school early, showcasing an unparalleled drive. As she preps for college, she has her eyes set on acquiring her nail technology license from the Louisville Beauty Academy. For Lily, this license is more than just a certificate; it’s a ticket to independence, allowing her to earn a significant income through college and beyond. She mirrors the journey of Di Tran, the founder of her school. A proud American and an immigrant, Di Tran, with his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD (ABD) in computer engineering, used his nail license as a stepping stone to support his education. Today, he juggles the roles of an active nail technician, salon owner, and an educator with aplomb.

Parallelly, Ti Lin Khounkham stands as a testament to the art of craftsmanship. As a skilled construction worker, he remodels homes, pouring his dedication and expertise into every project.

The synergy between father and daughter is palpable. Ti Lin’s grit and hard work, combined with Lily’s passion and determination, make for an inspiring duo. Their journey, from Lao to Louisville, is not just their own; it’s a tale that resonates with every immigrant, every hardworking individual aiming for a better life.

In the words of Di Tran, witnessing such profound moments of love and ambition, “Can this be more beautiful?” Indeed, America thrives on these stories. As the Khounkham family continues their journey, they remind us that dreams, when chased with unwavering spirit, do come true.

God blesses their path and the countless others who tread similarly, reminding us of the boundless possibilities that await in the land of the free.

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Busy Productively: Success Through Self-Determined Direction and Purpose

In the fast-paced world of today, we are often confronted with the paradox of being “busy.” Is being busy equivalent to being productive or successful? The answer might surprise many. Being busy does not necessarily equate to productivity or success, but being busy productively could indeed be a powerful definition of success. This concept involves directing 100% of our efforts towards the purpose and goals we individually determine and ardently desire to achieve. The essence lies not just in doing what is necessary for survival but also in going the extra mile for our purpose.

Di Tran, the highly esteemed author of inspirational books such as “Drop the Me and focus on the OTHERs” and “Guiding Lights: A journey of courage, compassion, and faith,” beautifully encapsulates this philosophy. His perception of success is steeped in the belief that it is defined by the individual and what they personally aspire to do. Tran’s words echo the sentiment that success lies in the ability to set our own goals and tirelessly work towards them.

Di Tran shares a poignant example of this theory in action, drawn from his personal life. He describes witnessing one of his children, a six-year-old boy, peeling off three different uniforms – soccer, Taekwondo, and Judo – at the end of a long day. Despite having spent eight strenuous hours switching between these disciplines, the boy still yearned to do more. For Tran, this moment was an eye-opener. His child’s unquenchable thirst for activity, learning, and growth was a clear testament to his passion and determination. It was a demonstration of being busy productively.

So, what does it mean to be “busy productively”?

Being busy productively means engaging in activities that lead us closer to our goals rather than merely keeping ourselves occupied. It involves understanding the difference between “busyness” as an act of filling our time, and “productive busyness” as a strategy of investing our time towards meaningful and purpose-driven actions.

Being busy productively means acknowledging the presence of both necessary tasks for survival and the additional endeavors that fuel our purpose. It is about juggling between what needs to be done and what we want to do, maintaining a delicate balance between survival and aspiration.

Being busy productively means being resilient and persistent. It implies harnessing the energy to push through the day, just as Tran’s son did, despite the exhaustion or challenges we may encounter. It’s about having an unwavering spirit, the grit, and determination to persist in our pursuits.

Being busy productively is about knowing our limits but not being afraid to test them. It’s about continuous self-improvement and self-growth. It involves constantly challenging ourselves to learn more, do more, and be more, not out of necessity, but out of an innate desire to fulfill our purpose.

Di Tran’s anecdote of his son’s relentless spirit is a beautiful embodiment of being busy productively. The way his son dedicated himself to his activities, pushing his limits but yearning for more, is a testament to the power of personal purpose and dedication. It serves as an inspiration for all of us to redefine our own notions of success, to aspire to be busy not just for the sake of busyness but to be busy productively. To pursue our passions and purposes with all the dedication and determination we can muster. This, indeed, is a blessing and a manifestation of divine grace. As Di Tran aptly puts it, “God blesses.”

