Annette Estrada: “Failures are GOOD!”

Failures are GOOD! When you fail, just keep going until you’re satisfied. There have been a number of times even to this day, where mistakes are made as a teacher, parent, partner, and entrepreneur and you have to keep moving forward. No one is perfect. Now if you’re like me and you like to dwell […]

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Failures are GOOD! When you fail, just keep going until you’re satisfied. There have been a number of times even to this day, where mistakes are made as a teacher, parent, partner, and entrepreneur and you have to keep moving forward. No one is perfect. Now if you’re like me and you like to dwell in your dark mental cave for a bit, go ahead, but eventually you have to get back up and keep moving forward.

As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Annette Estrada.

Annette is the founder of the up-and-coming Mini ManifestersTM and has published her book Mini Manifesters, A Pocketbook To Energize The Young Leaders Of The Now, visit Mini Manifesters at and her podcast

Annette Estrada has taught elementary, middle, and high school students in formal and informal settings for over 17 years; she continues to teach as a credentialed classroom teacher in the South Bay Area of California. During her 17 years serving youth, Annette remains passionate about youth development and about her own personal and spiritual growth.

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 please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ever since I was a child, I pretended to be a teacher; with neighborhood friends; we’d argue about who would play teacher first and which lessons we would lead; as a credentialed classroom teacher, going into my 8th year of teaching with an additional 11 years teaching kids in informal settings, it is clear that my purpose is meant to lead our young leaders and harness the pure love, joy, and energy they express for a better world.

Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ve served youth for over 17 years; of that 17 years, I’ve been a classroom teacher for eight years. Ever since my career serving kids, I have met so many spirited folks. I specifically remember a woman at the Second Harvest Food Bank in the North Bay, close to San Francisco. I believe the woman’s name was Pat. I was shopping for free snacks for my afterschool group located in East Palo Alto. After I collected the snacks I needed; I was ready to check out. Once I approached the checkout stand and Pat, I noticed a transparent shaft of light casted over Pat’s entire body, I then noticed her head slightly bobbing up and down several times. At the time I didn’t think too much about the slight change in her body and energy, I was on the go.

As she received my items from the conveyor belt, she asked, “how are the kids?” I told her things were going well. With a quiet and intense tone, she then quickly replied with, “you’re going to lead the kids, you’re going to lead them.” I humbly replied with, “yeah I know.” Then she stopped scanning the food items, looked me dead in the eyes and said, “NO, you’re going to lead the kids.” I couldn’t help but take her words seriously, with an intense look on my face and short on time my eyes tensed up to let her know I was listening, and I then replied with, “ok, yes, thank you.” I left the food bank baffled and a bit shaken by the encounter. At the time, I didn’t know what her message meant exactly, but here I am as a classroom teacher, published a book and developing curriculum regarding energizing our young leaders of the NOW!

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

A principal that has recently helped me walk with strength and focus is to walk with a purpose! Bertice Berry’s Ted Talk, Walking With A Purpose sums it all up. “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” Initially, my time spent with serving youth was all kismet. In my early 20’s I was wound up with personal issues and didn’t have foresight to my purpose. I was studying advertising and was set in my career path; during that time, random people at different times would tell me how good I was with kids which was a surprise because I never thought about working with kids; but it seemed every time I volunteered or was around children, it felt safe and natural. After years of working with youth, I see the need to acknowledge the knowledge and power youth bring; and my purpose feels stronger than ever and nothing is going to stop me from spreading the word about the power of our youth!

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

Our youth are typically seen as leaders of the future, but if you look around, our youth are stepping up to the plate NOW. The number of injustices plaguing our world is unmanageable, and our youth see it; they want to be a part of the solution!! Using the power and energy of our youth to help create a better world is not only inspiring, but necessary! How will the leaders of the future be able to lead if they aren’t getting practice creating solutions to real problems NOW? Imagine how jarring it would be if as an adult you’re expected to do something you hardly practiced, a fish out of water!

How do you think this will change the world?

This is a paradigm shift for sure! World-wide, can you imagine kids being referred to for solving “complicated” issues? AMAZING! This idea brings fresh social justice warriors to the world’s table! We need more people with fresh energy to help create lasting and new change. It’s all about welcoming diversity which brings about fresh energy, ideas, and action!

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

The main drawback that stands out regarding this big idea, is people coming from the old paradigm resisting some of the ideas of our young leaders which could bring more conflict and our young leaders feeling invalidated. The feeling of invalidation could lead to unnecessary push back or a higher level of conflict, which is what the world has enough of. In addition, because our youth are not driven by commerce, and there are conflicts against producing certain things, our economy could change as well. The young leaders of the now are all about what is right regardless of how much money will not be produced.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

Working with kids since 2002 helped bring awareness about the special energy our young leaders possess. Each set of youth I have worked with from that point on, seemed more intuitive, knew how to advocate and protect themselves, and seemed in-tune with vibes or energy. As years went by before I became a teacher in 2013, there was a growing sense that our special youth in-tune with everything were not being acknowledged for their own intuition and thoughts. It was heartbreaking to witness because I knew our youth could offer more! It is clear in the present day that our youth are still hungry for at-bats to help be a part of a bigger piece of the action to make the world a better place!

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

  1. Identify more groups to pilot the Mini Manifesters program.
  2. Gather survey data of the program’s efficacy.
  3. Partner with organizations nationally and internationally that can use Mini Manifesters material to nurture our young leaders and families that need a nudge.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. I wish someone could have told me sooner than later that patience is one of the keys to success. Many times, when I’d launch something, I would quickly get impatient and anxious because I wanted people to know about all the good work going on with either my pilot group or materials for release; but all I got was more anxious and disappointed. As with any good thing, things take some time.
  2. Self-care is the best care! There are times when you’re grinding in your 9–5 and your personal project and some days neither is done well due to the daily grind. Resting until your tank fills up is OK! Do it! Exercise, eat well, laugh, be lazy, and then jump back on the saddle and continue the grind!
  3. Failures are GOOD! When you fail, just keep going until you’re satisfied. There have been a number of times even to this day, where mistakes are made as a teacher, parent, partner, and entrepreneur and you have to keep moving forward. No one is perfect. Now if you’re like me and you like to dwell in your dark mental cave for a bit, go ahead, but eventually, you have to get back up and keep moving forward.
  4. Feedback is good, and you can choose to take it or leave it. The good thing about feedback is it exists, and it is definitely there for consideration. Take it or leave it! Simply put, no need to take anything personal.
  5. Don’t take it personal! Through this whole process of creating, output, and existence, there will be many opportunities to take things personally, but the best thing I’m learning is monitoring the good work at play! When I focus on all the positive outcomes, nothing else matters.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

The most important success habit is continuing to love yourself and keep GOING. There are so many ups and downs on this journey that treating yourself kindly along with consistent action are the things that have saved me. There will be many who overlook what you do or don’t agree with what you believe in or do not even acknowledge the good work, so you have to be your own best friend in every way and focus on the good work and goals set in your strategic plan.

Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Mini Manifesters is a social justice movement supporting our young leaders to exercise their power, problem-solving skills, and leadership around real community issues. Can you support our young leaders and their families by spreading the word?

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Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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