Memoirs with Melissa

Archive for the ‘Passion’ Category

Marek Biernacinski

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Name: Marek Biernacinski
Occupation: Founder of Words by a Pro
Location: Las Vegas
Originally from: Warsaw, Poland

Marek headshotBorn in Warsaw, Poland, Marek and his parents traveled to the United States via Germany in 1985 to escape communist rule and seek a better life. Marek grew up in Pleasanton, Calif., and attended the University of California, Davis and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He co-founded Words by a Pro as  Edited by a Pro in 2010 to fulfill an inherent need to edit everything in sight. The company’s services quickly expanded from editing to include writing, consulting and translating, and the name was changed to Words by a Pro in 2013. With Marek at the helm, Words by a Pro today serves as an outsourced writing and editing company primarily for Web programmers, marketing/public relations firms and SEO companies. Marek is bilingual (fluent in English and Polish).

I met Marek in 2004 in a news editing class at UNLV.  He asked me out on the second day of class, and we’ve been together ever since. Marek’s story is one of  earnestness and hard work.

What makes Marek tick? See below.


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1. What is your passion and how did you discover it? That’s a good question, and one for which some never find an answer. I believe I’m one of the fortunate ones, in that I think I’m beginning to understand what my passion is. While I don’t have a clear direction yet, I know that it lies in building a business of my own and freeing myself from relying on others. Ever since branching off to start Edited by a Pro (now Words by a Pro), I’ve felt an excitement I’ve never experienced before. Waking up is a pleasure, and the more work there is to be done, the more excited I get, because I know it’s come about thanks to my efforts. Nobody has “given” me that work; I helped create it. This, in turn, means I can bring work to others. Working for someone else limits my ability to help others. I only get 24 hours in a day, and a limited amount of financial resources. But by creating my own income source, my financial resources are limited only by my imagination and dedication to my business, whereas my time can also be exponentially increased by leveraging others to work for me. Just think of the amazing things the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been able to do. They’ve leveraged tens of thousands of people to dedicate more time and money to multiple causes than they could ever do on their own. That’s the power of creating your own source of resources via a business, and that’s my passion; developing a means to help others without being constrained.

2. What defines you? In many ways, my family defines me. Family is very important to me, something which I get from my father. He’s, what I would call, an old-school family man. He’s the type that would drop everything to help family, even at his expense. While I don’t live up to the kinds of sacrifices he’s made in life, I’ve made plenty of mine own – and it was worth it.

Though we’re surrounded by people, we often find that we’re alone in the world, with only our family to turn to. It’s vital, then, that we cherish this bond and act to strengthen it at all costs. Family is limited to a select number of people. Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to find friends or significant others dedicated enough to us that they can also be brought into that family circle, and sometimes we have the misfortune of a falling out. But, for the most part, family is static, and we need to look out for one another.

3. What’s the greatest gift (material or otherwise) you’ve been given? My health.

4. What would you like your legacy to be? The most important thing to me is to live a life of meaning, which I believe is brought about by three things: finding out what values are important to you and exemplifying them; making friends and family feel like they’re the most important people in the world (because they are); and, leaving the world a better place than you found it. If, when I die, others can honestly say that I stayed true to these three ideals, I will have lived a life of meaning.

5. As Scott Ginsberg asks in “Get them to come to you” If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? Like pandemonium. I’m as flawed as the next person, so not having checks and balances via other people would, I’m sure, lead to chaos. Diversity is one of humanity’s treasures, and I would never want that given up. That being said, I would enjoy the opportunity of infusing some folks out there with more tolerance than they currently possess.

6. What’s your favorite thing about your community/country? I may be biased having been a journalism (well, communications, technically) major, but the freedoms granted by the first amendment are among my most cherished aspects of this country. Through all the controversies and issues Americans face daily, the rights granted by the first amendment have remained intact for all intents and purposes, and we should foster an environment that continues — or betters — these rights over time. I strongly believe that these freedoms are the gatekeepers to all other rights, and should they fall, it opens society up to the grim reality of losing any and all other rights it enjoys.

