Don’t get caught up in paralysis analysis. Overthinking is my big weakness and I know others get caught up in not starting to implement their plan because they just don’t think it’s ready. When I do interviews, each one is different. You can prepare as much as you want, but ultimately you can find yourself dealing with dynamics you never anticipated. Be prepared, but also don’t overthink everything.
Aspart of our series about young people who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pavlina Osta.
Pavlina is a vibrant and compelling multi-media, social-media influencer, personality force, and Best-Selling Author of 20 things Every Motivated 20-Something Shold Know. She empowers Generation Zs by providing a general consensus of their view on subjects. Pavlina has strong roots in speaking to Pop Culture and its plethora of newsmakers, having already interviewed over six hundred celebrities, Including Katie Couric, Shaquille O’Neal, and Steve Forbes.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us about how you grew up?
Igrew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s a town famous for NASCAR racing and vacationers who enjoy the sun and miles of beach. When I was 10, I started playing steel drums on the beach. This led to gigs all around the area- from performing at festivals to entertaining at dog parties! I also would just take my steel drums and set up playing on the street. Often, I was interviewed by the media while a street performer. The station manager at one of the radio stations I was being interviewed at asked me to have a show and soon I was known as the “radio girl” in Daytona Beach. My schedule during that time was busy. Besides school, I had many hours at the Orlando Ballet since I was passionate about being a ballet dancer. This tough schedule led to a conflict with my radio show at the radio station, where I was doing live interviews. In order to do ballet and keep the radio show going, I started to do interviews with celebrities on-location — wherever they were across the state of Florida. Growing up with this strange mixture of street performer, ballet dancer, and radio host talking with celebrities, gave me an early maturity and humility. I gained an organic business sense to make things happen and a mindset of determination.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
While I was busking, people tended to stop by in between my sets and strike up conversations with me. I’m a people person, so I always took time to talk to everyone. On one particular day of performing, I started talking with a lady from Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare. The organization made an impact on me because they were trying to get the cities in the area to mandate spay and neutering in order to control the overpopulation of dogs and cats. At this time, I did not have a tip jar, so after learning of their plight I did two things. I set up a tip jar and started donating all my tips to the organization. I also went with the founders of CCFAW to city council meetings and presented the argument for adding mandatory spay and neutering for their city. I think the council members were surprised to have a 10-year-old kid fighting for the plight of the animals and it was fortunate a few of the city leaders approved the request for mandatory spay and neutering. I continued to keep in touch with the organization over the years even though my radio show grew and I spent less time steel drum performing. Then, when I was 17, I decided to attempt a Guinness World Record. I thought again of the plight of animals and how to incorporate animals into my Guinness World Record attempt. The local Walmart agreed to host the Guinness record attempt for me and I included a non-profit organization called Sophie’s Circle. Sophie’s Circle is a pet organization that collects pet food for indigent pet owners who do not have enough money to feed their beloved pets. Sophie’s Circle received hundreds of pounds of pet food and I was fortunate to achieve a new Guinness World Record for the Most Live Radio Interviews conducted in 24 hours.
You are currently leading an organization that is helping to make a positive social impact. Can you tell us a little about what you and your organization are trying to create in our world today?
Our world today has very few positive leaders in the Generation Z age bracket. Young people find themselves flooded with social media posts of being a certain way and looking a certain way. I have found as a brand entrepreneur, many Generation Z’s have confusion about the future. The smoke and mirrors they see in influencers their age lead them to more anxiety. I recently wrote a bestselling book, 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know which encompasses my experiences along with the experiences of celebrities and newsmakers I interviewed. My book gives Generation Z and Millennials a game plan for their life and career.
Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?
I have seen so many Millennials and Generation Z’s experience self-doubt, career anxiety, struggles with depression and wanted to put them on a path towards success. I noticed an increase of teenagers and college students struggling with life when they should be at their peak with happiness. As a media personality, I felt a need to reach out and assist with something I feel so passionate about.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I would say one of my most interesting stories was achieving the Guinness World Record for Most Live Radio Interviews in 24 Hours. First, it took a great deal of preparation before the event. I had to assemble a team of videographers, lighting, and radio personnel. I spent weeks preparing the questions for the interviewees and each set of questions had to be different for each person. It consisted of five questions for each person. Once the world record was achieved, my team wanted to go home. I made them stay on until the last minute even though I was about ready to pass out! I think the preparation and determination to succeed is important to anyone who endeavors to undertake any challenge in life.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
When you write a book you never know how it will be received. Will the readers hate it? Love it? Benefit from it? I received many text messages from people who read the book, and most were along the same vein of how it helped them, but they were too self-conscious to post about how much it affected them. I received recently one, in particular, that had me crying as I read it. I was humbled by her words. She said:
“I just got the book this weekend!! And I read it from start to finish today because it was SO GOOD!!!!!! Just wanted to say that I’m so proud of you for using this as an opportunity to help others through (let’s be real) your greatness. You wrote it SO WELL This book is literally exactly what I needed. Imposter syndrome and fear have been holding me back from applying to the jobs I want to apply to (I don’t tell everyone that cause I had felt ashamed about it, but I trust u♥️). So, thank you very much for being you and sharing your wisdom, jokes, and positivity through your book.”