The path to success is not a straightforward journey; it is a winding road filled with peaks and valleys, moments of joy and trials of endurance. But as long as we are busy productively, driven by our self-determined direction and purpose, we are on the right track. We are, in our own unique ways, successful.

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The Power of Self-Belief: A Key to Financial Success

Often, financial success is misunderstood. It is not always as straightforward as “You knew what to do, you simply do it”. This perspective, argued by Codie Sanchez in her writings on ‘Boring Biz’, is actually missing a key ingredient: self-belief. The belief in oneself, in one’s abilities and potential, forms the bedrock of financial prosperity and overall success.

“You have to believe you can do it”, is the mantra that many struggle to grasp. An unnerving fact is that only 1 in 10 people in the United States die wealthy, with most people passing away without a substantial amount of cash to pass on to the next generation. Many die young, and most die broke. This financial struggle is symptomatic of a greater issue — a lack of belief in one’s own potential.

Codie Sanchez’s life offers an exemplary depiction of the effects of this belief. Her journey from earning $37,000 right out of college, with her bank account frequently overdrawn, to becoming a successful entrepreneur demonstrates the power of self-belief. Overcoming her financial adversities required not just knowledge of her business, but a staunch belief in her own ability to achieve her financial goals.

Another significant story comes from Di Tran, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Drop the FEAR and focus on the FAITH”. After graduating college, Tran faced a challenging job market, sending out hundreds of applications, participating in seven interviews before finally landing a job for $45,000.

What stands out in his journey, is his undying perseverance fueled by his self-belief. Tran maintained the mentality of “I CAN and I DO”. This wasn’t a one-off mantra; instead, it required consistent verbal and mental affirmations, coupled with actions that reflected his goals and purpose. His relentless faith in his capabilities allowed him to weather the storm of rejection, land a job and set him on the path of financial success.

These stories shed light on the real secret behind financial success. It is not merely about knowing the right steps or strategies to acquire wealth. It is about fostering a belief in your ability to achieve financial goals, to overcome setbacks, and to persevere when things don’t go as planned.

In conclusion, financial success is attainable for everyone, but it requires more than just knowing what to do. It requires a belief in one’s ability to achieve, the strength to keep going when faced with obstacles, and the perseverance to continually work towards one’s financial goals. Let’s cultivate this belief in ourselves, because when we believe, we become our own greatest asset.

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A Day of Resonance and Inspiration: Meeting Brittany Penny and her Husband at the Rotary Club of Louisville

At the heart of Kentucky, where the love for bourbon is as deep as its historical roots, the Rotary Club of Louisville’s weekly meeting at the Woman Club of Louisville provided a stage for an inspiring encounter. Among the distinguished attendees were Brittany Penny, the founder of IX Bourbon Whiskey, and her husband, who together are making waves in the traditionally male-dominated bourbon industry.

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Brittany developed a deep appreciation for bourbon, sparked by her father’s extensive knowledge and collection. Her passion for bourbon took a business turn in 2020 during her pregnancy when she was able to discern different aroma profiles from her husband’s bourbon collection. Guided by these newly discovered nuances, she took a leap of faith and, with the unwavering support of her husband, launched IX Bourbon Whiskey. It was not just about creating a unique brand of bourbon, but about disrupting an industry and paving the way for female entrepreneurs.

For the members of the Rotary Club of Louisville, and especially for serial entrepreneur and soon-to-be bourbon brand owner Di Tran, this tale of perseverance and determination hit a powerful chord. Like the Pennys, Tran is no stranger to the challenges of establishing a new brand, navigating the complexities of sourcing bourbon, bottling, and marketing. The meeting served as a platform for shared experiences, struggles, and triumphs.

What resonated with Tran was Brittany’s ethos, “Be yourself, flaw and all.” This maxim aligns perfectly with Tran’s own philosophy, set to be shared in his forthcoming book, “Drop the FEAR and Focus on the FAITH.” The book embraces the concept of learning from failures, appreciating them, and the strength found in rising from them.