7. How has your community/country influenced your life? Created opportunities or challenges for you? In the U.S., people have access to second chances, which is not always the case in other countries.

8. What is the biggest challenge facing your community? A big challenge I see coming is a fragmentation of interests that will lead to barriers between communities. What started with entertainment has now spread into the way people receive their news — niche fragmentation and isolation. People vary with their views of the world, and it was once thought that the Internet would help foster a greater understanding between people because it would expose them to more ideas, cultures and ways of thinking. However, while that may be the case in some instances, in many other ways it has had the opposite effect. Many people choose to get their information only from sources that align with their inherent beliefs. Some will argue this is merely getting information from sources they can trust, but I think it’s simply pack mentality gone global. Political views are a great example. When politicians make bogus claims, you would think those statements would quickly be refuted and the public would demand a correction. Instead, those who want to believe it do, and those who don’t, won’t. Seldom will those who believe in the same political ideology seek sources that argue against their views. But why? Educating oneself about what others think is how we mature our own viewpoints. It helps us better understand what others want, can help us form more valid arguments, or can even sway our views from our original stance. Instead, many choose to stay in the dark, and the irony is, they think they’re being enlightened.

9. What’s your favorite place in the world? Why? Home with family. There’s no other place like it, and when it comes down to it, it’s the only place I yearn for in times of need and comfort.



Written by Melissa

February 5, 2014 at 4:47 am

Irmeli Saarsalu

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Name: Irmeli Saarsalu
Occupation: Actress

Irmeli was born and raised in Tallinn, Estonia. She has always had a curiosity for different cultures and the world. At the age of 16, she did a semester abroad in Germany. She moved to the U.S. to complete her BA in Foreign Languages at the University of Nevada- Las Vegas and also completed a semester abroad in Italy while in college. After that she moved to NYC to study acting. She is excited to be following her passion and looking forward to the great things yet to come!

I met Irmeli at a leadership training class for Nevada’s women leaders at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas in 2006. She and I clicked right away and, even though that leadership class was only a week long, we are still in touch four years later. Irmeli’s story is one of passion and seizing the moment.

What makes Irmeli tick? See below. ~Melissa

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What is your passion and how did you discover it? Acting- My main passion definitely is acting. I have always believed that we have all the answers and talents in us. When the time is right, you will meet the right people that help you bring that out in you. Acting came to me when I was around 13-14 years old. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do and I decided that I will go to NYC to study that. It sounded crazy – I was born and raised in typical Eastern European soviet era housing blocks in Tallinn, Estonia and was living my usual life there. Then couple years later my mom got a life-changing phone call from the U.S. and they offered her a job in Denver, CO. She had 24h to make a decision. She took the position. My stomach sank; I felt like nothing was ever going to be the same, but at the same time I was excited because I felt that I might actually end up in NYC after all. It has been more than 10 years and while I am writing this I have just completed my two years of study of acting in NYC with Anthony Abeson.

Music- Next to acting, this is definitely my second passion and hobby. It makes me calm and grounded. My father is a professional jazz saxophonist and that has definitely influenced me too. Music was just constantly there. I started going out a lot to nightclubs and parties in high school. But I would learn real fast that music made such a difference and when the music and the whole vibe were off, it was not fun. Next to acting, film and directing I would probably want to explore the music business and producing one day.

Dance- I started doing gymnastics when I was 5 and, due to back problems, went into dancing later on for fun. My mother is a former prima ballerina and seeing so closely that lifestyle, I have a lot of respect for dancers. They train like athletes but also have to deliver the art. Dancing has stayed with me throughout the years. It is a good exercise and balances out acting. It helps me get out of my head, because in acting we are so much in our heads all the time.

Inspiring and positive people- It always interests me what motivates people and what keeps them going or what makes them get out of bed in the morning when times are tough. And I absolutely love people who can laugh at themselves and are passionate about something.

