Only a few years ago, tech entrepreneur Angie Carrillo thought she might be on her deathbed. After spending years working a six-figure job in the corporate pharmaceutical industry, Angie turned her back on that world in 2015 and decided to enroll in the CodeAcademy to teach herself coding. At the same time, she was spiraling into a depression until she stayed with a friend in California, who helped give her the reset she needed and introduced her to the empowering world of female founders and investors.
The next year, Angie was teaching over 500 girls to code in Mexico and her native Peru and partnered with Technovation, where her coding curriculum continues. She soon found herself as an entrepreneur in residence at Draper University in San Mateo, California, where she tapped by operations to join a team of five people that helped famed venture capitalist Tim Draper make the school profitable.
During her time at Draper, Angie also worked during the afternoons for StartupGrind, a global community for founders, and during the nights she developed plans for her own start-up ideas. She was completely lost in the hustle — and the stress of it all made her seriously physically sick.
“I was running on coffee, and my whole body was collapsing,” she says. “I had an infection on my fallopian tube, and it had gotten worse and became resistant to most antibiotics. For three months, I took my health into my own hands. I tracked everything from how much I slept to all my food intake.”
Unfortunately, this kind of burnout amongst entrepreneurial-minded people is not uncommon. Though the World Health Organization included burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” — not a medical condition — in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases in 2019, other recent studies like this one from UC Berkeley have concluded that entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from burnout and mental-health conditions like depression and anxiety.
After experiencing several other personal and professional highs and lows, Angie has beaten the odds and has become one of the top creative leaders at the intersection of spirituality, self-development, and science and technology. Through her efforts at angiecarrillo.com, host of the Going Forward Podcast and creator of Forward, Inc., Angie helps entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators bypass burnout to tap into their purpose and build a business they love for a true life of freedom, impact and legacy.
Here are a few ways Angie weaves science, technology and personal growth into helping any entrepreneur grow their business and enrich their lives.
Science: Become aware of your brain and the chemicals in the body that trigger emotions.
The brain is not an organ to ignore. Neurotransmitters like dopamine (pleasure and reward), serotonin (memory and learning) and norepinephrine (moderating mood) flow through our heads and bodies 24/7. But we possess the ability to have control over these chemicals — much better than letting them control you.
Angie learned this after quitting her own company. After she had recovered from her health scare, she got to work collaborating with fellow great minds at tech incubator Singularity University in 2017 and co-founded Nextbiotics, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company with the aim to end antibiotic resistance. But her co-founders soon wanted to take the company in a different direction.
“The ego and power struggle made it unbearable,” Angie says. “I was fired as the founding CEO, and I decided to quit my own company.”
How did she get past yet another deal-breaker? She learned how to stop reliving it.
“The past and future are constant collections of small bits of present moments,” Angie writes in her blog. “So, do you want to go through the negative experience only once, or is it going to be re-fired in your brain over and over again? Each thought, sensation, and memory activates a neural pathway. Our brains are rewired every day and constantly forging new neural paths.”
Angie recommends rewriting a negative experience into a positive one in order to break the habit of falling back into default mode — which is actually hardwired into us for survival.
“Will you continuously train your brain to feel miserable? Or, are you going to train yourself to feel grateful?” she asks.
Technology: Apps and wearables can help you on your journey to freedom.
Never one to fold when dealt a raw hand, after the painful ordeal of quitting her own company, Angie went to South by Southwest in Austin, where she met Julián Ríos Cantú, the 18-year-old inventor of a solution meant to detect breast abnormalities and cancer in women — known as Eva. Through working together, Julián got accepted into Y Combinator, an accelerator that provides seed funding for start-ups, and raised $5 million in less than five months.
Since then, Angie became a true-believer in the power of technology in the realm of health and wellness has used and recommended several apps and wearables to help those looking for the positive path, including: Muse Brain Sensing Headband , Brain FM, and Calm.
Personal Development: How you can weave it all together through self-love, habit-creation, and service to others.
When Angie quit her own company, at first she felt all alone. Devastated. Like anyone would. Then she called her friends.
“Many of them have built businesses and are successful entrepreneurs,” she writes on her blog. “And, to my big surprise, they came clean and told me that they have gone through this as well.”
A big part of self-love is knowing you are not alone and to know you can reach out to peers. And when you do break the tie with a big job or corporation, know that you might feel free, in a way — but you are still in service to others as you move forward.
“It’s always about being of service to someone,” Angie says. “The key is finding out how to be of service while doing something you love: that sweet spot where your passion meets your skills that meets your paycheck.”
Throughout her journey, Angie has realized that it’s not just “the one thing” that will bring true success and happiness.
“It’s not about chasing financial freedom or location freedom or any other external freedom,” she says. “It’s about being free now, purpose-driven, and leaving a legacy to transform the world for the better.”