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I define “Making A Difference” as one who is brave enough to make the change for the good. This can be as simple as picking up a can for recycling or forming a local group to provide a change you see needed in your community. It’s about being that “pioneer” who makes that first step for the greater good.
Many young people would not know what steps to take to start to create the change they want to see. But you did. What are some of the steps you took to get your project started? Can you share the top 5 things you need to know to become a changemaker? Please tell us a story or example for each.
- Defining a need. When I first started my radio show I was 11 years old and I knew there was a need for young people in radio. I also knew kids wanted to hear about celebrities they admired and the problems they had overcome. So, during each interview I asked (literally to hundreds of celebrities over a six-year period), “What obstacle did you have and how did you overcome it?” I received a lot of interesting answers. I also got a lot of inspiring answers! But one day, the radio manager said, “Why do you always ask that question in your interviews? Shake it up a little and ask something else.” I kept the obstacle question in all my interviews because it was important. Sticking to what you believe in will make you stronger, but also will help your audience understand your passion for being a changemaker.
- Having a game plan. Regardless of what project I was working on, I’d wake up early and go over what needed to be done for the day. The game plan did not have to be perfect but every day I wanted to achieve results.
- Don’t get caught up in paralysis analysis. Overthinking is my big weakness and I know others get caught up in not starting to implement their plan because they just don’t think it’s ready. When I do interviews, each one is different. You can prepare as much as you want, but ultimately you can find yourself dealing with dynamics you never anticipated. Be prepared, but also don’t overthink everything.
- It’s essential to be elastic and realistic with your goals. Don’t agonize over your goals not reaching your expectations. When I was around the age of 13, I expected to be a successful media personality by the time I was 18. To a degree, I had reached a certain level of success. In fact, Ed Sheeran, who I interviewed when I was 15, told me to keep at it — by the time I was 18, I would be at the top of my field. So, to me, 18 was that magic number. Different levels of achievement happen at different times. Some things demand that you go with the flow, keeping your eye out for the opportunities. My success didn’t happen when I expected it to; however, I was able to be flexible and deal with the obstacles presented to me.
- Commit and be consistent. Barbara Corcoran once told me she much rather hire someone who had fallen and got up than an MBA out of graduate school. In other words, failing and recovery is your best life lesson to display your commitment. I remember I was with Steve Harvey in Orlando and he said, “Fall Hard and Fall Fast.” I didn’t understand it completely at the time but after experiencing a few failures, I understand the failure needs to make you more committed and consistent with reaching your project goals.
What are the values that drive your work?
Creativity is extremely important. If someone gives me one way of doing something, I look for other ways. In other words, if your site is on the other side of the mountain, there are lots of ways of getting there. You don’t have to climb the mountain. You can go around it, dig underneath it, fly over it- find your goal through creativity. Commitment is crucial. If you don’t believe in what you are doing- you can’t have commitment.
Many people struggle to find what their purpose is and how to stay true to what they believe in. What are some tools or daily practices that have helped you to stay grounded and centered in who you are, your purpose, and focused on achieving your vision?
Many people recognize their passion early in life. They want to be that singer who has the perfect life in the limelight, they covet the lifestyle of a famous actress or maybe there is an influencer they admire and have that same passion. However, your passion may not be your purpose. I was fortunate to find my gift and ultimately my purpose early in life. I also believe your purpose is always growing and evolving — just as everyone should be growing and evolving in their daily lives. Commitment and consistency with key tools are daily practices that help me to stay on track in life. Key tools that have worked well for me include meditation, yoga, and daily fitness. Having a disciplined health routine with rigorous exercise (my workout starts at 6am), supports me in staying focused on my purpose and achieving my vision.Being consistent inexercise, helps me to stay mentally sharp and able to organize my day better. I also have a detailed list that I run through in the morning. Tools should help build you up and into becoming a better self. Also, it’s important to have a mentor to check in with as a springboard for goalsetting and to help you organize any loose ends around you. This is how I stay grounded and centered and… who I am.