Good food- I enjoy having people over and food always seems to bring people together. Once in a while, when I have time, I like to cook, but for other people. Cooking for myself doesn’t really motivate me.

What defines you? My upbringing, nationality, gender, friends, family, passions and talents.

What’s the greatest gift (material or otherwise) you’ve been given? My first blessings definitely are my friends. I meet a lot of new and exciting people, but I consider my friends few in number. With some of them we have been friends for over 19 years now. It’s nice to have people that will still be there even though you have showed them the ugly in you. It’s just a very comforting feeling because I will have these friends for a lifetime no matter what.

I have been very blessed also with great parents. My mom is very much tough love, but she also has very good humor and we always laugh about pretty much everything.

My father grew up in a very poor family, and I have learned from him to never let your circumstances hold you back from your passion. You just have to have much more patience since it might take you longer to achieve your goals.

Besides the great people in my life, I consider my talent my gift. I love comedy and if I can create something with my talent that makes people laugh and take their mind off from the negative things in their life even for that moment, I think I have done my job well. Also if I can create a character and give through that a voice to someone’s story that needs to be heard, my job has served its purpose.

But I think some of my greatest gifts have not arrived in my life yet as far as my future husband and kids go. I would hope to create a family where both of us don’t really have to give up much of who we are or what we do.

As Scott Ginsberg asks in “Get them to come to you” If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? I would want people to be more tolerant and respectful. I have learned that people have very different backgrounds, experiences and limits and some people can take more and do more than others and some can’t. So it is very individual how we want to live our lives or what is important for us. I understand it is not a perfect world, but I just wish people would find some joy in at least something they do every day. As far as respect goes, there are so many examples but just to name few, I never understood how having money or position gives some people more right to treat somebody bad. Or yelling or cursing someone out who is just doing their job is acceptable.

What’s your favorite thing about your community/country? My favorite thing about Estonia is the calming nature and the sea. As much as I enjoy the big metropolitan cities, I miss the sea and the forest once in a while. And Estonia has the best dairy products. You have to come and try!

How has your community/country influenced your life? Created opportunity or challenges for you? Being born and raised in Estonia has given me the ability to see things from a different angle in the U.S. Residing in two different countries has made me more tolerant over the years. I don’t expect people to react a certain way and I respect the different traditions and cultures. But at the same time it has been a challenge to get to this point where you are tolerant and open to all of these things.

What is the biggest challenge facing your community? Estonia is a very small country and has been occupied many times. There have been many economical and political changes in a very short period of time. During my lifetime, I have experienced the Russian Ruble, Estonian Kroon and now, starting January 2011, we welcome the European Euro. It is hard for certain groups of people in the nation to follow and adjust again.

What’s your favorite place in the world? Why? So far my favorite vacation spot has been the Italian Riviera. I have done some traveling in Europe and the U.S., so I would like to explore some of the Latin-American countries next.

What would you like your legacy to be? It is definitely too early for me to answer that question. I think I’m going to have to have the people around me and my work itself form that along the way. So stay tuned! =)

Written by Melissa

December 22, 2010 at 6:56 am

Posted in Acting, Estonia, Passion

Kieran Revell

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Name: Kieran Revell
Location: Australia
Occupation: Empowerment Coach & Speaker

I met Kieran via e-mail through a mutual friend, Derrick Hayes. An international empowerment coach and speaker, Kieran established Our Global Destiny more than 20 years ago. Through Our Global Destiny, he has assisted countless individuals, groups, small business houses and major corporations to streamline processes and procedures and develop effective strategies to capitalize on individual and team strengths, improve personal circumstances, empower workplace relationships, develop effective communication and elevate performance.

Kieran’s story, as he relates it on his website, serves as a great reminder to the rest of us that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves:

“Kieran suffered from a debilitating childhood stammer and became acutely aware at an early age of the cruel effects of diminished self-confidence and dis-empowerment in regard to an individual’s ability to seek fulfillment in life. Through an inherent determination to succeed, he subsequently conquered many of the obstacles he faced and in spite of other impacting challenges, overcame his speech impediment to become a very empowering and passionate Speaker, Author, Coach and Mentor.”