Tran’s soon-to-be-released bourbon, named Belief, shares this essence of embracing challenges and rising above. It represents not just a product but a philosophy, a testament to Tran’s journey of faith and determination, akin to Brittany’s endeavor with IX Bourbon Whiskey.

The Penny’s story of daring to dream and challenge the status quo, and their demonstration of remarkable resilience, reflects a shared ethos with Di Tran. In Brittany, Tran found not just an inspiring entrepreneur, but also a mirror reflecting his own beliefs and values.

The Rotary Club meeting was more than just a gathering; it was an affirmation of shared values, of resilience, and a testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship. The stories of Brittany Penny and Di Tran serve as a reminder of the power of faith and perseverance, the importance of learning from failures, and the potential that lies in daring to dream.

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Treasures of Action: It’s What We Do, Not What We Have

Creativity flows in rivers wide, Not possessions, but in actions it takes its stride.

Compassion, a tenderness of the heart, In deeds it flourishes, in things, it plays no part.

Courage, a roaring flame within, Not a treasure held, but a valiant act akin.

Strength, a mountain standing tall, In our endeavors, it answers the call.

Gratitude, a golden thread, Weaves through acts, not words unsaid.

Integrity, a fortress strong, In what we do, it does belong.

Empathy, a bridge to souls, Through caring acts, it achieves its goals.

Resilience, in storms, a mast, Not an object, but a will steadfast.

Generosity, a rain that pours, In giving, its spirit soars.

Wisdom, a light piercing night, In choices made, it takes its flight.

Kindness, a gentle whispering breeze, In tender acts, it finds its ease.

As we traverse the tapestry of life, woven through, Let’s paint it with deeds, for it is what we do.


  • Creativity
    • Elaboration: Creativity is the expression of imagination and original ideas. It is not something you can possess like a material object. Instead, it is a process that comes alive through engagement in art, problem-solving, and innovative thinking. When you create, you bring something new into the world.
  • Compassion
    • Elaboration: Compassion is the deep concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It is not something you can hold in your hand, but rather, it is shown through acts of kindness, understanding, and support. Compassion is felt and shared through actions.
  • Courage
    • Elaboration: Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, or challenges with confidence and bravery. It is not a physical attribute but an action or choice to stand firm in the face of adversity. It involves taking risks and facing difficulties head-on.
  • Strength
    • Elaboration: Strength is not just physical power, but also mental and emotional fortitude. It’s shown in the actions one takes to overcome obstacles and challenges. It is the resilience and determination that empower individuals to persevere.
  • Gratitude
    • Elaboration: Gratitude is the acknowledgement of the goodness in one’s life. Rather than a possession, it is a practice of expressing thanks and appreciation for both the big and small things. Through the act of recognizing and appreciating, gratitude enhances our well-being.
  • Integrity
    • Elaboration: Integrity is adhering to a set of moral and ethical principles. It is reflected in actions that align with one’s values and beliefs. It is not a material thing but a demonstration of character through honesty, and consistency in behavior and attitude.
  • Empathy
    • Elaboration: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is an emotional connection, which can only be expressed through active listening and genuine concern. It is about placing oneself in someone else’s shoes and connecting on a deeper level.
  • Resilience
    • Elaboration: Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s not a tangible object but a process and a set of skills that allow individuals to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, or significant sources of stress.
  • Generosity
    • Elaboration: Generosity is the act of giving freely without expecting anything in return. It is not measured by the things one has but by the selfless acts one performs, whether it be through giving time, resources, or support to others.
  • Wisdom
    • Elaboration: Wisdom is the ability to make sound judgments and decisions based on knowledge. It’s not a possession, but rather it’s gained through experience and reflection. Wisdom involves taking what one has learned and applying it in a judicious manner.
  • Kindness
    • Elaboration: Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It is not a physical possession but an action. Whether it’s a warm smile, a helping hand, or a gentle word of encouragement, kindness is shown through everyday acts of goodness.