In my work, I aim to challenge us all right now to take back our human story and co-create a vision for a world that works for all. I believe youth should have agency over their own future. Can you please share your vision for a world you want to see? I’d love to have you describe what it looks like and feels like. As you know, the more we can imagine it, the better we can manifest it!
My mission is to create “a better you for a better us.” By bringing each of us into a healthier mindset, we are able to be better people around others. I have interviewed thousands of people, participated in protests, and been trampled by paparazzi. I think becoming the best we can be makes us better equipped to share compassion and understanding with others. The first step is self-love. Many people are angry and hurtful because they do not love themselves. Secondly, we need to take care of each other responsibly. This is especially evident with the pandemic. I’d like for there to be a dependable, reliable and successful cure, like all of us are hoping for in the coming months. However, in the meantime, all of us need to act responsibly. Another vision I have is for our environment. Too much is being destroyed and many people are not aware of the devastation. I remember when I interviewed singer/songwriter Jack Johnson in Orlando. He was passionate about the carbon footprint from disposable water bottles and took me around the Amway Arena to meet up with the different organizations he invited to his concert. By each of us contributing to the overall good of our environment we can achieve a better lifestyle and a better world.
We are powerful co-creators and our minds and intentions create our reality. If you had limitless resources at your disposal, what specific steps would take to bring your vision to fruition?
With limitless resources at my disposal, I would first generate massive campaigns in communication. Being in media, I understand the power of communication as well as the falsehoods created.
- Employ trustworthy sources to establish a media campaign for the health and welfare of citizens.
- Employ physicians to monitor the health and welfare of citizens as well as establish a timeline for a cure.
- Establish a volunteer campaign to bring in social media groups targeting young people with the following focus: education of issues (health and welfare/environment/personal wellness)
- Obtain scientists to conceptualize the best way of handling environmental and water issues.
- Develop a strategic plan on third world countries which includes — Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
- Implement third world SWOT objectives
I see a world driven by the power of love, not fear. Where human beings treat each other with humanity. Where compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit are characteristics we teach in schools and strive to embody in all we do. What changes would you like to see in the educational system? Can you explain or give an example?
One of the largest issues with children coming out of the school system today is the number of expectations. Millennials and Generation Z’s have been labeled as entitled. This is particularly true with Millennials and to a lesser extent, Generation Z’s. The school system as well as the current parenting skills are to blame for this, in my opinion. I would like to see the educational system have a stronger contribution in mental health- depression and anxiety for children of all grades and for this not to be a stigma or embarrassment for the youths. I’d also like to see in the educational system a creative strength encouraged. I feel we’ve lost the creativeness each and every child comes into the world with. By the time they start school there are rules and regulations. They ultimately learn how to take exams, but they do not learn how to develop their creativity. With budget cuts, this creativity is even more absent. Music and art programs are usually the first on the cutting block for a school budget. I also would like to change the educational system specifically for teenagers. They learn to drive at school with the driver-education classes, however, they do not know basic adulting accomplishments.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
This is your world — treat it kindly.
Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Yoko Ono. I think she was beyond her time with love, the environment, peace, war, music. I think she’d be a great person to chat with in the Russian Tea Room — to discuss her life, John Lennon, and her views of today.
Gloria Steinem. I was with Gloria in Orlando, Florida, before her speaking engagement at Rollins College. We were in the green room, and she was feeling awful. People around her were talking about canceling the speech. Someone brought her hot tea. An assistant was laying out the logistics of doing the speech, then maybe going to the hospital and signing the rest of her books. Gloria said she would do her speech. She felt bad for the people in the auditorium who had come to listen to her speak and she didn’t want to disappoint them. Someone brought in a wheelchair, and they pushed her to the auditorium. Gloria stood up and gave her speech. Her assistant apologized for Gloria not being able to do the interview with me that evening but said another venue would work out. A few months later, I interviewed Gloria in Naples, Florida. It was in a hotel lobby with the hotel manager appointed as our videographer! Outside were protesters and police gathering around the hotel front door and on the street. These poignant experiences gave me admiration for Gloria, but I also want to ask her more in-depth questions. I’d like to know Gloria better as a person and where she sees women heading in the future. Did we accomplish more or less because of the Me Too movement? How should women proceed in the media? And what was it like marching to make a difference — is it similar today?
How can our readers further follow your work online?
PavlinaOsta.com and all social media platforms at @pavlinaosta
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!