What makes Kieran tick? See below. ~Melissa

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1. What is your passion and how did you discover it? My passion in life is the ability to enlighten and empower others to tap into the fountain of knowledge they have inside to change their lives for the better. It’s a feeling like no other when as a speaker and coach, I see “the light go on” in the eyes of clients when they actually begin to understand they are truly masters of their own destinies with the innate ability to make profound changes in their lives.

The capacity and determination to enlighten others to other fulfilling ways to live successful, abundant and incredibly colourful lives is like no other feeling. It enlivens the spirit and adds depth and clarity to one’s existence. It’s an incredibly powerful and emotionally uplifting experience.

I discovered my passion after working with underprivileged kids in a country town where I lived and worked for some years. I was a boxing and fitness coach and assisted many young children – among them some aboriginal youth – to find themselves and uncover abilities and passions they didn’t know they had. I also made the conscious choice to spend a week living on the streets. I moved among the homeless and disenfranchised. I spoke with many and uncovered a wealth of information which assisted in formulating my own ideas, passions and desires to assist those who, through crushing circumstances, find themselves in positions of disadvantage. From these and other life-altering experiences, I developed the ideas for the many television program proposals I’ve created to assist the homeless and disadvantaged in society.

The positive and lasting impression I make on others and my capacity to empower and motivate them to extraordinary action, depends largely on my own attitude, drive, passion, self-belief and compassion which I carry in my heart every day and allow to permeate into every aspect of my interaction with those who look to me for assistance, support and encouragement. If I can do that, then I know I am moving towards fulfilling my own inspired destiny.

2. What defines you? I’m defined principally by two guidelines I set for myself many years ago. Firstly there are the clear and unambiguous “rules of engagement”: While these have been refined over the years, they still form the basis of the life I live and the way I interact with others.

I never seek to intentionally offend people with my own standards of behaviour: I never seek to impose my point of view on others. When asked, however, I continue to do whatever I can to assist individuals to remove the blocks they create which impede empowerment in their lives. I work tirelessly to assist people to move from a position of mediocrity to one of inspired action. These rules have allowed me to improve my own life and assist others to do the same.

The second guideline is based on my innate desire to help others achieve extraordinary results in their lives. It remains an aspect of my life from which I derive enormous pleasure. I view any contact I have with others as a unique opportunity to shine a light for them to follow and something from which I can also learn many lessons – in humility, respect and courage. I love what I do – it fires up my day and truly inspires me.

I truly believe there is nothing we can’t do in and with our lives if we have faith in ourselves and our abilities. Once we learn to like, love, respect and believe in every aspect of our being, the negative influences of others will cease to have any impact on us. The sun always shines, irrespective of what negative elements are touching our lives. We need only find the power within to clear away the clouds to allow us to re-establish our resolve to improve all aspects of life; we will begin to feel the warmth and power of that sunshine of opportunity as it shines squarely in and on our lives.

3. What’s the greatest gift (material or otherwise) you’ve been given? The greatest gift I have ever received is that of unequivocal love from both my wife and my son. They are true treasures and make my life an absolute joy, because I know beyond question there are two very special people in my life who support and encourage me, no matter what obstacles we face: We can face them together.

My world is full to overflowing with overwhelming feelings of incredible love and devotion. It gives me the power and positive energy I need to continue my journey of fulfilment in my own life and in the lives of those with whom I come into contact every day. Knowing I have that warmth which surrounds me, I can do anything.

4. What would you like your legacy to be? If nothing else, I would like to leave a legacy of empowerment and inspiration for others to follow: A blueprint for personal and professional fulfillment based upon my own experiences: Something truly concrete which will endure long after I’ve passed.

I would desire others to think of me as a humanitarian; a thinker and creator: An individual moved to positive action, for the betterment of humanity: Someone who truly made a difference in the lives of others, through his skills, knowledge and passion for life.

5. As Scott Ginsberg asks in “Get Them to Come to You,” If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? A world populated with people who felt compelled to do as I commanded would be a world devoid of individual thought and action. How boring would that be! I do what I consider is best for my family and me in any given circumstances, with thought to the consequence of my words and action on other people. I only wish for others to do the same; sometimes that could involve enlisting my support to help them through difficult times and assist in igniting in them the unmistakable resolve to improve their lives in extraordinary ways. It is certainly possible. We are all unique. We’re all individuals and therefore I cannot imagine a world where everyone adopted a totalitarian mentality, based upon my thoughts, words and action rather than considered choices in relation to their own lives. I believe in free will, at the same time accepting the consequences of the resultant actions.

While I seek to empower others with my vision of betterment and positive action in relation to the impact of any negative circumstances in their lives, I don’t have the right to impose my will. I can only offer advice and assistance, resulting from my perspective of a given situation. They in turn exercise their desire to accept or reject that information.

6. What’s your favorite thing about your community/country? I truly think Australia is the lucky country. We do have a very “lay back – she’ll be right” attitude to most things. Though I live predominantly in a suburban area, my community is quite close knit as is the case with many in this great nation. Although we are often slow to action on things, as a general rule of thumb we have strength of character and resolve for improvement in our lives and genuine concern for the safety and welfare of others.

I truly love this country because of our collective strength of character. We nurture our feelings of respect and devotion for a nation which feeds, clothes and shelters us from harm. We cultivate a passion for individual and collective growth and development and continue to promote a healthy respect for the beliefs and opinions of others.

7. How has your community/country influenced your life? Created opportunities or challenges for you? Having lived in a variety of communities both in Australia and overseas – each with its challenges and charms – the interaction with a variety of individuals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds has assisted in formulating my respect for others and tolerance for those aspects of life which are so very different from my own inherent beliefs and experiences.

I have found opportunities in times of adversity and advantage. My community offers many supporting strategies and programs to assist with personal growth and development. There is a pervading optimism that whatever we face, we do it together and we emerge from the other side with experience, passion, enthusiasm and determination on our side.

8. What is the biggest challenge facing your community? The greatest challenge facing the community is apathy. While ever we believe things are good as they are, we will never have the resolve to embrace change and improve our lives. We must always look to the welfare of our neighbour if we are ever to truly understand, support, nurture and empower ourselves.

I am confident I have the skills and courage to enable change to take place. Even small steps taken in the right direction, will move us ever closer to our goals.

I have developed a number of television program proposals for the homeless and disadvantaged and I believe they have the power to bring the plight of the socially disenfranchised to the notice of a global audience. It takes only one key to open the door of opportunity.

9. What’s your favorite place in the world? Why? There are many places in the world that I truly love to visit. In fact, I would dearly love to live in several places in the USA (San Francisco, parts of Oregon, NYC, Hartford and other magic places), which exude a charm and quiet pulse of life. I have, in fact, previously spent time living in Manhattan, which was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.

I also love many areas of England and Scotland; Italy and France. I am always enthusiastic about experiencing life in other parts of the world and take every opportunity to travel, grow and evolve. It’s these wonderful experiences which add depth and character, colour and clarity to my existence.

Australia is, however, my home. This is where my family and the majority of my friends live (although many too are scattered around the globe, including San Francisco, LA, NYC and Hartford, Connecticut and throughout England and Europe). Australia is where I learned the difference between right and wrong and sewed the initial seeds of an extraordinary life (which were fertilised by experiences across the globe).

No matter where I find myself living at any time in my live, my heart will always reside in this Great Southern Land. I feel truly blessed for the places I’ve visited and the extraordinary people I have met who have inspired my life and helped me understand the notion of a ‘global family’.

I invite people who wish to empower their lives and uncover elements to inspire every aspect of their worlds, to visit me at and join my blog ‘Words from the Success Wizard’ at

Written by Melissa

September 22, 2010 at 4:18 am